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14 Bad, Unnecessary, or Curious Movie Sequels

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

We live in the age of movie sequels. Movie historians well know the the sequel is a relatively new phenomenon. Sequels used to be extremely rare, but nowadays it seems like every other film gets a sequel (or sequels) made.

Almost inevitably, a sequel is weaker and makes less money than the original, but with a blockbuster film the producers are happy to make a fraction of what the original made. Few movie fans will list any sequel on his or her list of all-time best or favorite films.

Okay, let's take a look at a list of bad, unnecessary, or curious movie sequels.

1. Son of Kong (1933)

Listed by some film historians as "the first movie sequel.” King Kong was such a huge smash, this rushed sequel is historic also, in that it is the only movie sequel to ever be released in the same year (1933) as its original.

Sadly, Son of Kong has no Fay Wray.

2. Return to Oz (1985)

Disney's sequel to the classic The Wizard of Oz came 46 years after the original, earning a sequel place in the record books. Unfortunately, that's all it is known for, as it was a commercial and critical failure.

Director Walter Murch reportedly wanted only scant references to the original film, with the intention of remaining faithful to the L. Frank Baum novels; for instance, the scarecrow, tin man, and cowardly lion are only briefly in the film.

3. McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force (1965)

A strange sequel, based on the hit TV series McHale's Navy and a sequel to the 1964 hit film of the same title. But strangely, there is no McHale in this one! Series star Ernest Borgnine (who played Quinton McHale) does not appear in the film named after his character. Ernest was off filming Flight of the Phoenix when this was being made. Much worse than it's predecessor. Ironically, Flight of the Phoenix is better than either of the McHale's Navy films.

4. Grease 2 (1982)

I got to make brief appearances in both Grease (1978) and this thing. I swear, over the years, I have met two or three fans who actually like Grease 2 better than Grease.

To me, this is rather like saying you enjoy Yoko Ono's music better than the Beatles. This movie is really bad and Grease is a wonderful, enjoyable classic. Comparing Grease's John Travolta to Grease 2's Maxwell Caulfield (and Maxwell was a very nice guy in real life) is like comparing Thomas Jefferson to Millard Fillmore.

(I apologize for the two similes in one paragraph, but puh-lease, what is the taste of some fans???)

5. Ace Ventura, Jr. (2009)

Ace Ventura, Pet Detective (1994) is the film that launched Jim Carrey to film superstardom. In the sequel, Josh Flitter takes on the role of Ace's son. Interestingly, Flitter shares film credits with Carrey, as both appear in 2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

6. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure (2003)

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) is my favorite of the Vacation series and is a rare good Chevy Chase film.

This sequel was actually a TV movie, with a sterling cast including star Randy Quaid, Eric Idle, Fred Willard, Ed Asner, and Stephen Furst. So the question wasn't talent; it must have been a crummy script. To be honest, I never saw it and know of no one who has.

7. Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House (2002)

A direct to video sequel, without Macauley Culkin. A bomb; the story is that if it had been successful, Home Alone would have been spun into a TV series.

8. The Nutty Professor (2008)

Does anyone know about this besides me?

Jerry Lewis took on his original role of Professor Julius Kelp in this animated sequel. Did anybody know Jerry Lewis did an animated film? A genuine turkey, but a record was set nonetheless.

Jerry, in voicing Professor Kelp in 1963 and 2008, set an all-time movie record for "longest time between sequels with the original actor reprising his role.” Also, a rare sequel with the same title as the original.

9. Titanic II (2010)

Uh, you're kidding, right?

A direct to video job -surprise surprise! Directed, produced, and starring that triple threat- Shane Van Dyke. With Shane in the lead role, he was backed up in the cast by Marie Westbrook, Bruce Davidson, and Bruce Burns. There were more cast members, but these were the biggest names.

10. Blues Brothers 2000 (2000)

Although director of the original (John Landis) and co-star (Dan Aykroyd) co-wrote this, as we all know, the great John Belushi was as irreplaceable as they come.

Still a great musical lineup, including many immortals: Bo Diddley, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Dr. John, and Billy Preston.

11. Buck Privates Come Home (1947)

Actually, a not-that-bad movie, with a great climax scene, this is Abbott and Costello's sequel to their best film, the film that made them stars, Buck Privates (1941).

Interesting- and slightly historic- only for the fact that Abbott and Costello may have been the first-ever "stars" to appear in a Hollywood movie sequel. (I may be wrong on this count, but I don't think Bogart or Cagney or Clark Gable or Jimmy Stewart or Bette Davis or Kate Hepburn or any of the 1947 Hollywood elite had done sequels. I don't think Chaplin or Buster Keaton or the Marx Brothers or Bob Hope did either.)

In those days (the 1940's) sequels were virtually unheard of.

12. Staying Alive (1983)

Sly Stallone (I call him Sly because we're both in the movie biz) wrote, directed and produced this major forgettable sequel to a real classic, John Travolta's Saturday Night Fever (1977). Whereas Saturday Night Fever had about a dozen great, unforgettable moments, this film is a total write-off.

13. Bambi II (2006)

Another good bar bet: “Did you know there was a sequel to Bambi made by Walt Disney studios?"
Actually, not so much a sequel as a "midquel,” because it begins in the middle of the Bambi story.

14. American Psycho II: All American Girl (2002)

Another throwaway, destined for video sequel, but for the major talent involved. Willian Shatner and Mila Kunis (the title star) both are featured and the director is one of the all-time greats, Morgan Freeman. So talented directors and cast do not necessarily make a great movie (as if you didn't already know that!!)

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The director of American Psycho 2 is Morgan J. Freeman, a different person to Morgan Freeman (that a quick imdb check easily confirms) :)
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I never really thought of "Return to Oz" as a sequel to "The Wizard of Oz." It was made by Disney, not MGM, and as you say, it's primarily based on the books . I think the only thing they share are the ruby slippers.

I think it's unfair to dismiss "Return to Oz." It's a beautifully made movie, with characters that look like they stepped right out of Denslow's and Neill's illustrations. There are far worse Oz movie and tv productions ("Oz the Great and Powerful," "The Witches of Oz," etc) that should've been considered for this list.

Also, it may be darker than many family films, but the original "Wizard of Oz" had its moments too (those Flying Monkeys!).
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Christmas Vacation 2 is a horror show. I couldn't describe it nearly as well as the RedLetterMedia guys:

Return to Oz is not as bad as all that, so long as you know what you're getting into because it is dark as hell. Probably not for kids. And it also stars a very young Fairuza Balk in one of her first roles as Dorothy.
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