There is a love/hate relationship when it comes to sequels. It’s always exciting to revisit a beloved movie and return to its world and characters. It can also be said that just because a movie is successful, it doesn’t mean that you’ll catch lightning in a bottle twice. The sequel could be a massive letdown. In some instances, producers take an even bigger gamble and a third movie is released in a series. Sometimes, it works. Others… well, that’s where the hate-filled relationship starts.
For every Dark Knight, Godfather and Star Wars trilogy, there is some campy, straight-to-DVD horror or comedy trilogy. It’s one thing to have had a successful first film with terrible follow-ups. It’s another beast altogether to have three stinkers that just shouldn’t have ever existed in the first place…
After a failed first film, you’d think the studios would stop making a movie set in that same universe. Yet, in the following fifteen instances, for whatever reason they’ve gone back to the same well, with no water to be found at the bottom. And that’s where we’re heading for this list: the very bottom end of movie trilogies.
15. Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons (2000)
Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005)
Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness (2012)
This is the not-so-epic fantasy trilogy based on the role-playing game, where the heroes must stop evil sorcerers from taking over the land, fighting off creatures and dragons along the way. Questionable special effects, laughable performances and poor writing and directing make this series an adventure you don’t want to embark on.
The characters are bland and have terrible dialogue, there are stereotypes galore and the pacing is entirely off. For a game that embraces the imagination and originality of its storyteller, there is nothing imaginative or original to be found here.
14. Big Momma’s House
Big Momma’s House (2000)
Big Momma’s House 2 (2006)
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011)
What’s the fascination in some Hollywood comedies with putting men in drag and fat suits? Malcolm Turner is a cop who dons the Big Momma persona in order to keep an eye on a federal witness, works as a nanny for a woman who is under investigation and even goes undercover with his son in an all-female performing arts school.
Senseless plots and a general sense of boredom drag this series down. It has some laughs which are few and far between; the movies are filled with bad jokes, unlikeable characters and offensive stereotypes – not a recipe for a success.
13. Problem Child
Problem Child (1990)
Problem Child 2 (1991)
Problem Child 3: Junior in Love (1995)
A mischievous orphan boy named Junior gets adopted by Ben Healy. High jinks ensue as he terrorises everyone and leaves a path of destruction. The initial “Problem Child” wasn’t the worst movie ever, just really juvenile and immature with some heartwarming moments.
With the sequels came less humor, more potty jokes, bad stories and acting, and a sense of mean-spiritedness that just wasn’t fun to watch. This especially in the third movie where they replaced the kid from the first two entries and unsurprisingly couldn’t get John Ritter back on board. Simply unpleasant.
12. I Know What You Did Last Summer
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006)
If ever there was a dull, by-the-numbers slasher flick series, it’s “I Know What You Did Last Summer”. Four impossibly good-looking friends accidently run over and kill a fisherman on the road one night. The following summer, they all receive a reminder of the horrific event, and people start dying.
Sure, the first one might have been inoffensive, but why the need to continue the story in depressingly routine and boring sequels? Bad writing, dumb characters, and simply not scary. That’s the worst insult for a horror movie.
11. The Happy Hooker
The Happy Hooker (1975)
The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington (1977)
The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980)
With a name like “The Happy Hooker”, this trilogy was begging to make the list. The story of a Dutch lass who mixes business and pleasure, she works at a high-class bordello, testifies in Washington before Congress and even makes her own movie without the help of crooked producers in Hollywood.
The problem with all these zany plots is that the movies fail to be an adult comedy: not enough sexiness, lacking in humor and all around boring. Geeky teenagers might get a thrill out of this trilogy, but this Happy Hooker makes most viewers unhappy.
Carnosaur 2 (1995)
Carnosaur 3: Primal Species (1996)
Trying to cash in on that “Jurassic Park” craze, “Carnosaur” features a genetically-engineered dinosaur that escapes from the company that created it and wreaks havoc on the local town.
Clumsy and ridiculous, this defined what a B-movie is, with its wooden acting, horrible effects and the “it’s-so-bad-it’s-funny” tone. Mind-boggling was the fact this got two sequels: in one, scientists find cloned dinosaurs in a nuclear mining facility while in the other, the army is attempting to stop terrorists that got cargo filled with dinosaurs. Originality surely isn’t lacking here. Quality is.
9. Private Lessons
Private Lessons (1981)
Private Lessons II (1993)
Private Lessons: Another Story (1994)
Who would have thought a kid living every teenage boy’s dream would be this lame? Voyeurism is the name of the game as a 15-year-old boy stalks the foreign housekeeper next door. There’s also some blackmail scheme happening in the story, but really, the pre-pubescent audience is watching this film for the naughtiness.
The sequels were hilariously bad, as a young, awkward Asian man meets a European woman willing to teach him about the secrets of love. The third entry offers little to no plot as is purely a show of naked, humping bodies. This one is for the fans of Cinemax softcore flicks.
8. The Delta Force
The Delta Force (1986)
Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990)
Delta Force 3: The Killing Game (1991)
While the first entry isn’t the worst action film ever, offering some interesting Chuck Norris moments, “The Delta Force” provides some ridiculous, brainless action and plenty of stinky cheese, with a nice 0% for the sequel on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Force is tasked to take down terrorists in all three movies, offering dumb action and unintentional hilarity. It wouldn’t be too much to call these films a waste of time, as they don’t even offer the excitement expected of big stunts and explosions. As for the third film? It doesn’t even have Chuck Norris in it – for shame.
7. Sometimes They Come Back
Sometimes They Come Back (1991)
Sometimes They Come Back… Again (1996)
Sometimes They Come Back… for More (1998)
It’s always a good idea to have good source material for a script, such as Stephen King’s works. Unfortunately, the “Sometimes They Come Back” trilogy flops. The first two entries share exactly the same plot, as a man returns to his hometown to be haunted by undead teenagers.
The third film has nothing to do with the first two, and instead plays out like a horrible rip-off of “The Thing”, with the only similarity being the arctic location. It also has the honor of having a big, fat 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. Basic storylines, unappealing set designs and effects with a boring cast make this series a dull clunker.
6. The Mangler
The Mangler (1995)
The Mangler 2 (2001)
The Mangler Reborn (2005)
The Mangler is a murderous laundry machine. Let that sink in for a bit as we go over this ridiculous franchise.
Horrible plots, amateur acting, terrible scripts and a pathetic homicidal “machine” combine to make one major bore of a trilogy. It would make for a great comedy, if only it wasn’t so darn serious. The laughable special effects don’t help, and the music is ghastly. They tried to make the sequel more modern and smart by introducing the Mangler as a deadly computer virus, but it was easily the worst of the bunch because it made absolutely no sense.
5. The Boogeyman
The Boogeyman (1980)
Boogeyman II (1983)
Return of the Boogeyman (1994)
We’re not talking about the dreadful remakes in the 2000s, although they could have made it. No, we’re focusing on the original trilogy, where a girl must fight off the evil Boogeyman, who hides in a mirror. While the original is bad in its own right, both sequels received under 2.0 as a rating on IMDB. Yikes. The reason? Besides the dismal tone, cheesy acting and lack of any scares, the sequels are mostly comprised of clips from the first movie!
That’s right, you get to watch the first awful one all over again in the painfully awful sequels. The third was by far the worst, unable to even get the name of the protagonist right from the first two films. Embarrassing.
Troll 2 (1990)
Troll 3 aka Contamination .7 (1990)
It’s hard to look away from the screen in this train wreck of a trilogy. In the first two installments, two families must deal with the wicked trolls – or are they goblins? – as evil plans of turning humans into trolls and eating them are concocted. It’s silly, cheesy and all around excruciating to watch.
Implausible and lacking coherence, it wouldn’t be so bad if the performances were even the slightest bit believable. The third film doesn’t even have anything to do with trolls; instead, killer roots attack people. The series is a disaster from start to finish.
BloodRayne 2: Deliverance (2007)
BloodRayne: The Third Reich (2010)
As soon as you see the name Uwe Boll come on screen… run. The director is notorious for bringing awful video game adaptations to the big screen. Such is the case for “BloodRayne”.
The trilogy follows the sexy half-human, half-vampire Dhampir as she vows revenge against her vampire father for raping her mother. She hunts a bunch of vampire cowboys in the Wild West and even goes up against Nazis, trying to prevent Hitler from becoming an immortal vampire. Continuity issues, bad costumes and laughable wigs, no character development, slow-paced action and painfully subpar fight choreography… The absurdities of this disastrous trilogy go on and on.
2. Shark Attack
Shark Attack (1999)
Shark Attack 2 (2001)
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002)
“Jaws” this is not. Outrageous shark movies are great, but viewers are entitled to expect at least a little effort. Bad acting reigns supreme in the “Shark Attack” trilogy as a bunch of humans must deal with deadly sharks.
When it’s not offering unconvincing special effects filled with rubber sharks that growl like dogs, the series uses stock footage of the underwater creatures, insulting the viewer in the process. Pitiful directing and writing that offers foolish dialogue can be forgiven if it was only fun to watch. But it isn’t’ even the first movie in this trilogies gets a resounding 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
1. National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze
National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze (2002)
National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze 2 (2006)
Two of the three movies in this trilogy landed a 0% overall rating on the tomatometer. That means that not a single reputable critic gave two of the three movies a positive review, landing this firmly in the number one spot of worst movie trilogies of all times.
“National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze” trilogy is devoid of laughs, humor and intelligence, providing hammy and predictable plots filled with excruciatingly bad acting and dumb characters you can’t possibly root for.
These low-tier “American Pie”-type comedies featuring horny, unlikeable college students offer little enjoyment, disjointed plots and little-to-no coherence. While it’s never alright when a movie has no redeemable qualities, it makes it that much worse when it somehow gets two sequels that are equally as atrocious.