(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. In this edition, we travel deep into the bowels of hell for the first three – of six! – DTV sequels to Clive Barker’s Hellraiser.)

“I have seen the future of horror, and his name is Clive Barker,” said Stephen King about the young Brit’s six-volume collection of horror tales, Books of Blood, and Barker never looked back. More stories and novels followed, and he quickly found himself offered the directorial reins adapting one of his own novellas, “The Hellbound Heart.” The budget was low, but Barker’s imagination and audacity were limitless, making Hellraiser (1987) a blast of S&M-tinged horror the likes of which we had never really seen before. Demons in bondage gear and body piercings, a lusty woman willing to kill for her undead lover, a homeless dude at the end who I spent years thinking was Barker in a cameo role… Limited filmmaking experience and budgetary restrictions be damned! Barker crafted something truly memorable here.

Barker created multiple monsters with the film, but his most eternal creation appears to have been the franchise itself. Nine sequels followed, and while the first two were pretty good and the third also played theatrically, the next six went deservedly straight to DVD. Well, I say deservedly, but I had never actually watched them.

Until now! So join me, won’t you, as I foolishly subject myself to the first three DTV sequels with increasingly stupid titles – Hellraiser: Inferno, Hellraiser: Hellseeker, and Hellraiser: Deader.

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‘Kindergarten Cop 2’ Gets an F

(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. In this edition, we go back to school… again!)

The 1980s were heaven for action movie fans, and one of the biggest onscreen talents bringing violence and quips to the multiplexes was Arnold Schwarzenegger. As the decade wound down, he began mixing up his action hits with comedies including Twins (1988), Junior (1994), and Jingle All the Way (1996), but his highest-grossing comedy – and not-so-coincidentally his best – is 1990’s Kindergarten Cop.

I won’t pretend that Ivan Reitman’s film is a comedy classic on par with the likes of his Ghostbusters (1984) or Dave (1993), but Kindergarten Cop is still a very funny, terrifically cast, and satisfying romp. It’s a fun watch! The DTV sequel that showed up 27 years later like some kind of low-rent Pennywise the Clown? There’s not a damn thing that’s fun about Kindergarten Cop 2 (2017).

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(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. In this edition, we see what all the buzz is about with this Candyman guy who just might be on the cusp of a high-profile remake.)

One of the big movie news items this week – more of a rumor actually – was the report that Oscar winner Jordan Peele may be remaking Candyman. It’s unclear if he’s just producing or if he’ll write and/or direct the film too, and it’s equally unknown if it will be a straight remake or if they’ll go back to the source of Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden.” Hell, it might not even be true at all. The only thing we know for sure is that Candyman is a fantastic horror film blending new mythology, bloodletting, and some fascinating observations on race and social issues.

Not nearly enough people have seen it (or heard Philip Glass’ brilliantly memorable score), and even fewer have watched the less-inspired sequel that followed in theaters three years later. And four years after that? No one even noticed another sequel go straight to DVD.

But that’s why I’m here – to remind you that these things exist. So keep reading for a look at 1999’s Candyman: Day of the Dead, and together we’ll discover if it’s worth seeking out before Peele’s remake maybe, possibly comes along.

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