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5 Completely Unnecessary Direct-to-DVD Movie Sequels

5
Leprechaun 4: In Space

Attempt on DVD Case to Remind You of Superior Installments in Franchise

Other than the titular character's face, not a lot. Presumably the makers of Leprechaun 4: In Space were confident this installment could stand on its own alongside beloved classics like Leprechaun in the Hood and Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood.

Why It Was Made

According to Dave Tripet, the executive behind the first three movies, Leprechaun 4: In Space started as a joke. Another executive saw the promo art for Apollo 13 and whipped up a spoof poster to forward around the office, replacing the face of Tom Hanks with that of Warwick Davis as the Leprechaun. The very definition of "taking a joke too far," this somehow led to a script getting developed and eventually, against all common sense, filmed. (Not to mention its obvious guilty role as the inspiration for the similarly awful Friday the 13th sequel Jason X.)

One can imagine the mounting horror of the executive, watching his cheap gag snowball down the mountain into production. It's also interesting to speculate what might have happened if the exec had only chosen another Tom Hanks movie poster upon which to superimpose the face of Warwick Davis. Leprechaun stranded on a desert island? Leprechaun coaching a women's baseball team? Leprechaun with AIDS? The mind reels.

What It Adds To The Leprechaun Film Canon

Leprechaun 4: In Space takes everything you loved about earlier installments in the franchise (that is to say, not much), then, and the title should have given this away, puts it in space. Think Aliens meets Darby O'Gill and the Little People.

Leprechaun 4's most memorable addition to the Leprechaun oeuvre involves the titular character bursting out of a space marine's penis during a moment of foreplay. Not only is this the most painful urethral torture of a space hero since the kidney stone William Shatner passed in 2005; it's also an apt metaphor for what you'll no doubt experience yourself if you try to watch this to the end without being really high. Plus, while the canny Bill Shatner turned lemons into lemonade by selling his kidney stone to Goldenpalace.com for a cool $75,000, renting Leprechaun 4: In Space will only net you four bucks in recouped expenses, assuming you take it back to Blockbuster and refuse to leave until you get a refund.

4
American Pie Presents: Band Camp

Attempt on DVD Case to Remind You of Superior Installments in Franchise

Off-brand versions of actors from the original American Pie stand in identical poses to that film's poster, making identical faces. Someone's holding a musical instrument, and we all know where that goes! (Answer: someone's vagina.) Just in case the film's premise was sailing over any heads, the tagline "This One Time at Band Camp..." is there to remind us of that film we kind of liked a while ago. Eugene Levy looks about as surprised to be on the DVD case as you'd expect.

Why It Was Made

Evidently somebody at Universal felt that Alyson Hannigan's "This one time at Band Camp "¦" joke from the original Pie had enough depth and purpose to be developed into a feature-length movie.

It's a wonder why more coming-of-age films don't do this. For instance, one of the characters in Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants tells a story about her mom making a pizza once. The logical consequence would be a direct-to-video sequel called Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2: All Dressed, in which an entirely new cast of girls playing the younger sisters of the original characters open a pizzeria with the help of Bradley Whitford, reprising his father role from the first movie. The result would be unwatchable, of course, but that hardly seems to be the point of these things.

What It Adds To The American Pie Film Canon

This one time at Band Camp? A lot of actors you've never heard of did a lot of obvious gross-out comedy? And Eugene Levy got paid to sleepwalk through a performance as the band camp's conflict resolution officer!

Tad Hilgenbrink takes over the role of Matt Stifler, younger brother of Steve Stifler from the original films and the vanguard of a wave of heretofore unmentioned Stifler brothers appearing in subsequent direct-to-video sequels full of feces-eating and sex gags. You'd think someone as talented as Eugene Levy would have something better to do than find increasingly implausible reasons to anchor each of the direct-to-video American Pie sequels. It's clear from his constant appearances in the Pie movies (and the equally unnecessary Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd) that he either doesn't have enough hobbies or owes someone dangerous a lot of money.

With a second direct-to-DVD sequel already on shelves (American Pie: The Naked Mile) and a third currently wrapping up production (American Pie Presents: Beta House), it's a little unsettling to realize that there are now as many Pie films as Star Wars films. It boggles the mind to imagine an American Pie Expanded Universe or MMORG or regrettable holiday special, though admittedly intriguing to consider an Alyson Hannigan action figure, where much as with Luke's light saber, flicking a plastic tab slides a little flute in and out of her nether regions.

3
Hollow Man 2

Attempt on DVD Case to Remind You of Superior Installments in Franchise

Invisible Mummy Man stares at you from the DVD case, hoping to entice incautious Kevin Bacon fans who don't bother to read credits when renting movies.

Why It Was Made

Christian Slater clearly needed the work. Maybe he owes money to the same guy as Eugene Levy. These guys should really meet up, frankly discuss their problems and maybe go see a financial advisor. Possibly Levy could co-sign for Slater's bank loan.

There was a time, in a Faraway Place in the Long Long Ago, that Christian Slater was compared charitably to a young Jack Nicholson. With the direct-to-DVD release of Hollow Man 2, it's evident he's setting his sights a bit lower these days, happy to get roles as an off-brand Kevin Bacon. (True fact: You can connect every washed-up actor in Hollywood to Christian Slater within six degrees of their willingness to take any role at all for money.) It's a little unclear why a film series like Hollow Man even needs a known commodity to play a character whose face goes unseen for all but seven minutes of screen time. But judging from his low profile in recent years, Slater knows a little something about how to be invisible to a mainstream audience.

What It Adds To The Hollow Man Film Canon

Where the terrible original film starred Bacon as a researcher turned full-blown mad scientist after consuming an invisibility serum, the impossible-to-imagine-but-still-somehow inferior sequel has Slater as an assassin turned mad assassin after consuming the same serum. He tracks down and murders those responsible for his condition until-Spoiler Alert -hero cop Peter Facinelli consumes the same serum to level the playing field and give Slater his comeuppance. Considering this serum's track record of turning subjects into homicidal maniacs, this leaves the viewer with an awful, hollow feeling that another dreadful entry in this series is inevitable.

2
Bring It On Again

Attempt on DVD Case to Remind You of Superior Installments in Franchise

We're promised higher stakes, hotter grooves and more attitude in this installment, making this the first Direct-to-DVD sequel reviewed here to actually call out the original film's quality and promise to outdo it. Whether or not Bring It On Again lives up to all of these ambitious claims is debatable; having said that, the grooves are pretty hot.

Why It Was Made

First there was the hit cheerleading comedy Bring it On. Then came the direct-to-DVD sequel Bring It On Again, which, aside from its entirely new cast, was exactly the same movie. Then came Bring It On: All or Nothing, which prior to her role as "The Cheerleader" on the hit series Heroes, starred the versatile Hayden Panettiere as a cheerleader. It was also exactly the same movie. Now a third sequel is in preproduction, tentatively titled Bring it On: In It to Win. It will also be exactly the same movie.

Is it really necessary to keep churning out identical direct-to-video sequels about beautiful, nubile teenage girls jiggling and jumping around while wearing cheerleading outfits? Not at all, but that's no reason to stop.

What It Adds To The Bring It On Film Canon

"Bring it on!"

"Oh, it's already been brought!"

"Oh, well ... uh ... bring it on again!"

1
The Lion King 1½

Attempt on DVD Case to Remind You of Superior Installments in Franchise

Pretty much a direct visual spoof of a key scene from the first film where a character holds up a newborn infant, leading one to the uncomfortable conclusion that a five-pound meercat's just given birth to a warthog.

Why It Was Made

One can say a lot of nasty things about Walt Disney: that he was an anti-Semite, that he spied on suspected Communists in Hollywood, that he refused to lower the flag to half-mast after the Kennedy assassination, that he was the illegitimate son of a Spaniard. But what's really soiled the legacy of the Walt Disney Company is the series of direct-to-DVD sequels cranked out in recent years to cash in on its classic properties.

The Fox and the Hound 2? Sure, okay. Who remembers the first one anyway? Bambi II and Cinderella II? Now you're messing with the classics. The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2 is simply inexcusable, considering the original novel ended with the gypsy girl Esmeralda hanged, the priest Frollo hurled to his death from a balcony and the grief-stricken hunchback Quasimodo voluntarily entombed with Esmeralda until his eventual death by starvation, with only her pet goat getting to enjoy a happy ending.

What It Adds To The Lion King Film Canon

Six years after the release of its first unnecessary sequel, The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride, Lion King 1½ goes back to fill in the holes in the Simbaverse canon to tell the previously unrevealed story of how Timon met Pumbaa. What's that? The story of how Timon met Pumbaa was already revealed in the animated TV series The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa, which aired from 1995 to 1999? And the version given in The Lion King 1½ actually contradicts the earlier account?

Well, in that case, The Lion King 1½ is mostly good for doing for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead what the original Lion King did for Hamlet (i.e., shamelessly ripping it off), for reprising the irritating tune "Hakuna Matata", and for providing a wholly unnecessary dose of Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, as though anyone could possibly want any more of these guys after two previous Lion King movies and 2,502 performances of The Producers.

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