7 Christmas Movie Sequels You've Probably Never Heard Of

Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video

Whether it's A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or Die Hard, everyone has his or her own go-to Christmas movies. Then there are the holiday movies that have been consigned to the Island of Misfit Christmas Movie Sequels—movies that people don’t love, because they just plain don’t know about. (Though, admittedly, film quality may also often play a part.) Here are seven examples of the latter.

1. NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION 2: COUSIN EDDIE’S ISLAND ADVENTURE (2003)

Fourteen years after rolling up to Clark Griswold’s house in a run-down old RV in 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) got a seasonal saga of his own with the made-for-TV Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure. This time around, Eddie and his family—including wife Catherine (Miriam Flynn, reprising her role along with Quaid) and Ed Asner as “Uncle Nick”—find themselves celebrating Christmas while trapped on a tropical island. Matty Simmons, producer of the other four Vacation movies, wrote the screenplay. He has only penned one movie since, National Lampoon’s Pucked, starring Jon Bon Jovi. (Yes, that’s real.)

2. AND 3. HOME ALONE 4: TAKING BACK THE HOUSE (2002) AND HOME ALONE: THE HOLIDAY HEIST (2012)

You know about Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. You might know about the Macaulay Culkin-less Home Alone 3; it did get a theatrical release, after all. But, zombie-like, the franchise kept shambling along with two TV movies, released in 2002 and 2012. (We’ll be due for another in 2022.) The first, Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House, yet again puts Kevin McCallister (Mike Weinberg) in the position of having to defend his house—actually his divorced dad’s girlfriend’s house, where he’s spending Christmas—from thieves. Those thieves are played by French Stewart and Missi Pyle, the first stepping in for Daniel Stern as the dim-witted Marv.

Though Home Alone: The Holiday Heist opted for a brand new set of characters, the set-up is the same: Christmas, thieves, a booby-trapped house, etc. etc. The thieves this time around are played by Debi Mazar, My Name is Earl's Eddie Steeples, and … Malcolm McDowell?

4. A CHRISTMAS STORY 2 (2012)

Since time immemorial, TBS has captivated viewers with their 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story. No such love is given to its 2012 sequel, A Christmas Story 2, probably because no one realizes it’s a thing. This direct-to-video sequel takes place five years after the first movie; Ralphie, having worn down his father enough to get a Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle, now has his heart set on a car. The two films have no cast or crew in common; the biggest name in the sequel is Daniel Stern, who cut his Christmas chops on (some of) the aforementioned Home Alone movies. There’s actually an earlier, non-holiday based A Christmas Story sequel, titled My Summer Story (released in theaters in 1994 as It Runs in the Family), that follows Ralphie and his family's summer shenanigans. That one was written and directed by the same people who did A Christmas Story, though since it was made 11 years later, its core cast had to be replaced. Here, Ralphie and his parents are played by Kieran Culkin, Charles Grodin, and Mary Steenburgen, with Christian Culkin as Randy.

5. ELF: BUDDY’S MUSICAL CHRISTMAS (2014)

A year after NBC’s The Sound of Music Live! kicked off the current televised musical trend, the peacock network tried its hand with a new version of Jon Favreau’s modern Christmas classic Elf. OK, Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas isn’t really a sequel—it’s more a condensed mash-up of Elf and its musical adaptation, Elf: The Musical. Oh, and did we mention it’s in stop-motion? Jim Parsons voices the Christmas-loving Buddy, a human raised as an Elf at the North Pole, with voiceover expert (and Jedi) Mark Hamill playing his Scrooge-like father, Walter.

6. SANTA BABY 2: CHRISTMAS MAYBE (2009)

Back in 2006, ABC Family aired the made-for-TV Christmas movie Santa Baby, starring Jenny McCarthy as Mary, a woman struggling with the decision to leave her career as a high-powered businesswoman in order to go back home and help her father with his business when he becomes sick. Oh, and her father is Santa Claus. Santa Baby was so successful that it garnered a sequel, Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe. (Not, in fact, written by Carly Rae Jepsen.) This time around, Mary has to step in and save Christmas when her father has a midlife crisis and an agitator at the North Pole tries to get the elves to go on strike. Just what one expects in ABC Family Christmas movies: labor disputes!

7. RUDOLPH AND FROSTY’S CHRISTMAS IN JULY (1979)

There have been a handful of sequels to the classic Rankin and Bass Christmas special Frosty the Snowman, two of them by Rankin and Bass themselves. The first one, 1976’s Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, involves Frosty’s young friends building him a wife named Crystal. The second is ever-so-slightly more ambitious: One hour and 37 minutes long, compared to 25 and 24 minutes for the previous films, 1979’s Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July involves a plot by the evil wizard Winterbolt to destroy the magic that makes Rudolph’s nose glow. (It was put there by the Aurora Borealis. Just go with it.)

Also present in Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July are: A circus, run by a character voiced by Ethel Merman; an evil carney trying to take over that circus; Santa in a hot air balloon; an evil reindeer named Scratcher; “Reinsnakes”; and a scene where Frosty, Crystal, and their two kids melt to death in the hot Florida sun. Merry Christmas!

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Wayfair
Wayfair

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From Ear to Eternity: When Mike Tyson Bit Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield (L) and Mike Tyson (R) compete in their rematch in Las Vegas on June 28, 1997. The bout would make sports history.
Evander Holyfield (L) and Mike Tyson (R) compete in their rematch in Las Vegas on June 28, 1997. The bout would make sports history.
Focus On Sport/Getty Images

As the 16,000 spectators began filing out of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, following a night of fights on June 28, 1997, MGM employee Mitch Libonati noticed something strange on the floor of the boxing ring. He later described it as being roughly the size of a fingernail, with the texture of a piece of hot dog or sausage.

It was no concession stand remnant. It was a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear.

Wrapping the morsel of flesh in a latex glove, Libonati hurried backstage, where Holyfield was conferring with officials and doctors after his opponent, Mike Tyson, had been disqualified for biting him on the left ear. In all the commotion, Libonati wasn't allowed inside the room. But Michael Grant, one of Holyfield’s training partners, accepted the ear fragment on Holyfield’s behalf.

Libonati’s discovery was the climax to one of boxing’s most controversial and bizarre evenings, one in which "Iron" Mike Tyson—the most famous fighter of his era—meted out a savage reprimand for what he perceived was dirty fighting on the part of Holyfield. The ear-biting far exceeded the brutal underpinnings of boxing and added to Tyson's reputation as a frenzied combatant both in and out of the ring.

 

Mike Tyson’s collision with Evander Holyfield had started when the two were just teenagers. On the amateur circuit, they had sparred together—not quite knowing the heights each would achieve, but understanding the other would be a formidable obstacle if they were to ever meet as professionals.

Evander Holyfield (L) had success against Mike Tyson (R) early on.Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Tyson was a prodigy, having won the heavyweight championship of the world in 1986 at the age of 19 and dominating the division up until an upset loss to James “Buster” Douglas in Tokyo, Japan, in 1990. Holyfield was the lighter fighter at cruiserweight (190 pounds), moving up to the heavyweight division in 1988 and gaining respect for his trilogy with Riddick Bowe.

Long before that fateful night in 1997, Tyson's personal life had started to overshadow his accomplishments inside the ring: An allegedly abusive marriage to actress Robin Givens darkened his image in the media and ended in a very public divorce after just one year. In 1992, a rape conviction sidelined the fighter for more than three years while he served out his prison sentence.

When Tyson returned to the ring, he rattled off a string of wins against fighters not quite at his level, including Peter McNeeley, Buster Mathis Jr., Frank Bruno, and Bruce Seldon. Holyfield had stepped away from competition in 1994, but as Tyson knocked off inferior opponents, talk of a bout with Holyfield intensified. Finally, the two met in Las Vegas on November 9, 1996, with Tyson a 17-1 favorite over the semi-retired Holyfield.

Holyfield would prove his doubters wrong. Through 11 rounds of action, he outmaneuvered and outclassed Tyson by negating his opponent's power with movement and volume. Holyfield also landed headbutts that were declared unintentional, but to Tyson seemed deliberate. Before the fight could see a 12th round, Holyfield knocked Tyson down and earned a technical knockout victory.

 

While it was an undoubtedly disappointing moment for Tyson, an upset in boxing virtually guarantees a lucrative rematch deal. Both men agreed to meet a second time, with Holyfield earning $35 million and Tyson getting $30 million. Tyson’s camp, however, insisted that the referee from the first bout, Mitch Halpern, not be booked for the second, because Tyson felt he failed to call the illegal headbutts. The Nevada State Athletic Commission didn’t want to be seen capitulating to Tyson’s demands, but Halpern stepped aside voluntarily. So referee Mills Lane took his place.

Evander Holyfield (L) and Mike Tyson (R) first met as amateurs.Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Before a huge crowd full of A-list celebrities like Sylvester Stallone and a then-record 1.99 million households that had purchased the event on pay-per-view, Tyson and Holyfield met for a second time at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 28, 1997. While Holyfield took the first round, Tyson appeared fit and adaptive, and came out blazing in round two. Then, just as Tyson had feared, Holyfield’s headbutt struck him again.

The clash of heads opened a cut over Tyson’s right eye, which threatened to obscure his vision as the fight went on. It also opened a reservoir of frustration in the fighter that would manifest in a spectacularly violent way.

Coming out for the third round, Tyson had forgotten his mouthpiece and had to go back and retrieve it—a foreshadowing of things to come. His aggression was working against Holyfield, but with 40 seconds left in the round, the two clinched up. Tyson moved his mouth so it was near Holyfield’s right ear. With his mouthpiece still in place, he clamped down on the ear, ripped the top off, and spat it along with his mouthguard onto the canvas.

Holyfield jumped up in the air in shock and pain. Referee Mills Lane was initially confused by what had happened until Holyfield’s trainers, Don Turner and Tommy Brooks, yelled out what Tyson had done. Lane called for a doctor then told Marc Ratner, the executive director of the athletic commission, that he was going to end the fight. Ratner asked if he was sure. Seeing Holyfield was bleeding from his ear but otherwise ready to fight, Lane waved the two men back into competition.

Incredibly, Tyson bit Holyfield a second time, this time on the left ear, before the round ended. This time, Lane was aware of what was happening and had seen enough. Before the start of the fourth round, he disqualified Tyson.

 

That was far from the end of it. Realizing he had lost the fight, Tyson grew incensed, shoving Holyfield from behind and pawing at the security guards who had stormed the ring in an attempt to restore order.

After the bout, Tyson didn’t appear to be overly contrite. He explained that he was frustrated at Holyfield headbutting him without being penalized, and said he had lost control.

An emotional Mike Tyson reacts to his disqualification loss to Evander Holyfield.Focus On Sport/Getty Images

“Listen,” Tyson said. “Holyfield is not the tough warrior everyone says he is. He got a nick on his ear and he quit.”

Tyson believed his retaliation was justified. “This is my career," he said. "I’ve got children to raise and this guy keeps butting me, trying to cut me and get me stopped on cuts. I’ve got to retaliate. What else could I do? He didn’t want to fight. I’m ready to fight right now. Regardless of what I did, he’s been butting me for two fights. I got one eye. He’s not impaired. He’s got ears. I’ve got to go home and my kids will be scared of me. Look at me, look at me, look at me!”

Two days later, Tyson issued a tempered apology in an effort to minimize the consequences, but it was too late. In addition to losing his boxing license in the state of Nevada, Tyson was fined 10 percent of his purse, or $3 million, which was thought to be the largest fine in sports at the time.

 

Tyson could never entirely shake the stigma of his actions. When a lucrative bout with Lennox Lewis was being planned in 2002, the fight ultimately ended up taking place in Memphis, Tennessee; Nevada refused to restore Tyson's license following a press conference brawl between the two men.

Tyson ultimately continued competing through 2005, when he lost his last bout to Kevin McBride. Holyfield retired in 2011. Earlier this year, the 54-year-old Tyson expressed a desire to return to the ring. The fighter once known as "The Baddest Man on the Planet" is scheduled to fight Roy Jones Jr. on November 28, 2020. Yet Holyfield, now 57 years old, remains a possible future opponent.

The two have occasionally interacted in public in interviews, with Tyson expressing remorse and Holyfield admitting he briefly thought about biting Tyson on his face right back. The pair even filmed a spot for Foot Locker in which Tyson “gave” Holyfield the missing piece of his ear.

In reality, Holyfield never did get his ear back. After Mitch Libonati handed it over to Michael Grant, the piece somehow fell out of the latex glove while being transported to the hospital.

Many fighters talk about leaving a little piece of themselves in the ring. It’s usually metaphorical. For Evander Holyfield, it was simply the truth.