7 Famous Horror Movies You Didn’t Know Got Hilarious Sequels
Horror movies and preposterous sequels pretty much go hand in hand. But classics are only rarely tarnished by their original creator -- Alfred Hitchcock didn't direct Vertigo II, and as far as we know, Bram Stoker had no hand in Blacula. In at least a few cases, though, masters of the genre have crapped right all over their own legacies with bizarre sequels. Read on, if you dare ...
The Silence Of The Lambs Prequel Features Hannibal Lecter As A Nazi-Hunting Samurai
The Silence Of The Lambs has not had very good luck when it comes to sequels and prequels. We've talked before about Hannibal and its infamous brain-eating scene, but that's not even the worst example. That honor might go to the even more bizarre prequel, Hannibal Rising.
Which, contrary to the movie's opening credit font, is not about Hannibal Lecter journeying to Mordor.
Adapted from a novel written by the author of Lambs, Thomas Harris, Hannibal Rising replaces the gritty realism of the earlier books with something that feels a little more like a draft of Batman Begins written by Quentin Tarantino. The movie opens with Hannibal as a little tyke fleeing the Nazis. Hannibal's the hero of this book, you see, and if you want people to root for a cannibalistic serial killer, you really have no choice but to surround them with Nazis.
They kill and eat his sister too, in case you forgot Nazis are bad.
After a brief flashforward, we find Hannibal living with his widowed aunt in France, who is teaching him the ways of the samurai.
Such a standard French cliche.
It turns out it's these lessons are at the root of most of the bad ideas Hannibal will have, such as his predilection for butchery and serving heads on platters. And if that's too subtle for you, check out this chance encounter with what is apparently a samurai mask.
Just like his cannibal mask. Get it? CAN YOU GET IT HARDER?
Hannibal soon finds himself enrolled in medical school, where he uses sodium pentathol to help himself remember which Nazis killed his sister. Although this is a little more in keeping with his established character than the samurai stuff, it sets up the last half of the movie to be a smarmy, Inglorious Basterds-esque revenge fantasy.
"Please, no. I don't want to die in a movie this bad."
There was nothing particularly samurai-like about the portly European guy skulking around a jail cell in Silence Of The Lambs, so why include that? It all feels weird and unnecessary. Perhaps the explanation comes from the fact that Thomas Harris was bullied into writing the script by the movie's producer. So that's one way to never get asked to write a Hannibal story again. Heck, we're lucky his origin story wasn't something dumber. An alien, maybe. Or a Flintstone.
The Exorcist Sequel That Featured More Fabio Than Exorcisms
The Exorcist is a goddamned scary movie. It has floating beds, ghostly faces popping out of nowhere, and a character named "Captain Howdy" who is way more terrifying than he sounds. Before it was a movie, though, it was a book by author and game show winner William Peter Blatty. Blatty eventually returned to the same universe with the book Legion, which focused on the cop from the end of The Exorcist, Lt. Kinderman, chasing a Zodiac-like killer.
Possibly as a "screw you" to the Zodiac Killer's armchair criticism of the Exorcist.
Blatty wasn't involved in the disastrous attempt at a film sequel, so everyone was really excited to get him involved with (and even to direct) the third film in the series, an adaptation of Legion. The only change the producers wanted was an exorcism shoehorned into the third act so they could still call it Exorcist III.
"Look, Bill, it's called branding. Get on board, man."
Blatty set to work, filling the movie with the one thing he felt was missing from the Exorcist franchise: baffling dream sequences featuring gratuitous celebrity cameos. Seriously, here's Lt. Kinderman after dreaming his way into some sort of afterlife which looks like a train station mixed with a hospital mixed with a Victoria's Secret commercial.
"Feeling a little overdressed, Lieutenant?"
Then, out of nowhere, more shocking than any jump scare or torrent of chunky green vomit could ever be: fucking Fabio.
"I can't believe it's not
butter straight to video."
There doesn't seem to be any point to this -- it's just an angel with improbably luxurious hair loitering around. Kinderman then meets the Angel of Death, who is for some reason played by Patrick Ewing.
"I'm as confused as you are."
This is seriously distracting for a glimpse of the afterlife. Unless it's meant to imply Kinderman passed out while reading harlequin romances with Sportscenter on in the background, there's no reason for it being here. So that must be exactly what's going on.
The Ring Took Place In Virtual Reality, According To The Third Book
The Ring was a movie about a ghost girl and a cursed VHS tape which terrified theatrical audiences and sort of scared DVD-watching audiences.
Standard def, but technically un-hauntable.
It was also based on a book, and as you'd expect, there were sequels, and crazy ones at that. Take the third book in the series, Loop, for example. The protagonist in Loop is trying to figure out why a group of scientists (including his father) are all dying from a strange form of cancer after working on a virtual reality project called "The Loop." The Loop is an extensive VR computer program simulating the creation of life -- essentially an artificial universe set running and left to its own devices.
So it's kind of like The Matrix, with all the black leather replaced with cancer.
So how does all of this tie back into the ghost girl who kills you if you watch her videotape? It turns out that this new, mutant cancer evolved from the Ring virus, which was somehow communicated by the Ring video. Also, this has now mutated into cancer inside of the Loop.
Now hold on to something, because we're not quite done crawling up our own assholes yet. Because it seems like the events of The Ring took place inside this artificial universe, too. Which at least explains why something as crazy as a VHS cassette murdering people could happen at all -- anything's possible if reality was an electronic construct.
Except crafting a good sequel, it seems.
Also, in the Loop universe, the news story about the Ring tape was turned into a book. And sure, fine, this is starting to get tedious, but we're still not done. Because if a woman reads that book while ovulating, she becomes pregnant with a baby who grows up to be Sadako, the killer ghost girl from the original story.
While fans grow to be fed up with this bullshit.
The protagonist eventually realizes that he's a clone of one of the characters from The Ring, and that his DNA is the only thing that can be used to cure the cancer. So he has to be rebirthed into the virtual reality.
We had to read this, so now you have to.
Worse, the book explains that anyone who reads a synopsis of this story on a list-based comedy website will become annoyed and move quickly on to the next entry ...
Peter Benchley Remade Jaws, Replacing The Shark With A Half-Human Nazi Olympian
We've talked a lot about Jaws in the past, because it truly is one of the great American movies -- full of thrills, character depth, and a score that could have been written by a two-year-old encountering a piano for the first time. Most people know that before it was a movie, Jaws was a best-selling book by Peter Benchley with much the same story, except for some mobsters and the bit about Hooper boning Brody's wife.
"We're gonna need a bigger wife." -- a line not really in this book, but man, just imagine
Benchley wrote a whole host of ocean-themed books after this, including a little novel called White Shark with a familiar-sounding synopsis: a killer shark terrorizes a small fishing community. But there are a few subtle differences. For example, Jaws doesn't open with a Nazi doctor in World War II worried about how his buddy Josef Mengele was holding up.
Almost no books start this way, in fact.
Fifty years later, the doctor's mysterious experimental "white shark" shows up and starts attacking tourists. OK. So apart from the Nazi bit, this is basically Jaws again. Phew. But things take a sharp left turn when it's revealed that the killer shark is actually part-human, the result of a Nazi genetic experiment which turned a former Olympic athlete into a mutant shark-man.
"Jesus" is right, Chase.
Of course, we could sit here all day trying to picture exactly how insanely stupid that would look, but luckily we don't have to -- the book was made into a TV movie called Creature.
We know precisely how stupid that looks.
The Rosemary's Baby Sequel Has Rosemary Finding Out It Was All A Dream
Rosemary's Baby is the story of how one woman discovers that her unborn child wasn't fathered by her husband, but by the devil -- think of it as the most fucked-up episode of Maury Povich possible, and you won't be too far off. Originally a book written by Ira Levin, for a long time, the film and novel comprised the entirety of the Rosemary fictional universe. And that was good. That was enough for everyone. Until one day, 30 years later, Levin randomly decided to churn out a sequel: Son Of Rosemary.
"Sorry, sorry, I got distracted by ... the space race. And the fall of the Soviet Union. Crystal Pepsi. Look, I was busy, OK?"
The book finds Rosemary waking from a 30-year coma, believing it a curse to punish her for trying to run away with her kid.
"Your hair is incredibly out of fashion."
It turns out that her son, Andy (yes, the devil's spawn is named Andy) is now a celebrity, a messianic figure of goodwill. He knows that he was supposed to be the Antichrist, but actively works hard to not be evil and reject the family business. But for all his good intentions, Andy still inadvertently helps his dad bring about the apocalypse, and in the end, a singing, dancing, top-hat-wearing Satan shows up and drags Rosemary to Hell.
Half from the tongue, half from the dialogue.
Here's where things go from merely bad to mind-boggling. Rosemary wakes up. It was all a dream! And not just the events of this book -- she wakes up with her husband back in the '60s, meaning that the story from the original book was also a dream.
And that's what we get for reading Son Of Rosemary.
Her husband -- who has never been a huge winner, dream world or not -- doesn't seem terribly concerned about this, not even the part where she was impregnated by the goddamned devil.
Don't worry, buddy. She said she was impregnated by the Devil, not by an asshole.
Yeah, that's what this is about, dude. Just a baby-crazy lady.
But enough about her dillhole husband. Taking the entire original book and just writing it off, chalking it all up to a dream is madness. That's more than crapping on your legacy. That's crapping on it from a great height, while crowds look on, crying and begging you to stop.
One Of The Dexter Books Reveals That He's Possessed By A Demon
Dexter was one of many shows in the 2000s to satisfy America's desire for gruesome murders and graphic forensic investigations, but it was noteworthy for another reason besides that. Dexter was a serial killer who killed serial killers, supersaturating the screen with corpses and ushering the television world into the zombie epidemic we're currently enduring.
His final victim was creativity.
Not everyone knows that the series originated from television's arch-enemy: books. A book series which has gone in some nutty directions, in fact. For example, in the third book in the series, Dexter In The Dark, we learn some startling revelations about the "Dark Passenger" -- the name Dexter gives to whatever is driving him to kill. It isn't some kind of psychological abnormality, but "an independent agent inhabiting Dexter."
Or too much formaldehyde fumes? Maybe turn on the lab exhaust, buddy.
Moloch is an ancient Middle Eastern demon, if you're curious. He's been pulling this serial-killing ride-along business for a few millennia now, and he is what gives Dexter his powers. Killing is a power under this system, incidentally. Anyway, by the end of the book, Dexter has gotten rid of Moloch, battled a cult, and then watched his kid stab an old man in the back.
The TV show kind of steered away from all of this.
So although TV viewers were denied the pleasure of seeing a child murder an old man, this does at least illustrate how risky it can be to adapt an ongoing book series. You can imagine how nervous HBO still is at the prospect of George R.R. Martin pumping out a chapter that explains Jon Snow is a Nazi man-shark.
Psycho II -- The Hollywood Satire In Which Norman Bates Dies Immediately
Alfred Hitchcock's classic slasher picture Psycho has generated a lot of spinoffs over the years -- there was a shot-for-shot remake, a series of film sequels, and a heartwarming TV pilot about what a friendly place the Bates Motel is. Forgotten amongst all of those already-forgettable things is the sequel to the original novel, the aptly named Psycho II.
Despite its appearance, this is not for kids.
The book starts off with an interesting twist: The killer from the original novel, Norman Bates, is killed almost immediately. After escaping a mental hospital dressed as a nun, in fact.
Trust no nun.
But Bates' physician, Dr. Claiborne, is convinced that the killer is still alive and heading for Hollywood, where a movie based on his life is about to be filmed. He travels there himself, and finds his suspicions sort of confirmed when he sees how much the director, a man named Vizzini, resembles Bates.
Is there such a thing as a "method" technique for directing?
Dr. Claiborne's suspicions are raised even further by some on-set arson and a murder. And wow, this isn't insane at all. This sounds like an exciting book! And it would be, if the story didn't also regularly screech to a halt to get in some jabs at Hollywood society. For example, one chapter opens with a group of famous leading men at a gay orgy, having this unusual conversation:
Merely for printing this, Scientologists will be on our ass for the next 50 years.
Wow. That's ... extremely slanderous. And this has nothing -- nothing -- to do with the plot. We'll later find out these are in fact movie star lookalikes, which only barely makes this okay. But still, there's no reason for this scene, and many like it, to be here. Even the scenes which do belong in the plot are rather icky. Consider how Vizzini gets a boner which comes very close to driving him insane.
"Call a doctor if your erection or psychosis lasts longer than four hours."
Vizzini then hatches a plan to rape the film's leading lady, at which point most readers would probably realize they were holding a physical book they could easily put down whenever they wanted. Anyone brave enough to continue would watch the police confirm that Norman Bates is 100-percent dead. So what the fuck's happening? This:
Yup, Dr. Claiborne was the killer! It turns out that after decades of studying him, Claiborne began to think he was Norman Bates, presumably because the author thought that multiple personality disorder is a communicable disease. A Nazi street shark would've been a better twist.
You know all those facts you've learned about psychology from movies and that one guy at the party who says, "Actually ..." a lot? Please forget them. Chances are none of them are true. Take the Stanford Prison Experiment, the one famous psychology study people can name. It was complete bullshit. Funny story actually, it turns out that when you post flyers that say, "Hey, do you wanna be a prison guard for the weekend? Free food and nightsticks," you might not get the most stable group of young men. So join Jack O'Brien, Cracked staff members Dan O'Brien and Michael Swaim, and Psychology Professor Martie G. Haselton of UCLA as they debunk Rorschach tests, the Mozart effec,t and middle child syndrome, so soon you can be that person at the party who says, "Actually ..." Get your tickets here!
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