Among the millions of words spent reviewing, analyzing and praising horror movie franchises like Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and countless other film series, very few film scholars have devoted their research specifically to the world of horror franchise sequels and their creators.
That’s about to change with the release of Jay Slayton-Joslin’s intensively-researched book Sequelland: A Story of Dreams and Screams — a deep dive into the “back alley of Hollywood,” featuring extensive post-mortem interviews with the people behind the aforementioned movie franchises, as well as numerous independent sequels released outside the major studios.
In Sequelland, the UK-based author turns his attention to directors and creatives who got the chance to do what they love… though not necessarily under their own terms. He takes a distinctly personal approach to the subject, looking back to a childhood filled with direct-to-video horror sequels, and examining how the filmmakers behind these franchise continuations view their own work.
“Horror sequels are often seen as the strange orphans of cinema,” Slayton-Joslin says. “I’ve always found them fascinating… how do you find terror in something familiar? How do you preserve a franchise’s iconic characters or tone while carving out a distinctive story? A lot of the investigated movies have fallen out of the public eye and in some cases met with an overwhelmingly negative response. How can you, as a creator, process that? For some it’s a dream — or nightmare — come true, but for some it’s proven to be a deal with the devil.”
Sequelland is the story of those people who tried to do what they loved — some filled with regrets, others with pride. It’s what happens when we have the chance to work on the projects that influenced us, and the consequences for accepting that tempting offer.