Straight To Video: Passage

One of the great pleasures of browsing through video stores when there was such a thing was the joy of the Straight To Video sections. A great old mix of cheap tat starring Brian Dennehey, Rutger Hauer and curiously past his prime Charles Bronson ready for the less discerning punter like myself.

Crap detective or revenge flicks were one thing, straight to video BASED ON A TRUE STORY another but the real pleasure came in the shape of dodgy horror sequels. Children Of The Corn 507, Friday The 33nd and their ilk seemed to have no end in sight pretty much ever and that was equally ace and hilarious. I’ve not checked recently but they’re probably up to part the six billion on both of these by now.

There’s something perversely enjoyable about watching a sequel to a film that could never really need one in a million years. Where everything you’d want or need to know is all in the first film. Anything else is guff. Fun guff, perhaps. But guff all the same.

Which is why, browsing through the recently launched in the UK Netflix only to find sequels to Donny Darko, loads and loads more sequels to Hellraiser of ever decreasing budget and the likes excited me far more than they should.

I’m a great old lover of tat, I am. I can’t help but smile at shit needless sequels and I can’t help but smile when I see tat-sequelitis infect videogames too.

With videogames being what they are, there’s not really much in the way of massively inappropriate sequelitis because there’s not much room for inappropriate sequelitis (yet)[1]. It’s hard to follow up Burly Space Marine 6 with something even less appropriate. You might be able to make a case for Call Of Duty if you try really hard and squint a lot but it’s no Basic Instinct 2:Base Harder or Titanic II:Titan Hardest.

Arguably Painkiller pretty much fills the Hellraiser role given there’s now around 600 of them made for 50p and a packet of Opal Fruits and anything after the first one really isn’t worth your time, effort or energy in seeking out. It also has a dodgy related-not related thing in Dreamkiller, which were it a film would probably star Kevin Bacon with a voice over by David Duchovney[2] or something. Special Guest Appearance: Eric Roberts.

There’s FEAR3 too, it’s completely HORROR MOVIE THIRD MOVIE:THE GAME. It’s like the last half hour of every late eighties horror movie where they forgot what they were doing and just threw effects at the screen to make up for it (see also: Dominion[3], I suppose) and would be a very fitting entry into the straight to video league of videogames.

But still, they’re fairly appropriate sequels if a bit on the crap side at times. To truly reach straight-to-video-nirvana, the game would have to be one wholly unsuited to sequels. Dear Esther II:Est Hardest, perhaps. Or Passage II: Pass Hardest perhaps.


Let’s talk about Passage. HUSH AT THE BACK.

Jason Rohrer’s making-grown-men-cry simulator is probably the last thing you’d think would have a sequel, never mind around forty gazillion of them but this is the internet and the internet has everything. Obviously, they’re all unofficial, barely related and often times a bit of a cheeky nod and wink but still, out there on the internet exists a whole load of nothing-to-do-with-Rohrer sequels to Passage. And they’re all found in Pirate Karts.

Which is as things should be.

There’s Passage II: Pass Harder, Passage III:Passage In Space (disclaimer, both of these may have been mine, sorry about that and if anyone asks it wasn’t me), Passage 4 Kidz and Passage IV:Race To The Grave because it’s always good at one point to have two competing sequels made by entirely different people for the full straight to video experience.

Assage, a game about a young man trying to make his way in the games industry, QWOPassage which mixes Passage and QWOP as you do, Passagebalt which is Canabalt and Passage soldered together, 8 Passages At The Same Time which is something I’m sure we can all empathise with.

Wait, stay there. We’re not done yet. Passage 9: Let’s Learn About The Digestive System leaves room for more, Infinite Passage feels like it goes on forever, Andrew W.K’s Passage is the partiest hardestest of all Passages, A ZX81 Tribute To Passage doesn’t actually run on a ZX81, Pulp Passage brings Tarantino to Rohrer and Sonic Passage is better than Sonic IV.


This Might Be Passage might be giants, Reverse Passage is for those who like their passages back to front, Reverse Passage II:Mother’s Edition is a pseudo sequel/accompaniment to Reverse Passage because, Passage 18: Jason Rohrer’s Pro Skater: PHYSIX is completely street and last, but definitely not least and you knew it had to happen is Back Passage.


I know you’re probably sitting there right now and thinking “oh but go on, most of these are going to be shit” and the answer is, in the grandest tradition of straight to video sequels, YES OBVIOUSLY. But like straight to video sequels, you know that it’ll get the better of you and you’ll end up playing at least one of them if not more. It only takes a second to click through, after all.

The internet, in its infinite wisdom, has somehow helped evolve Passage into Friday The 13th[4]. Maybe.


[1] Mostly. There was probably no need for Impossamole or Costa Capers now I think on.
[2] Anyone remember Area 51? I still have nightmares over it.
[3] Picture source. Although there’s loads of others you could call out here.
[4] This is your cue to make Passage The 13th by the way.