'Urban Legend' Movie Franchise

Premise: In this slick slasher series -- at least, in the first two entries -- a mystery killer stalks and dispatches of victims in a manner modeled after urban legends. The third is a whole other animal, taking a single supernatural urban legend and expanding it into a film.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

Urban Legend (1998)

Urban Legend
© Tri Star

A killer in a hooded parka begins killing people on a college campus in the manner of popular urban legends. Natalie witnesses the killing of her friend Damon, but no one believes her. Then, the killer kills her roommate, and the authorities proclaim it a suicide. Paul helps Natalie investigate, and since all of the killings have been based on legends, they begin to suspect their urban legend professor. It turns out that Natalie and the first victim were involved in an urban legend-themed death in high school, and now the killer, the victim's girlfriend -- Brenda -- seeks revenge. After Brenda's killed all of Natalie's friends, Natalie -- aided by security guard Reese Wilson -- shoots Brenda and she's sent tumbling out the window, but she shows up in the car with Natalie and Paul and attacks them with an axe. They crash, and Brenda is sent hurtling off a bridge into a river, but the body's never found. At the end, she's shown alive and well at another college.

Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)

Urban Legends: Final Cut
© Sony

Reese, having survived the massacre in the first film, is working security at a different college, where she tells film student Amy about the deaths, now thought to be an urban legend because of a coverup by the school. This inspires Amy to do her thesis film about a serial killer who bases the crimes on urban legends. As she begins filming, her schoolmates -- most of them crew members on her movie -- begin to fall prey to a killer in a fencing mask. When her friend Travis supposedly commits suicide, his twin Trevor appears saying he was murdered. They team up, realizing that everyone who died worked on Travis' thesis film project. Examining the film, they discover someone switched the credits, adding Travis' name to a terrible film he didn't direct so they could steal his film. The culprit turns out to be film professor Solomon, who wants to pass Travis' movie off as his own so he can win the prestigious Hitchcock Award and escape teaching. He wants to silence everyone associated with Travis' film and frame Amy for the murders (It just so happens he almost won the Hitchcock Award as a student, but Amy's filmmaker father cast the tie-breaking vote against him.). As he prepares to shoot her and Trevor, he of course pauses to explain everything, thus allowing them and a late-arriving Reese to disarm him. Amy shoots Solomon when he lunges at her. Some time later, we see Amy as a successful director, while Solomon is being wheeled around a mental hospital in a wheelchair by a nurse who turns out to be...Brenda from the first movie.

Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005)

Urban Legends: Bloody Mary
© Sony

Virtually unrelated to the previous films, this one takes on a supernatural urban legend: that of Bloody Mary, the vengeful ghost who is supposedly conjured if you call her name three times. It traces Mary's origin to a 1969 high school prom, during which Mary Banner is accidentally killed by jocks who slip her drugs. Her body ends up locked in a trunk. In present day, Samantha is a high school journalist who publishes embarrassing pics of some jocks and then gets slipped a date rape drug by the jocks in retaliation for the article. When Samantha and her friends inadvertently conjure the spirit by playing Bloody Mary, the ghost goes after the jocks who drugged her, killing them one by one. It turns out that the modern-day jocks are the children of the boys who were responsible for Mary's death. Samantha sees visions of the spirit, which leads her to the trunk where her body lies. Together with her brother and a high school friend of Mary's, she investigates the secret behind Mary's wrath and discovers that her stepfather Bill, a local politician, killed Mary. Bill tries to kill Sam before she can expose his secret, but Mary shows up and kills him.