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‘Predator’ to ‘Pirates’: The most confusingly titled movies

“The Predator,” the sequel/reboot opening Friday, shouldn’t be mistaken for 1987’s “Predator” or 2010’s “Predators,” which, unlike the “Alien”/“Aliens” combo, wasn’t a direct sequel. That would have been 1990’s “Predator 2.”

Maybe it’s not the worst thing that Blockbuster went out of business, considering all of the aneurysms that store managers would have suffered while trying to alphabetize that particular shelf.

In celebration of the return of the extraterrestrial killing machine with the fantastic dreadlocks, here’s a look back at some of Hollywood’s most confusingly titled movie franchises:

‘Halloween’

On Oct. 19, Jamie Lee Curtis will return as Laurie Strode to battle Michael Myers in “Halloween.” The two first met in 1978’s “Halloween” and reunited in 1981’s “Halloween II.” These shouldn’t be mixed up with 2007’s “Halloween” and 2009’s “Halloween II,” both of which were written and directed by Rob Zombie. Curtis already returned to the franchise in “Halloween H20,” which was neither the 20th entry in the franchise nor set on the water. “Halloween H20” pretended everything that happened after 1981’s “Halloween II” never existed. Next month’s “Halloween” disregards everything that happened after 1978’s “Halloween.” Anything that attempts to wipe 1982’s “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” which focused on mind-controlling costume masks instead of Myers, out of our collective consciousness can’t be all bad.

‘Friday the 13th’

There’s just something about masked killers. “Friday the 13th” debuted in 1980, and the series was supposed to come to an end with the fourth film, “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.” Needless to say, it didn’t. Nor did it end with the ninth, “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.” Jason Voorhees’ caretakers fully embraced the movies’ head-scratching history with the 12th and most recent entry by naming it, simply, “Friday the 13th.”

‘First Blood’

By modern standards, “First Blood” was a relatively subdued drama about Vietnam veteran John Rambo’s (Sylvester Stallone) difficulties reassimilating into society. “First Blood” was followed by “Rambo: First Blood Part II” and “Rambo III,” which technically should have been either “Rambo II” or “First Blood Part III.” The sequel to that? “Rambo.” Just “Rambo.” On Sunday, Stallone hinted on Instagram that production on the next chapter will be “starting soon.” The working title, which makes a complete mockery of the numerical system, is “Rambo V.”

‘Pirates of the Caribbean’

Disney isn’t exactly helping movie lovers with “Pirates of the Caribbean: Word Salad.” It’s not that hard to remember that “The Curse of the Black Pearl” was the subtitle of the original Jack Sparrow adventure. But even Johnny Depp probably isn’t able to place the sequels — “At World’s End,” “Dead Man’s Chest,” “Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “On Stranger Tides” — in chronological order. Actually, as much as I love Depp, he’s probably the last person who’d be able to do that.

‘The Fast and the Furious’

This is where things just go off the rails. “The Fast and the Furious” was followed by “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” before the series dropped all of its articles with the fourth movie, “Fast & Furious.” That was followed by “Fast Five” and “Fast & Furious 6,” which actually was either “The Fast and the Furious 6” or “Fast & Furious 2.” Then the movies presumably slowed down by exorcising “Fast” altogether with “Furious 7” and “The Fate of the Furious.”

‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’

This one isn’t so much confusing as it is just plain silly. Kevin Williamson’s slasher follow-up to “Scream” already was a mouthful. Then “I Know What You Did Last Summer” was followed by “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” and the direct-to-DVD “I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.” Unfortunately, the movies’ hook — and their hook-handed killer — petered out before audiences were treated to “Wait, What Was It You Did Last Summer?” “No, Seriously, I Used to Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Oh Yeah, Now I Remember What You Did Last Summer.”

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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