Join the CULT OF THE SEQUEL – The Big Lebowski/Rosemary’s Baby

Join the CULT OF THE SEQUEL – The Big Lebowski/Rosemary’s Baby

In the world of horror, the sequel gets a bad rap and an unfair shake. At times I agree with the frustration of many fans forced to witness a goldmine of an idea stripped again and again til there’s nothing but scorched Earth. But like Mother Nature, if you give it time and some much needed love, it can come back from the brink, but only if you’re careful and true in your intentions.

I’ve always viewed sequels as a way to take a fantastic story and memorable, sometimes iconic characters, and push them further. This reveals a back-story of understanding, a current state of acceptance, and a future for them to grow. Few would mock the sequel as being inferior to that of the original. I can only guess this is what fuels the tension between sibling rivalries. Sadly, many in Hollywood have used horror as means of lining theirpockets, using our love for the genre for commercial growth often utilizing screenwriters uninitiated in the nuances of our favorite films. I can accept that. It is after all a business and a return on their investment from me and other warped minded individuals has made the horror genre one of the most lucrative type of films to release, regardless of the time of year or the financial market. And yet, still no love come Oscar time.

I’m the type of guy that enjoys a cult classic. You know those films you had to hunt down through flea markets, swap meets, and mail order before Ebay came around. These are the types of films that draw more ticket buyers at a midnight screening than any other film showcased during the day. These are the films that fill you with pride and excitement when you can utter to a group of friends, “You haven’t seen it?”. It’s almost like a magical incantation that spills forward guiding the rest of your evening with your friends. You’ll talk about it, you’ll debate it, but ultimately they are gonna want, no, need to see that film. These are the bragging rights of film snobs, the seeds of obsession for conventions, the fodder of reference for critics. This is the magic of the Cult Classic.

Some sequels are cult classics all on their own, but that’s not what  you’re here to enjoy. I’ve exercised some criticism, so now it’s time for some resolution. Like a mad scientist, I will cross-breed and cinematically modify your favorite films, all for your enjoyment and cultural enlightenment. I now present to you the horror inspired sequels to your favorite non-horror Cult Classics in an on-going series squeezed straight from my twisted little mind.

Welcome to the CULT OF THE SEQUEL.

Things have kinda settled back to normal for the Dude. Well, as normal as one can abide. He’s still up to the usual; bowling, driving around, the occasional acid flashback. It’s just not as much fun without Donny. As the conflict with the Iraqis escalates, so does the girth of Maude. She’s taken on rough financial times as of lately and it doesn’t help being a single mother. The ransom money was never recovered from her father’s embezzlement and all assets of the Lebowksi Trust and Foundation have been frozen. And now the local papers have raked Maude over the coals when word is leaked about missing money in Mr. Lebowski’s suicide note. Seems the old man had quite a few skeletons in his closest. The resulting scandal has ostracized her from her avant garde friends and now no one will buy her art. Not wanting to involve the father of her child, Maude turns to an old family friend, the last man to see Mr. Lebowski alive; Brad.

Maude is distraught as a recent court petition, spearheaded by Bunny,that has blocked Maude’s liquidation of the family estate in legal red tape. Hearing of her misfortune, Brad welcomes Maude into his apartment complex and his home as a favor to the memory of his former employer. He has a modest two bedroom apartment with one of those rooms serving as an office for his writing. Brad calls it his library because of the numerous historical texts he has amassed over the years. Seems Brad fancied himself a writer having moved to California to write and publish his novel and he brought his love of first edition books with him. Without much headway or interest in his memoirs, it was then that Brad took the position with Mr. Lebowski, serving as his assistant and caregiver. At first Maude is off put by the doting attention showered by Brad, but he reveals that as an orphan Mr. Lebowski was the closest to family he ever had.  Brad insists Maude take his bedroom as he crashes on the couch, each of them separated by the studio of his failed work. She begins to accept his affections as she moves past her first trimester. Her health has begun to deteriorate, but Brad always seems to be there with a protein shake and vitamins to soothe her. He promises to take care of her until the child is born and she can find her way in the world once more. Upon her second trimester Maude begins to reconnect to the world around her, meeting the neighbors around her. She starts to make a few friends who encourage her to express herself. Maude begins to make art once more. Her creations are similar to previous work, but soon her paintings grow violent, more morbid. She begins to have visions which compel her to expunge the darkness growing inside of her.  Brad assures her that this is the frustration from the death of her father and the financial stress of the aftermath. He’s grown to be a different man than we’ve known him before; almost too good to be true. Could it be that Maude is falling in love?

While Brad is away at a new job, one he is surprisingly secretive about, Maude takes it upon herself to help around the home. She tidies up, folds the laundry, learns to cook. This is domestication we never dared see her embrace. It’s upon cleaning the writing studio, and dusting the bookcases, that Maude discovers the last will & testament of her late father. It seems that Mr. Lebowski left the entire share of his estate to Brad. Nothing for her, nothing for Bunny, nothing for the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers. Digging deeper she begins to discover pages of Brad’s latest manuscript. It seems to be a combination of a biography about her father and ancient Sumerian text, written in some kind of code. She can’t  decipher much of the foreign language or the archaic symbols scrawled about either. She pockets the pages and thinks nothing of it.

With the third trimester on us, Maude is feeling weaker and more tepid each day. She’s been having terrible, ghastly nightmares, filled with visions of horrible creatures clawing at her, eager to snatch her baby. Brad assures her that it’s just nature running its course and compels her to ingest more of his special protein shakes and vitamins and some new supplements provided by his physician, Dr. Sapirstein. Brad tells Maude he has to go away for a weekend convention, but the neighbors will stop in to check on her. While taking a nap, Maude sees a symbol in her dream, one that she’s seen somewhere before. Somewhere….in…the library! Maude finds the pages she stashed, but the symbol isn’t there. She returns to the library to find the other pages, but she slips and falls, hurting herself. Maude reaches between her legs, she’s spotting blood. With Brad gone, she screams for help and passes out.

Maude groggily awakens in a hospital bed to the muffled argument escalating in volume. “That’s your kid?” comes low and gruff. Maude tries to adjust her eyes to the bright fluorescents hanging over head. A whining plea all too familiar jolts her back to reality. “She’s just my special lady friend.”

“Hello, Jeffrey.” Pure serendipity has reunited the Dude and Maude in a California emergency room. Walter sits getting a massive amount of stitches in his left hand with El Duderino by his side.  “That’s your kid?” Seems Walter went on another tirade at the bowling alley and punched through the window of the Dude’s new car. It’s ok though, wasn’t his bowling hand. The Dude explains that some neighbor lady named Minnie was filling out forms for Maude. Seems she heard Maude’s cries and called 9-11. A doctor checks in on Maude and asks about the pills and supplements the neighbor brought in. Seems she also grabbed whatever medication was in the apartment just in case it was needed at the hospital, but the odd thing is that the other doctors can’t place what sort of herbs make up these pills. The doctor advises her to not take anymore until the lab can do a proper analysis and releases her with a mild case of dehydration and reassurances that her baby is more than healthy. The Dude offers a ride to Maude and it’s an awkward drive between her, the Dude and Walter in the backseat.

After dropping off Maude, Walter begins to quiz the Dude on Maude and their love tryst. Seems Cynthia has taken her show dogs and moved to Hawaii, leaving Walter all alone. The Dude sparks a doob to drown out Walter’s suffering and looks down. Stuffed between the seats are the pages of Brad’s manuscript that Maude left behind. Hoping to see her again, Dude almost rushes out of the car until Walter convinces him that one, he’s stoned, and two, let him take the pages and get ’em translated. You want ancient Sumerian translated, there are ways, believe me there are ways.

Maude steps inside to be greeted by an angry Brad, home early from his convention. He knows she’s been going through his things and wants to know where his missing pages have gone. She explains about her trip to the hospital and that everything is ok with her and the baby. She lies and says she was cleaning and not snooping about. Brad apologizes. He’s just very stressed out with his new job. Maude asks if that’s why he’s home early from the convention. “No, I had to come back and give a statement to the police.” This perplexes Maude. She thinks to herself and chuckles. “Don’t tell me Bunny’s gone missing again?” Brad crosses over to her and tenderly tells Maude, “No, she’s been murdered.”

The next day Dude drives to pick up Walter and hopefully return those pages. Maude’s been all he’s been thinking about really. That and when they’re gonna post the roster for the next Round Robin Tournament at the lanes. Walter is all hopped up with excitement. As they drive away, Walter reveals that  he and his buddy cracked the code as well as translated the text. It seems that the page is in reference to an ancient ceremony of sacrifice as part of what many today would call Satanism. It also shows that Brad knew exactly when Mr. Lebowski was going to kill himself.

Now the Dude and Walter are on the case to get back to Maude and warn her of the new shit that’s come to light. Just as they’re about to get on the expressway back to Brad’s apartment they are T-boned, flipping their car over and over. This wasn’t the work of amateurs, this was the Rug Pee-ers. They were sent to  Treehorn to get the money PLUS interest from Maude and her father’s estate, now that they know Bunny is her step-mother. Dude, bloodied and battered, tells them that there is no money, that she’s destitute, living with Brad, that Bunny has the keys to the castle since the real Lebowski offed himself. “Obviously, you only read the funny papers.” Treehorn’s goons inform Dude that Bunny’s body is now in the morgue and they wanna know who did her in. They want to know where their new associate is; they want to know where they can find Brad. Just then, Walter – in full Nam flashback – shoots the two goons. You didn’t think he was rolling out here naked, did you? Not knowing what to make of this bloody mess, Dude realizes one thing; he has to get to Maude before Treehorn sends more goons. Walter and Dude pile into the other car and speed towards Brad’s apartment.

Turns out that Mr. Lebowski was heavily involved in Satan worship with many of Hollywood’s powerful elite. He partnered with Jackie Treehorn. The smut peddler and Mr. Lebowski were in cahoots; a shared business arrangement based on Mr. Lebowski’s dark secret. Lebowski paid a high premium for beautiful girls from Treehorn, but soon Jackie sent his goons to find out why they never came back. Treehorn discovered Lebowski’s secret with the occult and sought to blackmail him, not realizing that he had just wed Bunny to lure her into his final step and resurrect the Prince of Darkness. Lebowski wanted to impregnate Bunny and sacrifice her newborn to open a portal to Hell. He was the last of a line of high priests in the Dark Arts. He didn’t lose his legs in Korea, he lost them the last time he and his coven tried to summon the Great Beast. Jackie was supplying Mr. Lebowski with young girls who were promised to be starlets, but were really meant as a human sacrifice for the Beast. Lebowski had mistranslated his ancient texts, he needed the blood of a child. Bunny knew her husband was into weird religions and all that, but her new friend Karl Hungus taught her about his philosophy and she had her own belief; in nothing. Overhearing the wrong information, Bunny thought that Lebowski wanted kids, so she went to Treehorn the same way all the girls before her had, and asked for money to get her tubes tied with promises she’d come back to work in a sequel to Log Jammin’ .

Bunny came back, thinking all was well, unaware that Karl and his cronies tried to use her disappearance to make a quick buck. This distraction also helped Lebowski move around some financial numbers to bury his secret of the occult even deeper. It was his trusty assistant that advised him to find a patsy. That’s when Brad called in the Dude.

Back at the apartment Maude is getting seriously creepy vibes from Brad. He begins to tell her where he’s been. He’s been running a human trafficking ring for Treehorn under the guise of trying to pay back Lebowski’s debt and keep what Treehorn does know out of the papers. In reality, Brad was trying to figure out exactly how much Treehorn knew and what Treehorn had on him. Maude is disgusted and tries to leave, but Brad overpowers her. He drags her into his study where he’s recently drawn a large pentagram on the floor. Brad ties Maude to his writing desk, and retrieves the tools & instruments for the ritual from the bookcase. Maude is beyond fear, hyperventilating. This can’t be what’s become of her life.

Brad pulls out the pages of his manuscript and lays out several pages on the floor. He begins to explain that he was serving as Lebowski’s translator and theological scholar of over 3000 years of tradition. Think Egon of GHOSTBUSTERS on the dark side of the Force. Lebowski had recruited Brad to be his apprentice, offering room & board for his services and loyalty. He promised Brad a position of title within his coven if he served without question and Brad accepted. When Lebowski’s reckless behavior and greed threatened to expose the secrets of the coven through his dealings with Treehorn, the coven murdered him and forced Brad to make it look like a suicide. He was assured that this was now the only way he would gain entry into the coven. Now with Maude stumbling into his life, Brad could pick up the mantle of his surrogate father’s work. But Lebowski had ceremonial text translated wrong again. It wasn’t about sacrifice, it was about possession. Brad has been preparing Maude for the ultimate sacrifice in an ancient Sumerian ritual that would open a portal to Hell using the blood of Maude for the Devil to possess the body of  her unborn child. Bunny was collateral damage, a loose end that had to be tied off. Brad killed her because she knew too much, even if she was too stupid to piece it all together. And now it’s all down to this, fuck the coven, Brad’s going straight to the 9 circles of Hell to bring Beelzebub back to our world on his own. He’s going to kill that poor woman.

Can the Dude and Walter stop Brad in time? Does Maude have any feelings for the Dude? How deeply is Treehorn really involved? Who is involved in this mysterious coven? Dios mio, man.

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Born in the steel scrap-yards of Lorain, Ohio, Zach Shildwachter is a VHS Vagabond wandering the Cleveland landscape in search of the perfect Horror movie and Banana flavored snacks in preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse. Until the Dead walk, our Hero remains an Aspiring Filmmaker, Compulsive Writer, Self-taught Artist, and amateur Super-Hero.

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