The 5 Weirdest Types Of Movie Sequels

The 5 Weirdest Types Of Movie Sequels

Why some sequels work, and others don't.

It’s been commonly noted that Hollywood is dominated by sequels, and more so with each passing years. They’re often lazy cash grabs, but they can be worthy successors with the right approach. We’ve gotten so used to movie sequels that I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the weirder kinds of sequels out there.

1. Second Verse, Same as the First

Name this movie: An off-duty cop goes to meet his wife when he’s caught in the middle of a hostage situation on Christmas Eve. The authorities fail to be of any help, and the cop has to step in and defeat the terrorists to save his wife. If you guessed ‘Die Hard,’ you’re correct! However, if you guessed ‘Die Hard 2,’ you’re also correct. The sequel replaces German terrorist/thief Hans Gruber with a rogue army officer/nude kung fu aficionado, and changes the location from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. Otherwise, they’re basically the same movie.

Hollywood logic dictates that the best way to replicate a movie’s success is to replicate the movie itself. The results can be reasonably entertaining (any movie wherein Bruce Willis stabs someone in the eye with an icicle is at least watchable), but these sequels are always trapped under the shadow of the first film. The audience goes to see what happens to their favorite characters, only to find them implausibly trapped in the same situation as before. As Bruce Willis’ John McClane so eloquently asks, “How can the same s--t happen to the same guy twice?”

2. Bigger and Better

Sometimes, an obscure indie movie manages to make it big, enabling the director to break into larger budget filmmaking. One of the earliest examples of this phenomenon comes from George Miller, who directed the low budget Australian action movie ‘Mad Max’ in 1979. It was a surprising success and launched Mel Gibson’s Hollywood career. When Miller made a more expensive sequel in 1981, Warner Bros. was willing to distribute it in America. Due to the bigger budget, Miller was able to make a much more impressive, engaging film while retaining the elements that worked in the original.

A similar thing happened to director Robert Rodriguez, who made the Spanish language action film ‘El Mariachi’ on a $7000 budget. When he got a larger budget for the sequel ‘Desperado,’ he replaced the amatuer star with Antonio Banderas and released it in English. As opposed to the gritty, down-to-earth feel of the original, ‘Desperado’ was an eccentric, over-the-top action movie filled with explosions and gunfights. That’s not to say this sort of sequel is always a success. There’s always a danger of a franchise straying too far from its charmingly humble origins, as happened with both the ‘Mad Max’ and ‘El Mariachi’ series in ‘Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome’ and ‘One Upon a Time in Mexico.’ Thankfully, 'Mad Max' bounced back with last year's incredible 'Fury Road.'

3. Long-Awaited

If a movie is successful, we can usually expect a sequel in just a few years. Sometimes, however, it looks like the series is really over. A decade or two might pass, but legions of fans hold are still nostalgic for the original. It’s only a matter of time before someone has the bright idea of resurrecting the series. The original filmmakers and stars agree to come back, and the hype grows to epic proportions. What happens next can go either one of two ways.

If you’re lucky, you get a movie like ‘The Force Awakens.’ It’s something new, but it feels a lot like the old movies. It makes a ton of money, and most of the fans are satisfied. However, it’s more likely that we get something like “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” It’s full of call-backs and in-jokes, but it’s just a modern blockbuster dressed up to remind us of the original. The problem is that people are so emotionally invested and have extraordinary expectations. A mediocre sequel to a classic franchise inspires frustration and talk of ruined childhoods. Typically, if a franchise came to a satisfying conclusion, it’s best to leave it at that.

4. Genre Swap

One way to make a unique sequel is to take the plot elements of the original film and drop them into a different genre. Sometimes this keeps the franchise fresh, but it can obviously be a disaster as well. The best example of this is ‘Aliens,’ James Cameron’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s horror film “Alien.” Rather than a betrayal of the original film, it feels like a natural progression of the story. While ‘Alien’ was the small-scale story of a vicious alien aboard a claustrophobic space ship, ’Aliens’ follows a team of marines sent in to deal with a larger outbreak of aliens on a distant space colony. While both features sci-fi themes like space travel, androids, and extraterrestrial life, the original is clearly horror whereas the sequel is action. It’s actually hard to compare the two, because each has such unique strengths.

One less successful attempt comes from the ‘Return of the Living Dead’ series. The original is a cult classic horror-comedy with absurd characters and excessive gore. While the first sequel was a relatively tame comedy in comparison, the real departure came with ‘Return of the Living Dead 3,’ which was a darkly romantic horror film. It follows a rebellious teenager who reanimates his dead girlfriend with a chemical the military is testing. The couple go on the run as she attempts to control her cravings for human flesh (which she does by inflicting pain on herself). The original is campy comedy inspired by ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ whereas the sequel is a goth retelling of Romeo and Juliet complete with self-mutilation. While not a totally horrible concept, it shouldn’t have been billed as a ‘Return of the Living Dead’ sequel.

5. Meta

Of all the types of sequels out there, this is one of the rarest. The sequel continues the events of the original, while acknowledging that both the original and itself are fictional. It’s hard enough to explain that it’s better if I just use an example. Wes Craven’s ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ led to a long string of largely forgotten sequels. One of the few highlights of the series came when Craven returned with the bizarre “New Nightmare.” The original film’s star, Heather Langenkamp, returned to play herself, rather than her character. In the movie, she is approached to star in a sequel of “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” However, she discovers that the series’ dream-invading killer Freddy Krueger has somehow crossed over into the real world, intent on tormenting her. At one point, she even discovers the movie’s screenplay.

One of the few other movies to try this is ‘Gremlins 2.’ Apparently, direction Joe Dante didn’t like the idea of a sequel, but ended up agreeing to direct if he got full creative control. He chose to make a parody of the original film, and Hollywood sequels in general. It even features a scene wherein film critic Leonard Maltin gives a harsh review of the original movie, only to be attacked by a horde of gremlins.This kind of sequel only works when the original film was fairly bizarre to start with. However, if the filmmakers pull it off, it can be funny, mind bending, and incredibly creative.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros.

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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