13. TROLL 2

1990
Sequel (in name only) to: Troll (1986)
Followed by (in name only) Troll 3 (1993), AKA Creepers, Contamination .7, Troll III: Contamination Point 7 and The Crawlers
Written by: Rosella Drudi and Claudio Fragasso
Directed by: Claudio Fragasso
Better than (unrelated) original? No, but that’s probably its strongest attribute.

JOSHUA: I know he’s dead, but so far, Grandpa Seth is the only one that’s been helping us!
HOLLY: But what are we going to do? Hold a seance?
JOSHUA: [gasps] You’re a genius, sis!

Not sure on the details, but apparently the producers of Troll 2 were worried that an unintentionally campy horror movie about goblins (not trolls) wasn’t profitable enough. They decided to link their grisly horror movie with the unrelated horror comedy, Troll, which was released four years earlier. But this movie is bad enough to stand on its own incredibly small feet! At least a few of the actors are complete stiffs, like the amazing Grandpa Seth (Robert Ormsby), who’s constantly yelling at his 8-year old grandson. He’s teaching young Joshua (Michael Stephenson), about how scary two foot tall goblins with a slow walking pace are. Not only that, Grandpa Seth is dead. Yes, little Joshua depends on his ability to talk to a dead man, and that ends up saving everyone from the town of Nilbog (get it?). And the “horror” sequences are shoved down your throat, like so much green food coloring. Not only do goblins eat people, but they trick them into eating chlorophyll so that they’ll turn into plants. Forced feeding people chlorophyll constantly makes for some long-winded (but amazingly convoluted) dialogue scenes. Throw in a cheesy ending about the power of “goodness”, with an EXTREMELY disturbing twist ending – hint: the goblins take Joshua’s mother (Margo Prey) out of the shower, then eat her in front of him – and you’ve got one of the worst movies ever made. How many famous sequels can say that?

Jason Luna


12. TOY STORY 2

1999
Sequel to: Toy Story (1995)
Followed by: Toy Story 3 (2010)
Written by: John Lasseter, Pete Docter, et al.
Directed by: John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, and Lee Unkrich
Better than the original? Well, at least as good, anyway.

WOODY: Look, Jessie, I know you hate me for leaving, but I have to go back. I’m still Andy’s toy. Well, if you knew him, you’d understand. See, Andy’s…
JESSIE: Let me guess. Andy’s a real special kid, and to him, you’re his buddy, his best friend, and when Andy plays with you it’s like… even though you’re not moving, you feel like you’re alive, because that’s how he sees you.
WOODY: How did you know that?
JESSIE: Because Emily was just the same. She was my whole world.

The hugely popular Toy Story and its sequels confirm what we always suspected: Our toys knew us, loved us, had the most thrilling adventures when we weren’t around, and mourned passionately and sincerely when we outgrew them. In this, the second installment, Cowboy Woody is inadvertently sold at a yard sale to an odious toy collector. His friends, including irrepressible Buzz Lightyear, rush to the rescue, but will Woody ever play with a child again, or is he destined to molder, all but forgotten, on a shelf somewhere? This movie introduces some of the series’ most memorable characters, including Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl and a crotchety prospector named Stinky Pete, who has never been taken out of his box. It also asks big philosophical questions — Is it better to get your arm ripped off with love, or to sit, pristine and untouched, behind glass in a museum? But mostly it makes grown-ups weepy and nostalgic; more than one of us – THEM, I mean them – slept with their old Teddy for the first time in decades the night after seeing this, the melancholy strains of Sarah McLachlan’s “When She Loved Me” haunting our – er, their – dreams. Or – ahem! – so we’ve heard, anyway.

Kate Nagy


11. MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR

1981
Sequel to Mad Max (1979)
Followed by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Written by Terry Hayes, George Miller and Brian Hannant
Directed by George Miller
Better than original? Yep!

MAX: I got all I need here.
PAPAGALLO: You don’t have a future. I could offer you that

The beginning of this movie oh-so-helpfully offers up a quick précis of the action encountered in the first installment, so it seems churlish of me not to do the same: denizen of a post-apocalyptic world in which anarchy reigns and the only currencies are gasoline and pure machismo, Max (Mel Gibson) is bereft of his family by evil bikies, leaving him embittered and selfish, looking out only for number one. Then he is caught up in a duel between yet more evil bikies and a peace-loving, oil-mining clan desperate to depart the Wasteland to find safety elsewhere, and he is reluctantly dragooned into helping out the (only slightly) less-evil side. There follows at least an hour of exhilarating car/truck/motorcycle/helicopter chases through the Australian desert, interspersed with some ruggedly-handsome glaring from Gibson and an impressive economy of dialogue. Little moments of humor – like the most evil bikie’s elaborate Mohawk being touched up by a friend with a razor; because obviously someone is putting a lot of work into that look – leaven the all-pervading starkness of the tale, as does plenty of unintentional comedy afforded by the vast majority of the acting, some truly outlandish death/injury scenes, and the costume department’s preoccupation with BDSM. Oh, wait, I forgot to mention the little kid with the ferocious mullet and the razor sharp boomerang! This movie is worth the price of admission just for him alone.

Rachel Hyland

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