"The Weekend Rent" offers quick-hit suggestions of what to watch at home to get psyched for new releases in theaters, on Fridays. Click on any of the titles below to find out how you can watch the movie right now.
This week is all about more: more turkey, more stuffing, more Black Friday deals… and more sequels. In the horror film The Collection, a sequel to 2009's cult favorite The Collector that opens in theaters this Friday, Josh Stewart returns as Arkin—a thief who escapes his accidental first encounter with the sadistic Collector only to face him again with a group of mercenaries hired by a wealthy man to rescue his daughter. The Collection amps up the action—and the body count—by taking place at a rave from hell. The following films are sequels that step up the intensity, gore, violence—or whatever—from the original.
Ridley Scott's seminal sci-fi masterpiece Alien featured exactly one Alien and one tenacious heroine, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), who finally blew the monster out an airlock. Whereas Scott's movie was a horror film that built an atmosphere of dread, James Cameron's sequel, Aliens, was a balls-to-the-wall action movie. Ripley returns with Marines (Vasquez!) to LV-426 and encounters a whole nest of Aliens, including a giant egg-laying "bitch" Queen who is one angry mama.
John Carpenter's brilliantly crafted Halloween launched the slasher-film craze in 1978. A sequel was inevitable, but by the time Halloween II arrived in theaters in 1981, a slew of Halloween rip-offs, like Friday the 13th, had made green by increasing the red stuff. Although hardly any blood was visible in the original Halloween, Halloween II director Rick Rosenthal filmed Michael Myers' hospital rampage in gory detail—from a nurse getting scalded to death in a hot tub to Michael getting his eyes shot out.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
George A. Romero singlehandedly defined the zombie genre with his classic 1968 black-and-white film Night of the Living Dead. Ten years later—and in full color—Romero moved the action to a suburban Pittsburgh mall and turned the makeup effects up by a factor of 100 thanks to the debut of future FX master Tom Savini. Heads explode, zombies chew off hunks of flesh and feast on disemboweled victims as our heroes are forced to flee their temporary haven.
Best Picture Oscar winner The Silence of the Lambs was a crime thriller that introduced us to Anthony Hopkins' version of Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter. Director Ridley Scott turned up the Grand Guignol elements in this stylish and violent sequel in which Hannibal is loose in the world. Hannibal features such atrocities as a police detective getting disemboweled above a piazza, a man's disfigured face being eaten by ravenous wild boars, and Ray Liotta getting his brain cut off and fed to him. Bon appétit!
Rambo: First Blood Part II
We were first introduced to Vietnam vet/one-man army John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) in 1982's First Blood, which was not overly graphic. In this 1985 sequel, Rambo is sent on a mission to investigate the possible existence of POWs in Vietnam. What the Vietnamese soldiers and Russian commandos that cross his path there find is a whole lot of pain—and themselves splattered over the jungle. The bloody tradition continued in Rambo III and Rambo, the latter of which had so many exploding bodies that it made the others look like Disney flicks.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
When Captain Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew made the leap from TV to the big screen in 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the film's slow pacing prompted some to disparagingly call it The Motionless Picture. All was forgiven in this thrilling 1982 sequel that featured the return of a favorite TV series villain, Khan (Ricardo Montalban), who takes over a Federation starship and plays a deadly game of chicken with the Enterprise for revenge on Kirk. "Khaaaaaan!"
The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)
The Human Centipede became infamous (and spoofed on South Park) for featuring a mad scientist who stitches three people together mouth to anus. This 2011 sequel has a mentally challenged fan of the first film doing the same to 12 people. Although HC2 is black and white, all the gastrointestinal splatter that results from haphazardly stitching 12 people together this way and injecting them with laxatives is lovingly depicted on-screen with an occasional flash of brown, which director Tom Six called his "Schindler's List moment."
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
This prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark features more adventures of our favorite fedora-wearing, whip-cracking archeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) as he journeys to India to find a mystical stone for a desperate village. Indy then stumbles upon a Kali-worshipping cult that practices child slavery, black magic and human sacrifice. It was outcry over this last element—particularly when a priest rips the beating heart out of a victim—that later prompted the creation of the PG-13 rating by the MPAA.
All of the movies listed above are available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD services. If you can think of another sequel that stepped it up when compared to the original, let us know.