Cinema’s most chaotic movie franchises

Sequels dispensed like an unsecured firehose

So The Wicker Man has a sequel coming out soon. No I’m not talking about the horrible remake with Nicolas Cage. I’m talking about the original 1973 cult classic and they’ve even got Christopher Lee to come back. It’s even being handled by the original director Robin Hardy who will be adapting his own novel entitled (get this) Cowboys for Christ .

Are you even allowed to do a sequel after there’s already been a remake? Sure you are. Remakes reboots spin-offs sequels prequels — they all get flung out at a bemused public in seemingly random order based on whatever deals come along at the right time. The family trees of some film franchises look like webs spun by a drunken spider. Don’t believe us? Read on.

The Mummy : Universal Studios kicked things off with this franchise in 1932 telling the terrifying story of a dead guy wrapped up in toilet paper. The Mummy was followed by four “scary” sequels and one funny one Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955). Plenty of unrelated mummy stories followed including four British movies from Hammer Films and a bizarre 1997 Saturday morning cartoon called Mummies Alive! now best remembered for its ridiculous techno theme song (“He has the Mummies! From 1525 B.C. / He has the Mummies! Protection for the new Rapses / He has the Mummies! They’re hanging by the ‘Frisco Bay / He has the Mummies! Protectors of the World today!”).

Then the 1999 remake restarted the franchise as a series of rollicking action yarns along with yet another Saturday morning cartoon and a spin-off series based on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s extremely brief cameos as both “guy dying in desert” and “weird CGI monster” in The Mummy Returns (2001). This all led inexorably to The Scorpion King 2 (2008) the sequel to the prequel to the sequel to a remake.

I haven’t even mentioned the extremely silly 1845 short story Some Words with a Mummy written by none other than Edgar Allan Poe. Didn’t know that Poe wrote goofy comedy did you? I urge you to read it. It’s insane.

Goldeneye : The entire James Bond franchise is a tangled mess of novels games parodies sequels reboots and ripoffs but the seventeenth official Bond film has its own odd offspring. Goldeneye (1995) that was unusual for a number of reasons. It was the first of the Pierce Brosnan Bond films the first to feature a female “M” (Dame Judi Dench) the first to take place after the fall of the Soviet Union and the first completely original Bond tale that took no elements from any of Ian Fleming’s published works.

Video games based on films usually get released alongside these movies and they’re usually awful. Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64 bucked the trend by turning up two years late and by being one of the best games ever. Gamers still like to praise the hell out of this outstanding piece of videogame history.

It didn’t stop there. Another game GoldenEye: Rogue Agent angered fans of 007 by having little connection to original and particularly. by being the first James Bond game in which you don’t get to play as Bond. You’re some other secret agent with a bionic eye prosthetic that’s somehow supposed to justify the misleading title.

Now there’s Goldeneye Source a Half-Life 2 mod that duplicates the original Nintendo game. If that’s not enough to placate fans an official remake of Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo Wii is due this November. Weird thing is they’ve cast new Bond actor Daniel Craig this time instead of Brosnan. Huh?

-Dungeons and Dragons: Ignoring the various video game incarnations this franchise progresses like so:

World-famous tabletop game (1974)

Corny cartoon series (1985)

Nothing much for 15 years

Terrible terrible movie (2000)

Direct-to-video sequel that nobody saw (2005)

Hilarious song performed by Stephen Lynch (Hidden track on The Craig Machine 2005)

Night of the Living Dead: The collection of creative minds behind the classic original 1968 film no longer work together so they kind of share the franchise. Director George Romero has made five sequels the most recent being Survival of the Dead (2010). Writer John Russo inherited the right to use the words “Living Dead” in his titles and his Return of the Living Dead franchise now includes five films. Romero’s first three Dead films have each been remade with varying degrees of success. The classic Italian splatter flick Zombie (AKA 1979’s Zombi 2 and Zombie Flesh Eaters ) billed itself as a sequel to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) in some markets and had it’s own string of unrelated sequels. Not surprisingly the franchise has been fraying at the edges for quite some time now but fans disagree on what the worst entry in the entire mess (Series? Serieses? Continuum?) might be. The worst offenders are generally agreed to be Children of the Living Dead (2001) Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005) Zombi 3 (1988) Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006) the colourized version of the original film (bright green zombies!) the 30 th Anniversary edition of the original film (awful new footage!) and its parody Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil Mutant Alien Flesh Eating Hellbound Zombified Living Dead Part 2: in Shocking 2-D (1991) which was the original Night of the Living Dead redubbed as a comedy. Phew!

Whoops! Out of room. The Godzilla Street Fighter Aliens and Predator franchises will have to wait for another column.