10 Horror Prequels To Watch Before The Original Movie

With Pearl, a prequel to Ti West’s acclaimed horror throwback X, releasing September 16th, audiences cannot wait to dive back into Ti West’s messed-up world.

Taking place in the early 1900s during the Spanish Flu pandemic the movie tracks the origins of Pearl, X’s memorable antagonist, as she cares for her ailing father while dreaming of a life like she’s seen in the movies. The movie is set to expand upon the character of Pearl, offering a crucial backstory for audiences who love her character. Pearl will only be the latest in a long line of must-watch horror prequels that franchise fans can’t afford to miss.


10 Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

Leigh Whannell’s directorial debut, Insidious: Chapter 3, takes place before the events of the first two movies. It follows Elise Rainier, a young girl and gifted psychic, who reluctantly agrees to use her powers to help a teenage girl threatened by a supernatural entity.

Related: 10 Creepy Kids That Stole The Show In Horror Movies

Whilst critical reception is mixed, audiences need not be perturbed. Whannell is a real directing talent, and the movie is an engaging introduction to Elise’s character. The audience is able to identify with her from a much earlier point; what’s more, it makes the dread felt in the original all the more palpable, if seen after this movie.

9 Final Destination 5 (2011)

Yet another chaotic entry into a franchise in bedlam, Final Destination 5 is exactly what one would expect and more. It follows a group of young people, survivors of a suspension bridge collapse, who come to realize that Death cannot be cheated.

Packing the prequel punch in its last few minutes, Final Destination 5 blows audiences away with a shocking twist ending that, while impactful, doesn’t really affect the overall story in any way. It’s almost cheating to call it a prequel, but it wouldn’t be wrong to call this the most entertaining entry in the whole franchise.

8 The Thing (2011)

Coming out nearly 30 years after the John Carpenter classic, The Thing acts as a prequel/remake of the original. The movie takes place at an Antarctic research site where, upon the discovery of an alien craft, a grad student and a professor begin to clash.

While the revolutionary practical effects of the original are sadly absent here, The Thing manages to be both entertaining and surprisingly scary. For those who haven’t seen the 1982 original, this prequel expands upon the background of the research site and acts as a great starter for the movies of John Carpenter.

7 Leatherface (2017)

Taking place years before The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Leatherface follows a teenage Leatherface and his exploits. In the movie, the young Leatherface escapes a mental institution, taking with him a young nurse, and goes on the road trip from Hell.

It’s clear that no movie could repeat the success of the original, but props to Leatherface for trying. It’s by no means fantastic, but it’s a solid entry in a franchise with too many missteps to count. While the character of Leatherface does not need a backstory, it’s always cool to return to his character, and Leatherface is a perfect popcorn movie.

6 Annabelle: Creation (2017)

From YouTuber turned director David F. Sandberg, Annabelle: Creation follows a doll-maker and his wife 12 years after the loss of their daughter. Upon inviting a nun and several orphan girls into their home, the girls are haunted by Annabelle, a possessed doll.

Related: 10 Best Horror Games With Creepy Dolls

Sandberg’s second feature after 2016’s Lights Out, the movie develops the lore behind one of the most memorable aspects of The Conjuring: Annabelle. Creepy dolls are always scary, and everyone seems to agree on that, but Annabelle is next-level, and the movie does a great job at making her TERRIFYING.

5 The First Purge (2018)

The 4th installment in the franchise, The First Purge tracks the origins of one of cinema’s most interesting dystopias. The movie follows The New Founding Fathers, America’s 3rd political party, as they conduct a radical new experiment: no laws on Staten Island for 12 hours.

While The Purge is the best entry in the franchise, full of memorable moments and characters, The First Purge provides key answers to the question on everyone’s mind: how did things come to this? Aside from this, it’s a visceral and highly entertaining entry into the franchise, one that delivers chills and thrills in equal measure.

4 Prometheus (2012)

A long-anticipated addition to the Alien franchise, Prometheus brings director Ridley Scott back on board. The movie follows a group of scientists following clues to the origins of the species, only to land their ship on a distant moon and discover that they are not alone.

It’s always cool to see the Xenomorph on screen, what with those terrific practical effects, and Prometheus allows fans to dive deep into all the fascinating backstory. What’s more, audiences can tag along with a great new ensemble cast, including Charlize Theron, Sean Harris, and Michael Fassbender.

3 Prey (2022)

Releasing just a few weeks ago, Prey takes place 300 years before the events of the 1987 action classic, Predator. The movie follows Naru, a highly-skilled warrior of the Comanche Nation, as she struggles to ward off one of the first Predators to land on Earth.

Setting itself apart with its focus on a Native tribe and spoken (mostly) in Comanche, Prey is one of Hollywood’s most original efforts in a long time. It’s also a fantastic addition to the franchise and offers fans something they haven’t seen yet, what with it having a female lead.

2 Ouija: Origin Of Evil (2016)

From director Mike Flanagan, Ouija: Origin Of Evil is a prequel to 2014’s rather underwhelming Ouija. The movie follows a mother-daughter pair of „séances“ who decide to invite a spirit into their home, oblivious of the chaos it will bring.

Related: Every Mike Flanagan’s Horror Score, Ranked

With a terrific child performance at its core, Ouija: Origin Of Evil is sure to send shivers down the spine. Mike Flanagan’s excellent direction allows the movie to right the (many) wrongs of the first entry whilst providing audiences with enough scares to last them until Halloween. For fans of Mike Flanagan, this is a must-watch.

1 Red Dragon (2002)

Arguably the most successful horror prequel, Red Dragon precedes the events of Jonathan Demme’s 1991 classic, The Silence Of The Lambs. The movie follows a talented FBI agent assigned to track down ‚The Tooth Fairy,‘ a sadistic killer; helping him, of course, is Hannibal Lecter.

Red Dragon succeeds as a prequel because it is not trying to emulate iconic moments from the original. The story the movie tells is unique and engaging and introduces fans to some fascinating characters, like the aforementioned Tooth Fairy. Is it as good as The Silence Of The Lambs? No, probably not, but no follow-up would be.

Next: 10 Horror Movie Sequels That Fans Hated But Now Love