Was “The Crow” cursed? Did “Poltergeist” bring a hex upon the entire cast? Were there real satanic forces behind “The Exorcist”? Did “Twilight Zone: The Movie” conjure up bad luck and ultimately a curse? Well, hell no on all fronts. The thing about “Cursed Films” (now on Blu-Ray from Shudder and Image Entertainment), is that if you’re a movie buff and horror fan, you’ve heard about literally everything that’s explored in “Cursed Films.” At five episodes and thirty minutes an episode, “Cursed Films” basically goes over the same material we’ve seen or read about a thousand times but in greater length.
Most recently, the sequel to “The Big Lebowski” was released in theaters without much fanfare and much of a response, if we’re going to be honest. I wasn’t even aware there was a sequel in the works until I came across the trailer online by accident. “The Jesus Rolls” lacks just about everything “The Big Lebowski” brought to cult cinema, and John Turturro never makes much of an argument for why Jesus Quintana deserved a sequel/spin off during the entire film. It is pretty sad, considering I wouldn’t have minded if Jesus ended up sparking a cult classic in the same league as The Dude.
That said, here are five other sequels that came years (sometimes decades) later, and flopped big time.
Before the over-the-top mayhem and dark humor of Amazon’s The Boys, before the post-apocalyptic nightmare of The Walking Dead, before the sprawling space adventure of Avengers: Endgame, there was MARS ATTACKS! The original pulp sci-fi card set, released by Topps in 1962, influenced them all.
Now nearly six decades later, The Topps Company has licensed Mars Attacks to SideKick Lab, who will develop, produce, and publish a new series of Mars Attacks trading cards, which is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. This campaign was fully funded in just over an hour!
With director JJ Abrams returning to the “Star Wars” universe once again (taking the reins for Rian Johnson), he’s able to repeat history of generations’ past. He offers fans the final film of a three movie saga that never quite hits the high bar set by the previous films. “The Rise of Skywalker” is a great movie in its own right, but like “Return of the Jedi” it is held back due to many unfortunate screenplay inconsistencies, characters that don’t do much of anything, and blatant retconning that Abrams commits to at the expense of the story. “The Rise of Skywalker” is a very good movie and great closer to the Skywalker saga, warts and all.
Larry Cohen’s “The Stuff” is one of those “so bad its good” horror comedies that’s managed to creep in to the collective consciousness of movie buffs since its release and for good reason. While much of the movie is so painfully ridiculous, it also kind of comes packed with a still very relevant message about consumerism and our obsession with junk food. You could mock it all you want, but when the credits roll, its message is a lot more sophisticated than bad green screen and horrendous sound design. Cohen’s film is wildly uneven in tone and never really decides if it wants to be sci-fi, horror, comedy, or complete satire.
Auteur Luigi Cozzi’s “Alien Contamination” also known as “Toxic Spawn,” also known as “Contamination,” also known as “Aliendrome,” is one of the most incoherent horror films spawned from Italy. It’s tedious but shockingly compelling, and manages to take just about everything from various films to mix together something that’s about alien green egg pod chest bursters turning humans in to zombies that originates from Mars, as masterminded by a phallic Cyclops alien with a vaginal mouth and hypnotic eyes. All funded by the Colombian Mafia! Seriously.
I’d say the best marketing The Last Halloween ever had was on a bag of Reese’s Pieces during the Halloween of 1991. I can still remember my mom buying the big bag of Reese’s Pieces and on the lower left hand corner there was the ad for the CBS special premiering that month with the “Mission to MARS” mascots front and center. It was a fine Halloween, with a great special that ran once on CBS and before disappearing into obscurity. Serving as a promotional film for the candy company MARS Company, “The Last Halloween” was a half hour movie about a small town named Crystal Lake with an economy reliant on their massive candy factory.
We couldn’t afford too many toys when we were kids, but for we always appreciated what stuff our parents could grab for us for Christmas or our birthdays. My toy preferences mostly narrowed down to action figures and play sets with TMNT and superhero figures some of my biggest choices on wish lists as a kid. Along the way I did have some toys that were horror themed, including the Ghostbusters, the Mighty Max play sets, and much more. I was even around during the first wave of McFarlane’s Spawn figures, which were hot commodities for a while, there. These are five of my favorite and most fondly remembered horror themed toys from my childhood.
What were your favorites?