America: The Winter Soldier to Mad Max: Fury Road, there have been some
terrific sequels these last few years, but if you tried counting them on both
hands, you’d still have five fingers too many.
The law of diminishing returns holds true for most franchises, although these days there seems to be an added caveat: not only will one of the sequels disappoint you, it will steal your time and money, insult your intelligence and pummel you with an over the top visual style for two and a half hours. But enough about Batman Vs Superman.
You don’t watch a sequel expecting to see compelling characters, quotable dialogue and white-knuckle action scenes. You watch because the first movie had all of those things, and you’re curious to see how badly they’ve been mangled this time round. Sometimes the filmmakers acquit themselves well, but other times they give you Thor: The Dark World.
Studios come up with all kinds of nonsense to justify making sequels. They had to make it because the audience demanded to know what happened to the characters. They had to make another one because there was so much more of the story to tell, so much rich wonderful story. That’s why there are three Matrix movies instead of just one.
Some franchises improve as they go along, but most wither and die. Here are 10 that withered.
10. The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)
Whatever points director Tom Six wanted to make in The Human Centipede: First Sequence were delivered with brute force, but this sequel has a different agenda. In order to mock the first film’s critics, Six resorts to puerile shock tactics that quickly become tiresome.
According to the BBFC, who initially banned the film, Full Sequence is about a character who is aroused by “the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture and murder of his naked victims.” After using sandpaper to masturbate over a DVD of The Human Centipede, Martin (Laurence Harvey) kidnaps 12 people (none of whom are portrayed sympathetically) in order to make his own “centipede.” As he smashes their teeth and severs their tendons, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re watching some squalid grindhouse movie meant for 42nd Street in the 1970s.
But no – the movie was made to degrade and humiliate a modern crowd, and only serves to prove that our few remaining taboos aren’t worth breaking. Six’s checklist of perversions brings to mind what Kim Newman said about John Waters – he’s really an adolescent boy seeing how far he can go before he’s sent to his room.