Because there are no regular movies worthy of comparison.
Just as The LEGO Movie did, the spinoff The LEGO Batman Movie manages to feature a bunch of movie and TV characters not typically seen together in a legally produced commercial feature for the big screen. This time, in addition to the DC Comics heroes and villains you’d expect to find in a Batman movie, there are villains from Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Gremlins, Dracula, Doctor Who, King Kong, and Jaws.
That’s an impressive feat considering most mashups these days have to be fan films or of the parody animated variety. But we have seen mega-crossovers in theaters and on television before, and below I’ve highlighted a dozen authorized and unauthorized examples, mostly those mixing together movie and video game villains, for fans of The LEGO Batman Movie to check out. Well, maybe not the younger ones, as some of these are R-rated.
House of Frankenstein (1944)
Although this is the second movie to bring together Universal Monsters, it’s the one that really got the ball rolling on the shared-universe franchise. The previous year’s Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is only a team-up of two movies, which I consider to just be a crossover. Three or more make it a mashup, and that’s the case for this movie that not only has Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolf Man but also Dracula, plus a mad scientist and a hunchback. Other characters, including the Mummy and the Invisible Man, would be looped into official and comedic monster mashes, all the way up through the animated Hotel Transylvania movies and upcoming mega-franchise starring Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, and Johnny Depp.
Inspired by the celebrity-filled Battle of the Network Stars, this animated series mashed together all our favorite Hanna-Barbera characters for an cartoon Olympics. There are three teams, two of them filled with good guys like Scooby-Doo, Captain Caveman, Yogi Bear, and Grape Ape. The third is an all-villain team and it’s kind of a shoddy crossover with only a few preexisting baddies, such as Mumbly and the Dalton brothers, the rest being original creations modeled after villains that weren’t allowed to be recycled for whatever reason.
Mickey’s House of Villains (2002)
Disney has been celebrating its villains in specials since 1956’s Our Unsung Villains, but most of them were clip showcases. In the 1990s, Disney Villains became a merchandise branding idea, but again it wasn’t exactly a mashup even to feature a roster of classic baddies in a group or collage drawing. The direct-to-video feature Mickey’s House of Villains actually brought the characters together, interacting with one another as well as Mickey Mouse and the rest of the studio’s good guys. A spinoff of the animated series House of Mouse, the Halloween special features a takeover led by Aladdin’s Jafar and including everyone from the Evil Queen to Hades (some of whom had also appeared in the previous spinoff Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse). There’s also the 2005 mashup Once Upon a Halloween, where the Evil Queen leads an evil plan with other villains. House of Villains is available to stream on Netflix.
Not to be confused with or forgotten because of the terrible feature film it inspired, this short by French filmmaker Patrick Jean was also possibly influential for stuff like The LEGO Movie and anything else Hollywood will surely cook up related to mashup culture. There’s not much of a narrative so much as a premise, as classic video game characters, including Donkey Kong, and iconography invades New York City.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Another from Disney (they love throwing different universes together), and another involving video games. The title character is a bad guy in his own arcade game, made up for the animated feature, and he attends a support group for antagonists including preexisting characters Bowser from Super Mario Bros., M. Bison from Street Fighter, and Clyde from Pac-Man. The movie also mashes in real video game protagonists, too, such as Q-Bert.
Everybody Wants to Kill Bruce (2013)
These days, the best mashup artists are a little more seamless when combining live-action characters from different movies, but for 2013, Pierre-Alexandre Chauvat’s first video of Bruce Willis battling all kinds of heroes and villains from various movies is a remarkable achievement in editing. He recently released a second part, which is even more polished while also upping the ante from 39 movies mashed to 53.
The Red Drum Getaway (2015)
Video essayists love comparing and contrasting master filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick, and more mashup artists need to do their equivalent, as Adrien Dezalay, Emmanuel Delabaere, and Simon Philippe did two years ago for Gump Studios. Things get pretty weird in the mashup below, but the gist is that you’ve got Hitchcock regular James Stewart dealing with Kubrick villains, primarily Jack Torrance from The Shining.
Master of Suspense (2015)
As much fun as it is to hear LEGO Batman reference all the past versions of himself, now I’d love to see him inserted into all of them somehow. In the meantime, here’s a mashup from Fabrice Matthieu (best known for his crossovers of Star Wars and North by Northwest and Raiders of the Lost Ark) that pits filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock as the real villain against a number of his own heroes. It arrived online mere weeks after The Red Drum Getaway.
Suicide Squad: The B Team (2016)
The LEGO Batman Movie joins together even more DC villains as collaborators than Suicide Squad, plus all those baddies from other movies, so it’s kind of like this mashup from Funny or Die that imagines another Suicide Squad team uniting such villains as Dr. Evil, Gollum, the Grinch, the Wet Bandits from Home Alone, Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore, Griff Tannen from Back to the Future Part II, Winifred from Hocus Pocus, Terl from Battlefield Earth, and more.
Rise of the Boogeymen (2016)
When it comes to throwing a TON of movie characters into a video together, there’s no better mashup artist than Antonio Maria Da Silva. He’s the one responsible for the brilliant Hell’s Club and its multiple sequels, and in addition to the video below he also showcased a bunch of bad guys, including The LEGO Movie’s Gremlins, in a holiday special. This mashup released last Halloween, though, is the most villain-centric, mostly of the horror genre variety. There’s Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers, Chucky, Norman Bates, the Birds, Leatherface, Ghostface, and many more fighting each other. Until young Jennifer Connelly stops them.
Villain Pub – “The Boss Battle” (2016)
Long before even The LEGO Movie, there was the silly self-obsessed cartoon Batman of How It Should Have Ended, the animated parody web series that does exactly what its name suggests. I’m not sure when he began showing up at the end of episodes or if it was before HISHE began its Super Cafe spinoffs, but he’s certainly a precursor to the Will Arnett-voiced LEGO version, and I think he’s funnier. Another HISHE spinoff is the Villain Pub series, which mashes up various movie and TV villains, placing them in a bar owned by Emperor Palpatine. Sort of like the mashup of villains seen in The LEGO Batman Movie. Not only that but in the below episode from last November, we see Batman go up against them all, including Lord Voldemort, the Joker, Poison Ivy, the shark from Jaws, and Daleks, all of whom are also fought by LEGO Batman in the new movie.
Super-Hero Bowl! (2017)
Even though mashup artists are doing crazy things with live-action these days, animation still seems to be the easiest and most legal (as parody) way of combining characters from different properties, especially if you want them to fulfill some kind of narrative. The most recent video from Toon Sandwich might top every other crossover and mashup with the amount of heroes it features, all pit together in a gladiatorial free-for-all. This video ends with a cliffhanger that hopefully is promise of a villain-filled follow-up.