Sunday, January 22, 2012

"What If?" Sequels: Part 2

Continuing on the countdown of the 10 slasher films that deserved a franchise but sadly never got one. The previous five films were:

10. TOURIST TRAP (1979)
9. HELL NIGHT (1981)
7. HUMONGOUS (1982)

Here are the following five slashers that I would have loved to see continue their stories...


5. NIGHT WARNING (1983) - a.k.a Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker 

Original Film's Logline: When orphaned Billy Lynch (Jimmy McNichol) tells his over-protective, practically incestuous Aunt Cheryl (Susan Tyrrell) that he's leaving her to study at the University of Denver she begins a murderous rampage to make sure he stays with her... forever.

How the Original Ended: Billy and his girlfriend Julia (Julia Duffy) discover Aunt Cheryl's crimes and, when she attacks them, Billy ends up stabbing her to death. Homophobic detective Joe Carlson (Bo Svenson) arrives on the scene, looking to pin the killings on Billy (who he has had it out for since the beginning). He threatens Billy with a gun, but Billy is saved by his coach (Steve Eastin) and Billy ends up shooting Carlson in self defense. Billy and Julia then go to the University of Denver together.

Sequel Idea: You can always continue a good story, even if the main villain of the original has been killed off - just look at SCREAM and FRIDAY THE 13TH! In their respective sequels, a new murderer sets the pace for the sequel, so the same thing could have easily been done with Night Warning. If they were to have made a Night Warning 2, it would be a mix of SCREAM 2 and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING. Jimmy McNichol and Julia Duffy would have had to return as Billy and Julia. Once again, a series of grisly murders connected to Billy's would start anew. The police would immediately look toward Billy, after the events of the last film, and Billy would begin to assume that, quite possibly, he is taking up Aunt Cheryl's old murderous ways. Could it be Billy, who has now gone insane? Could it be a copycat killer? Or could it be a relative of Joe Carlson, out for revenge on Billy?

Sadly, a sequel to Night Warning is kind of impossible at this point - the film has become too obscure and the principal cast is way too old to continue things. It's a shame, too, because Night Warning could have had a sequel (or even a trilogy) of great, scary mysteries surrounding the life of Billy Lynch. 


Original Film's Logline: When one of them inherits land in the Oregon mountains, five friends travel for a weekend of camping and hiking and, after warnings from local mountain ranger Roy McLean (George Kennedy), they fall prey to a machete-wielding mountain man.

How the Original Ended: After discovering that their three friends have been killed, Warren (Gregg Henry) and Constance (Deborah Benson) make one last stand until morning and are attacked by - not just one mountain man - but two of them! They are twins with an identical taste for terror. Ultimately, it is Constance who ends up killing them and saving her wimpy boyfriend Warren from the madmen.

Sequel Idea: It might be hard to make a sequel to Just Before Dawn, as the villains of the first movie have been killed off. But what about taking the original idea for THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 and putting a spin on it for the Just Before Dawn universe? The original plot for Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was to have a whole town of cannibals, so Just Before Dawn 2 could have a whole community of deranged, psychotic hillbillies. The events of the first film could set into motion a terrifying series of events - Constance, Warren, and Ranger McLean escape and alert authorities about what happened, and thus the whole community is questioned as accomplices and suspects. Then... the psycho hillbillies flee the mountains for the nearest "civilized" community, and the bloodshed starts again!

A bigger body count is a must, and a sequel has to retain that key atmospheric build and beautiful cinematography. But the idea of a sequel has always been to make the story larger and grander. How much larger can you get than a whole town of hillbilly psychos terrorizing a town of normal folks? And maybe add in some soci-economic commentary, making the town the hillbillies attack a development community that is being built on land that was once sacred to the hillbillies?

3. THE PROWLER (1981) - a.k.a. Rosemary's Killer 

Original Film's Logline: Hell-bent on reliving a gruesome unsolved double-homicide from 35 years ago, a masked killer in Army Fatigues stalks and brutally slashes a group of college students holding a spring dance.

How the Original Ended: Pam (Vicky Dawson) and her boyfriend/the town deputy Mark (Christopher Goutman) survive the killer, who it turns out is the Sheriff (Farley Granger), who originally killed Rosemary (Joy Glaccum) and Roy (Timothy Whrer) out of a jealous rage after returning from World War II. Ultimately, Pam and Mark kill the Sheriff by blowing his head off with a shotgun.

Sequel Idea: In the original film, there was a gap of 35 years between the murders of Rosemary and Roy in 1945 and the main murders of the film (which take place in 1980, even though the film's release was 1981). Well, the 35th anniversary of the film is coming up (the anniversary of the murders will be 2015 while the actual film's 35th anniversary will be 2016). So, how about a sequel or reboot that plays on the idea of 35 years later (70 years after the murders of Rosemary and Roy!). Just think - ever since the events of the first movie, the town has not held the spring dance... but now think its time to move on and hold the dance again - it's a whole new generation! But this time, more murders start up, and a whole new mystery begins to unfold.

It might sound almost exactly the same, but after three and a half decades you can get some unique things thrown into the plot. And rather than being a remake, it has to be a sequel - acknowledging the events of the first movie but still catering to a whole new generation of slasher fans (sort of like MY BLOODY VALENTINE and its reboot). 

2. MADMAN (1982)

Original Film's Logline: At a summer camp for special needs children, one of the cocky campers calls out the name of "Madman Marz", a deceased mass murderer. It isn't long before the camp counselors start getting butchered by the legendary Madman Marz.

How the Original Ended: When she realizes that all the other camp counselors have been killed, Betsy (Gaylen Ross from DAWN OF THE DEAD, as Alexis Dubin here) packs the kids up in a bus and tries to escape, only to realize that she is missing Richie (Jimmy Steele), the camper who originally summoned Madman Marz. She gets the bus to safety and goes to the Marz farmhouse, looking for Richie, but instead encounters Madman Marz (Paul Ehlers). He kills her, and Richie witnesses the whole thing and runs away. Madman lives to kill again.

Sequel Idea: Wow, where to begin. It's amazing that a sequel to Madman was never made. It has a classic villain, a detailed backstory, and the original film ends on a beat that is just asking for a sequel. I mean, really, after the watching the first movie can you honestly say that you don't want to see more of Madman Marz? Here's an idea - now that he has been summoned, how does one stop Madman? That issue was never addressed in the original movie, but could have been addressed in the sequel. Also, wouldn't it make sense for Madman to start hunting down the people who killed him in the first place - an act of vengeance on his executioners? It all seems logical and sensible for a sequel.

The original Madman might not be the most competent movie, but its insanely fun to watch. I feel like, had a whole series stemmed, it could have been even more exciting to watch than any of the Jason or Freddy flicks. And apparently Paul Ehlers has been trying to get a sequel/remake made for years, but nothing has really seemed to come of it. 

1. THE BURNING (1981)

Original Film's Logline: After being horribly burned in a prank gone wrong, former camp caretaker Cropsy (Lou David) is released from the hospital psychiatric ward and goes on a killing spree, targeting the teens he blames for his disfigurement.

How the Original Ended: The first movie ended in a showdown between Cropsy and the film's hero Todd (Brian Matthews) as Todd is trying to save geeky and slightly perverted camper Alfred (Brian Backer) from Cropsy's clutches. Todd ends up killing Cropsy in the end, and he and Alfred are rescued by Todd's girlfriend Michelle (Leah Ayres), who has called the in the police.

Sequel Idea: The Burning is another one that I'm just amazed has never had a sequel, especially since its production company Mirimax (Harvey Weinstein's company) took off shortly after its release. It has all the right ingredients - a cool killer, awesome atmosphere, insanely cool death scenes, and a decent amount of suspense. Cropsy would have to return, in zombie form (hey, Jason and Michael get away with it, why can't Cropsy?), and a new group of teens would have to be in danger. Probably not campers, as that has been done. But what about people on an outward bounding trip? And to throw some more conflict into the mix, how about some criminals on the run, too. The criminals take a group of outward bounding people hostages and they hide out in the ruins of Camp Blackfoot, where Cropsy returns and starts slicing and dicing. To add even more spice into the mix, Todd could return - he has made it his personal mission to make sure Cropsy never kills again, and securing Camp Blackfoot seems like the best way.

I love the original The Burning so much. I'd rank it up there with some of the all-time greats, and I think its better than any Friday the 13th film. But now thinking about The Burning, maybe part of its appeal is that stands alone. Maybe a sequel would have bastardized it? Or maybe a sequel would have been just what it needed? Sadly, we'll never know, as right now the only chance we have of resurrecting this film is with a remake.

So there you have it! The ten movies that, in my opinion, deserved sequels. I'd love to hear of how you would make a sequel to any of these flicks, or even something I left off the list.

1 comment:

  1. Can you make a Part 3 for "What If?" Sequels? Some other slashers that deserve sequels are the original My Bloody Valentine, the original Prom Night(continuing the story of Hammond and his murders), April Fool's Day, Slaughter High, Alone In The Dark, and Chopping Mall.