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An entry in Fortnightly Topic Challenge #36: Twisted Classics 1


You love movies. You had several (9) VHS tapes, neatly organized in their sleeves, up on a shelf. However, due to a certain incident, they've been mixed and their sleeves destroyed. Luckily, the first and last tapes were unaffected and can still be identified. You don't have time to watch them, so you'll have to find a different way to identify them.

You know they were put in order like a word-ladder with the following rules:

  • Movie titles only (no TV, no shorts)
  • Spaces and punctuation were excluded
  • At least 4 consecutive letters had to appear in the next entry in (not necessarily consecutive) order. So, a movie like Rain Man could go into Iron Man
  • The movies have some sort of connection between all of them

Of course, you also remember that your favorite movie of all time, Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, is one of the movies.

The Prey
________________________
________________________
________________________
________________________
________________________
________________________
________________________
Cage

Note: Beginning paragraph is mostly flavor-text with no real bearing on the puzzle, other than the fact that there are 9 movies, total.

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  • $\begingroup$ I feel like working from the bottom up might be easier than the other way $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Jun 19 '18 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ Considering that my favorite movie (in regards to this puzzle) is Spy Kids 2, I may want to consider checking into a hospital, to make sure I don't have brain damage before I sort out these movies. $\endgroup$ – Joe-You-Know Jun 19 '18 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ Be sympathetic, @Joe-You-Know … David probably spent twice as much time trying to incorporate a less embarrassing alternative than Spy Kids 2 than he spent on the entire puzzle. :-) $\endgroup$ – Phylyp Jun 20 '18 at 4:54
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The connection between all movies is, ...

that Danny Trejo was an actor in all of them.

Now we can fill the ladder (probably one of several possible solutions):

The PreyThe Replacement Killers
The Replacement Killers → The Killing Jar
The Killing JarLiving the Dream
Living the Dream → Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams → Spy Kids: All the Time in the World
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World → Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyChavez Cage of Glory
Chavez Cage of GloryCage
Cage

Alternative solution ...

... featuring all 4 Spy Kids movies:

The PreyPropensity
Propensity → Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams → Spy Kids: All the Time in the World
Spy Kids: All the Time in the WorldSpy Kids
Spy Kids → Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
Spy Kids 3-D: Game OverAnchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyChavez Cage of Glory
Chavez Cage of GloryCage
Cage

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Partial answer:

The Prey $\implies$ The Prestige
The Prestige $\implies$ All the President's Men
All the President's Men $\implies$ Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales $\implies$ Silence of the Lambs
Silence of the Lambs $\implies$ The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King $\implies$ Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi $\implies$ xXx: Return of Xander Cage
xXx: Return of Xander Cage $\implies$ Cage

Someone just needs to fill in the blanks about how there's a connection amongst them.

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    $\begingroup$ You forgot that "Of course, you also remember that your favorite movie of all time, Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, is one of the movies." $\endgroup$ – Joey Dionne Jun 19 '18 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I mean I didn't put it in, but I also can't forget something that isn't true. My favourite movie of all time is Jurassic Park. ;) I don't see a connection among The Prey, Spy Kids 2, and Cage, so I went with a random list instead. $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Jun 19 '18 at 20:15
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I've found all nines but can't find a connection between them:

(bold part is the consecutive letters that will appear on the next title, italic part is the letters from the previous title)

the prey
the punisher
sherlock holmes: A game of shadow
a nightmare on elm street 3: dream warriors
Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
wrong turn 2: dead end
xxx: return of xander cage
cage

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    $\begingroup$ I have the impression, it makes more sense to find the connection between the movies first, instead of choosing movies based on 4 of 25 letters beeing equal. $\endgroup$ – Sleafar Jun 20 '18 at 4:36

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