IT HAPPENED AFTER SCREAM Part 9: the demise of the Urban Legend franchise

Urban Legend is pretty much a post-Scream slasher classic in my book, and also one of the major theatrical releases of the era. It has a great cast, suspense and scares, an awesome killer, chase scenes, and death scenes based on all the most popular urban legends I grew up with…which have since been lost in a sea of lame social media satire posts given the urban legend label on Snopes.

So what about the Urban Legend sequels? I take a look at all three, which increasingly stray from the original slasher concept, becoming supernatural stories instead, until eventually dropping the “Urban Legend” franchise name completely.

URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT (2000)

urban legends final cut cover

It may pale in comparison to the original because it’s basically a rehash that scrapes the bottom of the barrel in an effort to come up with good urban legends to apply to death scenes, but Final Cut is actually one of the more entertaining cookie cutter slashers of the era.

This time we’re at a different college, and the focus is film students, which generally mirrors the plot of Scream 2. For her film thesis—and a chance to win the Hitchcock award—our main girl decides to make a film based on urban legends. Soon, classmates start dying via urban legends!

urban legends final cut killer stalk

Is it a coincidence that the intro sequence feels like the plane sequence from Final Destination, which was released only 6 months before? Not sure. But it’s a way to sneak in a reference to an “urban legend” (aka: a Richard Matheson story/Twilight Zone episode) about a man seeing a monster on the wing of the plane.

The kills are brutal and include urban legends such as: girl drugged at bar, wakes up in tub of ice with kidney missing; students let out stress-relieving scream all at once, so they don’t hear the screams of someone actually being murdered; real dead bodies appear in a tunnel of terror. Other urban legends are referenced as well, including the dog under the bed that licks owner’s hand each night, a repeat reference to the Pop Rocks story—and the story about a killer on a college campus modeling murders after urban legends. Wink, wink, especially since this tale is told by Reese! Yes, Reese is back on patrol at a new school.

urban legends final cut reese

Jennifer Morrison (Stir of Echoes, The Darkness) is the perfect main girl, and she gets multiple intense chase scenes—one of which is noticeably similar to that of Gale Weathers being chased in a sound studio in Scream 2.

urban legends final cut sound booth

The cast of horror faces also includes all grown up Gimme a Break;/Blossom cutie Joey Lawrence (Rest Stop, Killer Pad, Do You Wanna Know a Secret?), Eva Mendes (Children of the Corn V) as a lesbian, Jessica Caulfiel (Valentine), Black-ish star Anthony Anderson (The Town That Dreaded Sundown sequel, Scream 4, Scary Movie 3 & 4), Anson Mount (All the Boys Love Mandy Lane), Hart Bochner (Apartment Zero), and cutie Matthew Davis (The Vampire Diaries, Aaah! Zombies!!), who shows off some butt.

urban legend 2 butt

Solidifying itself as more of a fun popcorn flick than a classic slasher, Final Cut offers a somewhat comic final scene with Reese deservedly getting the spotlight, as well as a closing credits cameo by the killer from the first film, set to the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV show theme.

URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY (2005)

urban legends bloody mary cover

This mess of a movie is pretty much a copycat of Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II.

In 1969, a bunch of guys tries to drug some girls. Mary Lou…I mean…Mary realizes it and runs away. One of the guys kills her and stashes her body.

Present day, three girls tell urban legends at a sleepover. There’s some disagreement about the Bloody Mary/Candyman similarities, they do the deed…and wake up with no memory of apparently having been kidnapped by some football players and dumped somewhere else.

urban legends bloody mary crawl

Meanwhile, Bloody Mary has been summoned! Taking her cue from Samara in the ring, she crawls around terrorizing kids. Even though she’s a ghost, she uses various urban legends and the usual slasher killer techniques to kill, including: turning on the switch of an electric fence when a dude is pissing on it; frying a guy in a tanning booth (a year before Final Destination 3 did); writing “people can lick too” on a mirror then stabbing the victim to death with a broken bottle; sending a CGI spider to lay eggs in a girl’s cheek.

urban legends bloody mary foxy brown

The main girl and her brother visit a black woman who was drugged by the boys in 69. The brother compares her to Foxy Brown even though she’s not Reese (boo! hiss!), and she has a scrapbook that references the murders in the first movie (pointless). Together, they all conclude that they need to find Mary’s body and save it from the well…I mean…bury it in the ground.

urban legends bloody mary tan
ROASTING WEENIE!

The truth of who Bloody Mary I seeking revenge on is revealed in the cemetery as they try to give her a proper burial, and all I’ll say is, the main girl’s politician dad is a real fucking asshole.

GHOSTS OF GOLDFIELD (2007)

ghosts of goldfield cover

College students go to a supposedly haunted hotel to do a thesis film on an urban legend about a woman murdered in room 109, and are eventually (after an hour) killed off one-by-one by her vengeful ghost.

Ghosts of Goldfield has enough in common with Bloody Mary to be considered a sequel—even ties in a bit with the film student theme of Final Cut—but it was smart for the movie studio to decide against slapping the franchise name onto it, as originally planned.

ghosts of goldfield ghost

This movie has a really bad direct-to-DVD look and feel, particularly the scenes of the ghost woman. It looks like her footage was edited in from a movie with an even worse budget.

Anyway, the group walks around the hotel for an hour with flashlights as quick glimpses of the ghost appear on screen, and she whispers things in a spooky voice—but only the audience can actually hear her. So bad. Eventually, the ghost starts murdering people like she’s a masked killer in a slasher rather than a ghost.

ghosts of goldfield hottie

She even gets to kill the hottie above twice, because he has a dream about her murdering him right before she actually does. There are also bad flashback visions the main girl has of the original murder because—wouldn’t you know it—she’s somehow tied to it. The conclusion of this film is disastrous.

ghosts of goldfield cast

Aside from Roddy Piper in a small role, the only famous face belongs to pre-popularity Kellan Lutz. And in trivial horror news, the main girl, Marnette Patterson, played the little blonde girl in Elm Street 5, and coincidentally, appeared in the “Bloody Mary” episode of Supernatural.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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