(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series where we explore the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrical released movies. In this edition we take a look at a forgotten follow-up to a film better left forgotten.)
Everyone has choices in their past that they regret or that leave them feeling even an inkling of shame, and yours truly is no different. One of my biggest shames, and it’s no small thing, is the knowledge that as a young teenager I was a big, big fan of the movie Zapped! Part of my misguided interest was powered by hormones, obviously, but I also found its antics to be entertaining enough to rewatch it multiple times on HBO. Decades passed before I revisited the Scott Baio-led “comedy” only to discover that it in no way lives up to younger me’s hype. At best it’s a Dexter Riley film (The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, 1969) for dumb, horny teens, but at worst? Well, it’s far, far worse.
But I’m nothing if not dedicated, so before checking out its direct-to-video sequel, Zapped Again! (1990), I rewatched it one last time to see how the two compare as a double feature. That sound you hear is me cringing and squirming for 190 minutes straight.
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Posted on Wednesday, January 13th, 2021 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series where we explore the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. In this edition we return once more to the world of Tremors with the sixth (!) sequel, which is currently available on Netflix.)
It’s a new year, and the world of home video sequels continues its slow-motion spread through pop culture. Perhaps fittingly, we start 2021 with a sequel to a long-running franchise that’s now over 30 years old. Impressive! You’d think an article covering a whopping five DTV sequels to the still fantastic Tremors (1990) would be the last word on the topic, but no. Our friends at Universal 1440 Entertainment are back at it with a new entry once again pitting fools against monsters.
And before you ask, yes, of course Michael Gross is back as Graboid hunter extraordinaire, Burt Gummer. Now keep reading for a look at the latest film to feature characters saying the words “ass blaster” with a straight face, Tremors: Shrieker Island!
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Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2020 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. This week, we take a second dip into the world of ‘Deep Blue Sea’ sequels.)
I’m a sucker for killer shark movies, but the great ones represent a small percentage of the sub-genre overall. Most are dull, dumb, and waterlogged in their attempts to entertain and thrill, but none of those descriptors can be applied to Renny Harlin’s 1999 gem, Deep Blue Sea. Okay, maybe it’s a little dumb, but the film remains an absolute blast that entertains through to the very end.
The same cannot be said for the supremely disappointing direct to video sequel from 2018 – which I previously covered in this very column. It’s a bland, uninteresting slog that never entertains or thrills, and it’s the reason anticipation was kept in check when the inevitable second sequel was announced. The lack of title creativity felt like a bad sign, as even Twitter folks suggested the likes of Deep Blue 3ea, Deep Blue Three, and Deep Blue S3a, but I reluctantly dove into the deep end anyway and watched Deep Blue Sea 3.
And it is… good?
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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. This week, we head to Romania with the Countess of Bathory.)
Vampires are a common threat in horror movies, some would say far too common (and yes that someone is me). So it should come as no surprise that they’re also a frequent antagonist in DTV horror sequels. This column has already covered the sequel to 30 Days of Night (2007), and there are more on the horizon. Vampires are a cheap effect as all you typically need are fangs and maybe some digitally enhanced eyes, and you’re off to the bloody races.
Tom Holland’s (Child’s Play, 1988) other horror classic, Fright Night (1985), got a proper sequel three years later that, despite its current unavailability, is actually pretty solid, but the 2011 big screen remake didn’t fare as well. It’s unfortunate, but it’s also the reason we’re here today.
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Posted on Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. This week, we examine a sequel to a Tom Hanks “classic” to see if his absence is for the better or worse.)
While I expect this post to be read and studied for decades to come in universities and Cinemax channel board rooms, it has a very timely poignancy as of its writing. America’s dad, Tom Hanks, recently fell ill with a virus that swept the globe in early 2020, and while he and his lovely wife Rita Wilson pulled through, there was a palpable fear in the air that forced people to imagine a world where saving Mr. Hanks would no longer be a possibility.
It’s a nightmare scenario, but it’s not a new one. In fact, just twelve short years ago the folks at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment did the very same thing – they imagined a world without Tom Hanks, and the result was a sequel to his second box-office hit, 1984’s Bachelor Party. Is it the disaster that most people would have prophesied had they been aware of its existence? Or is this party maybe a little bit more entertaining than its better known predecessor? Let’s find out together as we descend into the depths for a look at Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation.
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Posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2020 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. This week, we go hunting for horny aliens.)
Science fiction movies are commonplace, and they typically fall into one of two camps – small, smart, and geared towards adults, or big, bone-headed, and aimed at less discerning audiences. Back in 1995, though, a relative rarity appeared in the form of a summer release with a respectable budget, a recognizable cast including two Oscar winners (and one future nominee), some truly impressive special effects, and a story about government agents trying to cock-block an alien intent on copulation.
Species was a hit on the big screen and on home video, and viewers ate up the genre mashup that gave big, messy sci-fi back to adult audiences with sex, nudity, a wonderfully nonsensical script, and a healthy dose of fun. A sequel followed three years later, but it bombed at the box-office and ended the franchise forever. Just kidding – its theatrical outings stopped, but two DTV sequels followed. Are they cheap cash-grabs and lazy excuses to show more alien booty, or is there a chance they’re actually worthy successors?
Let’s find out together.
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Posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. This week, we go digging for secrets with a hook.)
Ah, the ’90s. The decade that brought us Beanie Babies and Limp Bizkit also saw a rebirth of sorts for big-screen slashers. After withering away throughout the 80s the genre got a major boost with the arrival of Wes Craven’s Scream (1996) which delivered memorable kills with style, wit, and a hot cast of hot young hotties for all tastes. The film was quickly followed with a wave of less stylish, less witty horror films packed with young stars including The Faculty (1998), Disturbing Behavior (1998), Urban Legend (1998), and new entries in venerable franchises like Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
One of the more directly influenced new arrivals, though, was 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer. It was a big hit and a year later was followed by the perfectly titled I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, which while still a hit, was a decidedly smaller one. The franchise sat silent for eight years, but in 2006 someone remembered they still owned the rights and bam! A few days later they had a DTV sequel ready to go. Let’s check it out together, shall we?
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Posted on Monday, February 10th, 2020 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. This week, we take a look at a new follow-up to an early Adam Sandler “gem.“)
What are the odds anyone has talked about Bulletproof since its release in 1996? The film was something of a bomb both theatrically and critically – it’s at 8% on Rotten Tomatoes! – and while Adam Sandler went on to bigger and occasionally better things it essentially ended co-lead Damon Wayan’s movie career. Seriously, Wayans only has six film credits following Bulletproof, and they earned a combined total of $4.2 million.
Well, it turns out the answer to my rhetorical question is that no one has thought about Bulletproof until early 2019 when this column’s friends at Universal 1440 Entertainment conceived and produced the elegantly titled sequel, Bulletproof 2. It was birthed unto the world at the start of this year, and in true Bulletproof form no one is talking about it. A direct-to-video (or in this case Netflix) sequel that no one’s watching? Yeah, that’s my jam.
Keep reading for a look at Bulletproof 2 – a sequel set 25 years after the original in a world where the Bulletproof movie not only exists but is remembered as being terrible. So, set in the real world I guess?
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Posted on Monday, January 20th, 2020 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. This week, we go to war… in space!)
Paul Verhoeven is a filmmaker whose career has seen highs and lows, hits and misses, blockbusters and quiet indies, but the one constant is that his best film will always be Robocop (1987). This is not an article about Robocop, but it is about the big, action/sci-fi movie he made a decade later that echoes some of the same satirical stylings.
1997’s Starship Troopers is a loose adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s novel – an unrelated script was the film’s basis, and the studio simply bought the title rights from the novel before mashing the two together – but where the book is hardcore militaristic, Verhoeven’s film takes a more cynical, darkly humorous, and dismissive tone. It wasn’t quite the hit they hoped for, but its growth into a cult favorite helped spawn two live-action sequels that went straight to DVD/TV. So let’s be good citizens and give ’em a spin!
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Posted on Friday, December 27th, 2019 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. This week, we go bank robbing with Nazis in a sequel to the biggest Spike Lee joint of them all.)
Spike Lee’s film career is filled with highs and lows, films that won critical acclaim and awards and others that have been forgotten, but he’s never been a filmmaker prone to breaking the box-office. The sole exception, and his only film to gross over $100 million, is 2006’s Inside Man. Lee’s direction, alongside a stellar cast, a tight script, and a respectable budget, resulted in a film that succeeded with critics (certified fresh!) and audiences ($184m worldwide!) alike.
It’s a Universal Pictures release too which means that now, thirteen years later, the studio’s home video division has spun off a direct to video sequel. It’s not their first – and will be far from their last as follow-ups to both Sudden Death (1995) and Bulletproof (1996) are currently in post-production – but it is their most surprising. Look, it’s possible that having to endure movies like Backdraft II (2019) and Benchwarmers II: Breaking Balls (2019) has just broken me, but Inside Man: Most Wanted is actually… okay?
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