Horror Movies That Ignored Their Previous Films
Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)
It’s astounding to realise that Alfred Hitchcock’s most beloved film, the psychological thriller Psycho, has spawned such a large franchise, with sequels, reboots and even a TV show proving that this tale about a man with mummy issues still holds interest within the genre. Yep, Psycho has managed to be one of the oldest franchises, with 2017 seeing Bates Motel wrap it’s 5 series run. But one of these films decide to ignore its own history.
In 1990 director Mick Garris made the very last live action film in the original series, with Anthony Perkins once again stepping into the shoes of psychotic Norman Bates, with a made-for-television film. The fourth offering continued Norman’s story, however fans were left a little confused. The last we saw of Norman in 1986’s Psycho III, he had reverted back to his killer ways, thanks to the corpse of his “real” mother, who showed up at the close of Psycho II. At the end of the third film, Norman was being dragged back to the mental institute, with little to no chance of getting out ever again.
Fast forward to Psycho IV, and Norman is free, living in a lovely home and with a wife. How did this happen? Screenwriter Joseph Stefano apparently hated the first two Psycho sequels, feeling that they were too commercial and more like slasher films than thrillers. So, he just cut them out, making Psycho IV a prequel and sequel to the 1960’s original only. Stefano stated, “Gearing up for Psycho IV, I decided to ignore the two sequels – like the business in II about Norman’s mother”. And so it was that Psycho IV stuck two fingers up at the franchise and just did it’s own thing.
A Nightmare On Elm St III: The Dream Warriors (1987)
A Nightmare On Elm St III: The Dream Warriors is widely viewed as one of the best NEOS films ever made, but what you may not have noticed is how it completely ignores the film in-between. Following the success of the original Freddy film, New Line hurriedly made 1985’s Freddy’s Revenge, leaving creator Wes Craven out in the cold. Revenge was a very different kettle of fish, with the whole dream master story dropped for an exorcist styled possession film. It seemed that they had lost a little of the old dream magic.
So when a third film was planned, New Line Cinema seduced Craven back into the fold with a bit of cheese and a large fat check. His script was touched up by Frank Darabont and Chuck Russell, but the basic Craven flavour was there. It saw Heather Langenkamp returns as Nancy as Freddy terrorizes the dreams of a bunch young inmates in a psychiatric hospital. But one thing that was never mentioned was the events of Freddy’s Revenge. In fact, The Dream Warriors completely omits Freddy’s Revenge from its history.
Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)
Let’s just hit the Elephant in the room. I watched Highlander on the Horror Channel once..so yes it’s on our list! It’s also one of the better examples of films that have ignored sequels, and it just had to be here.
The Highlander series follows Connor MacLeod, a man born in the highlands of Scotland, but is cursed with immortality. Over the many years, MacLeod encounters many other immortals and finds himself taking part in a tournament of sorts which is the focus of the 1986 movie. The film ends with MacLeod winning the tournament and claiming the prize, which turns out to be mortality.
Highlander II: The Quickening manged to be all that is wrong with sequels. The film features a prequel sequence that contradicts the first film and a future sequence where the worlds ozone has disappeared. The film generally ignores everything that was entertaining about the 1986 original. Instead of continuing the story in a logical and respectful manner, it resurrected dead characters, turned the supernatural immortals into aliens, and created some sort of weird sci-fi nonsense to explain why MacLeod is suddenly immortal again. It really was not the film fans wanted.
It seemed that everyone from the producers to star Christopher Lambert hated the second film, so much so that the third outing outright, Highlander III: The Sorcerer, ignores and even contradicts the events of Highlander II, effectively erasing it from canon. The ozone is intact, Brenda does not die of radiation poisoning (Nope, she dies of a car crash instead. Poor Brenda!) and Conner is not an alien! HAzzar!!
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
The Evil Dead has always had the strangest history when it comes to continuity. The 1981 original was itself a remake of a short film produced by Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell, called Within the Woods. This cheaply made horror acted like a proof of concept and helped to raise the funds for The Evil Dead. However, when it came to making a sequel to The Evil Dead, things were weren’t as clear cut.
Evil Dead 2 was intended as a direct sequel, and there are beats that perfectly line up. However, there are some major differences that turn the sequel, into a mini reboot. Ash’s friends from the first movie are absent, the movie instead recaps Ash and Linda arriving at the cabin alone, and the Necronomicon remains intact, despite Ash destroying it in a fire at the conclusion of The Evil Dead.
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn compressed the original film into the first 15 minutes of it’s sequel, and by doing so turned it into a film with a very different story. Ash is no longer a survivor, he’s a buffoon, but a loveable one in any timeline.
The Exorcist III (1990)
Following Young Regan MacNeil and her infamous possession, The Exorcist has been heralded as one of the most scariest films ever made. Sadly, The same can’t be said for it’s 1977 sequel. Where William Friedkin’s horror classic was dripping with fear, John Boorman’s Exorcist II: The Heretic is completely devoid of this important ingredient. Whilst it might be fun to watch Linda Blair tap dancing, Richard Burton chewing on the scenery and James Earl Jones wearing a series of ever more elaborate hats, the film is as about as far removed from the original as you can get.
When the The Exorcist III was released in 1990, it already had a huge advantage over it’s forbear, as it was directed by William Peter Blatty and based on his 1983 sequel novel called Legion. The third film was a fine return to form, with characters, themes and storylines. And it did this by ignoring all nonsense that cropped up in the second film. Regan MacNeil was only briefly referenced and the entire film focused it’s attention elsewhere, rather than trying to go over already well-trod ground.
Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
The Jaws franchise was milked dry with it’s never ending sequels that spawned from Stephen Spielberg’s 1975 original. But it seems that even killer sharks need to wipe the slate clean, when one of it’s films decided to turn it’s back on the previous films.
Released in 1983, the fad driven sequel Jaws 3-D saw its titular shark attack the Florida branch of SeaWorld, in a terrible effects laden film. The gimmicky stereoscopy did nothing to cover up some terrible special effects, including some very dubious miniature effects. But as terrible as it was, it pales in comparison to the next offering, Jaws: The Revenge, which returns to Amity Island for yet another deadly shark attack.
The laughable story for Revenge, sees a shark target the Brody family for revenge of the very first Jaws’ death. The film, however, has quite a few differences that contradict Jaws 3-D. One of the biggest is protagonist Mike Brody (played by Dennis Quaid) who is leading a very different life from what we saw in the third film. This was not a mistake, Universal went out of their way to distance themselves from Jaws 3-D, even describing citing Jaws: The Revenge as the third film in a trilogy.
Yep, the studio Jaws 3-D so much, they just completely ignored it. They have warmed to it over the years, as DVD’s and box sets saw the fourth film marketed by Universal as Jaws 4: The Revenge. But watch these back to back, and they wont really make much sense.
Halloween H20 (1998) & Halloween (2018)
When you have such a long running series of films, sometimes, the only way forward is to go back. Whilst A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Child’s Play have all tried to reignite the horror with a reboot of their own series, Halloween went a different route… twice!
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later was a 1998 sequel that decide to change the pace of the Halloween franchise. Rather than continuing on the story of Michael Myers and the man in black, the film decided to cut out all the nonsense, and declared itself a direct sequel to the original 1978 slasher.
Contradicting the story that rolled out from Halloween 2 onwards, all the character, situations and victims were wiped off the board. But sadly, the series fell of the rails after H20, with a sequel and a remake failing to make much of an impression on fans. With the series stalling… there was only one thing to do, try again!
In October 2018, a new Halloween film hit cinemas. Called simply Halloween, the series performed it’s second surgery on the film series, cutting out everything apart from its original once again. However, unlike H20, Halloween hit all the right notes and has managed to conjure up two sequels with Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends planned for 2021 and 2022. Yes, it looks like Michael Myers is going to be around for a few more years, even if his timeline is beginning to look like an episode of sliders.
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“Hello Horror Fans – If I only they could do this trick with the two Matrix sequels, all would be right in the world. What did you think of our list. Did we miss something. Let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page.