The Most WTF Sequels Ever Made

List Rules
Vote up the movie sequels that were nothing like you expected.

Movie sequels are frequently unnecessary. Motivated more by fiscal concerns than by the dictates of the plot, studios have pushed all sorts of unlikely, ill-advised, and outright weird sequels into production over the years. (And sometimes, someone has the good - or bad - sense to ensure that some of the weirdest sequel ideas don't get made.) 

Most of the time, these are simply tired retreads of the films that came before, but every now and then, filmmakers take the opportunity to do something so bold, so ambitious, so out-of-left-field, or just so bad that the sequel transcends its limitations to become something else entirely. This isn't always a good thing, though sometimes it leads to a classic. James Cameron's 1986 follow-up to Ridley Scott's Alien switched gears pretty heavily from its predecessor and made a film that many consider superior, as just one example.

These are some of the weirdest, wildest, most WTF movie sequels ever made - flicks that took a hard left turn from their source material and did something very different. Sometimes to their great credit. Other times... less so.


  • 1
    75 VOTES

    There are sequels made long after the movies they're following, and then there's Return to Oz. Released nearly half a century after the MGM original, Return to Oz was made partly so that Disney could hang onto the rights to the subsequent Oz books, which the company had purchased years before. To say that it's a very different film than its predecessor is putting it mildly. For starters, it opens with Dorothy - now played by Fairuza Balk, in her first role, who is much younger than Judy Garland was when she played Dorothy in the 1939 original - still dreaming of Oz. The solution proposed by Auntie Em and Uncle Henry? Electroshock therapy.

    While the flying monkeys in the original Wizard of Oz may have given kids nightmares, just about everything in Return to Oz is pure nightmare fuel, from the horrifying wheelers - bad-guy minions with wheels in place of their hands and feet - to protagonists like Jack Pumpkinhead to Princess Mombi, who keeps a collection of women's heads that she switches out with her own. The resulting film didn't fare too well, with Roger Ebert calling it a "complete disaster." But its very nightmare qualities also mean that those of us who were traumatized by it as kids never forgot it - and never quite got over it.

    • Actors: Fairuza Balk, Nicol Williamson, Jean Marsh, Piper Laurie, Matt Clark
    • Released: 1985
    • Directed by: Walter Murch

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  • 2
    46 VOTES

    The Friday the 13th franchise had already taken a pretty hard turn nearly a decade earlier in 1993's Jason Goes to Hell, but that body-hopping, supernatural story was nothing compared to what writer Todd Farmer would do with Jason X. The film opens with Jason being frozen in cryogenic stasis, only to be discovered and awakened nearly 500 years later aboard a spaceship bound for Earth Two, the planet that everyone moved to when Earth became too polluted.

    Over the course of the film, Jason eventually gets hacked to pieces and rebuilt as a cyborg, sometimes called "Uber Jason." He also visits a holographic recreation of Crystal Lake, fights an android, and a whole lot more. In one of the film's more inventive kills, Jason freezes someone's head with liquid nitrogen and shatters it against a table. This made enough of an impact that it was actually tested out on an episode of MythBusters.

    • Actors: Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, Jonathan Potts, Peter Mensah
    • Released: 2002
    • Directed by: James Isaac

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  • Maybe the most notorious horror movie sequel of all time, Halloween III: Season of the Witch has the odd distinction of being the only film in the entire Halloween franchise - which currently numbers 11 pictures and counting - not to feature the masked slasher Michael Myers. This is because John Carpenter and Debra Hill, who co-created the original film, had envisioned the series as an anthology of unrelated tales centered on Halloween night, rather than the continuing reign of terror of one masked villain. 

    Halloween III was their first gesture in that direction, and at the time it proved disastrous. The release brought in the lowest box office of any Halloween film to date, and critics and audiences alike reacted dismissively to the absence of Michael Myers. It wasn't until decades later that Halloween III began to be reappraised, achieving cult movie status thanks to its, frankly, bonkers plot, which, according to New York Times critic Vincent Canby, "manages the not easy feat of being anti-children, anti-capitalism, anti-television, and anti-Irish, all at the same time."

    That plot came from legendary British sci-fi writer Nigel Kneale, whose work was a huge influence on Carpenter. (His 1987 film Prince of Darkness is an homage to Kneale, as is the pen name that Carpenter wrote that film under.) Kneale didn't like the changes that were made to the script, however, and demanded his name be removed from the finished product - which is a bummer, because probably nobody but Kneale could have made something as ridiculous as Halloween III - with its robots, its sinister Halloween masks, and its druidic plot to steal a chunk of Stonehenge - as effective as it still somehow is.

    • Actors: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O'Herlihy, Ralph Strait, Michael Currie
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: Tommy Lee Wallace

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  • Two years before he reinvigorated the sagging slasher formula with Scream, Wes Craven was already playing at some of that film's metafictional conceits in the seventh installment of the perennially popular Nightmare on Elm Street saga. Rather than continuing the course of the previous films, New Nightmare takes place in the "real world," with original Nightmare actress Heather Langenkamp playing herself. Craven also plays himself in the film, as does New Line founder Robert Shaye, John Saxon, and others, including Robert Englund, who plays both himself and Freddy Krueger.

    In this story, Krueger is a kind of demonic, cosmic entity who manifests through Craven's story. Think of him sort of like Pennywise in Stephen King's It, forced into the guise of Krueger by the film series, and now freed into the real world since the franchise is finished. The bold sequel was the lowest-grossing film in the Nightmare franchise, but has since become regarded as an overlooked classic, with Vinnie Mancuso at Collider calling it "Wes Craven's meta-horrror masterpiece."

    • Actors: Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Miko Hughes, David Newsom, Tracy Middendorf
    • Released: 1994
    • Directed by: Wes Craven

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  • How do you follow up Don Coscarelli's sword-and-sorcery opus Beastmaster? You bring him (and his evil half-brother, played by Wings Hauser) through a dimensional portal to present-day Los Angeles, of course. It seems that our eponymous Beastmaster's heretofore unknown half-brother plans to acquire a neutron explosive that will allow him to rule over their home world, and our hero has to team up with a rich Angeleno (played by MTV VJ Kari Wuhrer) to stop him. The result is a lot of bad fish-out-of-water comedy and shots of a loincloth-wearing Marc Singer (complete with tiger) strolling down Hollywood Boulevard, not to mention a hard left turn from Coscarelli's original.

    The screenplay of Beastmaster 2 has some five credited writers, one of whom is - perhaps unsurprisingly - schlock legend Jim Wynorski.

    • Actors: Kari Wührer, James Avery, Marc Singer, Michael Berryman, Sarah Douglas
    • Released: 1991
    • Directed by: Sylvio Tabet
  • Released more than a decade after its infamous predecessor, Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 represents just about as direct a deviation from its source material as it's possible to imagine. If you need evidence, look no further than the film's unlikely yet iconic Breakfast Club homage poster.

    While just about everyone else viewed the original Texas Chain Saw as an unrelenting horror film, Tobe Hooper saw it as just as much of a black comedy, an aspect that he chose to play up here. (Wikipedia lists this movie as a "parody sequel.") And while that film used implication and a cinema verite style to avoid having to show too much red stuff, this one piled on the gore, featuring special effects by Tom Savini.

    Then there's Dennis Hopper. Playing a Texas lawman who's out for revenge against the Sawyer family for the demise of his niece and nephew in the first film - a character that should seem familiar to anyone who has watched Rob Zombie's horror flicks - Hopper showed up coked to the gills, and gives an absolutely out-of-this-world performance. Hopper once claimed that "the cocaine problem in the United States is really because of me." Watching Texas Chainsaw 2, well, it's easy to believe.

    • Actors: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Bill Johnson, Jim Siedow, Bill Moseley
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: Tobe Hooper

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