The Howling (1981)I decided to go with the safe choice, though in some ways this feels like more a 70s movie. I was surprised how much time passes before a (HUGE SPOILER) werewolf actually appears. This movie takes its time, but it is well worth it. The movie is not very subtle about its feelings for network executives(they only care about ratings!). It's crazy that the "hero"(?) of the film is Dennis Dugan, future director of various Adam Sandler "masterpieces". Also, Elisabeth Brooks(RIP) will "haunt" my dreams.
Razorback (1984)I missed out on watching a proper Aussie exploitation movie on Ozploitation day so I made up for it here. Three cheers for flexible rules!Razorback is a very good looking movie that plays the typical horror cliche (out-of-towner in a remote/isolated location becoming the victim someone/thing) with the perpetrators being the crazy locals while the Razorback almost acts more like a MacGuffin than the actual focus. The movie utilizes a less is more approach when it comes to the boar, which from the looks of things was more due to necessity that stylistic choice. But when it comes to stylistic choice this movie has it in spades. In the Ozploitation doco they said it was ahead of its time in terms of the "style over substance" approach used in more recent times....and I dont fault them for saying that. Jaws crossed with Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 mixed with Punisher: War Zone, then dumb it down a whole lot. Thats-a Razorback.Sunsetploitation!
Lamberto Bava's DEMONS 2 (1986) on DVD for the first time.The 80's will be remembered for a lot of great horror flicks. This ain't one of them, which is fitting because "Demons 2" is what 90% of 80's horror movies were: a lousy execution of a potentially cool (if derivative) premise overloaded with pastel-colored fashions, generic rock/synth tunes and big neon signs on living room walls (which strobe-flicker constantly even during a blackout). A virtual repeat of the first "Demons" except set in a luxurious sound/bullet-proof apartment building (named 'The Tower,' which tops "Green Lantern's" 'Science Building' IMO), "Demons 2" even has the same actor that played the pimp return to lead a team of weightlifters battle out the demons in an underground parking lot. Bava apes on a shoestring budget all the pre-'86 horror milestones: "Alien" (acid blood), "Videodrome" (pulsating TV), "The Thing" (dog transformation), "Gremlins" (don't ask!), etc. Why? I don't know, maybe to cover for the fact the direction/script are the height of ineptitude at building tension or being remotely scary (missing reaction shots, characters forgotten about, lousy rubbery make-up & puppets, etc.). "Demons 2" literally makes up its rules as it goes along about what demons can turn into or when/how they become monsters, and is populated by not one likable character except for 11-year old Asia Argento in her film debut (and by "likable" I mean she barely says anything). A pregnant wife is as close as sympathetic as we get, and it's clear this actress wished she had been anywhere else. "Demons 2's" only redeeming feature is that it highlights how, flawed as it was, the first "Demons" had a demented energy to pull off its premise that is MIA this time around.
Demons 2 screened at a Music Box Massacre a couple of years ago. I really wanted to see whatever was showing after it (maybe Night of the Creeps?), but Demons 2 ruined both me and Erika for any movie to follow. We just went home instead. Thanks a lot, Demons 2.
Dracula’s Widow (1988)Wretched movie stars Sylvia Kristel (of Emmanuelle fame) as Drac’s ol’ ball and chain. Brief moments of over-the-top gore are interspersed with long stretches of unbearable tedium, made worse by a dreadful synthesizer score. Kristel is a terrible actress – for some strange reason I never noticed that when I watched her in Emmanuelle. Note to filmmakers: If you’re making a crappy vampire film, don’t show scenes of a much better vampire film (in this case Nosferatu) during it.
Stephen King's Silver Bullet (1985)This one practically defines guilty pleasure for me. Gary Busey and Corey Haim star in this werewolf picture about a werewolf attacking a town you know the story. This one has a lot of bad elements including unneeded narration, overacting redneck townsfolk, and a very poor werewolf design. In spite of these faults you get your crazy Busey with quotes like "Holy jumped up Jesus headed palomino" and a couple really nice performances from Corey Haim and his sister played by Megan Follows.This is a great warm up horror movie for older kids to see if they are ready to make that next step up to watching Evil Dead or Dead Alive.
THE DEADLY SPAWN. Hildebrandt-sploitation! How much fun is this movie? Monstrous aliens land in the suburbs, and the kid who’s seen too many monster movies is the only one who can stop them. This was Super 8 way before Super 8. The whole thing has this extreme low budget feel, where you can tell it was merely a group of friends who picked up a camera and said, “Hey, let’s make a movie!” This is a rare occasion where that works in the movie’s favor, as it has that rough, clunky, indie charm. The monster and gore effects are great, in that gross-yet-cheesy way that could only be ‘80s.
My Mom's A Werewolf (1989)The DVD box said that it was horror/comedy, but there's not much horror to be seen. Come to think of it, there's not much comedy, either. But this is what I watched, for better or for worse. Oh, regret. Susan Blakely is the MILFy werewolf mom of the title, and John Saxon stars as the werewolf that bites her. I hope he enjoyed the paycheck he collected for this. This is a Crown International movie, and it sounds a lot better than it actually is. There's no gore, no violence, and no nudity. It feels like any other 80s teen horror/comedy, but without the things that make those movies good. Plus, they keep referencing other movies that I'd rather be watching, like Claude Rains movies and The Beast of Yucca Flats. I probably would have been softer on this had I not expected, you know...horror. Major bummer.
The Evil Dead (1981)This wasn't too terrible, I guess, considering what I'd head about it. Kind of creepy and very, very gross. And some of the scenes took a ridiculously long time to the point where they were no longer creepy, but sort of funny and super annoying. And the giggling. I would have chopped up some zombies (demon-possessed?) much sooner just to stop the f-ing giggling.
Children Of The Corn (1984)There's really 8 more of these fucking things? Hoo boy. Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton (both good, considering the garbage they have to work with) are a couple who are fighting for their lives amongst killer kids, supernatural hogwash, and staggeringly cartoony special effects. Proof that not every Stephen King story can handle the strain of being stretched to feature length. Should've watched Creepshow instead.
C.H.U.D. (1984)The dad from Starship Troopers! This movie is crazy ... in a good way? The monster effects are easily the worst part. Surprisingly good performances by a nearly universally recognizable cast (even an appearance by a young John Goodman), with interesting things to say about environmentalism, women's rights and homelessness (I might be reading a little too much into it, but so what?). I would watch this again.
Street Trash (1987)I've wanted to see this ever since Lloyd Kaufman shit all over it in his first book. He was right. Like C.H.U.D., the movie is about the homeless -- more specifically bums who drink a new kind of hard liquor (Viper!) and then melt into goo. So it's like The Stuff, too, only worse. And kind of like Evil Dead, because the director rips off a lot of Sam Raimi photography. Mostly an excuse to show lots of wet, goopy gore and melting effects, with a terrible script and acting. Everything is covered in dirt and grime. This is exactly the kind of horror movie that would have enjoyed a long run on 42nd Street in the '80s.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)After taking in The Bling Ring I decided to make it a Riske-mendation(TM) Double Feature and watch this classic for the first time. What a great movie - something about the two guys' first encounter with the werewolf is pretty damn scary and though there is (actually funny) humour throughout it still plays like a good horror movie. The director, John Landis, would go on to direct Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video which was the first VHS (included a making-of doc) I rented when my parents got our first VCR (for like $800!).
Friday the 13th Part III (1982) Watched with the commentary, but I still fell asleep. June turned funny for me in the second week. I haven't been able to watch as much as I wanted. :(