Sequels kind of get a bad rap. There are lots of sequels that go on to surpass the original in almost every way -- by now, no one cares about the first Mad Max, or the first Terminator, or Robert Downey Sr.
But then there are those sequels that seem like they were written by someone whose only knowledge of the original came from overhearing a drunk hobo explain the plot an hour before their assignment was due. Sequels so odd, the world has tried to bury their memory and pretend they never happened. But they did, and we're here to remind everyone about them so that this never, ever happens again.
The Hundred and One Dalmatians is the delightfully English children's story by Dodie Smith about a family of Dalmatians who are kidnapped by Cruella de Vil, the Hannibal Lecter of children's literature, who plans on skinning them along with a whole batch of other Dalmatians to make a coat from their fur.
"I get cold easily. What other options do I have?"
Originally written in 1956, the book was made into an animated movie by Disney in 1961 and a live-action one in 1996. Disney has produced a whole bunch of sequels to their 101 Dalmatians movies, but none of them were based on the original author's actual novel sequel: The Starlight Barking. Why? Because it's an insane acid trip that slowly mutates into a David Bowie rock opera with an alien dog messiah in it.
The Little-Known Sequel That Ruins It:
Smith's sequel picks up where the first book left off, with the titular 101 Dalmatians now grown and living on their Dalmatian plantation. And then things get weird. They wake up one morning to discover that every non-dog on Earth has fallen asleep. This includes their former nemesis, Cruella de Vil, who is featured only in a tiny cameo. Reasonably weirded out, the dogs also realize that they are telepathic and no longer need to eat. Also they can fly. Everybody can fly now. And they can open doors with their minds, because why not. The last time someone sat down to write this particular brand of crazy stream-of-consciousness story, the Church of Scientology was founded.
This cover is more accurate than you'd initially assume.
The main character is Cadpig, one of Pongo and Missis Pongo's children, who has moved up in the world and become the English prime minister's mascot. Since the prime minister is indisposed, she becomes prime minister herself and forms an entire cabinet of dogs.
Singing in the Rain
As dictated by actual British law.
All the dogs of Earth are then called to Trafalgar Square, where they are greeted by Sirius, a dog space alien from Sirius the dog star, with a grave warning. It turns out Sirius is behind the sleepy Earthlings, the flying, and the telekinesis. He's concerned about the possibility of nuclear war on Earth and extends an invitation for all the dogs to join him in space. They eventually say no, because even the dogs know that's a wack idea for a book.
King Kong is the simple story of one gorilla trying to make it in Manhattan. The original black-and-white film was produced in 1933, but since then, it has been remade a bunch of times. One of those remakes was the 1976 version produced by Dino De Laurentiis, which stuck pretty close to the basics of the original, give or take a few changes.
What would Christmas be without prehistoric ape monsters from beyond time?
The Little-Known Sequel That Ruins It:
At some point, De Laurentiis must have realized that he missed a tremendous opportunity to expose the world to images of giant monkey lovin', so when he finally got around to producing a sequel to King Kong in 1986, he made sure to correct that.
This movie gets plenty of things wrong, starting right with its title: King Kong Lives. No, he doesn't. He dies. That's the whole point of King Kong. But here, it turns out that after falling off the Twin Towers at the end of the first movie, Kong actually ended up in a coma, and he's been held in an Atlanta university for the last 10 years.
If it's a good enough plot point for Days of Our Lives, it's good enough for King Kong.
After giving Kong an expensive artificial heart, they learn that he also needs a blood transfusion before he can be back to his destructive self. In a stroke of luck, a second Kong is found in Borneo. A hot female Kong. You know where this is going.
"Oh, yeah, we've had these giant apes in Borneo since forever. Why, what size are they supposed to be?"
As soon as the lady Kong, imaginatively named Lady Kong, is brought onto university grounds, she and KK instantly feel each other's presence, like Highlanders. The pair escape to somewhere where they can have more privacy and proceed to get freaky.
Unfortunately, this isn't the hairiest sex scene filmed in the 1980s.
Learning absolutely nothing from the last Kong rampage, the U.S. military tracks Kong and Lady Kong through the South. They're also followed by a pair of friendly scientists who want to help the giant apes. It's unclear why, since all King Kong does this time around is fuck and kill things, gleefully tearing people apart and eating them.
"Remember to floss every day, kids."
The movie ends with Kong battling the army and dying (again) as his pregnant wife gives birth in a barn to a severely premature baby Kong. Yeah, either Kongs have an extremely short gestation period or Lady just tried to hook another guy's kid on KK.
Even if you've never seen a movie in your life, you almost definitely know the ending to The Graduate, based on the novel by Charles Webb. In the most famous scene, young Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) interrupts a wedding by yelling the name of the bride, "Elaine!" Once Elaine gets past the fact that Ben slept with her mother, the manipulative Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the two young people run away together.
As they sit on a bus, riding into an unknown future, they alternately laugh or just sit in uncomfortable silence, wondering what will come next.
"Wonder how many movies with the word 'Focker' in the title I'll do?"
The Little-Known Sequel That Ruins It:
In 2007, Webb returned to these characters in Home School, a novel that manages to ruin one of the most classic endings ever written by explaining exactly what Ben and Elaine have been up to. The answer is: not much. Ten years later, Ben and Elaine are married and have decided to pull their children out of school and teach them from home, which has proven controversial in their community of Westchester, New York.
Not quite as controversial as fucking your neighbor's wife.
When the Westchester school board threatens to outlaw home schooling, Ben hatches a scheme to enlist Mrs. Robinson to help them. In order to keep his kids at home, Ben convinces Mrs. Robinson to sleep with a local principal. By the way, the aging Mrs. Robinson now goes by the name "Nan," since she's the grandmother to Ben's children and all. Nan agrees to use her sexual charms for a good cause this time.
Hopefully she won't start hitting on her grandkids when she's senile.
In other words, the most fascinating character from the original book and movie is now reduced to a slutty grandma. Jesus, that was probably bound to happen anyway, but there's no reason why we needed to see it. Also, bear in mind that the last time Ben and Mrs. Robinson crossed paths, he had an affair with her, ruined her marriage, and crashed her daughter's wedding ... and now she's inexplicably lending herself to his ridiculous sex plot?
It's almost like these were completely different people and someone just pasted in the names of the characters from The Graduate to make it a sequel. Actually, that's exactly what happened: Webb admits that after coming up with the idea of having someone seduce someone else for a friend, he decided to cram his old characters into the new story. That's, uh, one way to write a sequel, we guess.