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Lost Sequels of the 80s

Some filmmakers are so confident in their success that they jump the gun and promise a sequel at the end of the movie we just finished watching. Their hubris is even more entertaining when the films do so poorly at the box office that no one would dream of showing up for a second installment. While most modern blockbuster films are made with the idea of creating a trilogy or franchise, in the 80’s and 90’s this was much less common an occurrence, So the boldness of a director or studio making a declaration of continuing a franchise regardless of box office returns was amazing to see. Today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on 2 Lost Sequels that never happened.

Mac and Me, 1988

A blatant attempt by Orion pictures to recreate the magic of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial mixed with product placement so in your face it might as well have said “Starring Coca-Cola and McDonald’s” in the opening credits, Mac and Me was pretty much dead on arrival in theaters in 1988. The story follows an alien family that ends up separated on Earth after accidentally hitching a ride on a NASA space probe, who then must evade “evil” government agents with the help of a wheelchair bound boy and his friends. Some may say this sounds exciting, but the finished film just doesn’t have the budget to make it work.

The character designs for MAC (Mysterious Alien Creature) and his family are kind of disturbing. The aliens are basically giant Sea-Monkeys with a single facial expression that makes them all look like they just sat on a nail, while the puppetry on the titular MAC seems to involve wiggling a rubbery pink doll around to indicate movement. In what I can only assume was an attempt to re-create the excitement of E.T.’s iconic bike ride across the moon sequence, Mac and Me instead gives us an epic dance number in the middle of a suburban McDonalds. This out of nowhere event features a young Nikki Cox from 90s sitcom, Unhappily Ever After and reportedly Jennifer Aniston's film debut. Click here to watch it in its entirety, highly entertaining.

If this film has a lesson (and I'm not saying it does) it's that being friends with aliens is a dangerous proposition. By the end of the film, the wheelchair boy has survived a 100 foot fall off a cliff into a rushing river, being blown-up and resurrected in a grocery store explosion (don’t ask) and more than likely some sort of caffeine poisoning from the sheer amount of Coca-Cola he ingests throughout the course of the film. In the end, a shocking twist reveals that the aliens have become U.S. citizens and as they all drive onto the California freeway in a convertible, a bubble gum word balloon pops up over the car claiming “We’ll be back”.

Since Orion went bankrupt a few years later, this promise (threat?) was never fulfilled. Despite it’s lackluster reception, I’m honestly surprised that this movie didn’t get a spin-off TV show mixing the UFO based comedy of ALF with the cheap special effects of Small Wonder. I can totally see a wacky sitcom starring Suzanne Somers and Henry Winkler getting a green light from the ABC network, where the couple helps Mac’s family assimilate to suburban life in the 80’s. it could have been a TGIF classic! 

Masters of the Universe, 1987

Oh, where to start on this lost piece of b-movie disappointment? Despite the fact that the cheesiness of the film has grown on me over the years, in 1987 this live action adaptation of the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon was heartbreaking. Dolph Lundgren as He-Man sounded like a good idea, but then we learn that he's not even the star of the film (reportedly due to his questionable grasp of the English language). Instead, we follow a teenager named Courtney Cox who is grieving over the death of her parents while being chased around small town California by Skeletor and his mutant goons. Speaking of which, who was your favorite resident of Eternia from the cartoon or the toy line? Guess what? They aren’t in this movie. 

With so many amazing character designs to choose from as conceived by Mattel or Filmation, the movie makers instead created their own trio of generic henchman and tossed in a Neanderthal looking Beast Man as if to say, “This one’s for you kid.” Beast-Man? Thanks for nothing. We don’t even get a recreation of the iconic He-Man transformation sequence from the cartoon's opening credits. Sure he lifts up his sword and says, “I have the power”, but it changes nothing. He’s been a big, sweaty He-Man for 90 minutes and he looks exactly the same after being imbued with the powers of Grayskull. I mean Skeletor transformed into a Golden Las Vegas Samuarai from Hell when he got the sword and He-Man doesn't even get his chest armor back?Ridiculous.

The movie was a blink and you miss it affair in theaters and essentially bankrupted the Cannon films studio that produced it. They actually ran out of money and shut down production on the movie before the final battle scene was filmed. Only some finagling by Mattel and the Director allowed the film to have an actual ending.So when Skeletor’s head pops up from a pool of pink liquid after the end credits and says, “I’ll be back!” the reality of this happening was slim to none. However, for some reason the producers were still moving forward on a sequel when this turkey hit theaters, which was ultimately downsized and re-written to become the Jean-Claude Van Damme film, Cyborg.

So what could a decent sequel to Masters of the Universe have been like? That’s the topic of the latest episode of the SequelQuest podcast that I co-host with a group of friends. If you have any fondness for the He-Man toys or cartoon you’ll want to download this show on iTunes or visit our blog at www.sequelquestpod.com to stream it on Soundcloud. We had a great time talking about what we want in a Masters of the Universe film and you’ll get a kick out of our wild ideas for a sequel.

As if that wasn’t enough, RetroDaze’s own Vaporman87 and I recorded a bonus podcast where we wax nostalgic about the entire Masters of the Universe history. We reminisce about the toys, the cartoons, live action appearance and even a few personal stories from He-man obsessed childhoods. It’s a fun time you’ll definitely want to check out in the Podcasts section of RetroDaze now.

So what movies promised you a sequel and never delivered? Do you still want to see them or has the moment passed?

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mickyarber Posted on Mar 08, 2016 at 02:25 PM

I added the link to the Bonus Episode to my Midnight Post Retro Reading List Post for today at
http://themidnightpost.com/the-midnight-post-reading-list/

mickyarber Posted on Mar 07, 2016 at 11:22 PM

Cool deal. I'm not real good with "facts", but I'm the king of memories brother.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Mar 07, 2016 at 04:53 AM

@mickyarber, Thanks for listening. I think we may just take you up on that offer, especially with Vaporman's suggestion for G.I. Joe. I think we are due to come up with a 3rd film in that series. We'll be in touch for that Bonus episode.

Vaporman87 Posted on Mar 06, 2016 at 10:17 PM

I for one would like to hear that Mickey Yarber G.I. Joe Bonus Episode. No doubt you could spend an hour just talking about the U.S.S. Flagg. LOL

mickyarber Posted on Mar 06, 2016 at 09:16 PM

I just listened to the Bonus podcast, and you guys did a great job. A lot of what was discussed, I already knew, but was fascinated learning more about VaporMan!

I'm always down with listening to people discuss their play time memories and their favorite individual toys and such. My friends and I do that most Saturday nights. Just sit around and discuss this very thing.

Kudos on the great episode, and if you ever want someone to just sit around and shoot the breeze about G.I. Joe, give me a holler!

Vaporman87 Posted on Feb 28, 2016 at 09:58 AM

It's too bad that Masters of the Universe didn't get a sequel. But hopefully the rumors of a reboot will eventually come about, and we will get a proper MOTU film.

On another note, that Vaporman87 clown sounds like a hillbilly nerd who thinks he knows it all.

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