Of course, Ti West would prefer you to watch both of his movies, and considering a third entry in the series, “MaXXXine,” is on the way, that would probably be ideal. But if “X” came out when you weren’t as comfortable going to a cinema as you are now, it’s not like missing an entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. West told /Film’s own BJ Colangelo:
“You don’t have to see ‘X’ to like ‘Pearl,’ it enriches it if you do. And you don’t have to see ‘Pearl’ to like ‘X,’ but it enriches it if you do. But it was always meant to be standalone movies, That it’s like ‘Manhunter’ and ‘The Silence of the Lambs.’ There’s three ‘Silence of the Lambs’ movies, and Hannibal Lecter is the through line, but they’re not directly connected. That’s, in a way, how I thought about it. I’m optimistic that people will come see ‘Pearl,’ who maybe were like, ‘Oof, “X,” porn slasher, that’s too much for me.’ But then, they’d see ‘Pearl’ and be, ‘Oh, but this was right up my alley.’ So, in many ways, hopefully, it broadens it for people. Or it brings people in to watch ‘X’ that maybe they wouldn’t have, because now they have a new interest in it.”
I firmly believe every franchise entry shouldn’t be dependent upon you seeing every chapter. Filmmakers lose themselves by paying off something from a previous movie or setting up for a future one, making less-satisfying dramatic experiences in the moment. They’re only interested in perpetuating your own mythology and not serving your story and characters properly. The connections need to be the toppings — not the meat — of this film sandwich. Ti West gets that, and “Pearl” is a great Reuben… err, prequel.