When audiences catch word of a Hollywood sequel to a blockbuster movie, they feel joy and fear. The joy comes from seeing the continued story arc of beloved characters, and the fear relates to the dread that's felt when the sequel not only doesn't live up to the original but fails miserably.
While the audience still yearns for well-made follow-up films, many sequels never should have seen the light of day. These worst blockbuster sequels rank among the most obvious offenders.
1. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
This movie wouldn't have disappointed many fans and critics with a different title, but the world will never know. Halloween (1979) and Halloween II (1981) revolve around the seemingly invincible serial killer Michael Myers and his prey, Laurie Strode. The plot of Halloween III involves children's masks with an ancient curse attached to them, so neither character appears in the movie, breaking the storyline arc from the first two movies.
2. Jaws 2 (1978)
Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975) not only thrilled audiences from the start but also had the perfect Hollywood ending, with moviegoers cheering as if they defeated the shark themselves. That triumphant ending made this sequel (and the rest of them) unnecessary.
Bruce the Shark delivered in Jaws, but Bruce Two looked like a mechanical shark pretending to scare swimmers, water skiers, and boaters in the dull sequel.
3. Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)
For an idea of the awfulness of Poltergeist II, neither the director (Tobe Hooper) nor the producer (Steven Spielberg) of Poltergeist (1982) had anything to do with it, and boy, did it show. The suspense and jump scares present throughout the original didn't exist in this sequel. The scariest thing onscreen occurred when Craig T. Nelson's character, Steve Freeling, drinks a worm from the bottom of a bottle of tequila and regurgitates it as a giant slug.
4. Poltergeist III (1988)
It almost seems unfair to put this movie on the list since the shocking and untimely death of Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne) affected the story development and filming. However, the entire final product deserved to stay on the cutting room floor. A franchise that starts with a legitimately frightening haunted house storyline devolves into a retread of the first and second films about evil spirits chasing an innocent little girl.
5. Grease 2 (1982)
If viewers consider Grease (1978) one of the most memorable films to come out of the Hollywood studio machine, then Grease 2 fails miserably in living up to its predecessor. Instead of the nice girl falling for the tough guy and changing her persona to impress him in Grease, the nice guy falls in love with the tough girl and changes his persona to impress her in Grease 2. The first film has problematic themes, but at least it has a catchy soundtrack.
6. Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
Exorcist II: The Heretic goes so far from the original film that only Linda Blair's presence connects the two. The Exorcist (1973) set a high standard for supernatural horror flicks, and this debacle of a sequel embarrasses itself by attempting to provide an unneeded backstory of the demon Pazuzu. Everything about this movie, the story development, the acting, and the script, says unadulterated mess. Since release, it has enjoyed the dubious distinction as one of the worst blockbusters–and worst movies–ever.
7. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), a fairly decent horror movie, got a bad rap due to its post-Scream (1996) release date. The sequel, with a formulaic, color-by-the-numbers script, cheap frights, and the fact that viewers could identify the villain from the jump, makes you wonder why a studio bothered with this film except as a quick cash grab.
8. Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
Sharon Stone reprises her role as suspected murderer Catherine Tramell, but this time around, she's taking her homicidal tendencies overseas to the United Kingdom. While the first Basic Instinct achieves notoriety for several reasons, most notably the police interrogation scene, the sequel barely registers a blip on the filmgoer's radar. The improbable plot and 14-year span between the films doomed it from the start.
9. The Crow: City of Angels (1996)
After Brandon Lee's tragic death on The Crow (1994) set, the film became a fitting tribute to his life and legacy. The Crow: City of Angels feels rather cheap and grimy, capitalizing on the tragedy surrounding the first film and doing a terrible job at it. Vincent Perez had the unfortunate task of fulfilling the lead role after Lee and didn't stand a chance of success. Besides, the film lacked anything resembling originality.
10. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
The first Speed (1994) took place on a bus that had to go over 50 mph, or else it would blow up, but the sequel takes place on a cruise ship. Exactly how fast do those big ships move? They certainly don't travel faster than a bus, so how does speed factor into the narrative? The idea fails to live up to the name, and Keanu Reeves didn't star in it.
11. The Grudge 2 (2006)
Ju-On: The Grudge (2002) and its 2004 English-language reboot brought a fresh perspective to the typical haunted house and supernatural film genres. The Grudge 2 didn't offer much of anything besides mediocre special effects. Viewers of the earlier movies already know what to expect, so there's no element of surprise, and the connection to the 2004 film felt forced.
12. Staying Alive (1983)
What made Saturday Night Fever (1977) special came from Tony Manero (played by John Travolta) perfectly channeling the kinetic energy of the disco era. Not surprisingly, the sequel, with its 1980s post-disco setting, lacked that same magic. Had the studio released a disco-themed sequel within a year or two of the original, that would have made more sense than this flick.
13. Son of the Mask (2005)
The minute Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz opted not to appear in the sequel to The Mask (1994), the studio honchos should have called it a wrap. Also, the fact that it took 11 years to make after the first one should have clued them in to pump the brakes. Instead, they produced a movie unworthy of the first one. Aside from lacking the talents and chemistry of Carrey and Diaz, Son of the Mask didn't have any of the elements that made the original film a fun ride.
14. Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)
The Blue Lagoon (1980), based on a novel written in 1908, tells the tale of two youngsters growing up alone and into adulthood on a deserted island. The plot seems far-fetched, but it performed well enough at the box office. The 1991 sequel, rehashing most of the same storyline, proved equally ridiculous but bombed with audiences. A terrible sequel to an already bad movie rarely turns out well.
15. Caddyshack II (1988)
Considered by many one of the funniest sports comedy movies ever made, Caddyshack's (1980) cult classic status has a lot to do with its strong cast of funnymen, including Bill Murray, Ted Knight, Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, and a sly gopher puppet. With only Chase and the gopher reprising their roles, the unfunny Caddyshack II unsurprisingly sank like a stone.
16. Major League II (1994)
Major League (1989) hit a surprise home run with audiences because no one could have predicted that a movie about a group of misfits playing for the fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians would do so well. Trying to recreate the magic of that film didn't work with the weak jokes and phoned-in acting. They should have left well enough alone and stopped at the first movie.
17. Piranha II: The Spawning
Not gonna lie, the silly theme of the original Piranha movie from 1978 about genetically modified fish consuming every human that dared to swim in Lost River Lake didn't set the film up to win awards, but it didn't take away from the movie's entertainment factor.
But a sequel about murderous piranhas with the ability to fly? Come on now. Fortunately, director James Cameron achieved greater heights than his debut film.
18. Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (1987)
The raunchy, lowbrow humor of Revenge of the Nerds (1984) reflected the comedic stylings of the era, which didn't resonate with critics the way it did with audiences. Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise offered more of the same but in a different setting with even worse lowbrow humor. In today's climate, neither film would get made, and that's something to celebrate.
19. Problem Child 2 (1991)
A dreadful movie like Problem Child (1990), about a thoroughly unlikable kid who's a pervasive danger to the humans (and a pet cat) around him, should never have come to fruition. But movie studios do what they do – chase that dollar – and coughed up an equally awful sequel about not one but two unlikable kids. Let's hope and pray a reboot isn't in the works.
20. Teen Wolf Too (1987)
There's no way this sequel could have gotten off the ground, especially without Michael J. Fox in the starring role. The plot of Teen Wolf (1985), about a high school student who morphs into a werewolf with an exceptional talent for basketball, doesn't make much sense, but the scenario of Teen Wolf Too, about his collegiate cousin werewolf with boxing skills, made even less sense.
21. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
In all fairness, the final film of the first trilogy isn't bad, but it disappoints after the greatness of X2 (2003). Seeing several main characters getting killed off or morphed into humans changed the movie for the worse, and the script felt too self-congratulatory. This early installation of the X-Men series could have and should have ended much better than it did…and given its box office haul, it might actually qualify as the worst blockbuster sequel ever.
22. Terminator Salvation (2009)
Sometimes, a movie franchise overstays its welcome by churning out terrible movies after earlier successes. That's the problem with the Terminator franchise. Viewers loved the first two movies, and the third fell off. The fourth, Terminator Salvation, with an overly complicated plot, uninspired acting, and no Arnold Schwarzenegger, wasted viewers' time and money.