Ever notice how movies with the "2" in the title always seem to be sequels? That's because they usually are. But are these so-called "sequels" actually any good? Well see for yourself with this drove of deuxs that sometimes measure up and, other times, even surpass the originals.

Scream 2 (1997)--Growing up, as most of us did, with the horror sequel as a mainstay of our midnight video viewing, you have to pat ol' Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson on the back for serving up a hilarious and po-mo vision of the horror sequel template, and how it operates as a separate genre. The main elements of the horror sequel are strictly adhered to here, such as, higher body count, bloodier death scenes, and a tacked-on convoluted ending that will leave you scratching your head... "Now who is that?"

Grease 2 (1982)--The choreographer of the original Grease took a stab at directing with this solid piece of early '80s fodder. Lambasted by critics and the public, the film gained popularity when it hit the cable TV circuit. (I personally remember watching it at least 50 times.) Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield take the lead roles as the would-be lovers, but she's the cool one this time, and he's the smarty pants exchange student. My favorite scene has Steph (Pfeiffer) straddling a ladder and singing her guts out about her dream guy... "I want a coooool rider, a cool, cool, cool, cool rider..." Did I mention I own the soundtrack?

Psycho 2 (1983)--Taking place 22 years later, creepy, creepy Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is released from the asylum, and for some goddamn creepy reason is allowed to take up residence in the same creepy house/motel that drove him crazy in the first place. Along comes pretty, pretty Meg Tilly to tempt him with her womanly ways and rile his psychotic juices. But is he really crazy all over again? Or is it a set-up? Not better than the original, but strikingly different, complex, and suspenseful in its own right. I can't wait for the Gus Van Sant remake! M. LON FREE