Every Sunday this month horror writers and fans come together to live tweet a Saw film as part of the aptly named Sawtober movie marathon. It’s said that Saw 3 is one of the best of the eight movies. Other times part 3 horror movies are notoriously subject to ridicule, like the campy but terrible Jaws 3.
Netflix’s recent new lineup included the Jurassic Park trilogy. It launched a litany of articles discussing which were either under or overrated. Scream’s third installment in the horror franchise notoriously doesn’t appeal to most fans. Halloween 3 was reviled at the time for not including Michael Myers (though it did eventually reach cult status). Classic The Stepfather and it’s sequel are entertaining slashers. But part 3, (maybe simply because missing Terry O’Quinn) doesn’t hold up.
But Part 3 horror movies from their franchise don’t always get the appreciation they deserve.
In some cases, part 3 horror movies are really good.
Dream Warriors, A Nightmare on Elm Street’s third movie. Many fans consider it the best of the whole series. Heather Langenkamp’s return, a cast of new characters, fan favorites and memorable kills make this sequel stand out among the others.
Exorcist III. It was in general movie vault oblivion before the miracle of streaming. Since then, and with the pandemic forcing everyone to watch old movies, it saw a resurrection. Getting new, or renewed acknowledgement. It’s widely discussed famous tension building hospital scene is one of the best moments in horror.
Scream 3. It’s the weakest of the series, according to most fans. Some even call it the worst horror franchise sequel. There are however, some things for Scream fans to appreciate.
Namely, a Sydney and Ghost Face showdown that’s maybe the best of the franchise. It may not have the appeal of a TV dropped on Stew’s head. But it showcases Sydney’s strength and emotion in a way the other movies don’t do as much.
Psycho 3, directed by Anthony Perkins himself is praised for being the most introspective of the four films. It would’ve never seemed possible that a decent movie could follow the perfection of Hitchcock’s film. Yet, the sequels remain not terrible.
Perkin’s portrayal of Norman goes deeper here, making Norman much more sympathetic. Even if he has regressed to his past, homicidal self again. The film tries to show us a softer side. At the same time, it’s a great, hidden gem slasher movie.
Paranormal Activity 3 is also at the top of its franchise. It’s been referred to as the best of all six films. The only one that shows Katie and Kristi as young girls and how the sisters really connected with the ghosts.
Poltergeist 3. When it comes to horror movie trilogies, Poltergeist 3 doesn’t get a fair shake. It’s not the original. But there are a few interesting things at play.
Yes, it’s missing our cool, weed smoking parents. Carol Ann is staying with her Aunt and Uncle this time in a modern Chicago high rise. But the building itself is like one of the characters, the outlet through which the ghosts reach Carol Ann again. The idea of ghosts moving through mirrors and art gallery artifacts still intrigues me. It’s underrated fun and an apartment horror movie which is entertaining on it’s own merit.
Part 3 horror movies could easily be written off as unworthy. We’re conditioned to know many big films will come with a franchise. But we also expect as the series continues the quality will likely go down.
Sometimes we get a surprise though, and they really work. Like in the above movies. In some cases, they’re even the best of their series.