Saturday, October 16, 2010

Halloween Havoc: The "Never Got Made" Files #32 - #36

Given Hollyweird’s propensity to roll out a sequel to any horror film that made over $5.50, it is always surprising to hear about high profile follow-ups that got announced but never actually got made.  Today we’ll take a look at some of the products that never made it to market that will be sure to leave you with a great sense of whatcouldabeen.


I know what you are thinking – “CREEPSHOW 3 did get made in 2006!”  Well, those leech hacks at Taurus Entertainment don’t count.  I’m talking about a version made by the original folks involved.  Laurel Entertainment certainly had high hopes when they announced a slew of upcoming projects in 1987.  Squeezed in between adaptations of THE STAND and PET SEMATARY (both George Romero projects at Laurel before he split) was the simple announcement of CREEPSHOW 3 offering the tagline “the series continues..”  The film never got made, perhaps due to the poor box office of CREEPSHOW 2 around the same time.  From my understanding, the stories that were to be featured in this third entry ended up being used for Laurel's TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE: THE MOVIE (1990), so you can think of that as the legit CREEPSHOW 3.


Producer Sean Cunningham knew a good profit when he saw one and I’m shocked it took him over a decade to attempt a sequel to the Wes Craven film that put him on the map.  A sequel (sometimes also called BEYOND THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT) was announced in 1985 with Vestron offering the funding as the original LAST  HOUSE had been a huge video hit for them.  Director Danny Steinman, coming off FRIDAY THE 13th PART V, was chosen to direct.  Original star David Hess confirmed he was supposed to be in the sequel and it was going to be set at a summer camp (how original!).  Despite taking out full pages ads promising the sequel, Vestron never got it made.


Now here’s one that saw various variations over the years.  Bill Lustig’s seminal slasher MANIAC (1980) was a big enough hit that star Joe Spinell felt a sequel should be made.  An ill-advised move seeing as his character was killed at the end of the first one, but you gotta get that money.  Even more ill-advised given one script I read (from story by Spinell himself) that had him as a disco pumping DJ who attacks while on rollerskates (really!).

Perhaps the best know variation is Buddy Giovinazzo’s MANIAC 2: MR. ROBBIE.  This short was lensed in 1986 and featured Spinell as Mr. Robbie, a kid’s TV host who punishes the parents of abused kids (the plot bearing more than a striking resemblance to the Larry Brown’s 1975 horror flick THE PSYCHOPATH).  Buddy G. made the short available on extended copies of his AMERICAN NIGHTMARE (aka COMBAT SHOCK) for all to see.  Here is the video:

Manley Productions, Inc. ran ads for MANIAC II in Variety in 1988 and 1989.  We're not quite sure who was involved in the creative team at this point.

In quite possibly the worst timing ever, they ran a slick ad announcing the film as being in pre-production in the February 1989 American Film Market issue of the magazine (Spinell died in mid-January of that year).  I’m sure they had the ad printed and submitted just before Spinell’s passing.

Also before his death, Spinell was developing LONE STAR MANIAC with FX coordinator Tom Rainone.  According to what Rainone told me back at a Fango show in 1996, the script was to have Spinell haunting the Alamo and he (Rainone) was to direct the script he co-wrote with Spinell.  Sadly, Spinell died before this version (or any version) of MANIAC II could get made.

Now here is a real rarity sent into us by MANIAC historian Adam Beck.  This is one of several buttons that Spinell had personally made up while MANIAC II was in pre-production:

Despite Spinell's untimely passing, MPI continued to plug the sequel.  Here is an ad from the November 1989 mentioning the production:

Even a year after Spinell's death, MPI was still trying to get a MANIAC II off the ground.  In 1990 they advertised a MANIAC ROCK (aka MANIAC II) in Variety.  Uh, no.

Variety article on MPI 
w/a brief MANIAC II mention:


Director William Malone made his feature debut with the low budget shocker SCARED TO DEATH (1981).  The film wasn’t much, but it did boast a pretty cool looking monster and probably did enough business to warrant a sequel. Schlock producer Helen Sarlui (ATOR) ran this ad in April 1984 promising a Malone helmed sequel.  Despite the number of names listed, nearly all the credits don’t lead to real people outside of credited co-writer Robert Short.  Chances are the project died early as Malone went on to make CREATURE (1985).  Short is credited as the technical advisor on that one.  A proper sequel, SYNGENOR (1990), did appear a few years later but without Malone’s involvement.  


Now this one really brings tears to our eyes.  Wacky Spanish director Juan Piquer Simon will always have a place in our hearts for the amazing PIECES (1982).  He also delivered by far the world’s best toxic slug movie in SLUGS: THE MOVIE (1988), an adaptation of British horror author Shaun Hutson’s 1982 novel.  Simon ran the following ad in Variety promising a sequel, but, alas, it never arrived.  Hutson did do a sequel to his SLUGS book called BREEDING GROUND, which it appears it would have been based on.  So if you a glimpse of what the follow-up might have looked like, check that out.

2 Reactions:

  1. Hey man, just wanted to say great article. I'm actually in the processing of putting together a website for Joe Spinell with the help of some of his friends and family and wanted to see if it would be ok to use the 'Maniac II' ads that you have posted here on the site (will give you full credit of course). I'm a big fan of Spinell's, in fact the 'Maniac II' video posted above is actually my video from youtube LoL. Also if you would, please shoot me an e-mail at "" when you get a second. I have a couple of questions for you and couldn't find any contact info on your site. Thanks!

    - Adam

  2. Great piece on the MANIAC sequel, William, I do love Mr. Robbie, by the way. The tone is wonderful, and the voices of the kids(?) reading letters to Mr. Robbie are haunting and bizarre.


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