Two for one!
Crossovers. Like easter eggs and in-jokes, they play to the part of our movie-lovin' hearts that makes us feel like we're privy to something cool. Whether it's a big film crafted solely around a titular battle, or a sneaky character cameo, the result is the same: a cinematic hybrid.
A little like Frankenstein, parts drafted in from all over the place to create something brand new, the crossover is on the rise. Next year sees the release of Batman vs Superman, and if recent rumors hold a shred of truth we'll be getting an X-Men/Fantastic Four team-up film in the future. Before either hits the big screen, read our rundown of ten of the coolest film crossovers....
The Avengers (2012)
The crossover: Some might argue that this isn't strictly a crossover, but witnessing this mega-event is a sight to behold after years of build-up and anticipation. So we're not letting semantics stand in the way. The core group of Avengers unite for Marvel's end of phase one closing chapter, tying together various story strands loosely looped throughout the previous solo movies. The Avengers is the first time these superheroes share the spotlight, which is quite the juggling act for director Joss Whedon, who knit together a ton of different arcs for Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Coolest detail: With the MCU, it has to be the post-credits sequence hinting at an even bigger comic-related entanglement; the arrival of Thanos.
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
The crossover: New Line Cinema stitched together two of horrors greatest icons for a celebrity deathmatch, each nabbing an equal share of the title. To unite the two titans of terror, screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift concocted a script based in a world where Freddy Krueger of Nightmare on Elm Street fame no longer has control over teenagers. For the scissor-fingered villain to restore fear in his victims he resurrects Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees from hell. Things don't turn out quite as planned with Jason taking out tons of teens with his trusty machete. So they wind up battling each other in a lengthy tussle.
Coolest detail: All of Jason's kills mirror deaths from earlier in his long, long, LONG list of solo movies.
The crossover: After Joe Dante and producer Michael Finnell won over Steven Spielberg for their work on The Howling, the pair opted to connect the two movies. Gremlins takes place in the New York town of Kingston Falls, and yet somehow WDHB news anchor Lew Landers (played by Jim McKrell) treks out there to cover the gremlin invasion. Perhaps after his experience dealing with the lycanthropic events in Los Angeles he started chasing down equally supernatural events?
Coolest detail: Scattered throughout the film are tons of smiley face stickers - a nod to The Howling's serial killer Eddie Quist.
Out of Sight (1998)
The crossover: Steven Soderbergh's sublime take on Elmore Leonard's novel hooks back to another of the author's adaptations from the previous year. In an amusing scene, we meet Ray Nicolette as he's being introduced to the father of his girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez's FBI agent Karen Sisco. He's the very same character who aids in Jackie in taking down Ordell in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown from 1997.
Coolest detail: He's played by the same actor - Michael Keaton.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
The crossover: Two of the comedy greats Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, dedicated a period of their career to appearing opposite tons of Universal's gallery of monsters. The 1948 flick was their first foray into that stint, and has long since been heralded as the best of the bunch. In this particular outing they play a pair of baggage handlers who come up against Frankenstein's monster, The Wolf Man and Count Dracula. When Dracula exacts his plan to revive the stitched-together monster, the only brain deemed suitable belongs to one of the headlining duo.
Coolest detail: Even though it's not considered by some to be canon, the film features the second and final time Bela Lugosi played Dracula.
The crossover: Who knew that Ridley Scott was as keen on linking his movies as Marvel? A DVD extra on the UK release of the film is a lengthy diatribe by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) that hints towards his robotics savvy mentor... who is none other than Blade Runner's Eldon Tyrell. The file in question can be glimpsed here, and reads like a diary entry from Weyland. And, while he doesn't name him directly he includes the word "replicate" to infer the copying of humans. Come on!
Coolest detail: This one's a technical detail that expands the universe even farther! In Blade Runner when Deckard is assisted by a police spinner, a 'purge' screen appears on the pilot's interface. It's the very same screen that shows the Nostromo uncoupling from the Narcissus in Alien.
Death Proof (2007)
The crossover: All of Quentin Tarantino's movies are thought to exist in the same extended universe. There's been much debate about it. This example extends past just his directorial efforts and into those of his friend and fellow filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. In Death Proof, Michael Parks plays the same Texas Ranger he portrayed in Kill Bill Vol. 1. The cool twist is: he also played Earl McGraw in Rodriguez's From Dusk Til' Dawn and Planet Terror. The former was written by Tarantino, who stole a plum role for himself too as Richie Gecko.
Coolest detail: Parks' real-life son James plays the son of Earl McGraw in Kill Bill Vol. 1, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money, Death Proof and Planet Terror.
Fast & Furious franchise
The crossover: Part of Justin Lin's contribution to the Fast and Furious franchise extends into some of his earlier work. Better Luck Tomorrow was Lin's big feature breakthrough and revolved around a gang of overachieving high schoolers who swap out academia for the ease of petty crime. One of that bunch is Han Seoul-Oh, depicted during his teenage years before he meets Dominic Toretto in Mexico. And many, many years before his joins the Fast team. Sung Kang plays both versions of the character.
Coolest detail: There's a fill-in movie to show how Han and Dom actually do meet called Los Bandeleros. Vin Diesel directed it.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2007)
The crossover: Bigger, badder and way more meta than any other crossover, this ropes in every single major horror movie villain into one universe. It's filmed as a documentary based in an alternate world where every baddie actually exists. The avid filming crew follows Leslie Vernon, a wannabe serial killer who takes inspiration from the town's infamous murders Freddy, Jason and Michael.
Coolest detail: Cameramen interview Kane Hodder (who plays Jason) while he's traipsing up to a house. It's 1428 Elm Street. The same address Nancy lives at in Nightmare on Elm Street.
Coming to America (1988)
The crossover: An oldie but a goodie. Coming to America stars Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem, a wealthy foreign royal who heads to New York to try and find an appropriate woman to make his bride. Part of that includes experiencing life as a lowly student, so he gives away his money to a couple of homeless geezers. Those two chaps happen to be Randolph and Mortimer Duke from the 1983 Eddie Murphy-starrer Trading Places, which hinges on a bet between two wealthy businessmen. They both lose everything and end up on the streets.
Coolest detail: Murphy's character in the earlier movie is directly responsible for their predicament.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
The crossover: Disney's glorious amalgamation of every classic cartoon character smushed into a surprisingly dark noir. It's the 1940s, and cartoons (or 'toons as they're known) co-exist alongside human beings. Most are actors who work in the movies and all of them live in a subdivision known as Toontown. Once Steven Spielberg convinced Warner Bros. and a host of other massive animation houses to lend the rights to their creations, the movie took off with Robert Zemeckis directing a world quite unlike our own.
Coolest details: Daffy and Donald Duck both duke out their rivalry the best way possible - via a crazy intense piano duel.