Pop Optics Forum: Sequels That Completely Upended The Series

I’ve already written at length about how horror films had a hand in popularizing the concept of movie franchises. In that article, I acknowledge a tendency for those sequels to rewrite or covertly reboot the timeline either due to time between films or turnover in cast and crew. Sometimes they lucked out and had someone behind the scenes ensuring some form of continuity, but that’s not always the case.

Today’s topic came to mind when I recently watched CHUD II: Bud The CHUD with a friend. We both recall having seen it before, but it had been somewhere around 20 years since then. As the story unfolded, we were quite surprised by how fun it was. It’s by no means a classic, but we both reached the same conclusion: this was if Weekend At Bernie’s took cues from The Return of the Living Dead. We also recognized that there was very little that connected CHUD II to the original CHUD. In that film, the titular CHUD refers to “Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal” as well as “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers” and is about how New York’s homeless are being mutated by toxic waste. In the sequel, only the second meaning is ever uttered and the CHUDs have more in common with zombies, appearing completely human. It’s dumb, fun, and doesn’t require you to think too deeply about anything. I miss movies like this. I’d like a horror film renaissance that is evocative of Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna, or Dan O’Bannon. Give me sub-90 minutes of neon-drenched gory dark humor.

CHUD II is a sequel in name only, with no (if any references) to the previous film and no shared characters. It also shakes up the tone, leaning more on humor than straight horror.
What are some other sequels, not just in the horror genre, that you know of that either deviate from the plot of the original film/series or have no apparent connection? Share your examples in the comments and discuss. Who knows, maybe we’ll unearth some hidden gems or everyone will reveal that they’ve all watched pieces of shit.