Every now and then, a sequel comes out with almost no semblance of the source content, particularly in the horror genre. It usually happens when someone aims to make money off a title, like with American Psycho 2. The focus of this list, however, is strictly sanctioned sequels, those special moments when creators and actors decide to cast the original content aside and make something new. Sometimes it’s solid and sometimes we get unadultered crap. Let’s take a look!
Six years after the original, Joe Dante gave clamoring audiences a sequel to his masterpiece, having no issues getting everyone from the originals to come back. Seriously. They didn’t have to replace one actor in the whole thing. Regretfully, it barely got back $41 million of its $50 million budget. It was a good film, but a total change in tone, location, etc. Dante moved it from a small town to New York, the monsters got impromptu genetic modifications and humor overrode horror. Still, the change was acceptable. It gave the film strong character and identity, making it memorable, albeit different.
While this film is a steaming pile of offal at the script level, original actress Jamie Lee Curtis decided to show up and get her character killed. After surviving so many films and knowing Michael is invincible, she tries to remove his mask, only to get stabbed and thrown off a roof. Beyond that moment, there was no point in watching, but we’d shelled out money and clung to the hope Busta Rhymes running around in the old Meyer house would be fun. It wasn’t. Sure, it was sort of creepy, but lost its connection with the source content all too quickly.
Look What Happened to Rosemary’s Baby
Thankfully, this film doesn't need to be considered canon. The only link is the return of actress Ruth Gordon, as baby Adrian is adopted and goes through a barrage of issues, such as worrying if he does his daddy proud. Just avoid it as you would a theme park for children if Roman Polanski owned it.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
This follow-up has it all. Robert Englund is himself AND Freddy. Wes Craven is at the helm and Heather Lagenkamp is back in. All we’re missing is Johnny Depp. This time around, everything that has ever happened in the series gets erased. It was all a movie, but Freddy’s spirit is real and he doesn’t like the cast. Gore and fun ensues. While an odd choice, it functioned and made Freddy scarier than we’ve seen in a while. Then Freddy Versus Jason had to come and destroy that.
Lost Boys: The Tribe
Corey Feldman was the only one who wasn’t done with Lost Boys, starring in this 21 years after the glory days of the original. The drama of the original is gone and now Feldman is just seeking out vampires to kill, fearlessly guided by a bad haircut.
Evil Dead 2 (& Army of Darkness)
No matter what anyone says Evil Dead has a continually shifting identity. The issue is the second film is borderline a remake of the original, but it’s still amazing. They added some intentional slapstick, rehashed things and then sent Ash to the past for a 3rd film, one with minimal gore. These, believe it or not, got sequels right by keeping things fresh, albeit intrinsically related. Look up The Evil Dead Experience to see how someone managed to edit the films into one continuous sequence, removing part of the first movie to fix overlapped content.
Jason Takes Manhattan
Kane Hodder is back as Jason, away from Crystal Lake because…he got on a boat? Either way, it’s cool to see him in an urban setting. It made $15 million in theatres – three times its budget – and almost got made into a video game. You read that right.
Leprechaun in Space (and Da Hood)
After Leprechaun 3, they had to look for even stranger locales to send Warwick Davies to. In the world of film, space is apparently less obtuse than the ghetto. Seeing our little Irish friend in the hood actually worked well enough to spawn a sequel. Just like Jason, all horror icons hit up bigger cities, so I’m hoping to see Leprechaun go from the hood to LA or New York someday .
Is there anything important I missed?
Matthew Scott Surprenant's blog and bookstore is at: http://matthewscottauthor.wordpress.com/