Sequels are part of the Circle of Hollywood Life – if a film does well enough, audiences have learned to expect that a Part 2 won’t be far off. We’ve also come to understand that sequels will generally not be as good as the original. It’s hard to replicate success, after all.
That said, sometimes popular movies spawn sequels that are so bad, you won’t believe they exist. See how many of these terrible sequels you’ve even heard of (bonus points if you’ve actually seen them).
American Psycho 2
Originally written under the title The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die, this 2002 direct-to-DVD film was quickly changed into an American Psycho sequel to capitalize on that movie’s critical and commercial success. In it, Mila Kunis plays a serial-murdering college student stalking her criminology professor, portrayed by William Shatner. This paragraph is haunted.
Kunis later stated that she had signed on to make The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die and had no idea it was being Frankensteined into an American Psycho film. In an interview with MTV, she said, “It was supposed to be a different project, and it was re-edited, but, ooh … I don’t know. Bad.” The world agreed.
Kindergarten Cop 2
Kindergarten Cop has the distinction of being a movie that is exactly what it sounds like. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Detective John Kimball, who goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher in order to trap a villainous drug dealer. He shouts at several small children along the way. It is a perfect film.
Kindergarten Cop 2 was released directly to video 26 years after the original, because no theater could be convinced to screen it. Featuring zero actors or characters from the original film and replacing Schwarzenegger with Dolph Lundgren apparently seemed like a bulletproof strategy.
The 1991 thriller Backdraft is notable for being a stunt show at Universal Studios Hollywood for 18 years, and for killing Kurt Russell twice in the span of two hours. The film grossed $152 million and received 3 Academy Award nominations, so Universal wisely decided to make a sequel in 2019.
The film hasn’t yet been released at the time of this writing, but we’re betting you had no idea it existed. This is likely due to the fact that it is a direct-to-streaming sequel of a 30-year-old film being released 10 years after Universal closed their Backdraft attraction, presumably because nobody remembers what Backdraft is. But William Baldwin and Donald Sutherland are back, baby!
Son of The Mask
Jim Carrey’s 1994 hit The Mask was both a fun comedic adventure and a special effects bonanza. It solidified Carrey’s burgeoning film career and gave Cameron Diaz her big break, so a sequel seemed inevitable. The problem is, we didn’t actually get that sequel until 11 years later, and the filmmakers traded Carrey for Jamie Kennedy.
Son of the Mask was not only one of the worst reviewed films of 2005, but went on to become one of the worst reviewed films of the entire decade. Featuring no returning from the previous film apart from Ben Stein, dated effects, and nothing that could even fit the most generous definition of “a joke,” this movie bombed so hard it might as well have been shot out of a cannon. Which is no less than it deserves.
2001’s Donnie Darko was released in October of 2001, introducing the world to the first of many oddball creeps played by Jake Gyllenhaal and effectively erasing the stench of Bubble Boy from our collective memory. 20th Century Fox decided to strike while the iron was hot with this surprise cult hit and produced a direct-to-video sequel nearly a full decade later.
S. Darko focuses on Samantha Darko (Daveigh Chase), Donnie’s younger sister from the first film. Presumably, this decision was made because Donnie is killed in the original film, and by 2009 Gyllenhaal had risen beyond the reach of the Fox Home Video budget. The sequel tries to explore the same trippy cosmic forces, like time travel and multiverses, but fails in a spectacular Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows sort of way.
Shock Treatment (Rocky Horror 2)
Legendary cult film and permanent fixture of midnight showings The Rocky Horror Picture Show launched a number of things, including the film careers of Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, and the music career of Meat Loaf. It also launched a thunderous dud of a sequel that the people of Earth aggressively refused to watch.
Shock Treatment includes several characters from Rocky Horror played by entirely different actors, which is an immediate red flag. The plot centers around an evil television studio run by a villainous fast food magnate that forces the entire town to participate in game shows. Unfortunately they were not able to force audiences to buy a ticket to watch this movie.
Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd
Dumb & Dumber was a hit 1994 comedy starring a white-hot Jim Carrey and eventual Emmy winner Jeff Daniels as two brutally stupid men who somehow managed to survive into adulthood. They find themselves embroiled in a wacky kidnapping caper and accidentally save the day, kind of. The studios were eager for a sequel, but the only problem was nobody involved in the original was interested.
Thus was born Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, a 2003 prequel to the original film that drops the two main characters in high school, getting around the need to cast Carrey or Daniels. This also got around the problem of making anyone actually want to see it.
Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective
Ace Ventura and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was the one-two punch of early 90s comedy that kickstarted Jim Carrey’s film career and catapulted him to super-stardom. Making a third installment in the successful series seems like an obvious business strategy, but the experience of making When Nature Calls soured Carrey on ever appearing in another sequel to any movie. Luckily, the heroes at Warner Home Video persisted.
The Carrey-less Ace Ventura Jr.: Pet Detective was unleashed on the home video and cable TV markets in 2007. It follows the adventures of Ace Ventura’s son, Ace Ventura Jr. (Josh Flitter), as he tries to prove his mom didn’t steal a panda. Recasting the lead of a crude comedy series as a young kid was already a dubious choice, but the movie goes one step further. They explain Carrey’s absence by saying the elder Ventura died in a plane crash in the Bermuda Triangle, which is where this film should be thrown.
Deep Blue Sea 2
Deep Blue Sea is that one movie wherein Samuel L. Jackson famously gets bitten in half by a shark mid-sentence. Why a sequel wasn’t greenlit immediately is a question that will echo in eternity. Warner Bros. eventually produced a direct-to-DVD sequel in 2018, nearly 20 years after the original’s release and featuring zero original cast members. They even recast the sharks.
The sequel is the lowest of low-budget films, featuring cheap wooden sets and performances cut from the same material. Featuring characters with names like Dr. Misty Calhoun and Trent Slater, you can probably predict every moment of this film without ever actually watching it.
Splash was a surprise hit 1984 comedic fantasy about Alan (Tom Hanks), a man who meets a mysterious woman (Daryl Hannah) that turns out to be a mermaid. The cast also included John Candy and Eugene Levy, and went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. It’s essentially The Shape of Water as made by Disney.
The film’s massive commercial and critical success meant a sequel was in the cards, but there was one problem – the movie ends with Hanks’ character giving up life on land forever to go live in the ocean with the merfolk. The Disney Channel Original Movie Splash, Too cleverly gets around this fact by completely ignoring it and placing Alan right back on dry land. Hanks, Hannah, Candy, and Levy didn’t bother to reprise their roles for this dismal sequel, because why would they.
Teen Wolf 2
The 1985 film Teen Wolf stars Michael J. Fox as Scott Howard, a high school student routinely bullied by his peers. He gains the power to transform into a werewolf thanks to a family curse. However, rather than losing control and roaming the countryside killing both people and livestock, this werewolf is just really good at breakdancing and basketball.
Teen Wolf was a big hit, and thanks to releasing the same year as Back to the Future, it helped turned Fox into a movie star. So when the studio returned to the teenage wolf well for Teen Wolf, Too, they cleverly recast the titular role with the then- teen heartthrob Jason Bateman as Scott’s cousin Todd. This werewolf was really good at boxing, but nobody cared.
Return to Oz
The Wizard of Oz is one of the most famous movies ever produced, despite the noticeable handicap of being 80 years old. MGM has never bothered trying to make a live-action follow-up to this undisputed classic, but that didn’t stop Disney from trying in 1985.
Return to Oz, based on the series of Oz novels by L. Frank Baum, burst into theaters in the exact middle of the 1980s. It was considerably darker than the original film, including an electroshock ward and a perpetually-decapitated princess who steals other people’s heads. You know, that good ol’ Disney magic.
The Rage: Carrie 2
Carrie was the first film adaptation of a Stephen King novel, and it helped make him a household name alongside star Sissy Spacek. Spacek received an Academy Award nomination for her role as the titular girl with bitchin’ telekinetic powers. She uses her powers to wreak havoc on her cruel classmates, including John Travolta, who is playing someone doing an impression of John Travolta.
Aiming to capitalize on the late-90s revitalization of the teen slasher genre, The Rage: Carrie 2 exploded into theaters in 1999, 23 years after the original. Carrie’s improbable half-sister Rachel (Emily Bergil) has the same power, and she uses it to kill a whole new crop of obnoxious teenagers, including one of the kids from Home Improvement. It’s… not a good movie.
The Jerk, Too
The Jerk was co-written by Steve Martin at the absolute height of his career as a stand-up comedian. The wildly successful comedy allowed Martin to transition into acting permanently and has been featured on numerous lists of the best comedies ever made since its release in 1979. Those lists conspicuously do not feature The Jerk, Too.
The Jerk, Too was a made-for-television movie that premiered in 1984, starring Mark Blankfield in the title role. You may have noticed that Blankfield is not Steve Martin. The rest of the world and presumably the universe also noticed, and quickly forgot this baffling follow-up ever existed.
Look What Happened to Rosemary’s Baby
Rosemary’s Baby is director Roman Polanski’s chilling tale about living in an apartment building with a bunch of nosy old people. It’s also about a woman named Rosemary (Mia Farrow) who is press-ganged into a satanic cult and conned into giving birth to the son of the devil. Neighbors are the worst.
Making a sequel to one of the most famous horror movies of all time is a daunting task (look no further than Jaws 2), but ABC was up to the challenge. Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby premiered on the network in 1976, featuring virtually no one involved with the iconic original. We actually feel sorry for any company that purchased commercial time during this atrocity.
The Birds 2: Land’s End
1963’s The Birds is the improbable classic that somehow managed to make a bunch of birds attacking a coastal town seem inevitable and terrifying. If literally anyone but Alfred Hitchcock directed this film, it would’ve premiered on SyFy right after Sharknado 5. It’s not only one of Hitchcock’s best-known films, but also one of the most famous horror thrillers ever made. So let’s make a sequel!
1994’s The Birds II: Land’s End was a made-for-TV error in judgment that essentially regurgitates the plot of the first film, with a little bit of Jaws thrown in by way of a mayor that is somehow able to deny that birds are attacking people. Tippi Hedren, the star of the classic original, makes an appearance as a completely different character. This film is a cursed object.
Road House 2
Road House is the unstoppable 1989 classic about a man named Dalton (Patrick Swayze) spin-kicking his way through a nest of organized criminals in the name of justice. Sam Elliott shows up partway through to join his denim-clad star to Dalton’s, and they proceed to kick every human being in the state of Missouri. It is, without hyperbole, the greatest movie ever made.
Road House 2, the 2006 direct-to-video sequel, begins by informing us that Dalton was killed many years ago by Wild Bill (Jake Busey), and now Dalton’s son Shane (Jonathan Schaech) must exact revenge. Since we know from the previous film that Dalton cannot be killed, let alone by Jake Busey, we immediately know this sequel is nonsense, and there’s no reason to ever watch it.
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights
Dirty Dancing is the classic romance about Patrick Swayze seducing a teenager with his dancing sorcery. The 1987 film became a huge hit and cultural phenomenon, so it made sense that Hollywood would try to produce a sequel. Unfortunately, that is the only thing that makes sense about the 2004 sequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.
Havana Nights is actually a prequel to the original, taking place in Cuba on the eve of the Cuban Revolution in 1958. It’s essentially the same story, only this time the entitled teenage girl falls in love with a Cuban waiter, and their passion can only be expressed via dance. It was originally written as a completely unrelated autobiographical political drama with zero dancing, but luckily the producers of Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights knew how to turn it into a sequel you’ve never heard of.
2010: The Year We Make Contact
Legendary director Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey created modern science fiction as we know it. It accomplished this with the extreme handicap of having a nearly incomprehensible ending, which we all decided not to hold against it because the sequence with HAL 9000 the killer robot is so dang good.
When Arthur C. Clarke published 2010: Odyssey Two, the sequel to his original 2001 novel, he called Kubrick and told him not to allow Hollywood to make it into a film. Nobody listened to them, and 2010: The Year We Make Contact was made anyway. The movie resurrects HAL 9000 and places it and a bunch of alien monoliths in the center of the Cold War. It’s like Watchmen, only with Helen Mirren and Roy Scheider, and they are in space.
There’s an old riddle that goes something like this – What’s the best movie about golf? Caddyshack. What’s the worst movie about golf? Caddyshack 2. The sequel to the comedy classic had all of the best intentions of capitalizing on the original’s success, and failed to do so in every conceivable way.
Original cast member Bill Murray was uninterested in returning, and wound up suing the production for re-using the gopher design from the original film, which Murray had helped create. Screenwriter and director Harold Ramis tried unsuccessfully to get his name removed from the project after star Rodney Dangerfield walked out of the movie. The fact that virtually every key player from the original film tried to distance themselves from this sequel like a tanker truck explosion should explain why you probably had no idea it even existed.
Blues Brothers 2000
The comedy classic The Blues Brothers was the first film based entirely on a Saturday Night Live sketch. It launched the film careers of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, solidified John Landis as a bankable director, and produced a thoroughly embarrassing sequel 18 years later.
Despite the fact that part of what made the original film so memorable was the mercurial presence of Belushi, who died in 1982, Landis and Aykroyd decided to make a sequel in 1998. Blues Brothers 2000 effectively replaces Belushi with John Goodman, which isn’t a bad thing per se, because Goodman makes everything better, but the film was two decades too late and failed to engage audiences who decided they’d rather see Titanic and Good Will Hunting a second time instead.
Another 9 ½ Weeks
9 ½ Weeks is an erotic 80s drama that essentially wrote the book on movies you rent when your parents aren’t home to learn about where babies come from. The film stars a pre-hamburger-face Mickey Rourke as an abusive lizard who has a brief but blazing affair with Kim Basinger only to have her finally dump him at the end, because of the whole abusive lizard thing.
Basinger didn’t return for Another 9 ½ Weeks, because why on earth would she. The film follows Rourke’s character John, once again on the prowl for vulnerable women. The movie was originally released as Love in Paris before it was changed to the much-more-obviously-a-sequel title, which did nothing to convince people to watch it.
Basic Instinct 2
The 1992 erotic thriller Basic Instinct was one of the biggest hits of that year. It became a cultural phenomenon, parodied in approximately every comedy movie and TV show of the early 90s, and launched the career of star Sharon Stone, turning her into a household name. It only makes sense that the studios would try to capitalize on the film’s success by making a sequel… 14 years later.
Yes, 2006’s Basic Instinct 2 saw Stone reprise her role as Catherine Tramell, but absolutely no one was interested. The film opened to lackluster reviews and a dismal box office, and is forever doomed to the stack of questions you will forever get wrong on trivia night.
The Two Jakes
The 1974 classic noir thriller Chinatown introduced the world to private investigator Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson). Jake is hired to take photographs of a philandering husband and quickly becomes entangled in a sinister conspiracy. It’s like the second season of True Detective, only good.
Screenwriter Robert Towne actually intended for Chinatown to be the first film in a trilogy about Jake Gittes. He and Nicholson teamed up to make the 1990 sequel, The Two Jakes, which Nicholson also directed. However, as you may have guessed by its inclusion on this list, nobody seemed to care about the continuing adventures of Jake Gittes, so a third movie never happened.
More American Graffiti
Before creating the billion-dollar universe of space wizards that would eventually guarantee Disney’s iron-gloved control of all entertainment, George Lucas wrote and directed American Graffiti. Graffiti is a coming-of-age story based on Lucas’ own life that follows several teenagers on the last night of summer. It features Harrison Ford as a hilariously cowboy-hatted drag racer who nearly kills a teenager girl when his car explodes.
Graffiti was Lucas’ first huge success, so naturally everyone involved thought a sequel was a good idea. More American Graffiti was released in 1979, six years after the original, and even though most of the cast returned (even Ford in a brief but equally hilarious cameo), audiences were apparently uninterested in learning about what the characters got up to during the Vietnam War.
Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a sequel itself, the third in the Vacation series starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as the perpetually unlucky Clark and Helen Griswald. Christmas Vacation sees Clark once again using a holiday to lead his family into ruin, this time rubbing his accident-prone stain on Christmas.
Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure is an enigma. It’s not a Vacation sequel per se, but rather a spin-off focusing on Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid), Clark’s mentally deficient brother-in-law. Eddie is funny in small doses, but he’s essentially just a walking redneck joke, so making him the central character of an entire film was a bold choice. It was also a made-for-TV movie, so it is entirely possible it has only ever been watched by accident.
Son of Kong
The 1933 original King Kong was one of the first special effects blockbusters and remains one of the most famous films ever made. Using stop-motion models to tell the story of a gigantic raging monkey stomping his way through New York City captured the imagination of audiences everywhere, so a sequel was immediately greenlit. And we mean immediately – Son Of Kong was released the same year as the original.
Son of Kong burst into theaters a staggering nine months after King Kong, in what might be the quickest attempt to capitalize on a surprise success in history. The film features several new monsters, chief among them the titular Son of Kong, who is less of a monster and more of a slightly larger than average gorilla. The film failed to light the world on fire a second time and barely broke even at the box office, possibly because the vastly superior original was presumably still in some theaters at the same time.
Marley & Me: The Puppy Years
You may remember Marley & Me as the saddest damn movie ever made. Based on the real-life stories of newspaper columnist John Grogan chronicling the antics of his terribly behaved dog Marley, the movie takes us through Marley’s entire life, ending with him being put to sleep and buried on the family farm.
The movie takes a lot out of you, so naturally, the sequel tries to lighten things up a bit. Yes, that’s right – there’s a sequel.
Marley & Me: The Puppy Years was a direct-to-video sequel that focuses entirely on Marley’s life as a puppy, as the title suggests. Except for some reason, he’s not owned by John Grogan, but by a little boy named Bodi Grogan. Also, Marley can speak in this one. Like, with a person’s voice.
Mean Girls 2
Written by Tina Fey, 2004’s Mean Girls was a surprise hit that demonstrated Fey’s bankability as a talent outside of Saturday Night Live. The film also solidified Lindsay Lohan’s status as a teen idol and has gone on to be immortalized in meme history. It even spawned a stage musical.
Obviously, once you enter “stage musical adaptation” territory, you know Hollywood has already attempted a sequel. And attempt it did, with the 2011 made-for-TV movie Mean Girls 2. Featuring Tim Meadows and absolutely nobody else involved with the original, most people will go their entire lives without ever knowing this film exists.
Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
Breakin’ is the odd film that is only famous because it spawned one of the most infamous sequels in history. The movie, about a team of righteous breakdancers who win over a bunch of stuffy dance competition judges with their blazing talent, was a modest hit in 1984. So according to Hollywood Law, a sequel must be made.
Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo was released just seven months after the original, because apparently the producers felt the world couldn’t get enough of these plucky street dancers. The film was a resounding failure, imploding with such totality that the subtitle “Electric Boogaloo” has become a shorthand phrase for a terrible sequel. It’s entirely possible you didn’t even know “Electric Boogaloo” was an actual film – this movie is so bad that its badness has eclipsed it in popularity like some kind of monkey’s paw wish.