10 Awful Prequels That Are Just The Worst

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Movie studios have this crazy idea that fans of a franchise always want to know every single ounce of history related to it. There are a ton of ways to delve deeper into these stories, whether it’s through novels, comics, video games, musicals or any other type of media. But perhaps the worst abuse of backstories are the ones found in film prequels.

Even just hearing the word prequel is enough to send shivers down a fan’s spine, because as many brokenhearted moviegoers have discovered, these piles of trash are usually exceptionally bad attempts at making money by attaching a successful franchise to a terrible movie. Sometimes a series is best left alone, though. Maybe, just maybe, fans don’t give two Wookie farts about who built C-3PO.

Comedian Patton Oswalt once compared the idea of prequels to looking at Jon Voight’s horrifying, intolerable man bits because you love Angelina Jolie. On that note, here are ten of the worst metaphorical man bits to ever ruin a franchise.

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Alien Vs. Predator

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In a perfect world, crossovers would be relegated to comics and left there for good. Superheroes constantly show up in each others’ lives, saving the day or waging war and being generally epic. Just look at a few of Marvel’s crossover features to see that there can be success in this idea. The only reason these work, however, is if there is a logical reason for the forces described to be meeting in the first place.

So how does a battle between these two terrifying extraterrestrials begin? Well, one easter egg found in Predator 2 was enough to get this idea off the ground and effectively ruin both franchises for fans. The idea that Predators hunt Aliens as a rite of passage is just mind-numbingly stupid. It also creates plot holes large enough to walk a cargo-loader through.

Maybe I should chalk this up to being a nerd, but if the Aliens were first discovered on Earth in 2004, then why is everybody so surprised when they reappear over 100 years later in deep space? Because of this strange twist, I’ll count AVP as a prequel, but also because it is awful. Its dismissal from canon is the only small pleasure fans can get from it. Despite many people’s hatred for Prometheus, it’s easy to say that AVP as an alternate prequel would be even worse.

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Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

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Don’t even get me started about this movie. Please, just don’t. Troy Miller is the main force behind this dud, and we’re all supposed to believe that he worked on shows like Arrested Development or Mr. Show? This movie – no, not a movie – this torture device is harder to endure than getting a root canal on a racing camel while listening to Hulk Hogan’s classic “Hulkster in Heaven.”

First of all, Dumb and Dumber was a movie that didn’t need a prequel. At all. Not even close. Despite some comedies being deeper than the humor they present, a movie that features a blind kid petting a dead parrot isn’t quite packed with layers. As unnecessary as a prequel this is, it could have at least been saved with some semblance of humor to throw fans a bone.

Nope. The only part that elicits anything other than an ache deep in your bones is when Bob Saget freaks out about poop covering his walls. One OK YouTube clip out of something that could have shown up as a Saw trap is nowhere near enough to redeem this trash.

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Exorcist: The Beginning

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Alright, this goes far beyond just being a bad prequel and a worse movie. This, my friends, is desecration of a classic Hollywood film. The Exorcist is the benchmark of horror cinema, a film that has garnered an amount of success that the genre only wishes it could achieve. Released in 1973, it’s far too old to be rehashed or reused, right?

Come on, you’ve read far enough to know the answer to that. Over thirty years after the release of the original (and a handful of sequels), Exorcist: The Beginning reared its ugly head, chronicling the first time Father Merrin and the demon Pazuzu met in spiritual battle. This is an event only hinted at in the original, but its repercussions were felt throughout The Exorcist, never needing any explanation to make the drama more palpable.

We can attribute the existence of this bucket of green slime to Hollywood’s refusal to be subtle. Father Merrin has some demons (metaphorical and literal) haunting him in The Exorcist? Make a movie about him fighting one in hopes that money will soon follow. For anybody keeping their fingers crossed, no, this movie did not make its budget back. Thank you Based God!

Fun fact: there were actually two versions of this film, and this is the one that got wide release. Feel free to look up the other version (Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist) for a slightly less yet still still awful version of amateur filmmaking.

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The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas

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Despite its flaws, the first live action Flintstones film holds a dear place in my heart. I’ll be the first to admit that there is plenty wrong with it, but the nostalgia it carries is more than enough to to let me forgive it. But I remember being eight years old and seeing this sequel for the first time, and even then I felt that something was wrong. There was a disturbance in the force, so to speak. I could never put my pudgy little finger on what it was.

And now that I’m older, I can look back and pinpoint exactly what it was: it sucked. Like, it sucked a lot. Everything that was endearing in the first film was replaced by a Baldwin brother and the guy who played Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones. Even the story that takes our favorite cavemen to Viva Rock Vegas is just ridiculous, and that’s coming from a guy who giggled at a pterodactyl pooping on an entire town. Alan Cumming’s turn as the Great Gazoo is nothing short of painful, making a headache a full decompression in an airlock chamber.

If that’s not enough, there’s a joke towards the beginning where Fred and Barney ask what shoes are. There’s also a scene where the two eat at a restaurant where the waitresses wear rollerskates. So they can figure out skates, but not shoes. It’s small, but the rest of the movie will be spent comparing everything they’ve created other than shoes. Chew on that brontosaurus burger for a bit.

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Halloween (2007)

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OK, to start, I know this is technically a remake of the fantastic slasher Halloween. However, anyone who has seen this version can attest to the prequel qualities that Rob Zombie added to his version. While part of me wants to give Zombie props for putting his own twist to the classic film (I’ll admit to loving his demented gorefest The Devil’s Rejects), I just can’t forgive him for his cardinal sin: giving Michael Myers a definite identity.

The whole reason behind giving Myers a faceless mask and few defining traits is so that viewers can project their worst fears onto him. It is never (reasonably) explained why he survives most brushes with death, or why he has such a desire to murder his family and those around them. He is simply an indestructible force that takes the form of any nightmares the viewer has. He was actually originally called “The Shape.”

So what does Rob Zombie do? He gives Myers a voice, an abusive home and a love for torturing animals, all with the hope of giving us a new perspective on the killer. But we don’t need a history lesson on why Myers kills everyone he sees. If we can’t see what we fear in Myers, then we have taken away his power to scare us. And if that’s not a terrible thing for a prequel to do, then I don’t know what is.

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Hannibal Rising

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I love anything involving Hannibal Lecter. Even the demented sequel to The Silence of the Lambs earns a spot in my heart because of Anthony Hopkins’ fearless performance as Lecter. And the prequel that Brett Ratner directed? That gets a pass in my book, and that’s from the guy who directed the abysmal X-Men: The Last Stand.

But Hannibal Rising? I would rather bathe in hot oil and present myself to the good doctor for some Ray Liotta style brain munching. I’m sure that Lecter has a history that is ferociously interesting and pertinent to who he eventually becomes, but I guarantee that what is presented here is far from what faithful fans deserve. Sure, there’s plenty of gore and torture, but Lecter never stands as a unique individual. Instead, he becomes a textbook case of various psychotic issues. Oh, and he eats people.

There is a crippling lack of originality on display, and anything involving a character as intriguing as Lecter should never be lacking in that aspect. I mean, he fed a live man his own brain for crying out loud! Forget Nazis, katanas and lame decapitations. Just give the doctor some respect.

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The Star Wars Prequels

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Oh don’t act like you didn’t see this coming. There’s almost nothing new to say about these abominations that hasn’t been moaned by fans in the past decade. George Lucas’ decision to torture us with these additions to the best sci-fi saga of all time had to have been strictly money driven, because there is no quality to be found in any of these films aside from the visuals.

All of the acting is wooden, the writing is awfully unbearable, and Anakin as a character is just the worst. Fans of the originals will remember that the acting and the writing weren’t exactly top notch, but the heart that beat in that saga endeared it to nerds worldwide. These films instead focused on creating toys, spin-offs and careers for untalented Hollywood folk.

I promise I won’t keep you on this too long, because like I said above, everything that needs to be said about the prequels have been said before (although the need for Jar-Jar’s slow and painful death can never be overstated). These movies have become the Nickelback of films, and for good reason.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

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Why is it always horror movies that have the worst sequels and prequels? With so many interesting concepts floating around, why must all of them be beaten to death? Even before this abomination was released, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation had effectively killed all clout the series held with fans.

Again, we’re given another origin story that isn’t necessary, as the story tries to explain why Leatherface and his family are so demented. Teenagers come along, get chopped into bits, blah blah blah. Wasn’t the original better when the family was an unexplained backwoods phenomenon? It becomes a much more effective film when nobody has any idea just what is happening.

Despite everything working against this garbage, it gets points for having R. Lee Ermey in it. In fact, he would make a fantastic Leatherface.

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The Thing (2011)

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Just like Rob Zombie’s Halloween, this version of the Carpenter classic serves as a remake/prequel, chronicling the events that unfolded at the Norwegian research camp before the original film. Their first problem was trying to take on the original Thing, which stands as a crowning achievement in the horror/sci-fi genre. It’s the equivalent of a pee-wee football team playing in the Super Bowl.

Every other problem stems from the lack of paranoia that pervaded the original, relying instead on cheesy jump scares that couldn’t even scare a toddler, let alone seasoned horror fans. Even in this article, it’s hard not to compare this inferior work to the original version, crippling the new version before it could even get out the door. If it were necessary to know every single detail of the Norwegian’s deaths, Carpenter would have included it.

It’s just another example of excess in the horror genre, when all that was needed was a proper atmosphere. Kurt Russell’s unkempt “look at how homeless I am” beard would have also helped a ton.

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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The amazing X-Men: First Class proved that prequels can work when done with style and a love for the source material. Before that, however, was the disastrous X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which proved that even an indestructible killing machine can be dreadfully boring. To be fair, Hugh Jackman is a great actor and I still stand by his portrayal of Wolverine, but this movie is awful.

Whether it’s the heart or the script that is lacking here, it hurt the production enough to make absolutely nobody care about Logan. He is indestructible and stronger than pretty much everyone else in existence (or at least those who oppose him), so why should we care what happens to him? Despite having bones of adamantium, he has a heart of crinkled up paper, and this is how they try to drive the plot forward.

But of course this doesn’t work, because nobody watches Wolverine for his monologues on heartache and love long lost. So making a prequel based on how sad he is and how much of his life has been suffering makes as much sense as fighting the man with a wooden spoon.

Do you think all of these movies deserve to be on this list? Care to argue in favor of any of these piles of garbage? If so, sound off in the comments and let us know if you have other additions!

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  • Darren

    Actually the third Star Wars movie is pretty acclaimed.

    • Christian Law

      The third actually wasn’t too terrible, but the first two were just too bad to forget when watching it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/movieman.smith Movie-Man Smith

      Second that. But this is a general article. He needs to paint everything with a vaugue paintbrush. But I hear ya. Now if only we could get the version with the rebels, Qui-Gon’s Ghost, Darth Skywalkere vs Cin Drallig and the original beginning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kserenyi Kenneth Serenyi

    Did X-Men Origins: Wolverine, remind anyone else of the first Highlander movie? Especially with the montage of “immortal character” taking part in historical events?

  • http://twitter.com/MinimeJer05 Jeremy Lebens

    Seeing Texas Chainsaw on there makes me sad :( My favorite Chainsaw flick out of them all.

  • K. Bett

    One thing the author said I can’t agree with is his description of what people don’t want to see about Wolverine. The whole indestructible guy with claws and a “I don’t give a fuck attitude” with a heart of gold is the attraction of the character.

  • Disqus

    (SIGH) So boring. I bet this entire page was just an excuse to poke fun at the SW prequel trilogy in particular. We’ve heard this same boring story enough already. Also Halloween ’07 isn’t a prequel, that’s like saying Batman Begins is a prequel. Instead of bashing the same movies that get bashed all the time like Wolvers, Thing ’11 why not create a thread which explains what makes a good prequel. While X-Men: 1st Class was good, it was still inconsistent like most prequels.

    If they make a Scream 5 it should be about the rules of a prequel, since horror prequels seem to be the worst ever.