If it’s September, then it must be sequel time: Your guide to the follow ups, the runner ups, and give ups

by Kevin Brent

CHERRY FALLS: Release Date – Sept. 29
Hey, if there’s one thing we have too damn many of in this world it’s young, nubile high school virgins. And just when you were running out of sticks to shake at these peppy fresh-faced temples of purity, along comes October Films’ Cherry Falls, with the most viable of solutions. Namely, deploy a raving madman salivating at the opportunity to wipe out those stuck with this most horrible of conditions.

The second film from subsidiary Rogue Pictures (whose initial release, the urban comedy “Trippin’” just barely stumbled out of the red) is director Geoffrey Rush and screenwriter Joel Poisson brainchild. Falls tracks a large populous of the student body from good old George Washington High as they embark on their singularly purposed mission to rid themselves of their innocence—all in one night. Sounds like a bloodbath waiting to happen, doesn’t it?

Where the killer of these young, motivated experimentalists fits in is anyone’s guess, however, an all out orgy scene (we are unaware of how explicit the depiction is) does takes place during, for lack of a better word, the climax, and the sexual identity of the killer will be withheld till the end, possible never fully revealed. No word yet on forthcoming sequels. Starring Jay Mohr and Michael Beihn.

HIGHLANDER—ENDGAME: Release Date—Sept. 1
Bearer of almost a half dozen titles, including—Highlander: World Without End; The Search for Connor; A New Order; and of course, the always creative Highlander 4. Ah, sweet simplicity.

But this franchise was laid waste to years ago and it may be too late to revive one of the finer adventure flicks ever made. Starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery in one of his finest roles, “The Highlander” was such a seamless blend of action, faith, spirituality, obsession and philosophy that it somehow was stuffed under the cult label, maybe because it was just too damn good for the likes of the general public. It had everything – a brilliant script, some of the best cinematography ever photographed of the Scottish landscape, and characters who became as complete to us in a mere two hours as they would in four hundred pages of novel.

Save for Chinatown, there is no finer premier installment whose subsequent sequels have trashed its outstanding name and premise so thoroughly. Highlander II was a sham, it’s third release went straight to video, and the television series is passable at best. Let’s just hope this recent addition, which intends on combining the subplots and lead characters of the television and film versions (Duncan and Connor MaCleod), can rectify what long ago has been laid to waste.

Other tidbits to note: the Immortals in this film will utilize weapons other than swords in battle, and the plot will takes us across the world and through different measures of time. Let’s just hope no one, um, looses their head over this. Distributed by Dimension Films, Starring Christopher Lambert. Directed by first timer Douglas Aarniokoski. Written by Joel Soisson.

HALLOWEEN H2K—EVIL NEVER DIES: Release Date—Fall (undetermined)

It seems the consensus reaction to the impending arrival of the eighth installment in this well-worn series is: “you’re telling me there have already been seven?” The answer is yes and our reply to the next inevitable question is, well, only three (1,2 and 7) are worth watching.

So it should stand to reason (although that word will be forgotten rapidly upon viewing any of these pictures) that the final installment, being not only a critic favorite but one of the largest money makers in the Halloween

franchise, would rejuvenate its lifeline. After all, if that crummy one about the computers (4? 6?) didn’t drive Myers and Co. straight to the dark abysses of Hell, nothing will.

For whatever reason, plot secrecy is at a higher and tighter level than even Kubrick could secure, but some sources are revealing that it will involve Michael – surprisingly not dead but merely resting these last couple of years—returning to his hometown of Haddonfield (where the original and installments 2, 4, 5 and 6 were set) to undoubtedly spread his unique message of love and good cheer. Get ready for all the usuals: cats leaping out of closets, co-eds running up to the attic rather than down to the front door, and Michael, utilizing his ambling, stiff-legged gait, somehow catching up to the high school track star as he sprints for his meaningless life.

Debra Hill (co-writer of original) and John Carpenter reportedly will both be involved in some capacity. Chris Durand will again play the overly persistent yet whimsically endearing Michael Myers. Produced by Paul Freeman (producer of several other Halloween films) for Dimension Films.

ALONG CAME A SPIDER: Release Date—September 29
A prequel to the moderately successful and remotely entertaining 1997 thriller Kiss the Girls, Morgan Freeman will revise his role as Dr. Alex Cross, based on the character who has carried a handful of novels, including ‘Jack & Jill,’ ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ and ‘Cat & Mouse.’ After the success of ‘Seven’, Freeman’s presence is somewhat of a sure thing (box office wise) in a suspense/thriller vehicle, so it properly reasons to bring him back for more dark and elaborate hi-jinx.

In this era of audience unpredictability and uncertainty, the safe bet lies in replicating past successes with as much consistency as possible. Also, in pursuing such an endeavor, a studio faces the possibility of hitting big with a well-conceived and executed installment. Icing on the cake, so to speak.

Our story revolves around two children who are kidnapped from an upper class Washington D.C. private school and Cross must hunt them down. Along the way he teams up with (of course) a female secret service agent. He will face a seemingly indestructible opponent this time out, apparently, by his own admission, one of the greatest criminal minds he has ever encountered. This remains to be seen, for our killer has the unenviable task of topping Kevin Spacey’s wack-job performance in ‘Seven.’

Starring Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter, Michael Wincott, Penelope Ann Miller. Director Lee Tamahori, and written by Marc Moss and Lewis Colick.