House (1986) Quick Thoughts:Man this may be the goofiest film I've seen yet this Junesploitation. Horror author Roger Cobb's wife has left him, his son has disappeared and his Aunt decided to commit suicide and blaming the house for it. Also his time in Vietnam is coming back to haunt him. This movie is real wacky fun featuring Vietnam scenes that were apparently shot in between boat rides on Disney's Jungle Cruise, Demon monsters straight out of Evil Dead, and of course George Wendt (Cheersploitation?!) While it definitely leans into straight out comedy its the perfect type of movie for Junesploitation and I reccommend it highly.8 Word Review:The Best 1980's Vietnam Haunted House movie ever!
TREMORS (1990) on HD-DVD.It's ironic that one of the best horror movies of the 1980's was released theatrically 17 days into 1990, but that's timing for you. I won't rehash the plot because hey, The F Heads know it by heart (and if they don't shame on them, you make JB cry at night). I'll just briefly say that the main reasons the three sequels and short-lived TV series don't work is that the original is a perfect storm of many individual and very 80's elements working together. Just one of these removed from the equation (plus the fact they came out in the cynical 90's) and the "Tremors" follow-ups upset that delicate balance of terror, cheese, comedy and fun the first one just nails. We have Kevin Bacon in his prime (great chemistry with Fred Ward), Alex P. Keaton's dad cast-against-type as a Tea Party dude before there even was an actual Tea Party, the art of practical miniature/puppet/animatronic effects at its peak, Reba McEntire appealing to country-loving folks before that became an exploitable commercial hook, character actors left and right (Victor Wong!) making us care for the survivors, etc. Yes, Finn Carter has as much appeal as a wet piece of cardboard, but whatever. The graboids are the hook of "Tremors," but in the end you come and revisit this movie because you care and like these folks, and when a few of them don't make it you get genuinely upset, and worried for whoever's left. Can you say that about most of Jaws' victims in Spielberg's flick not aboard Quinn's boat during the last act? "Tremors" is in my humble opinion the perfect PG-13 horror movie. Unlike modern day horror that angle for PG-13 strictly for attendance/opening weekend reasons, that ratings is arrived at here to strike the perfect balance between the flick's many different juggled balls (creature feature yuck, character-based comedy, cast chemistry, mix of practical and miniature effects, etc.) to successfully bring out the movie's overall best element: cohesiveness. Any gorier/more violent and the comedy bits would deflate, any more toothless or restrained and the audience would feel cheated by a neutered-by-censorship premise. Junesploitation celebrates the excesses and boundary-pushers, but for me the family-friendly "Tremors" is nevertheless a poster child for that special 'je ne sais quoi' in 80's horror that lifts it way past where its simplistic 'Jaws' in the desert high-concept could have ended.
Great review! I think you nailed down what makes this movie so appealing. It's one of the perfect 'family' horror films, very affecting for a child of the time period; like with Jaws, I was covering my eyes and hiding behind the couch, but would freak out if my parents tried turning it off!
New Year’s Evil (1980)Not-bad slasher movie that I suspect could have been much better. Kip Niven (he was The One No One Believes, in Earthquake) is quite good as the killer. It also helps that the police actually know what they’re doing in this one; they make intelligent choices that force the killer to improvise, thus enhancing the suspense. Unfortunately, Roz Kelly (who I remember loving as “Pinky” from Happy Days) is really bad as the female lead. Also watch for the police psychologist, who appears to think he’s in a parody film or something. The film humorously tries to cash in on the punk and new-wave craze by presenting a variety of generic rock tunes – but the guys playing them are wearing makeup and have spiked hair, so that’s enough, right? The film also has the world’s lamest version of slam dancing – it’s more like “gentle bump” dancing.
Demons: (1985) – First ViewingPretty appropriate title. This movie is 90 minutes of demons-a-poppin’. There are so many demons in this movie that at one point a demon is killed, and another demon just crawls out of the demon-corpse. At another point a guy drives around inside a movie theater on a dirtbike hacking at demons with a samurai sword while heavy metal music is thrashing on the soundtrack, sooo… best movie ever? It’s gory, colorful (directed by Lamberto Bava, written/produced by Dario Argento so this movie looks like a bag of skittles). Had a blast with this one, perfect Junesploitation material (also applies to Italian Horror).
I heard this was nuts. It peaked my interest but I was hesitant to drop almost $50 to Synapse for the blu-Ray.
The Thing (1982)Being a fairly young guy, I wasn't sure that I'd enjoy this film, because of the dated special effects. I must say, though, that I am happily pleased to be wrong on that account. Yes, the effects are dated, but the story appeared to make sense, and along with the acting, was very good. Simple and clever. Now, I'll have to go back and watch the 2011 prequel film, since I can't remember anything about it.After this viewing of the film, my first ever, the only problem I had was the horror aspect of it. I wasn't scary in any respect. Again, I'm placing this issue on the dated effects. Would it be a fair observation to say that science fiction horror films just aren't (or can't) be scary? Anyway...overall, I quite enjoyed the film.
Glad you liked it! That might be my favorite horror movie of all time. You definitely do not need to go back and watch the prequel. Pretty much ever.I wonder if it's because I grew up with it, but I've never seen the FX as being dated. I know what's state of the art for 1982 isn't so anymore, but I've always thought the special effects hold up. It could just be my preference for practical latex effects vs. CG. Again, glad you dug it!
You might be on to something about sci-fi horror - as with The Thing (which I love) and another favourite, The Fly (1986), they're almost more about making you think scary thoughts than being overtly scary themselves.
I would consider Alienssci-fi horror and I think that movie is scary, mostly for how relentless it is.
I never claimed it was a particularly well-thought-out theory! :P
I am not sure about that I think The Fly scared the hell out of me when I watched it! I am glad to hear you like The Thing Chris it is one of my favourites and I think the effects hold up as well.
Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 (1988)I remembered this being better. Lots of graphic violence and gore and the visual effects are my favourite type of 80s matte painting dreamscape style. In the end its a loose outline of the first movie used to explore the world behind the first movie but not really enough plot to drive it home fully. And this coming from the guy who loves unnecessary back stories, world building and prequels in rundown franchises. Does it take itself too seriously?Now im worried about watching 4 again. If the spell can be broken on the movie thats considered the good sequel, whatll happen to my guilty pleasure?
I have been wanting to revisit this for a while. I always remembered this one being my favorite (between 1, 2 and 3) but now I'm hesitant since you remembered it being better. I think I remember seeing a lot more of the Cenobites in this one, is that right?
Yeah, more. It might still be better than the others but I remembered it being better than it was. For some reason the weak plot really let me down, which is very un-junesploitation of me
Right on. Hmmmm...might revisit Fright Night 2 instead. Uh oh - Johnny Idea in the house - F This Movie Sequel Movie Month at some point?!
Maximum Overdrive (1986)I wonder if anybody else directed this King adaptation other than the man himself, if it would be more fondly remembered. I thought it was better than its reputation would suggest. In a lot of ways, it's the perfect kind of movie for #Junesploitation.The movie is very mean-spirited and King's attempts at any type of humor mostly fall flat. But seeing Pat Hingle bazooka a semi, the steamroller scene, and a character repeatedly screaming "WE MADE YOU! WE MADE YOU!" while AC/DC blares...it's definitely memorable.
NIGHTMARE WEEKEND (1986) Puppets? Why are there puppets?!?!?
X-Ray (aka Hospital Massacre) (1982, dir. Boaz Davidson) Slasher movie in which former Playboy model Barbi Benton is stalked by a killer. The hospital has the same lighting design as the one in Halloween II, meaning most of the lights are turned off. This one takes a while to get going, but the last half hour really makes with the murders. It's a mostly generic slasher with just enough interesting/fun stuff for the most devoted fans of the genre. Barbi Benton is very pretty but not the most convincing human being.
This was the film I watched for "Cannon" day. I had mixed feelings but mostly was let down. I couldn't believe by the end that the bodycount was 10! It certainly didn't feel like it.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)So different from the first, so much more rewatchable. A deliriously gory blast from start to finish, it's cartoonish in the best possible way. The original is fantastic but relentlessly grim, this one revels in 80's excess and it's a ton of fun. It has a bad reputation, I guess people were turned off by the tonal shift, but god bless Tobe Hopper and his coke-addled brain because I love this crazy movie. Also, a dude is murdered to Oingo Boingo's "No One Lives Forever" and that is a one-way ticket into my heart.
*Hooper. Dang it.
I feel like this movie is finally starting to be reassessed as a great horror film. Sooner or later, everything is. This one actually deserves it. One of my favorites from the '80s.You and me gotta stick together, JP. Brad Lange can finally join our club, too.
Thank god. I've always wanted to be part of PB&J. I feel so American
There are no words to express how much "PB & J" made me laugh.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: I agree with this love. I found it much more watchable and way more fun. I saw the first movie when I went to a sleepover party at 11. 11! I have never come back to it. I was terrified! Very grim viewing. But this one has a ton of humour in its gore and insanity so I am already quite fond of it.
Angel Heart: I just watched a special feature and Alan Parker has the perfect speaking voice for an impression over on the podcast! It is that Spinal Tap English accent, maybe Mike can have a go at it? This movie is great. It creates a very specific mood. The movie I have thought of in comparison is The Hunger. I think the Hunger is after a similar mood, but doesn't quite achieve it as it is messy, but still an interesting film. Angel Heart pulls off this mood so well; it is a mixture of disorientation, eeriness and Noir type seediness as well as some creepy Voodoo thrown into the mix. It balances all of these tones whilst being an interpretation of Faust, which I have a huge weakness for! (Nobody will do that better than the amazing Phantom of the Paradise though - I finally ordered that on ebay a few months ago, and have been obsessed with the soundtrack as well as completely loving the movie, a new favourite.) The movie's strangeness is something that really works for what it is trying to do and it also makes it a refreshing thing to watch, Thanks Adam!
Glad you liked it. It's one of those movies where you're on the edge of your seat after you recommend it to someone :-)
Aerobicide A.K.A Killer Workout (1987) This has nothing on "Death Spa" (1989) which I consider to be the best gym themed horror movie ever (I can only think of two, this one and Death Spa). Somehow, this wasn't even fun to watch. It is littered with bad songs (which is awesome) BUT they happen every five minutes and the ENTIRE damn song is played! Some titles include: Woman on Fire, Dust it Off, Love is a Four Letter Word, Knockout and Animal Workout. Definitely going to track down the soundtrack! The killer is taking people out with some kind of piece of equipment from the gym but really what looks to be like an over sized bobby pin. Pretty dull. Great soundtrack and great name! Watch "Death Spa" instead, it does not disappoint.
Do either of them top the bench press scene in Nightmare on Elm Street 4?It's because of that movie I'm a chubby weakling with a gym phobia.
Ha! That's a great scene, but, yeah, there are great kills in Death Spa. I mean, the movie is called DEATH SPA man!!
Mausoleum (1983) trailer / full movieA unhappy little girl named Susan runs off into an ominous mausoleum immediately following her mother's funeral. A caretaker comes in after her, but her shadow starts moving on its own, her eyes glow neon green, and the back of the caretaker's head explodes! Twenty or so years later, a demon she unleashed in that mausoleum is ready to start taking over her whole life. Her eyes keep glowing as she kills a lecherous gardener, a delivery boy, her aunt (using telekinesis to split her ribcage open,) and a salesman who tries to stop her from shoplifting a painting of a nude woman riding a centaur. Her husband finally realizes something's really amiss once she brings that painting home: "What the hell is this? There is something wrong with you! Look at this, what is this? What the hell's going on here? What is this, huh? There's something wrong with you!" She replies "I like that painting!" No one ever bothers to find out what happened to the people who died. Marjoe Gortner from Starcrash gets his chest bitten open when she goes into full-body demon mode and her breasts have turned into little demon heads with their own sharp-toothed mouths. He crosses his eyes as he's dying. La Wanda Page from Sanford & Son is the sassy maid, and Susan's last name is 'Nemod'. I was laughing at it whenever I wasn't being bored by it.
Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982)I've been wanting to rewatch this ever since I started hearing recently about how it was a pretty good horror movie. Honestly, it was so long ago that I couldn't remember much of it, only that this was the Michael Myersless Halloween. After watching my thoughts are that it was an average horror movie. The score is great. Tom Atkins is good. The story was just ok at best. The third act of film was a bit weak, but entertaining. There were some plot holes that I was bothered by, but didn't kill it for me. The pace of the film did seem to fly by. I'm glad I did watch it again, but probably won't revisit.
Hellraiser (1987)I remember as a kid Pinhead really creeping me out, to the point where I never even considered watching any Hellraiser movies. So, I decided it was finally time. I had no idea what the actual plot was, so there were some fun surprises. The effects were super gross and very awesome. I was thinking that I was hungry and maybe should get something to eat, and then hook through flesh! And I didn't want food anymore. This wasn't amazing, but for some reason, I want to watch the sequels, like all of them. Even the ones that sound super dumb. I was really digging the mythology of it all.
Evil Dead II (1987)I felt that an 80's horror day just wouldn't be complete unless there was an Evil Dead movie represented! (The following can't really be a spoiler, since EVERYONE has seen this have they not?)In the first ten minutes we see a decapitation, a possession and a talking house. Sam Raimi, you're the man! Bruce Campbell and his house full of awesomeness seemed to have created the original "Laugh Club". Biggest laugh this time for me: A Farewell to Arms being placed on the bucket.My favourite is still Evil Dead (1981), (shift those eyes B.C. shift those eyes!), but this definitely has its glorious moments.
From Beyond (1986)A modernized take on a Lovecraft story, this one's weird and gross and actually kinda good. And Barbara Crampton still looks hot even when she's wearing the most definitive 80's glasses ever.