It's Halloween, which means everyone is streaming holiday-appropriate horror.

If you’re looking for an original spin, however, allow me to be your Renfield. There are no shortage of ironically horrid horror movies from which to choose.

But how to approach such a wide vista of deplorable selections? How about with movies that promised future studio profits but murdered all chances at lasting franchises instead?

Some cheeky spoilers ahead

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

Right from the start there’s a problem – that title. This story is set one year after the events of the original film. This means your movie actually should read “I Know What You Did 2 Years Ago”, but as we see, accuracy is of little concern.

It stars returning cast members Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Love-Hewitt’s cleavage, adding in Brandy and Jennifer Esposito for good measure. It’s a continuation of the exploits of teens chased by the killer fisherman, who still seeks revenge over his accidental non-death.

Brandy wins a trip for four to the Bahamas. JHL joins her, but her boyfriend (Prinze) can’t make it – even though he plans to propose to her . . . and, huh?

Another student, who has a crush on JHL, tags along. Before long, with a hurricane bearing down on their resort, The Fisherman is on scene again, killing off the staff and tormenting the bouncy Ms. Love-Hewitt.

This is a rote slasher exercise, over-reliant on jump-scares and orchestral stings. It also delivers the most pedestrian of twists: The Fisherman is named Ben Willis, and the overly amorous student? He is Will Benson. Yes, “Ben’s Son” was the one who lured them to this tropical setting for the sake of his father’s bloodlust. Will faked the radio station phone call to have the group sent to the resort as tourist target-practice.

via GIPHY

This means the film hinges entirely on an unemployed fisherman on disability being able to afford sending co-eds to a 5-star all inclusive Caribbean resort on a whim.

Uh, sure.

[Note: While technically a third iteration was released – I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer – it was truly a Sequel-In-Name-Only (SINO) as it was a direct-to-video release that had no returning characters and bore zero resemblance in content to the series.]

Jack Frost 2

Here’s another sequel set in a posh vacation setting, but this time it makes far less sense. Look, I know when it comes to a film featuring a homicidal snowman, slamming physical logic seems misplaced. However even in an outlandish farce that doesn’t take itself seriously you still need something to tether onto, otherwise nothing is worthwhile.

In this shlock nothing is worthwhile.

RELATED: Why ‘Hush’ Is Your Next Horror Addiction

From the neophyte acting, to the Party City set design, and the funny-pages-level characterizations, all is sub-par. But at least the humor is a cavalcade of grade school-grade puns and single-entendres. (Ex: Upon seeing a skinny-dipping nymphet the cold-blooded killer had to make a “breast stroke” comment, of course.)

Main problem: This snowman film takes place on a tropical island. Sam, the sheriff that vanquished the frozen menace with antifreeze, is back and he’s a whiny hamster of a man. (I know, I shouldn’t be critical until I walk a mile in his snow-shoes, right?) He scurries off to the island to get away from all hints of snow.

Meanwhile the remnants of Jack – a bottle buried in a grave – get exhumed in order to be studied by scientists. Why? This is never explained. An errant janitor drops a cup of coffee into the solution and this reanimates Jack – sort of. What we see is a floor drain and Jack’s voice vowing revenge, so it’s anthropomorphic water, I guess?

FAST FACT:: This franchise has nothing in common with the treacly 1998 film “Jack Frost” starring Michael Keaton as a disconnected pappy who dies and comes back as … a snowman.

With a perpetual external monologue Jack’s aquatic soul reaches the ocean, in pursuit of Sam. After attacking two men adrift at sea with an icicle (defying the physics of salt and snow) their last carrot washes ashore and begins talking. This is the cursed condition of Jack — a curse felt by the audience.

Extremely random appearances of the snowman in the salt and sand lead to obtuse deaths throughout the resort. Later a model dies after a cooler of ice cubes become animated, and this whole affair devolves from there. This is not for the uninitiated. A lesser person would be left questioning their life choices for viewing a title of this subterranean stature.

Pet Sematary 2

What’s interesting with this retread? It arrives as a more ludicrous entry even as it was made by Mary Lambert, the original film’s director. Delivering a nice blend of the fun and the asinine, you grasp that mixture early on when you meet Anthony Edwards as Chase, a veterinarian. But that wry characterization is compromised by the appearance of Edward Furlong as his mewling teenage son.

We open with a horror actress (Chase’s wife) killed on a movie set by errant gaffer wiring. The distraught father and son bunk down in Maine, residing beside the titular demised quadruped burial ground. That should liven their moods!

Furlong is having a tough go of it in his new high school as the bullies torment him over the loss of his mother. He befriends Drew, an overweight kid whose step-dad is Gus the town Sheriff. He’s played with wonderful scenery-gobbling energy by Clancy Brown.

Gus is a monster who parents with an iron fist, while pawing Drew’s mother next to him in the kitchen. (I can guess why this kid has issues with food.) Gus also repeatedly lets the grieving father and son know that in high school he was all over their deceased wife/mom.

Gus shoots Drew’s dog for harassing his rabbit hutch, so the boys haul the canine to the infamous burial ground. The hound makes a return, albeit with qualities that will have him evicted from the dog park. Edwards displays his professional incompetence when the veterinarian seems only puzzled that the dog walks around with a fatal wound, and has no heartbeat. Also, its glowing red eyes fail to elicit a reaction.

During another round of abuse Gus is taken down and killed by the possessed dog. Next arrive two major issues. First, the boys decide to bury Gus up at the reinvigorating graveyard – despite the blatant problematics they witnessed with the canine. Then when the school bully also meets his end he, too, is brought back in zombie fashion.

This means the film hinges entirely on an unemployed fisherman on disability being able to afford sending co-eds to a 5-star all inclusive Caribbean resort on a whim.

Are you faced with untimely deaths of the predatory step-father and the deranged school bully? Yes, by all means – let’s reanimate THOSE cretins! And for good measure why not infuse them with demonic power to boot?

The final act completely unravels as Furlong reaches some kind of alliance with zombie-Gus, and they exhume his mother to have her return, too. That result is even less successful. This retread went so far off the rails it makes for a recommended ridiculous romp.

Sorority House Massacre 2

The original sprung from the 1980s, the golden era of titillating splatter-fests. It featured a lithe co-ed unaware the sorority she had pledged was situated in the home where she grew up — oh, and where her family was carved up by her brother. So you know it was grounded in reality

This wildly unneeded follow up has a handful of nubiles moving into the same location, unoccupied for the past five years and purchased on the cheap.

Logic problems abounds as they find it has neither electricity, nor phone service yet decide to bunk for the night anyway. They only brought their bare essentials, as well as a dozen flashlights and approximately 957 candles.

This is a sequel begging for a colon in the title – “Sorority House Massacre: The Search for Continuity.” A creepy neighbor repeatedly says he lives next door, and we keep seeing him spy on the girls from his home — across the street. After this creepy stalker alerts you of the historical murders, what do you do next? Naturally you strip to your negligee, search all the scary rooms and settle in for some drunken Ouija.

The first kill shows us the familiar shadow a large hook being used; the tension is diluted by another shadow, from the crew member raising a bottle to spray blood on the wall. Moments later one friend stands where she was killed, unable to find a single trace of the murder.

Two detectives get a call to the house (who made the call is never shown, nor explained) and one who worked the original murders says he is vastly concerned.

Naturally their first stop is to a strip club.

By the time they arrive for the finale there’s been killings, possessions and the girls in wet camisols due to standing in the rain and not under an awning six inches away. The climax involves 10 shots fired from a six-shot revolver, and the promise of another non-forthcoming sequel.

There is one bit of originality to this paint-by-numbers body count. Defying genre conventions, the women who take off the most clothing are also the best actresses.

The Rage: Carrie 2

Let’s get a few things established at the top. There is no involvement by director Brian DePalma. Oscar winner Sissy Spacek does not make so much as a cameo. Stephen King’s contribution was nothing beyond a “based on characters by” credit.

In fact, nobody in this is even named Carrie.

A rather tangential through-line is made here. The connection to the original is Amy Irving. She reprises her role as Sue, one of Carrie’s original tormentors. Here she is a post-therapy school principal and soon recognizes one student, Rachel, has similar “gifts” to the doomed titular character. This was supposedly passed to her by her father, who was also Carrie’s father, because biology totally rules!

The high school football team has an extra curricular contest where they score points for seducing as many girls as they can. Rachel’s friend falls for one lunk-head, unaware she was a mere ledger entry. Her suicide provokes Rachel’s powers, and Rachel’s budding romance with a dreamy wide receiver provokes the cool kids.

You see where this is going.

A massive party in a mansion becomes the setting for the finale. (This home has a gun cabinet stocked not with firearms, but spearfishing slings — thanks #MomsDemand!) Rachel’s social mockery leads to a telekinesis meltdown with death, destruction, fire — and spear guns.

Her hunk-muscle boyfriend arrives and is nearly killed by a falling ceiling beam. Rachel saves him by pushing him out of the way, becoming trapped underneath herself. Honestly, the marvel of her powers takes a hit here, given she basically hurls everything in the home telepathically, save for this one moment. But she indicates she wants to die, shoehorning the Romeo & Juliet theme into this borefest, with ham-fisted subtlety.

This was an unneeded, unentertaining slog seemingly aimed at the teen goth set, and few others.

The Fly 2

Dispatch David Cronenberg, remove all the cerebral elements and ramp up the protoplasm and viscera. Voila, a franchise-crushing sequel.

The minor-league effort is rather clear with the poster, a near carbon copy of the original, with the tepid tagline, “Like Father Like Son.” They want to match the skill level, but deliver poorly conceived content.

Chris Walas, who won an Oscar for his effects work in Cronenberg’s version, takes over as the director. The sets and costumes are fine, but story-wise we are lagging. We learn Jeff Goldblum’s character, BrundleFly, got Veronica pregnant in the last film.

Geena Davis, who played Goldblum’s love interest, isn’t here. Her stand-in quickly dies after she gives birth to a larval sack. Inside is a seemingly normal baby, named Martin Brundle. He is taken in by the CEO of Bartok Industries, the corporation trying to develop Seth’s teleportation pods, with no success.

Martin has been passed an accelerated aging syndrome. At 3 years old he appears as a brilliant preteen who doesn’t need sleep. Technicians confiscate his dog and Martin sneaks into the lab to witness the teleportation experiment, which renders the retriever a mutated creature. Soon he “grows up” to become Eric Stoltz, a well-adjusted and personable sort. This despite we are told he is 5 years old. Even when accounting for lack of sleep he would be, at best operating at a 7-10 year old’s faculty.

Bartok cannot get the programming of the pods straight, and he needs Martin’s brilliance to fix it. While working constantly he meets Beth ( Daphne Zuniga) and they have a romance, because those are the rules.

Soon he is able to teleport a telephone with success, but organic matter still gets horribly disfigured, and this is viewed as a problem. I’d say the ability to transport objects alone is highly significant, but this accomplishment is shrugged off by all involved.

While watching footage of his father’s experiments Martin grasps the teleporter can repair his condition, but only at the expense of another organism. The ethical dilemma means he begins his inevitable transformation, and Beth sees relationship issues arising from romancing a house pest.

via GIPHY

After they initially escape she calls in Bartok to collect Martin’s cocoon; at the lab he hatches into a glorious towering insect. MartinFly now kills off most of the technicians and security – pausing midway through his carnage to pet a guard dog with his exoskeleton.

Marty finally hauls Bartok into a teleporter and tells Beth to punch coordinates. They emerge from the second pod – Martin replenished and intact, Bartok reduced to a heap of anthropomorphic SPAM. While certainly not a worthy follow up to Cronenberg’s classic, approached with the right mindset this is a fun pulpy romp.

Editor’s Note: The actress who reprised her “Carrie” role in “The Rage” was incorrectly stated in the original post.


Brad Slager is a freelance writer who has contributed to The Federalist, Breitbart News and Pop Matters. Follow him on Twitter at @MartiniShark