We know that many of you are big fans of classic 80s films such as The Lost Boys, The NeverEnding Story and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and we suspect that you’ve watched some of them over and over again. But how many of you have seen – or even heard of – their follow-up films? There are more sequels to 80s movies than you might realise, and while some are well remembered, a great many of them managed to fly under the radar, such as the little-known sequels below…
25. The Next Karate Kid
No doubt you remember the original Karate Kid trilogy, and you may have seen the 2010 remake starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan,
However, are you familiar with The Next Karate Kid, the fourth film which arrived on the franchise’s tenth anniversary in 1994?
Described as a ‘revamp sequel’, it starred Hilary Swank as Julie Pierce, a new student of Mr Miyagi (who was again played by Pat Morita).
Sadly, The Next Karate Kid was panned by critics on release, and Swank’s Julie did not become a 90s icon the way Ralph Macchio’s Daniel had for the 80s.
Today, the film has a bit more novelty value today since Swank went on to become a two-time Best Actress Oscar-winner for Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby.
Right now the question is: will Swank reprise the role of Julie in a future series of Karate Kid TV spin-off Cobra Kai?
24. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was the third instalment in the comedy series starring Chevy Chase.
The sequel proved hugely popular in its own right (many, including us, have called it one of the all-time great Christmas movies).
So beloved did National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation become, it wound up spawning a spin-off movie of its own.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure was made for television in 2003.
Unlike the other films in the series, it doesn’t feature Chase and co as the Griswolds.
Instead (as you might have gathered from the ‘Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure’ subtitle), it centres on Randy Quaid’s supporting character Eddie Johnson.
23. Splash, Too
1984’s fantasy rom-com Splash is fondly remembered by many as one of the most beloved films of the 80s.
We find it pretty unlikely that many people feel the same way about its largely forgotten follow-up film.
Disney production Splash Too was made specifically for television and was first broadcast in 1988.
Todd Waring and Amy Yasbeck take over the roles of Tom Hanks’ regular guy and Daryl Hannah’s mermaid.
Only one actor from the original Splash returns: Dody Goodman, who reprises the role of Mrs Stimler.
Spoiler alert: In the end, Madison decides to become a housewife rather than return to her underwater kingdom!
22. Another Midnight Run, Midnight Runaround and Midnight Run for Your Life
Comedy thriller Midnight Run was directed by Martin Brest and starred the late Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro, in what was then a rare comedic role for the esteemed two-time Oscar winner.
Despite the film’s enduring popularity, you’d be forgiven for having no idea it got one sequel, let alone three.
And yet it did, in the form of Another Midnight Run, Midnight Runaround and Midnight Run for Your Life.
The original stars are conspicuous by their absence, with Christopher McDonald taking over De Niro’s role of bounty hunter Jack Walsh.
All three Midnight Run sequels were made for TV in 1994, as part of Universal TV’s ‘Action Pack.’
This block of syndicated TV programming famously featured hit shows Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and its more popular spin-off Xena: Warrior Princess.
21. Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst
The Lost Boys was one of the most beloved horror movies of the 80s, and fans had long clamoured for a sequel.
Despite plans for a female-centric spin-off entitled The Lost Girls, no follow-up came for over 20 years.
Alas, when Lost Boys: The Tribe was released direct to DVD in 2008, it didn’t exactly deliver what everyone had hoped for.
The only actor from the original to return in the film is Corey Feldman as vampire hunter Edgar Frog (with Corey Haim making a brief mid-credits cameo).
As disappointing as The Tribe was, it did well enough to green-light a second direct-to-DVD sequel, 2010’s Lost Boys: The Thirst.
This equally underwhelming third film also sees the return of Jamison Newlander as Edgar’s brother Alan.
20. Mannequin Two: On the Move
1987’s fantasy rom-com Mannequin is in no way, shape or form one of the great films of the 80s.
That being said, its 1991 follow-up, Mannequin Two: On the Move, is an even worse incarnation of the Pygmalion myth.
This isn’t too surprising, given that it’s directed by Stewart Raffill, the man responsible for notorious schlockbuster Mac and Me.
Unsurprisingly, original stars Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall don’t return, but neither do their characters.
Instead, the sequel casts Kirsty Swanson as another sentient shop window dummy and William Ragsdale as another hapless young man who falls in love with said mannequin.
The only key figure to return from the original Mannequin is Meshach Taylor as the flamboyant Hollywood Montrose.
19. Road House 2
Patrick Swayze never reprised the role of the super-tough yet philosophical doorman Dalton from 1989 cult classic Road House.
Nonetheless, this didn’t stop some other filmmakers from trying to cash in on the film’s popularity many years later.
2006 straight-to-DVD action movie Road House 2 casts Johnathon Schaech as Dalton’s son, a DEA agent-turned-‘cooler’.
As is so often the case with such cut-price, theatre-skipping sequels, the connections to the original film are slim at best.
All in all it’s more remake than follow-up, with Dalton Jr. following in his father’s footsteps by cleaning up a crime-ridden nightclub.
A bona fide Road House remake was said to be in the works in 2015 with Ronda Rousey starring, but it failed to get off the ground.
18. The Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting
1986 thriller The Hitcher cast Rutger Hauer as an enigmatic serial killer stalking C. Thomas Howell’s terrified teen on a cross-country road trip.
Though it flopped on release, the film has since been embraced as a cult classic.
The same can’t be said for its 2003 direct-to-DVD sequel The Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting.
The belated follow-up sees Howell return to face off against another murderous hitcher played by Jake Busey.
Kari Wuhrer (Anaconda, Eight Legged Freaks) is also along for the ride, and in fact winds up being the film’s real lead.
Four years after The Hitcher sequel passed most of us by, there was an equally uninteresting Hitcher remake starring Sean Bean.
17. Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles
We all have fond memories of Crocodile Dundee, and to a slightly lesser degree its more action-based sequel Crocodile Dundee II.
However, 2001’s third instalment, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, passed most of us by.
The original movie played the culture clash angle, with Paul Hogan‘s Aussie outback wild man being a fish out of water in New York.
Fifteen years later, this entirely forgettable sequel tries to do the exact same thing but in LA.
No wonder it flopped with a premise that obvious – although it didn’t exactly kill the Crocodile Dundee franchise.
After a fake reboot trailer in 2018 proved to be an Australian tourist board commercial, Paul Hogan sort of reprised his role in 2020 meta-comedy The Very Excellent Mr Dundee.
16. Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights
Back in August 2020, Dirty Dancing fans were thrilled by the news that a sequel was in the works with original star Jennifer Grey involved.
However, it seems many fans had either forgotten or didn’t know that a Dirty Dancing sequel already exists.
2004’s Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights was a prequel which, as might be garnered from the title, is set in the Cuban capital.
Otherwise, the film follows the same essential plot, as a sheltered good girl finds love with a local boy from the wrong side of the tracks.
Beyond this, Havana Nights has no connection to the original Dirty Dancing, beyond a cameo from the late, great Patrick Swayze as an unnamed dance instructor.
Dirty Dancing also got a TV movie remake in 2017, with Abigail Breslin taking the role of Baby.
15. Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves
Even though it arrived at the tail end of the decade, we’re sure no 80s kids have forgotten Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
We’d also wager that most of you remember the 1989 sci-fi comedy’s first sequel, 1992’s Honey, I Blew Up The Kid.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that was as far as the series went – but you’d be wrong.
1997 saw the direct-to-video release of second sequel Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. (No prizes for guessing the basic plot.)
Leading man Rick Moranis was the only original actor to return, and the film marked his unofficial retirement from acting.
However, we should soon be seeing Moranis come out of retirement to play the inventor Wayne Szalinski once again in the Disney+ reboot Shrunk.
14. The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter and The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia
The funny thing about 1984’s The NeverEnding Story is that – well – it does indeed come to an end after about 94 minutes.
However, the film’s open ending (in which Bastian soars off into the sky on Falkor) left many of us wondering what happened next.
This would eventually be explored in 1990’s The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter and 1994’s The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia.
The first sequel saw the late Jonathan Brandis take over as Bastian, with a story closely based on the second half of the original novel by Michael Ende.
The third film, meanwhile, cast Jason James Richter (Free Willy) as Bastian, and – as you can see from the trailer above – boasts an early appearance from Jack Black.
Neither of the follow-up films had anything like the same popular impact of the original.
13. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II
1980 teen horror Prom Night is remembered primarily thanks to the presence of Jamie Lee Curtis, then the queen of the slasher movies who went on to Hollywood superstardom.
Curtis didn’t return for the Prom Night sequel – but then, in this instance the follow-up took almost nothing from what went before.
Originally intended as a standalone film, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II was reworked as a Prom Night sequel to boost its marketability.
Where the original was a standard stalk-and-slash affair, the follow-up takes a supernatural angle.
A bad girl who died at her high school prom in the 50s is resurrected 30 years later, in an unsurprisingly vengeful mood.
The character of Mary Lou returned in Prom Night III, whilst the fourth and final film told another unrelated story. Later, the original Prom Night was remade in 2008.
12. Teen Wolf Too
1985 supernatural comedy Teen Wolf gave Michael J. Fox one of his first big screen leading roles.
It wasn’t anywhere near as popular (or good) as Fox’s other 1985 film Back to the Future – but it still spawned a sequel.
The largely forgotten Teen Wolf Too followed in 1987, starring a young Jason Bateman as the cousin of Fox’s character.
This particular teenage wolf is a college freshman rather than a high school senior, and instead of playing basketball he’s a wrestler.
Beyond that, Teen Wolf Too is more or less a direct retread of the first film, which gives little indication of the skilled actor Bateman would grow up to be.
Plans for a third film in the series (with Alyssa Milano as a female werewolf) never came to fruition, but the franchise was later rebooted as a more hard-edged TV series in 2011.
11. It Runs In The Family (AKA My Summer Story)
1983’s A Christmas Story has long been a perennial favourite in the holiday season for a great many viewers.
However, even the most devoted fans might not have known that it got a follow-up film eleven years later.
Unlike a lot of the sequels on this list, the film in question was from the same director, and got a theatrical release.
Alas, the gap between the two films meant that Bob Clark’s belated Christmas Story follow-up It Runs in the Family had to feature an entirely new cast.
Charles Grodin, Mary Steenburgen and Kieran Culkin may have been a fine ensemble, but the film failed to win over audiences.
It was retitled My Summer Story for its video release in order to promote the connection to the original. An unrelated Christmas Story 2 was later produced in 2012.
10. Gate II
Kid-oriented shocker The Gate might not be one of the best-known 80s horror movies, but it left most of its young viewers thoroughly freaked out.
The 1987 Canadian production provided an early leading role for Stephen Dorff – who did not return for 1990 sequel Gate II.
Director Tibor Takács directs returning actor Louis Tripp, whose supporting character Terry now takes centre stage.
More teenage angsty than its predecessor, the sequel sees a troubled Terry once again summon the demons from beyond in the hopes of solving his problems.
A fairly mediocre horror sequel, Gate II flew under the radar and remains under-seen to this day.
News broke in 2011 that Alex Winter was set to direct a remake of The Gate in 3D, but this never came to be.
9. Caddyshack II
Although it wasn’t that well received on release, Caddyshack is now widely embraced as a great comedy.
The madcap 1980 movie set on a golf course helped launch the movie careers of Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and director Harold Ramis.
1988 sequel Caddyshack II, however, did absolutely no favours to the careers of anyone involved.
Viewers were immediately given pause by the fact that no one from the original movie was involved at all besides Chevy Chase.
There was extra cause for concern as the sequel was rated PG, whereas the original got more outrageous with an R-rating.
At the end of the day, though, there’s only one real problem with Caddyshack II: it’s painfully unfunny, hence it’s all but forgotten today.
8. Bloodsport II: The Next Kumite
Most of us remember Jean-Claude Van Damme’s breakthrough martial arts action movie Bloodsport.
That film’s success in 1988 paved the way for Van Damme to become one of the premier Hollywood action heroes.
But did you know that eight years after the original Bloodsport, a sequel was released?
Bloodsport II: The Next Kumite was released direct to video in 1996, without a Van Damme in sight.
Only supporting actor Donald Gibb returned from the original, with Daniel Bernhardt taking the spotlight as a new fighter stepping up to take on the Kumite fight tournament.
The sequel might not be remembered today, but it did well enough in rentals for two more DTV Bloodsport sequels to be made: 1997’s Bloodsport III and 1999’s Bloodsport 4: The Dark Kumite.
7. The Evening Star
James L. Brooks’ 1983 comedy drama Terms of Endearment was one of the most revered, acclaimed films of its time.
A major awards winner, the film landed Brooks alone with three Oscars (as producer, director and writer), as well as Oscars for actors Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson.
All this being the case, you’d think more of us would remember that 13 years later, Terms of Endearment got a sequel.
Released in 1996, The Evening Star saw MacLaine reprise the role of Aurora Greenway, with Nicholson also returning in a cameo.
The big-name cast also included such celebrated 90s stars as Bill Paxton and Juliette Lewis.
Alas, writer-director Robert Harling’s film wasn’t anything like the success Terms of Endearment had been. It went down like a lead balloon with critics and audiences alike.
6. An American Werewolf in Paris
Director John Landis’ 1981 film An American Werewolf in London is one of the most masterful blends of horror and comedy ever made.
Terrifying one minute and laugh-out-loud hilarious the next, the movie is fondly remembered for its remarkable practical effects.
Rather less well remembered is the fact that 16 years later it got a sequel that completely failed to do justice to its predecessor (and not just because they substituted practical make-up for subpar CGI werewolves).
Made without the involvement of anyone from the original, An American Werewolf in Paris sees another US college student become a creature of the night abroad – but that’s where the similarities end.
A far more bog-standard horror movie without any of the original’s charm, the film sank without a trace at the box office.
Not long ago there were reports that John Landis’ son Max Landis intended to remake the original An American Werewolf in London, but these plans seem to have fallen through.
5. Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation and Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love
Revenge of the Nerds was one of the most popular and influential of the gross-out frat house comedies made in the 80s.
Its first sequel Revenge of the Nerds 2: Nerds in Paradise also attracted a big audience (even if the critics weren’t impressed).
However, you might not have known that another two Revenge of the Nerds movies were made afterwards.
Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation was made for television in 1992, with several original cast members returning.
Much of the same team came back once again on another TV movie sequel, 1994’s Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love.
Neither of them were much good, unsurprisingly; but then, Revenge of the Nerds was never exactly Oscar-worthy in the first place.
4. Beyond Re-Animator
1985’s splatter-heavy horror comedy Re-Animator enjoys a fierce cult following to this day.
Most fans will recall that it got a sequel in 1990’s Bride of Re-Animator – but you might have missed the third film.
Beyond Re-Animator premiered (in a heavily cut form) on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2003, before making it to DVD.
The film sees Jeffrey Combs reprise the role of Herbert West, the mad scientist obsessed with giving life to the dead, now working as a doctor in a prison.
Beyond Re-Animator went under the radar of all but the most devoted horror aficionados, but fans of the original were mostly pleased.
Shot in Spain, the film is notable for featuring an early role from Elsa Pataky, future Fast & Furious actress and wife of Chris Hemsworth.
3. Weekend at Bernie’s II
Another film that hinges on the dead coming back to life (in a different way) is Weekend at Bernie’s.
The 1989 bad taste comedy starred Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman as two company men who try to keep up the illusion that their recently deceased boss is still alive.
If ever there was a concept that you would assume couldn’t get a sequel, it’s this one. (Decomposition, anyone?)
And yet, Weekend at Bernie’s did in fact get a follow-up in the form of 1993’s Weekend at Bernie’s II.
McCarthy and Silverman return, as does Terry Kiser as their very much still dead boss Bernie.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the Weekend at Bernie’s franchise stopped there.
2. The Fly II
Thanks to its compelling performances, hideous make-up FX and tagline “be afraid, be very afraid,” The Fly is one of the most memorable horror films of the 80s.
Director David Cronenberg’s film may have been a remake of a 50s creature feature, but it did something entirely different and far more powerful with the concept.
Unfortunately, 1989 sequel The Fly II didn’t do much beyond re-hashing what had already been done better in its predecessor.
With Jeff Goldblum’s character dead and Geena Davis declining to return, only supporting actor John Getz reprises his role from the original.
Eric Stoltz takes centre stage as the son of Goldblum and Davis, who rapidly matures thanks to his mutated genes, and revisits his father’s work.
Despite a script co-written by the esteemed Frank Darabont (later director of The Shawshank Redemption), The Fly II fails to find its wings, if you’ll pardon the pun.
1. Blues Brothers 2000
The Blues Brothers has long been one of the most beloved cult classics of the 80s.
The musical comedy classic piles on the laughs, is filled with great music, and sports remarkable scenes of vehicular destruction.
Quite what possessed writer-actor Dan Aykroyd and director John Landis to try and repeat the film’s success 20 years later is beyond us.
In the absence of the late John Belushi, Blues Brothers 2000 casts John Goodman as a new black-suited partner for Aykroyd’s Elwood Blues, along with a large cast of co-stars and celebrity cameos.
Lightning just doesn’t strike in the same place twice. Blues Brothers 2000 flopped on release, and these days the few of us who do remember it tend to pretend it doesn’t exist.