Jeff Lieberman's JUST BEFORE DAWN (1981, 90 min.) on YouTube for the first time.Five young campers go to a remote area in Oregon's Pacific trail to check property one of them has inherited. They're warned by local ranger Ray McLean (George Kennedy) that it's too dangerous up in those woods and that he won't come to rescue them. Sounds like the typical scenario of your run-of-the-mill early 80's slasher, and "Just Before Dawn" can't lay claim to being original or not following the genre tropes. Think the sexually promiscuous redhead that does skinny dipping topless will live? And yet there are enough little wrinkles that director Jeff Lieberman brings to the genre (like abandoning the killer's POV camera angle every other slasher uses to this date) to make a first-viewing interesting. Heck, Brad Feidel's experimental electronic score alone (sometimes lame, more often than not effective) is worth seeing the movie for.It's a good thing the opening kill is awesome (#Serratedbladesploitation) because then the movie proceeds to play a long game of delayed gratification. Like "The Burning," this is a very unevenly paced flick with lengthy gaps of nothing happening, followed by kills in bunches before it's back to more waiting games. Hang on for two 'WTF!?' moments, one halfway and one at the very end, that make "Just Before Dawn" worth seeing because the filmmakers chose to zag wildly rather than zig safely. Plus it has gorgeous daytime cinematography of very pretty green forestry, a much needed change of pace from drab-looking 80's slashers shot in the East Coast during winter.
Videodrome (1983)Are you hallucinating? No, should I be?YesThe thing I love about David Cronenburg is the way he can meld multipal realities into the same frame. This is why he can be a little undefinable. This might make Videodrome a little bit of a cheat for 80s horror day, is it sci/fi mystery, surrealism, horror, body horror (okay there is a huge helping of body horror). But really it doesn't matter because its freaken amazing movie. I have been meaning to pull out the DVD for ages and I'm glade I finally did. This might not beat The Fly for me, but its amazing, and has one of the best mic drop scenes I have seen.You have a Videodrome problem
PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1987)I finished it after midnight, so I think of it as an entry for today.It's Carpenter doing that thing only he does. Especially here; Halloween may have been imitated a thousand times, but we haven't exactly seen a deluge of PoD rip-offs.There's a reason for that. It's probably as simple as pulling out the old standby, "often imitated, never duplicated."
LIFEFORCE (1985)Time to go all out for these last few days of Junesploitation. I've been saving this one, keeping it in my pocket through other days I could have used it for.But I figured at the end of the month I was going to need an infusion of some serious crazy. This one defines that.So I've hooked myself up to the Rejuvenation Machine, placed the IVs, and am on the receiving end of pure undiluted wildman filmmaking, courtesy of the great Tobe Hooper.
All I can say is Mathilda May.... She's my Weird Science computer generated perfect woman
Halloween 2 (1981)I dig Halloween 2. I know it's not great but I love the hospital setting and it's cool that it takes place right after the events of Halloween. Loomis is kind of annoying in this one and spoilers, blows up at the end and is for sure dead but somehow comes back in the sequels with just a scar. Poor Ben Tramer picked the wrong Halloween costume to wear cause he gets the most brutal car death ever and it's caused by a cop not Michael Myers. There's also a random scene where Michael Myers apparently breaks into an elementary school and stabs a drawing of a sister so the movie can explain that Laurie is his sister. Very Bizzare. And poor Jamie Lee having to do the movie with that awful wig. I like this one better than Rob Zombies Halloween 2 which people champion alot but I've never liked. It's fun.
Iam finding I can never just watch Halloween without goingon toits sequel. All the bat crazy stuff like Myers deplugging (or what ever the term is) every car in the hospital parking lot.
Pet Sematary (1989)Fred Gwynne you're a lovely sweet old man but you're the worst neighbor in the history of cinema. You know this Indian burial ground is evil and brings back demons and yet you still tell the worst dad in the history of cinema to bury his dead there. I can't think of a movie where characters make more poor decisions. I've always been so split on Pet Sematary. There's great moments but its also so dark and hates its characters. Zelda is played by a male which I didn't know and those sequences are still terrifying. It's a creepy affecting movie but it leaves me feeling icky at the end and it's not really a feeling I like having.
Agree with pretty much everything you've said. I find the Zelda scenes infinitely more disturbing than the later scenes with Gage.
Most disturbing is Denise Crosby's awful haircut.
Chaybee it's Lieutenant Tasha Yar's awful haircut. Please, show some respect.
Poltergeist (1982)Nice house, three bathrooms, on top of a hell mouth. Yeah I liked it. Not only a fun ghost story, but generally scarey and disturbing at times. Why do parents always insist on buying clowns for their kids? They are genuinely terrifying. This house has many hearts.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)Initially ruined for me as I saw The Simpsons parody (Treehouse of Horror VI?) before seeing the actual movie. The familiarity with the concept made it hard for me to get into but upon every re-watch, I keep finding little touches to appreciate and marvel at. Endlessly re-watchable. It’s become a comfort food movie regular.A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)Couldn’t stop with just one Nightmare. This movie serves as a testament to the fact that I will always take a movie with (intentional/unintentional) subtext over any movie without. Although maybe “subtext” is suggesting a degree of subtlety… it’s got something on its mind at the very least. Anyway, I kind of like Jesse as a character – he’s an interesting spin on the final girl trope. I dunno, I find him endearing in his uselessness.A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)“Dream powers” sounds so stupid on paper, but it kind of works in an 80’s cheeseball sort of way. The thematic way that Freddy kills off each character also feels like 80’s style kitsch, but I can dig it. That veins puppetry scene though. Ewr.
Near Dark (1987)After this watch I have to say Near Dark is my favorite vampire movie of all time. I fucking love it. Such great characters played by actors who are having so much fun inhabiting these roles. That bar scene is one of my favorite horror scenes. It's so intense and violent and builds so beautifully. My only complaint is that the movie kinda plays fast and loose with the rules of vampirism. Some of the vampires take a long time to die in sunlight and some die almost instantly after getting hit by the sun, but I love how much of a pain in the ass the movie makes the sun for the characters. Such an awesome movie and it makes me wish Kathryn Bigelow made more genre movies cause she's really fuckin good at it.
Xtro (1982/3)No, you can't mix blood with the cadbury milk tray!! Thank you Dennis, this is the most Junesploitation movie of Junesploitation. There is a charm to this movie that is undeniable. Those sound affects, yeah they are going to stay with me.
Oh and this movie illustrates again, Clowns are terrifying.
Is it available for digital rent/purchase anywhere? Otherwise I'll fall back on Youtube.
Oh Lindsay you Star, I was scrolling down today's list wondering who if anyone is joining the Xtro love bandwagon and you are the first one and you get my eternal respect for this, im glad you liked it, you can understand my passion for it, it is like nothing elseI'm not sure sorry Paul I hope someone else might jump in here?
I YouTubed it
Being unable to find Xtro, I did watch director Harry Bromley Davenport's most recent movie American Grand (2013) on Prime. It's about the restoration of a Grand Piano so it has absolutely nothing to do with Junesploitation, but it was actually pretty fascinating.
Pieces (Mil gritos tiene la noche) (1982)Exactly as crazy and fun as all the F-heads who saw this on Slashers! day promised. I love this movie!
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)If you've seen the original Prom Night, of course you remember the story of prom queen Mary Lou Maloney, tragically killed during a prank gone wrong on prom night. What's that? You don't remember that at all? Oh, that's because this is an in-name-only sequel that has nothing whatsoever to do with the first movie (a tradition carried on by the Prom Night remake, which also had nothing in common with the original). Normally that would bother me, but the truth is I've never liked Prom Night very much. This sequel, however, is a 32-piece bucket of extra-crispy Kentucky Fried Batshit, and I love it to pieces. While Prom Night is a slasher movie, Prom Night II goes full supernatural and has a dead prom queen wreaking havoc from beyond the grave, which leads to copious splatter, gratuitous nudity, and a possessed hobby-horse that will either give you nightmares or create in you the kind of fetish that leads only to ruin. Either way, it's totally worth it, this thing's a blast.
Hellraiser (1987)Hellraiser is atmospheric disturbing fun. It has great gore effects and an interesting premise.
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)My third Michael Ironside movie this month. Not a masterpiece but a pretty fun ride that goes crazier and crazier towards the end. I also like how it's totally different from the first one. It went from a slasher to a ghost/possession story. It's so different in fact, that I wonder if naming it Prom Night II was only an afterthought.I laughed out loud at the priest's eulogy at the first victim's funeral: "Let the violence of her passing remind us of the dangers of the violence we see so much of every day on our streets, on our television sets, and in the movies."
The New York Ripper (1982 dir. Lucio Fulci) on Blu-ray.Random women are being brutally murdered in the city, and the Donald Duck-voiced killer taunts police. This a very sleazy and ugly, and it's gender politics and misogyny are too much to put in this review. This film has has a lot of Fungi's craziness. It not a good movie by any stretch but worth a watch for Italian horror fans.
NYR is one of the best!
Now I want a Pixar movie about an Italian horror-directing mushroom named Lucio Fungi.
Lucio "La Porcini" Fungi...
This movie is Quackers!
Communion (1989, dir. Philippe Mora, on DVD) – First Time Viewing: This is my favorite movie I’ve seen this month. A nightmarish story about alien abduction. The alien creatures are pretty cool puppets that move in weird and disturbing ways. But the real standout from this movie is Christopher Walken. You can tell he threw the script out the window and just did crazy improvisation in every single scene. It is glorious, and not in an ironic way. I really believe this is movie acting at its best. Only Walken could make such weird, inspired choices and have it work every single time. His joy of performing shines through. See this movie! (5 out of 5 Griers)
I totally agree that Waken is so legit in this. It's a pretty effective creepy film too!
That probing scene...
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) & Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)The Final Chapter, the fourth instalment in the franchise, is your by the numbers Friday the 13th movie. It opens with a good ghost story recapping the previous 3 movies but from here on it's as you'd expect Jason hacks his way through horny teens one by one. It's 12 year old Corey Feldman that makes this anything to write home about, already a veteran child actor by 1984 he's easily the best thing about this one especially in his final confrontation with Jason. A New Beginning, the fifth movie, opens with some more Corey Feldman but alas there's only a few minutes of our favourite Goonie, his character from the previous instalment, Tommy, is now 10 years older is sent to a house in the country for troubled teenagers. Soon there is a serial killer on the loose and rather than just your normal Friday the 13th movie we're treated to more of a crazy, fun, bloody episode of Murder She Wrote, I really wish this movie had Angela Lansbury. This is completely ridiculous and often times laugh out loud funny. It's the Halloween 3 of the franchise and like Halloween 3 is great fun to watch where it tries to offer something different to it's franchise.
WITCHCRAFT (1988) Blatant ripoff of Rosemary’s Baby. Witches target a couple’s baby because the kid is destined to grow up into some sort of ultra-witch. The movie has that ’80s syndicated TV look, that’s half soap opera and half music video. The only interesting thing about it is when you ask, “How did this forgettable movie spawn FIFTEEN sequels?!?” WITCHCRAFT II: THE TEMPTRESS (1989) It’s only a year later, but William, the baby from the first movie, is in his late teens now, and a witch tries to sway him to fulfill his evil destiny. As the witch, actress Delia Sheppard is clearly hoping she’ll become the next Freddy/Pinhead type, but she (or, more likely, the script) is not up to the task. Also, what kind of sexy, seductive witch is named Delores? WITCHCRAFT III: THE KISS OF DEATH (1990) It’s years later again, and William is now a fancy LA lawyer. A warlock tries to possess his girlfriend so William must use his witchy powers to save her. A fight between dueling warlocks might sound awesome, but we’re back in nighttime soap opera mode, so this is more of a rich-people-being-naughty movie than it is supernatural horror.
Only 15 sequels? Come on, tomorrows a Free Space, you can do it! Only 12 left to go...
Blood Song (1982) Dir. Alan J. LeviWhen you tell me there’s a Horror movie starring Frankie Avalon as an escaped mental patient and Richard Jaeckel is in it too, I’m in. It starts out crazy good. A guy shoots his wife, her lover and himself while their kid witnesses it and immediately starts playing some tune on wooden flute. Cut 20 something years forward to an excellent, stuttering zoom-in of an eye (which repeats as a device) where we transition to a mental hospital where flute boy (Avalon) is killing a guy to escape. Turns out our "eye zoom" belongs to our scream queen (meh) who was in an accident and needed the blood of the mental patience pied piper...oh and somehow has developed ESP! I like the small town atmosphere and autumn setting. I also like some of the stylistic choices and a good but repetitive synth score. Otherwise, the film loses steam quickly and starts to meander. A few decent kills (I mean, it’s great to see Frankie take an axe to someone!) but nothing spectacular.My man Brent Peterson peeped this as well; curious to hear his thoughts. Interestingly, Trick or Treats from the same year shared very similar plot points with Peter Jason as Avalon’s character although Trick or Treats was MUCH better.
I pretty much agree with everything you said. I kind of hated that stupid flute. It is very comparable to Trick or Treats except it's very forgettable and it's just a lot less fun. I watched it this morning and I've already forgotten about it. And thanks, Charbee, for almost spelling my name right;)
Haha, my fault. Yeah, it definitely wasn't fun.
Of course, I am kidding. It's not like I've had to deal with that since I was a child. The constant teasing. The kids at school would yell "Your name is spelled weird!" It's okay. That was a long time ago...
Basket Case 2 (1989)I lied, it's actually 1990, but I didn't notice until after I watched it. Still the spirit of 80's horror is on full display.This one picks up right where the last one left off. Although the production quality is better here, it kind of loses the charm of the first one (similar to Sleepaway Camp, and SC 2). But it's still very fun with scenes such as the totally naked sex scene, the scene with the camera flashing (very well done), and even a nice picnic at one point. 5 Stars! If you liked the first one, you'll like this.
Roses are redViolets are blueF-heads are coolBut I'm gonna kill them too!My Bloody Valentine 1981 Time to drink some Moosehead beer and watch the OOP Lionsgate bluray, one of my prize possessions, I can't watch Xtro again, ok maybe I can but I gotta give some other films my love too, this one is one of the better Video Nasties and is actually a well made film, watching this uncut version you can clearly see what the Censorship board did to this film, its such a shame, I'm glad we don't live in the era now, Era....
Today im still hoping for more Xtro love .....
I can see why you are so passionate about Xtro. It really does have a VHS and Nasty Video (though I don't think it was) quality about it. It's like there is a camera in the house and you are watching something you are not privy too.
I can see that, I like how unpredictable it is, from Time stopping scenes to unbeaten Alien Birth to midget clowns to plastic Action men to Black panthers, killer tanks and a naked Bond girl, imagine trying to pitch that movie!
Pet Sematary (1989, Dir. Mary Lambert)First viewing. This one just sneaks into the 80s horror day and while I am a big fan of the many many 80s slashers that in many ways defined horror that decade it was refreshing to watch something a little different. In my opinion King's novel is one of his most terrifying. He isn't trying to bend or push genre boundaries but rather he is simply wallowing in all the glorious horror tropes he knows and loves. The movie is made in much the same way. It isn't trying to be more than what it is and while a lot of things fall flat, (the zombie ghost premonition comic relief), and the scares are inconsistent there is still a lot that works. Can't help but wonder what movie we would have got if Romero had stayed on board.
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985)Punk as fuck.
Howling III: The Marsupials (1987)I would have watched Xtro, but couldn't find it anywhere. Instead I watched Howling III because I guess I wanted to see werewolves with pouches or something. I'm not entirely sure why I watched this actually as it's the only PG-13 rated Howling movie. I remembered seeing bits and pieces of this on cable as a kid, in particular the birth scene (which seems to be a recurring theme of Junesploitation horror movies). Clearly this was never going to be a good movie since it has the same director as Howling II, and I wasn't expecting that just two years later he would have suddenly learned how to direct a movie. I guess this one was watchable though, which I mean in the strictly literal sense that I was able to watch the whole thing despite the bad writing and effects work. Imogen Annesley wasn't bad though considering what she had to work with.
Xtro (1982, dir. Harry Bromley Davenport) - first viewingHappy Xtro Day everybody! This one is really something else.Thanks Dennis!
Big respect Zack, glad you liked itOne of us, one of us, one of us
Humongous (1982)Dusted off my old VHS tape an enjoying something I haven't seen in years, thanks Patrick watching stuff I prolly wouldn't if not for this Junesploitation, good old memory's thx man :)
Xtro 2: The Second EncounterConfusing. Need to see the first one. Ahhhh...I'm just messing with you Dennis! :) I still need the UK cut then I'll finally get to it.
Don't do it, this film doesn't exist, its an illusion!
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 (1985)Pretty slim picking on Netflix for this one. Having watched Re-Animator recently, and having Doug completely ruin my enjoyment of Hellraiser, I figured I'd give this one another spin. Still pretty weird. Though I do prefer this menacing Freddy to the wacky Freddy we get later, even if chopping up kids at a BBQ is a little silly. It's not the worst, I may give it another go for SMM, depending if I can come up with a clever yet tasteful gay joke or not.
Xtro (1982)I too participated in the Xtro festivities. Really solid Junesploitation flick. Good choice Dennis and all!
Welcome to the club... Glad you liked it
Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)Surprisingly good TV movie about a group of men who kill a mentally disabled man they wrongly think hurt a little girl and then later the men start tobe killed off one by one. Great cast of familiar character actors coupled with some truly scary scenes make this a intriguing find that is definitely worth a look. Not particularly gory but still effective as a horror movie.
When I was a kid, the VHS cover to this one absolutely terrified me to the point where I was afraid to go into the horror section of VideoVision, my local rental place.
Is okay for kids? There was a piece where Heath said it was his 10 year old daughter favorite movie, but it sounds a little more grown up in your review.
Girls Nite Out (1982)It's ok. You know what? It's good. It's not bad. It's alright. It's decent.That's about how I feel. It's a slasher in a bear suit! I don't know about you guys but after I win a championship, I gotta get into one of those scavenger hunts THE next night. Don't get me wrong, it's fun...sometimes. Who the killer is pretty insane, I guess. Maybe I've seen too many of these. Nah, next movie.
Xtro (1982)This WAS awesome. Although it was charming, in a way. The Father just came back for his son whom he didn't want to leave in the first place. He didn't set out to hurt anyone. The son is another matter, but that is forgivable, as his mind is still young and imaginative.BTW, the alternate (original) ending is on Youtube. I think this ending makes less sense, because you'd expect to have a bunch of aliens, not a bunch of Tonys.
Excellent, Glad you liked it, I agree about the ending, I like the Alien ending better, that's what I grew up with and I don't like other, All I can say is every single person so far is board with this movie proving my thoughts that this film would kill it on Bluray
Blood Rage (1983/87)Well worth the wait. Not unlike the horror film Tommy Wisseau might some day make. This one hope keeps me living.
Neon Maniacs (1986, dir. Joseph Mangine)The second best movie I've seen this week with the word "neon" in the title, and also the worst. Monsters appear for no reason out of the Golden Gate Bridge and attack a bunch of teenagers for no reason. They all have different designs and gimmicks (samurai monster, Native American monster, etc.) and water kills them. This movie has been in my brain since seeing the trailer a bunch of times as a kid and it did not live up to the hype in my head. Glad I did not blind buy the Code Red Blu-ray.
Evil Dead 1 & 2 - 1981 & 87First time i had seen both films, Evil Dead is a fun horror, very cheesy because of the era but very enjoyable, and its just crazy how different in tone Evil Dead 2 is, i like the difference and wish more films would just switch up genres in the sequel.
Make Army of Darkness a priority now. It takes the insanity even further.
From Beyond (1986) (first time viewing)Stuart Gordon directs Jeffery Combs and Barbara Crampton in an adaptation of a Lovecraft story......so, you're damn right it's awesome!