Thursday, April 4, 2013

Worst Horror Movie Sequels

Studios love to make horror movies because their low budgets make them a low risk/high reward proposition. The successful ones inevitably spawn sequels. Unfortunately, many of these follow ups prove to be disappointing. The movies on this list go beyond that. They are staggering in their ineptitude and should be avoided at all costs. In some cases, they killed their franchises. Read on, if you dare, and enter the realm of the truly awful horror movie sequel.

“Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning” and “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan”

These two installments of the long-running slasher series have long been considered the weakest, and it’s not hard to see why. Part V commits the cardinal sin of replacing hockey masked maniac Jason Voorhees with a copycat killer. Tommy Jarvis, the kid who “killed” Jason at the end of the prior installment, is now a mentally unstable teenager living in a halfway house filled with boring, disgusting, and annoying people. He is tortured by recurring visions of Jason.  Soon a mysterious man in a hockey mask begins killing everyone around him. Has Tommy snapped? Has Jason returned from the dead? Or is someone else behind the killings? The first four films in the series may not have had great acting or high production values, but they did feature a genuinely creepy atmosphere and contained loads of entertainment value. Part V is flat, dull, and boring. It has no redeeming value whatsoever. The “Friday the 13th” franchise never pretended to be high art, but it didn’t have to sink this low.

“Jason Takes Manhattan” at least features the real Jason. After being shocked back to life by a malfunctioning underwater electric cord (yes, really), Jason Voorhees inexplicably decides to board a cruise ship that is taking Crystal Lake’s graduating high school seniors to New York City. After killing several people, Jason reaches NYC, but the movie’s low budget keeps him from doing much once he gets there. The film ends with Jason transforming into a child after being drenched in raw sewage.  That pretty much sums up this dreck.

“Halloween III: Season of the Witch”

After seemingly killing off superhuman serial killer Michael Myers at the end of the second film, the producers of the “Halloween” series decided to continue the franchise as an anthology. Each year, they would release a new film with a different plotline, all based on an aspect of the Halloween holiday season. This could have been interesting, but the idea that they came up with for “Season of the Witch” was putrid. Conal Cochran, an evil madman who heads an Irish mask making company, hatches a plot to murder millions of children on Halloween with killer Halloween masks. He then plans to replace the kids with androids. I know there was a lot of cocaine use in Hollywood in the ‘80s, but even that can’t explain how anyone could have thought that this storyline would work. “Halloween III” confused and disappointed fans of the first two films. Its critical and commercial failure led to the return of Michael Myers for “Halloween 4” and all subsequent installments of the series.  

“Poltergeist III”

“Carol Anne! Carol Anne! Carol Anne!” This blog often features movie drinking games, and “Poltergeist III” would be a perfect candidate. Just take a drink every time a character says “Carol Anne” and try to avoid passing out before the movie is over. Carol Anne is, of course, played by the late Heather O’ Rourke, who became an ‘80s pop culture icon after her starring role in the original “Poltergeist.” She gives a pretty good performance here, especially considering her young age, but most of the actors phone it in. In this installment, Carol Anne is living with her aunt in a Chicago high rise skyscraper. Of course, the evil spirits from the first two films return to torment her once again. What was creepy in the first “Poltergeist” and familiar in “Poltergeist II” becomes downright boring here. Other than a change in setting, it has nothing new to offer. Heather O’ Rourke died suddenly before the film was released, casting an additional shadow over it. If there’s one thing that can be said about the earlier films on this list, it’s that they didn’t kill their franchises. This one did. Twenty-five years later, there has been absolutely nothing “Poltergeist” related, unless you count the ‘90s television series “Poltergeist: The Legacy”, which had virtually nothing to do with the films. The series’ complete disappearance is mind boggling for a horror franchise that was once so popular in the ‘80s.

The Exorcist II: The Heretic

This one is just insulting. Its one claim to fame is that it’s the only “Exorcist” follow up to feature Regan McNeil, played by Linda Blair. Set several years after the events of the original film, Regan is now in her late teens and somehow has gained psychic abilities. The demon from the first film returns, of course, and attempts to torment her and the people around her.  The film features swarms of locusts, a pointless subplot involving demonic possession in Africa, and a completely suspense-less and bland conclusion. “The Exorcist II” was a colossal critical and commercial failure. It was eventually followed by “The Exorcist III”, starring the legendary George C Scott as a detective. Two prequels were later released as well, but “The Exorcist” never really took off as a franchise.


Sadly, this list only scratches the surface. A full list of all of the bad horror sequels out there would be difficult, but here are some that almost made this list.

Child’s Play 3

A Nightmare on Elm Street Parts 2: Freddy’s Revenge

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

Halloween: Resurrection

Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows

Paranormal Activity 4

Saw V

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Sonics Situation

We try to keep our content pretty unbiased here and I've canned quite a few post ideas on the premise that they are too "Seattlecentric". However, this whole tug of war for the Kings, which has been buried on major news sites, isn't just a Seattle thing, or a Sacramento thing.  Its about a couple of different things, being a sports fan and the NBA in general. And we don't have a lot of sports stuff on here.

 For as long as I can remember, I've always been a Seattle SuperSonics fan.  I was there during the Kemp/Payton years, and I was there when those titanic teams fell apart due to mismanagement and egos. I was there Vladamir Stepania and Jerome James' breasts.  I've seen the highs and the lows.  When the Sonics were ripped out of Seattle with tepid resistance from the city and state government, I was furious.  I swore off the NBA forever(This of course didn't last), and I railed against the very system that created this situation.  Still, back in 2008, I wanted the Sonics back under two conditions, one, the new arena combined public and private financing and is a good investment for both sides, and two, it had to be either an expansion team, or from Memphis, a city who at the time I'm not sure realized they ever had a team.

Now, five years later, Seattle has its deal for a new arena.  Despite some attempted slander by the Seattle Times, it is widely considered the fairest deal possible. An ownership group has assembled that is hell bent on bringing a team back and has ridiculously deep pockets.  However, the NBA has made it clear that there are no plans to expand and further dilute the market and talent pool.  The NBA has finally reached a point where the talent level in the NBA is reminiscient to 20 years ago, before early entries muddled the pool, they don't want to give that up. Furthermore, its all about market share, the owners do not want to allow another set of hands in the pot.

The Sonics ownership group has set their sights on Sacramento, which has endured its own descent from the elite with poor ownership.  Chris Hansen and company made the Maloofs an offer, the Maloofs accepted, Sacramento is spurred into action, and today both parties presented their sides to the NBA Board of Governors.
Naturally, the city of Seattle is excited about the return of the Sonics.  But to me, at least, the entire scene rages with great hypocrisy. 
One thing that the citizens of the greater Seattle area is great at, is being angry.  The specter of the Sonics leaving suddenly made the Sonics very popular.  An award winning documentary was created exposing the whole twisted process that led to the Sonics departure.  Sonicsgate and their crew were the constant, driving activists that constantly rallied Sonics fans and ensured that what happened here would never be forgotten.  Suddenly, now that the Sonics were gone, it was very cool to be a Sonics fan.
Now that it is becoming increasingly probable that the Sonics will be returning. It, after all, makes very little financial sense, long term or short term, to veto the purchase agreement signed by the Maloofs and Hansen and crew. I've been disappointed by the reaction of Sonics fans.  Sure, there is the natural excitement of basketball coming back, I get that, and feel it, but at the same time, I'm left wondering, what the hell were we so mad about?

I was outraged by the NBA's economic model holding cities ransom to the point that I often wondered if I could support another NBA team whenever they came back.  Why support such a business that operates from Stern's bully pulpit? Now, at the eve of the Sonics returning, I find myself terribly conflicted, and I think I'm in the minority.  It seems like Sonics fans, including the Sonicsgate crew, who penned an insulting letter to Sacramento Kings fans on Grantland, weren't mad about the actual process, they were mad they lost their team.  The reaction to pissed off Kings fans is "Yeah, that sucks, we know how that goes, but this is real exciting!"

Come opening night next fall, Key Arena will be packed to the gills, I, and thousands others will be there. Chances are David Stern will have swaggered into the arena as well to deliver a smug coronation. And chances are the 17,000 fans in attendance will boo the living hell out of him, venting five years of anger. Stern will look up, smile and soak it all in. He has everything he wants, a new arena and a billionaire ownership group.  Nothing has changed, we didn't prove anything to the NBA, they operate as they always have, we're the suckers. The NBA played hardball with us and we caved. We didn't really want the NBA to stop holding cities hostage, or to change their flawed economic system. We didn't want to fall on our swords to send a message, or, even with the wheels of business rolling the Sonics back to Seattle, we didn't want to take a stand. We turned around and did the exact same thing to Sacramento without hardly a speck of genuine remorse. In the end, we're all suckers to the great business that is professional sports. We root for clothing and the idea of what it represents.  In the end, all we wanted was basketball, and sometimes it just feels wrong.