It's the Booze Talkin', Hollywood should give DTV sequels more respect!

It’s tough to create a successful horror franchise. Even more, it's exceedingly problematic keeping the continued sequels fresh and entertaining. You have great flicks with awesome villains yet when it comes to movies like HELLRAISER, CHILDREN OF THE CORN or THE HOWLING, the second they became straight-to-DVD, the quality diminished with each follow-up. It’s frustrating for fans on numerous levels. Genre lovers tend to be very loyal, so no matter what we are usually willing to at least give the continued chapter a viewing. However, is the tide changing? Can we as fans demand better sequels? Straight to DVD or no? I believe we can.

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When it comes to sequels that didn’t get the big screen treatment, I have to give a ton of credit to a little movie called Curse of Chucky (2014). Don Mancini did a terrific job of making the devilish doll scary again, and still present him in a unique story. On top of that, they managed to tie it all nicely together with the previous chapters. Strangely, it was the first in this series to not have a theatrical run. The last flick, the utterly bizarre SEED OF CHUCKY in 2004 managed to find it to the big screen. The thing is, if you are going to create a smaller story, you don’t have to give up what made the original films fun and freaky. Curse is a fantastic example of continuing the story on a smaller scale, without sacrificing the integrity.

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Unfortunately, there are far more examples of bad sequels that end up on Netflix. The CHILDREN OF THE CORN franchise is one of the worst. Every single continued chapter is just as devastatingly dull as the previous. Hell, I’m not sure there are too many that even appreciate the original starring Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton. I personally dug it, but I didn’t like a single film that followed. I had hope that the 2009 Children of the Corn flick would be closer to the original and maybe give some life to the series. If anything, it was just another run of the mill made for cable flick.

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In 2017 we can expect Hellraiser: Judgment. The new adventure features a brand new cast, including Paul T. Taylor who will be taking on the role of Pinhead. In addition to that, I’m digging the inclusion of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET vet Heather Langenkamp’s involvement in the new sequel. Arguably, the Hellraiser franchise has kind of worn it’s cheapie budget with pride. It’s just a shame that most of the film’s aren’t necessarily good. However, I fully believe this wild world of demons and darkness can very much be brought to life again. When it comes to Judgment, we will have to wait to give ours until we are able to step into the cenobites layer once again.

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Ultimately, the stigma of made-for-cable flick is haunted by way too many crappy films. Look at the Puppet Master series, or Leprechaun, or The Lost Boys. One thing the continued chapters all have in common is the lackluster production values. The performances are usually not great, the stories are a bit dumb, and the direction is less than impressive. Not all straight-to-video flicks have the quality of Curse of Chucky. Most are comparable to Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings or Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! Horror sequels are hard enough to make work, but in this day and age filmmakers can do a whole lot more than another lazy sequel. Dammit, the killer doll proved it could be done so let’s do better.

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And speaking of Chucky, now we have the upcoming sequel Cult of Chucky. Am I excited? Hell yes I am. According to IMDb, the cast includes Fiona Dourif from Curse of Chucky - Brad’s daughter was really terrific - and the return of Jennifer Tilly and Alex Vincent. The only thing that could get me even more pumped is to see CHILD’S PLAY star Catherine Hicks somehow. Even the plot for this sounds like a f*cking blast! And yes, Brad Dourif is still pretty damn great as The Good Guy doll with murderous intentions. If they can pull off  another solid sequel, there is no excuse for other filmmakers trying to resurrect other iconic horror villains.

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Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but Hollywood should treat straight-to-video sequels with a little more respect. Curse of Chucky is one example, and sadly, there are few others that stand out. Most of the crap that avoids theatrical release is simply crap… or perhaps so bad it’s good. You can do better. Here is hoping that Hellraiser: Judgment doesn’t skimp on quality just because it’s not getting the big screen treatment. Horror fans deserve better, and so do the icons that we continually turn to.

Extra Tidbit: What do you think? Which of the home video sequels do justice to the originals?
Source: AITH



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