In the weekly column Extra Credit, Charles Bramesco recommends supplemental viewing for moviegoers whose interests have been piqued by a given week’s big new release. 

Conventional wisdom suggests that horror franchises decline in quality over time. But as someone who has logged more hours watching direct-to-video slasher sequels than could possibly be healthy, I say not so!

While most series do indeed peak with their first installment, the releases that follow usually vary wildly in their level of quality. While a shift to direct-to-video releasing usually means scaling-back of resources, many horror sequels have capitalized on the lack of oversight to pull off some spectacularly bizarre mischief. (As you’ll see below, we’re talking really bizarre.) The newly released prequel Jigsaw is the eighth film in the Saw franchise, and the first since 2010’s very accurately titled Saw: The Final Chapter. Jigsaw could be a thoughtful reimagining just as easily as a craven cash-grab from the convoluted Saw mythology. As we await the outcome (it opens in theaters tonight), let’s take a look at some of the causes for optimism and survey the best late-phase horror sequels. Plus you’ll find links to where you can watch all five of these movies at home right now. Whether you’re watching Jigsaw this weekend or not, all five of these sequels are available for your Halloween horror needs.

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