Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Number Two (it's Never a Euphemism)

I feel like I have mentioned my obsession with sequels in basically everything I have posted on this site but it bears repeating that if a film has a sequel or a franchise I will watch it no matter what. I will get in so deep that no matter how terrible the films get, I will still lament the journey being over at the end. Sometimes you get a real pleasant surprise (every single Silent Night, Deadly Night is great) and sometimes it actually leaves you a husk of a human (looking at you, Amityville Horror). 

On that note, I have complied a list of ten NUMBER TWOS that I thoroughly enjoy (guess what, it means poop). This list is in no way extensive, a lot of stuff got cut just because I think I might actually want to write more than a paragraph on them! This list is horror-heavy because let's face it, no one has got the art of the sequel perfected as much as the horror genre.

Statistically speaking, no film with the title C.H.U.D II: Bud the Chud is ever going to be bad. That is just a given, right? This film is so misunderstood, like people will rant and rave about Day of the Dead but APPARENTLY C.H.U.D. II isn't worth your time. Well let me tell you, they are incorrect. If you're looking for a goofy, fun horror then this is a safe bet. I don't know, maybe I'm predisposed to enjoy really stupid stuff, but when Bud (who is NOT a zombie tyvm) gets all his pals to crash a disco that just does it for me. Ticks all the right boxes. I don't even like the original C.H.U.D (way too serious and long) so this was a huge surprise for me.

Much like Return of Swamp Thing, if you want to sit down and just switch off with some simple gags and a little gore please give my old pal Bud the Chud a chance!!! 

Okay so, here's a scenario. You've made a film called Ghoulies. It's all about the devil, set in a spooky house and deals with the occult in a pretty straight laced manner. It's a great film, but also imagine that for some reason the marketing of the film decided to plaster a little mutant demon coming out of a toilet onto every poster. Do you know how heavily the actual Ghoulies feature in Ghoulies? Hardly at all. Do you know how many of them come out a toilet? That's right, zero. It's another case of genius 80s marketing in the heady days when you could release any old shite as long as it had a good cover, because no fucker had the internet to warn them it wasn't what they thought they were getting themselves into.

Learning from their mistakes, Ghoulies II actually does utilise a toilet scene and features the adorable little beasties heavily. Ghoulies II is set in a run-down funfair where the ghoulies take over a ghost train ride. WHAT A PERFECT SCENARIO. There's even a ghoulie who looks like a cat! 

If you're looking for a little creature feature and you've done Gremlins and Critters, this is the way to go. You might as well stop after this sequel though, as the rest of a franchise cannot live up to it.

If you didn't think Freeway was batshit enough, here comes the sequel to really stump you. Has a sequel ever took such a dramatic redirection from it's predecessor? Written and directed by Matthew Bright, the same guy who wrote the first Freeway (and Forbidden Zone and Modern Vampires AND Shrunken Heads!!) you have to wonder how such a completely different tone can be achieved. Freeway II is like a fever dream of delinquency and nastiness, culminating in fucking Vincent Gallo turning up for the second half.

I wouldn't go into this thinking you're going to be getting something as funny or witty as Freeway, but I still reckon the sequel is an important piece of 90s cinema, and great vehicle for young Natasha Lyonne and can probably edge its way into 90s queer cinema at a push!

SOME PEOPLE will tell you that Basket Case 2 isn't the best Basket Case and that it is in fact Basket Case 3. These people are not to be trusted. Basket Case 2 is by far the best of the franchise, but that's not to say that individually they are not all great.

Basket Case was a homage to the sleaze of New York, a lovingly crafted tale of a boy and his basket. Of course Basket Case was going to have a sequel, the premise is too good to stop at just one film. In 2, gone is the sleaze in favour of pastel colours, a cast of bright and loud mutants and a heavy dose of just silliness. Moving the nonsense to the countryside is a stark contrast to the nighttime action of the first installment. Basket Case 2 is lovely and weird and better yet it doesn't outstay it's welcome. I think by 3 the whole story had outstayed it's welcome, but 2 just gets the balance right until you actually FEEL something for these little ball bags.

Slumber Party Massacre is one of the most interesting franchises to analyse. All directed by a woman, all following the same basic plot but all completely different, with their own little quirks and tropes. SPMII is the standout of the series, not only is it the greatest in the franchise, it's also probably one of the greatest slashers of the 80s, PERIOD.

You always need a good killer to make a successful slasher, and this film boasts a rockabilly killer in a fringed leather jacket (absolutely convinced he's modeled after the big man Prince himself) with a guitar that doubles as a big fucking drill. It's absolutely bananas and I can't fully explain it. I feel like there needs to be a book written on every choice made for this film pre-production. If any film deserved an Arrow release and a reissue of the soundtrack on vinyl, it is this one. SPMII is actually in our 35 watch-along list so don't miss out!

I honestly do not understand the hate leveled at this movie, like so much so that it sometimes keeps me up at night?  To me Lost World is a perfect sequel to a blockbuster, it goes bigger than Jurassic Park, takes it to new locations and has a cast that work well together to give it a boost.

Look at that picture there, you instantly recognise what film that is from, Lost World seeped into public consciousness whether you wanted it to or not ("don't go into the long grass!). Plus the fact that the whole film is basically a vehicle for Jeff Goldblum to be an action star, which is never a bad thing. You're never going to top Jurassic Park, one of the perfect slices of cinema ever created, but you sure as hell can make a fun sequel that is brimming with incredible set pieces and bursting with action.

It sure as hell beats Jurassic Park III, which is a disaster from start to finish, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

The Unborn was a deep, dramatic body horror exploring the unknown uncertainty of pregnancy, how your body is suddenly not yours anymore, and how everyone treats you just as a carrier for this parasite inside you. The Unborn II explores what happens if that baby you give birth to is actually a killer-in-arms.

This film is nutso in the best possible way, how much damage can you little baby do? Well as it turns out, a shit load. Part action film, part gruesome, slimey horror, this film ends with a showdown between mother and baby that puts most other final showdowns to shame. Imagine spending your existence trying to protect the thing that ultimately decides to kill you? It's fucking deep, man. Plus that little baby is weird as hell, it looks like it took queues from Belial from Basket Case with it's rubbery, lifeless head and endless shrieking.

Didn't think the original Poltergeist had enough people puking up worms, travelling to hellscapes or skeletal demon beasts to give you nightmares? Well Poltergeist II has rectified that. The whole franchise is definitely worth a watch, but the second is the shining beacon for me.

The effects are solid, it involves a super creepy pilgrim dude who I would actually die if he showed up at my house, and a cast of familiar faces that give you the sense of belonging to this franchise. This poor family go through so much shit, but just like Harry Potter, it turns out LOVE can save you in the end. I mean, maybe. Who am I kidding, love is no match for this kind of shit.

Remember that grub Geena Davis birthed out in her dream in The Fly? Well it turns out she DID give birth to a fly baby, but it just took a super long time for the process to kickstart. The Fly II is a worthy successor of The Fly, the effects are just downright incredible and though the plot is pretty convoluted, I am still weak for sinister corporations, especially when they keep a creepy genius boy locked up for his whole life WAITING FOR HIM TO TURN INTO A MONSTER.

The beauty here is definitely in the slow transformation, cocoons and spittle and dissolving skin only building up to the inevitable. Even Eric Stoltz is not super annoying in the lead role which I was pleasantly surprised about!

Ah, Edward Furlong is back to play another #cool #grunge #teen in another small American town! With Terminator 2 done and Brainscan still to come, Edward really did carve a niche out of being a floppy haired, grubby teen heartthrob.

This is also directed by a woman and actually, come closer... a little closer... I like it better than the original. I am always going to favour kids solving their own problems than focusing on the adults. The adults in this are actually useless and all. Be wary though, because any film called Pet Sematary is obviously going to feature a lot of DEAD PETS. Just a prior warning. As long as you can handle that I promise this is a real fun ride, swathed in early 90s fashion and that dampness you don't see on film anymore. Plus, the Ramones did a killer song for it, too.

Whilst I was writing this list I kept realising I had left SO MANY of my favourite number two's off. I feel so guilty that I am totally doing another list of some more some time soon. I forgot actually one of my favourtie films ever Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 which is the best sequel title of all time and actually better than any Nightmare on Elm Street film.

Maybe if you've always been put off by sequels because of box office offerings (sequels leave a lot to be desired in the year of our lord 2016) you will wanna delve a little deeper? Tell me your favourite sequels on twitter whilst we're at it! Let's GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Robyn is one half of Bimbo Movie Bash, an avid fan of Angel Delight and a Pee Wee apologist.

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