Five for Frightening: Five Unofficial Foreign Horror Sequels!Movies/TV,News John Lepper
Although horror fans might not admit it, genre sequels can be a bit of a mixed bag. For every ARMY OF DARKNESS, there are usually a few HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTIONs. Yet back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, however, it was almost common practice in international territories to label acquisitions or produce films as “unofficial” sequels to U.S. horror hits. Everything from weird, low budget sequels to ALIEN to the five(!!) additional sequels to EVIL DEAD, here is just a small sample of the continuity madness that went on when international copyrights ran wild.
5. LA CASA 3 – 7
For their Italian releases, THE EVIL DEAD and EVIL DEAD II: DEAD BY DAWN were called LA CASA and LA CASA 2, but these were not the only films released under this moniker. Nope, five other movies received this title for their Italian releases, effectively being sold as unofficial EVIL DEAD sequels. GHOSTHOUSE became LA CASA 3, WITCHERY was branded LA CASA 4, BEYOND DARKNESS became LA CASA 5, HOUSE II was renamed LA CASA 6, and finally THE HORROR SHOW (a/k/a HOUSE III in some territories) was labeled LA CASA 7. And while almost all of these films went on to establish cult followings in the U.S. (with four of the five getting Scream Factory Blu-ray releases), the actual EVIL DEAD sequel ARMY OF DARKNESS was never incorporated into the LA CASA franchise in Italy.
4. ALIEN 2: SULLA TERRA
Before ALIENS, ALIEN 2: SULLA TERRA (whichs translates as ALIEN 2: ON EARTH) was an unofficial sequel to ALIEN made in 1980 produced before the copyright to the 1979 film was registered. Anachronisms, poor story, and cheesy effects ensue. Though the first film was set in the future and this movie references it, this movie is set in what is clearly present day. Chestbursters now explode out of heads. It’s a mess. Apparently, Fox actually attempted to sue them over this blatant copyright infringement, but the creators got away with it by making the excuse that the film was actually in relation to a 1930 book rather than the Ridley Scott classic.
3. ZOMBI 2 & 3
When George Romero’s classic DAWN OF THE DEAD was released in Italy, it was simply known as ZOMBI. And while Romero would go on to make several other sequels himself such as DAY OF THE DEAD and LAND OF THE DEAD, Italian gore master Lucio Fulci would go on to make two sequels to it under it’s Italian release title. Now, any self respecting horror fan knows the film released in Italy as ZOMBI 2. It was released stateside as ZOMBIE and is famous for its gruesome imagery and the incredible shark vs. zombie fight that remains notorious to this day. ZOMBI 3 followed 9 years later.
2. TROLL 2
TROLL is probably the definition of an “okay” horror movie, and is certainly one of the more forgettable Empire Pictures titles. So, why Italian director Claudio Fragrasso decided it was a good idea to name his film TROLL 2, despite there being nary a troll for the length of the film, is anyone’s guess. One of the few sequels on this list that retained that status for the U.S. release, I suppose one can not really try to make sense of the decision process for the director of one of the worst movies ever made, but at least the film has accrued a strong cult following in the years since.
1. JAWS 5
CRUEL JAWS a/k/a JAWS 5 is actually an American film directed by Italian film maker Bruno Mattei. Not only does Bruno try to sell this film as a sequel to JAWS, he actually used footage from the Steven Spielberg film, as well as from other shark films DEEP BLOOD and GREAT WHITE. Without having actually seen this film, I will still hazard that, despite his unethical practices, this would still be an instance of a sequel surpassing the previous installment because, let’s face it, you can really only go up from JAWS: THE REVENGE.