Who would have thought that some of the greatest movies in history would spawn such terrible sequels? And no, we’re not talking about The Matrix sequels, the Star Wars prequels, or that whole backlog of Disney direct-to-video films when we say that. We’re talking sequels that make The Land Before Time II through XIII look like the original Star Wars trilogy in comparison; films so bad they can easily be considered among the worst movies in history.
Behold: The bastard, forgotten offspring of some of the greatest films of all time.
5. Journey Back to Oz, the sequel to The Wizard of Oz
You’d might expect to find Disney’s Return to Oz on this list after all the PTSD it caused Wizard of Oz fans during the latter half of the ’80s.
They could have filmed The Abyss in this film’s uncanny valley.
However, it turns out there was an actual, 100 percent official sequel to The Wizard of Oz already on the books a whole decade before Return to Oz came out. Released in 1974, Journey Back to Oz was a movie doomed from the beginning since, well… Here, just look at the poster:
That’s right, there was an animated sequel to The Wizard of Oz, and it was totally meant to be taken seriously. The film featured a 15-year-old Liza Minnelli as Dorothy, who if you give this a listen was able to give a pretty convincing performance as her mother at roughly the same age. Also on board was Margaret Hamilton–the Wicked Witch of the West from the original–as Aunt Em, Mickey Rooney, Ethel Merman, Milton Berle, three songwriters with eight Oscars and 47 Oscar nominations between them and even Bugs Bunny himself, Mr. Mel Blanc.
So, what went wrong? Probably the single most important factor to any film: They ran out of money, which is just as damning in Hollywood as it is at your local strip club. By the time they finally found an animation studio shitty enough to lend their name to the project, Filmation, some of their audio recordings had already deteriorated to death. Even worse, Filmation’s solution to the film’s money problems was to augment it with even shittier animation, given the movie its current reputation as “a low point in American animation history.”
The film isn’t all that bad if you just shut your eyes and, well, ignore the leering ponies.
4. Scarlett, the sequel to Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind won 10 Oscars and to this day remains the single highest-grossing film of all time adjusted for inflation. The closest its sequel Scarlett came to touching this was winning Emmys for Art Direction and Hairstyling, we’re guessing for Timothy Dalton’s artfully creepy mustache.
So, how bad was the sequel? Let’s put it this way: When Scarlett said “tomorrow was another day,” she probably wasn’t expecting herself to get raped and put on trial for murdering her rapist—who was murdered by a slave-girl he raped as well. Rhett comes to her aid in one of the most laughable twists possible, but it doesn’t help because Scarlett is found guilty anyway. Not only is a courtroom drama so out of left field compared to what you would have expected from the first film, but it wasn’t even close to what happened in the book it was based on.
In their defense, the book kind of sucked too.
Still, Scarlett eventually wins her freedom and Rhett, and the two decide to tour the world together. Yup, sure sounds like a happy ending if you manage to forget that they kind of broke up after touring the world in the first film and book. Maybe they’re leaving the door open for a third film.
“Frankly, my dear, I still don’t give a damn.”
3. The Last Days of Patton, the sequel to Patton
They somehow got George C. Scott to reprise his Oscar-winning role as Gen. George S. Patton for this one: a made-for-TV sequel to the 1970 film Patton.
Despite being the sequel to one of the most celebrated epic war-films of all time, The Last Days of Patton serves as a painful reminder to why the original film did not follow Gen. Patton to his last days. Specifically, because he spent them “slowly dying an excruciatingly painful death in a hospital bed in Germany after an automobile crash.” While the case could be made that this made the film more interactive than the first, not helping was the Mussolini biopic Scott made just one year earlier.
2. The Birds II: Land’s End, the sequel to The Birds
Released in 1994, the director wisely went with a pseudonym for this picture. If you want to know why, head over to YouTube and see for yourself. That’s a goddamn bird exploding from a shotgun blast at 0:11 of this clip, and at 2:07 in this video you can see a bird get blown up with a flare gun.
It’s seriously like someone picked one of the greatest films from one of the greatest directors of all time and decided to add a little Michael Bay. Picture that, only in an alternate universe where Michael Bay has absolutely no money for special effects.
Fortunately, Alfred Hitchcock was dead by the time this movie came out.
1. It Runs in the Family, the sequel to A Christmas Story
And here we thought shameless cash-ins were the type of things that only happen to classic Disney movies. Apparently, even A Christmas Story was not safe from the allure of the almighty dollar in the 90’s.
It’s A Christmas Story, minus the Christmas and story.
This shitty sequel featured one of the Culkins as Ralphie and grossed a whopping $71,000 at the box office, and we’re rounding up when we say that. It’s heartbreaking to hear Jean Shepherd’s narration set to such boring, unfunny storylines and awful child actors, especially when compared from the legends they cast in the first film. Even worse, parts of the film are cringe-worthy, smashing the charm and innocence of the original like it was a leg lamp. Perhaps the chief offender is one scene when Ralphie’s teacher eerily asks him only five minutes into the film if he enjoyed the sexy parts of Boccaccio’s Decameron as if she was trying to seduce him.
In short, watch at your own risk. It’s not bad enough to destroy the original, but it sure as hell will kill your appetite for anything new about Ralphie and his family.