Sorry, Ramsey Nouah. But why must “Living in Bondage” have a sequel?

Africa Magic, Ramsey Nouah

Recently, I have been watching large volumes of old Hollywood films. The last one, 1986’s sci-fi, horror film Critters, is surprisingly good. And funny because these dangerous aliens known as Crites have landed on Earth, and can talk and use profanity. By contrast, the first volume in the beloved Poltergeist series released in 1982 is a shocking mess. Blighted by low-grade scare effects and a haunting predictability, Tobe Hooper’s purported horror flick isn’t in any way spellbinding.

Watching these films, particularly the bad ones, made me contemplate other films from the ’80s and ’90s that I would dislike if I watched them again. Like Living in Bondage, the classic 1992 horror thriller that introduced Kenneth Okonkwo as a movie star. The reason this Chris Obi Rapu movie is such a national treasure, and let’s be frank here, is because it was pivotal to the existence of Nollywood. But I dare you to watch the movie again to see if you’d like it.

I’d only be revisiting Living in Bondage because it’s entirely done in Igbo, which is a rarity in today’s Nollywood filmmaking. In the film, there’s a scene in which Ngozi Nwosu looks like she’s about to audition as a backup singer for a rock band, and Andy Okeke’s wife Merit expunging prodigious amounts of whitish vomit. Bearing in mind that the first sequel of Living in Bondage was released in 1993, Ramsey Nouah secured the rights to make another sequel in 2015, but the project was stuck in development hell.

Now, a Living in Bondage sequel is truly happening and nostalgics are clutched by a frisson of excitement. Arguably, it’s the best movie story of the year. Last month, Ramsey Nouah gave interviews to Pulse and The Cable Lifestyle in which he revealed that he would direct the sequel, which will mark his directorial debut.

Titled Living in Bondage: Breaking Free, the sequel will star old skins like Kenneth Okonkwo, Bob-Manuel Udokwu and Kanayo O. Kanayo, who achieved internet meme status when TV host Ebuka Obi-Uchendu wore cultish red to a Big Brother Naija 2018 eviction show. New additions to the sequel are Ramsey Nouah himself and Enyinna Nwigwe.

Currently, media reports are spinning contradictions on whether it’s a remake or a sequel. Huge difference, if you ask me. Given the vast upgrade in filmmaking tools, social media, and a rampant moviegoing culture, a remake will be great as it will stay faithful to the source material. A reboot, even fantastic, as it will be build the film from scratch and explore a different narrative trajectory.

 

Nollywood is still quite new to the concept of remakes/reboots, and this is because the entire institution is steeped in a sequel craze. Put another way: How-Else-Should-We-F**k-Up-This-Movie-For-You-All? (I’m talking to you, The Wedding Party 2). Also, didn’t Lancelot Imasuen’s Issakaba have like 7 parts? Ludicrous but this is Nigeria. Advice to Nouah: Actually, he knows what to do.

 

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