These flicks were marketed as follow up efforts but had little, if anything at all, to do with the features with which they are associated.
Horror sequels are big business. Fans tend to jump at the chance to reconnect with beloved characters. So, studios know that a follow-up effort comes with a built-in audience. It’s a win-win situation, right? Well, not always. Things can get a bit dicey when studios try to play fast-and-loose with the word ‘sequel’. And there is a world of difference between a follow-up effort that stays true to the original film and one that is titled as a sequel for the sole purpose of name recognition. Whatever the reason, the following films bear nearly nothing in common with the features with which they are somehow associated.
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II
Prom Night II is an unfortunate case of an original idea marketed as a sequel for the sake of name recognition. The flick was originally intended as a standalone offering called The Haunting of Hamilton High. But the project was eventually released as a follow-up to the Jamie Lee Curtis slasher, Prom Night. Interestingly enough, Mary Lou became the central focus of the third and fourth installments of the series, making the original film a standalone of sorts.
Hello Mary Lou is a violent and sex-positive picture that sees the titular character coming back from the dead to claim her crown. And it’s a lot better than it gets credit for being. If it were not for its misleading association with Prom Night, I suspect this so-called sequel would have found its audience much sooner. With that said, the flick eventually amassed a loyal following. In fact, many fans prefer it over the original.
American Psycho 2
This follow-up was born from a script titled The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die. The connection to the Mary Harron-helmed American Psycho was tacked on as part of a prologue sequence that sees lead character Rachael (Mila Kunis) bearing witness to Patrick Bateman murdering her babysitter. Immediately after that, a time jump takes the viewer to the present day, where Rachael is a college student and a serial killer. The flick is pretty forgettable and absent of any of the depth found in the original film.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
This sequel in name only went over like a lead balloon upon its initial release but the picture has gained a cult following in the years since. At the time of release, fans were outraged that the film abandoned the Michael Myers storyline in favor of telling a wholly unrelated story that sees a sinister toy manufacturer attempting to kill millions of children. Had this been released as a standalone offering, rather than a Halloween sequel, I suspect Season of the Witch would have found its audience far sooner.
I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
This threequel functions a lot like a reboot. None of the original characters are carried over from the previous two films (save for the killer, who has become a bit of an urban legend and is now known as ‘The Fisherman Killer’). But the basic premise remains the same. A group of young people is involved in a death that they proceed to cover up. They’re later stalked by a killer that wears a raincoat and carries a hook.
The original film took place in coastal North Carolina. But this follow-up offering relocates the action to landlocked Colorado. Rest assured that isn’t the only questionable choice this bizarre sequel makes.
This famously bad film was not conceived as a follow-up to the 1986 feature, Troll. In fact, there aren’t any trolls to be found in this picture. There are, however, goblins aplenty, as well as a storyline intended to condemn the evils of a vegetarian lifestyle.
The film’s perfectly logical and totally probable storyline follows a family on vacation in the rural hamlet of Nilbog (Goblin spelled backward). But what the unsuspecting visitors don’t realize is that the town’s residents want to turn them into plants and eat them.
What makes this strange effort even stranger is that the film’s creators have yet to accept that Troll 2 isn’t a good film. Director Claudio Fragasso vehemently defends his creation in the documentary Best Worst Movie. His screenwriting partner Rossella Drudi has said she thinks of the picture as “a ferocious analysis of today’s society”.
Unfriended: Dark Web
Aside from carrying on the Unfriended name and being told through a computer screen, this sequel is entirely unrelated to its predecessor. It abandons the supernatural angle of the first film. The ghostly antagonist from the original is replaced with a group of hackers intent on retrieving a stolen laptop.
While this sequel has virtually no connection to the original, it does have the distinction of being considered by many fans and some critics to be the superior offering. The original featured an obnoxious cast of characters that were difficult to sympathize with. But this second outing delivers more palatable characters and a premise more grounded in reality.