Casablanca. Gone with the Wind. Bambi. Classic works of cinematic art that tell a complete, self-contained story. But you may be surprised to discover that these favorites, and many more, ended up with sequels. The reason for these terrible follow ups to classic movies isn't hard to guess - Hollywood has always had a desire to cash in on ideas that work. Unfortunately, these sequels to classic films are more likely to leave fans saying "WTF?" than applauding.
These forgotten sequels and poorly conceived spin-offs have a few things in common. A few of these crass cash grabs feature cameos or begrudging starring roles from the movie's original stars. Many skipped theaters entirely - they're low-budget TV movies banking on recognizable titles. And a handful decided to class up their names by adding a Roman numeral "II."
But the most important attribute these sequels share is how quickly they were forgotten, while the original masterpieces are still watched, and re-watched, to this day. Read on to discover which of your favorite movies were saddled with unnecessary follow ups.
American Psycho (2000), based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel and featuring Christian Bale as the terrifying serial killer Patrick Bateman, is a modern cult classic. Its follow up American Psycho II: All American Girl (2002), not so much.
In their review of the straight to DVD sequel, the AV Club wrote: "Where American Psycho did just about everything right, American Psycho 2: All-American Girl gets it all wrong."
The film begins with Patrick Bateman (or more accurately a Bale-ish body double) dying at the hands of a small child. That child grows up to be Mila Kunis, a serial killer. She's also training to join the FBI under the tutelage of an FBI legend, played by William Shatner.
What kind of person would take the 1960 counter-culture masterpiece Easy Rider, and give it a conservative, pro-military sequel nearly 50 years later? That would be filmmaker Phil Pitzer, who fought legal battles to make Easy Rider: The Ride Back.
Nathan Rabin at The Dissolve compared Pitzer to Tommy Wiseau, the supremely confident and notoriously bad director of The Room, often considered the worst film ever made. Rabin wrote:
"Easy Rider: The Ride Back suggests what The Room might be like if Wiseau decided he wasn’t just going to make a tribute to A Streetcar Named Desire, but rather a sequel to A Streetcar Named Desire that casts himself as Stanley Kowalski’s cooler brother Johnny, and litters the screenplay with nods to previous adventures."
As misguided as it seems, attempts were made to make an unofficial sequel to It's A Wonderful Life (1946). This unproduced film, titled It's A Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story, would have been about the ghost of Zuzu - played by the original actress - as she teaches a lesson to an evil descendent of George Bailey.
And while this abomination may never make it to screens, there has already been a follow-up to the holiday classic. A TV movie titled Clarence was aired on The Family Channel in 1990, and starred "a post-Revenge of the Nerds Robert Carradine as a young, future Clarence the angel."
Since its release in 1939, The Wizard of Oz has spawned a handful of unofficial and semi-official follow-ups, remakes, reboots, and prequels.
In 1974, the only official follow-up to the MGM classic was released: the animated film Journey Back to Oz. The film featured the voice work of Judy Garland's daughter, Liza Minnelli, as Dorothy, and Margaret Hamilton (the original's Wicked Witch of the West) as Aunt Em. The rest of the stacked voice cast included Mickey Rooney as the Scarecrow, Danny Thomas as the Tin Man, and Milton Berle as the Cowardly Lion.
The film was originally released in theaters after years of delayed production. It was a huge box office bomb and was critically trashed. The film was later shown on TV, and as one critic noted, "the version of Journey that aired on TV beginning in the mid-’70s... features live-action segments starring Bill Cosby as the Wizard of Oz, floating in his hot air balloon with a talking parrot, a couple of kids meant to be Munchkins and presumably a hidden barrel of booze he’s seemingly been drinking."