Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Junesploitation Day 13: '80s Horror!

Some pass the test...God help the rest!

73 comments:

  1. Joel Schumacher's THE LOST BOYS (1987, 97 min.) on Blu-ray for the first time.

    Horror in the 80's was mostly either low-budget flicks with great premises or stylish-but-safe studio productions. Under the stylish direction of Schumacher ("St. Elmo's Fire"), rewrites by Jeffrey Boam ("The Phantom") and producer push by Richard Donner (who is clearly steering this one toward "Goonies 2" territory), "The Lost Boy" bridges that gap and manages to be both. The hit-and-miss soundtrack (SUCKY-SEXY-SAX-SPLOITATION!), gorgeous cinematography ("Taxi Driver's" Michael Chapman), great production design ("Beeltejuice's" Bo Welch) and ace cast of then-young talent make this THE time capsule of late 80's pop culture. Jack Bauer, Bill and the girl from "The Fly II" with crazy puff hair living in an abandoned cave near the beach where Chinese food is delivered? Fake-Keanu-Reeves-in-"Speed 2," the woman DA from "Law & Order," the 'Lucas" kid and the doctor from "Tron"? Last and certainly least, mini-Jason in "Final Chapter" and the mayor from "Bone Tomahawk" as "Fright Night" wannabe youthful vampire hunters? This flick screams 'MTV Vampires!' at the top of its lungs back when that meant something to then-young people.

    Still not sure how motorcycles cause wind to blow into a house or drinking a vampire's blood can only let half-an-image reflect on a mirror, but whatever. What it lacks in gore (none besides the beach massacre) and logic (why would Michael make love to Star given his condition? Why didn't grandpa open his mouth sooner?) "The Lost Boys" compensates for with 'mucho [80's horror] mojo.' Glad I waited until now to appreciate its dated charm, because back in '87 I would have hated it.

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    1. Michael GiammarinoJune 13, 2017 at 10:45 AM

      Daphne Zuniga is in The Lost Boys?

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    2. No, but Jamie Gertz is and in my mind these two look exactly alike. Still, my bad. Sorry. :-(

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    3. Michael GiammarinoJune 13, 2017 at 3:37 PM

      Don't be sorry. Now I'm imagining how Lost Boys would've been like with Princess Vespa.

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    4. HOLY SHIT! I've read the IMDB filmographies of both Jame Gertz and Daphne Zuniga over the past hour, and I was really convinced they were just one actress that appeared on all these movies/TV shows. You can see why I'd be confused, right? Both are very cute brunettes who can't act worth shit. Shoot, all this time I thought that was Daphne Zuniga as Bill Paxton's wife in "Twister"! For shame, JMV, for shame! :-P

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  2. The Howling (1981, dir. Joe Dante)

    I'm not a huge fan of werewolf movies, but this is undoubtedly the best one I've seen. Though we'll see if that changes on Sybil Danning! day tomorrow ...

    I love the way it takes half the movie before we really see a werewolf. A lesser director couldn't get away with that. Now I kinda wish I'd seen this without knowing what it was, might have taken me a while to figure out what was going on.

    The supporting actors (Kevin McCarthy, Robert Picardo, Slim Pickens, Dick Miller...) are great, but every time Patrick Macnee speaks, all I hear is "Tap into America". And Christopher Stone is a poor man's Tom Atkins.

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    1. I love Tom Adkins, but I think Christopher Stone gives a more serious performance than Tom would have. I think he's great in the movie. The Howling is one of my favorites!

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  3. One Dark Night (1982, dir. Tom McLoughlin)
    Ever since I saw Antibirth last year, I'd wanted to watch Meg Tilly in something again, so I watched Psycho II. And ever since that, I'd been wanting to see this. This was McLoughlin's debut film, which got him his next gig, a little movie called Jason Lives. (Since then, of course, he also directed Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life. If you haven't already done so, SEE IT.) Night is slow moving, stylish, and I liked it a lot. I knew I was going to before I even watched it, I just had a feeling. It has a lot of pink lighting and lightning effects in it. It's got one of the best trailers for a horror movie from the '80s, alongside The Sender. Meg looks astounding in it, plus it's got E.G. Daily looking too cute. Between this movie and Date With an Angel with Phoebe Cates, I'd say ol' Tom had pretty outstanding taste in '80s actresses.

    Hell High (1989, dir. John Grossman)
    Surprisingly nasty and mean-spirited 'teens get revenge on their teacher' flick, which counts as horror almost based solely off of how horrible everybody in it is. Very unlikable characters all around, and nobody comes out un-fucked with. Kind of like if the Class of Nuke 'Em High kids lived in the real world. For misanthropic '80s fans only, probably.

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  4. Sleepaway Camp (1983) and

    Deadly Blessing (1981)

    I haven't seen either of these movies nor did I really know anything about them beyond Sleepaway Camp being well-liked here and Deadly Blessing being directed by Wes Craven. I was thinking to myself "hey, for 80's horror day it might be a fun nod to Scary Movie Month to just do a seven word review for each!". As it would turn out I just need one to cover them both:

    Somewhere in the distance "Goodbye Horses" played.

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    1. LOL, nice! :-D

      Now feel free to listen to the FTM commentary track from 2010 in which Patrick and the gang make you laugh like an idiot at the flick in question. Good times. :-)

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  5. Dead and Buried (1981)

    The best thing about being still a relatively newish movie addict is that I still get to discover movies like Dead and Buried. I quickly got caught up in the spooky atomosphere of that small town, and got the tingle of a movie you love but your not 100% sure why it's heading. And I LOOOOVED IT!

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    1. Yes! I also discovered this one a few months ago after listening to the 80's All Over podcast. It's so great! Definitely an underrated (and overlooked) entry in 80's horror.

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    2. I spent most of the night with many many questions about this movie. I really want to watch it agian!

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  6. Killer Klows From Outer Space (1988)

    This movie is generally nutty. This movie throws everything it can think clown/circus wise and then more, there is a ton of imagagation on display. I really loved the look to the Big Top Tent, even though I was more bemused by everything else. I wish I had seen this when I was younger, I think I would have responded to it more. But you cannot beat John Vernon saying he lines, 'Killer Klowns From Outer Space'.

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    1. Gad, Lindsay, the month you're having! So many amazing first-time viewings!

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    2. Ah, to be a virgin in June! Movie love for movie lovers is in the air. ;-)

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    3. And I am having an absolute blast!

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  7. Lair of the White Worm (1988) (First Time Viewing):

    I love this movie! It is an amalgam of silly comedy, campy horror, and then moments of truly extreme horror (as only Ken Russell can provide). There are several images in this movie I will never forget. Based on the Bram Stoker novel, it has a simultaneously timeless quality, yet is totally ‘80s. Despite some extreme moments that feature profoundly disturbing imagery, it’s just a fun movie (with some cool practical monster effects and puppetry to boot). I know that sounds weird but somehow it really works. This movie is unique. It’s becoming harder and harder to find those these days.

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  8. Prom Night (1980)

    Prom Night is a slasher film that tries to replicate the success of Halloween by casting Jamie Lee Curtis. This may go without saying, but Paul Lynch is no John Carpenter. This movie drags like nobody’s business, with the “kill” scenes seeming to go on forever. The film tries to play a coy “whodunit” game by suggesting several possible identities for the killer, with the reveal coming right at the end. But nearly every character is so bland and uninteresting, it could really be anybody under that mask.

    SPOILERS
    I initially guessed it was the brother, but then thought maybe it really was the burned-up psycho who escaped from the mental institution (it seemed too ludicrous for it to be a coincidence). Turns out it really WAS a coincidence, as the film revealed with about 10 minutes to go. Then they made a big point of saying “where’s my Dad? I can’t find him!” So maybe it was the father, even though the notion of Leslie Nielson stalking the hallways with an axe was too ridiculous for words. Then as the mask started coming off, I thought “It’s the MOTHER???” But no, turns out it was the brother after all, who for no reason was wearing lipstick under the mask. Oh, and how exactly did he die, anyway?

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  9. Night of the Creeps (1986)
    Fred Dekker's sci-fi/horror/comedy.
    Watching this today, and The Monster Sqaud recently, reminded me just how awesome Fred Dekker's movies are.
    Night of the Creeps:
    The humor is actually funny.
    The horror is actually horrifying.
    The characters are written so you actually care about them.
    The Tom Atkins is, well, Tom Atkins (every movie needs more Atkins)
    I could gush about Night of the Creeps all day.
    When someone says, "show me some horror movies from the '80s", this would be on the short list of movies I reach for.

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    1. This might one be my favourite not just horrors but movies from the 80s. Just so good!

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  10. Humanoids from the Deep AKA Monster (1980)

    Whoa...this was...unexpected. What starts as a routine killer-monsters-are-coming-out-of-the-sea movie quickly becomes a pretty harsh, nasty, violent exploitation flick.

    Monstrous mutated creatures caused by pollution from the local cannery begin crawling out of the ocean. The monsters attack whatever humans are in site, which of course tend to be teenagers about to get naked on the beach. They maul and kill the men and then rip of the clothes of the women, rape them, and kill them. Yeah.

    There's pretty great violence and the monsters are obviously people in seaweed covered monster suits, which is fun in a schlocky sort of way. The rapey-ness took me by surprise though and may turn people off, which I get. It turns a normal monster horror movie into a nastier exploitation movie. An interesting relic though. Worth checking out. Available on YouTube.

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    1. The monsters attack whatever humans are in *sight*.

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  11. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge

    Freddy's back and this time...he makes no goddamn sense. This is my favorite horror franchise (seriously, I could watch these movies every day) and even I can admit that this entry is a hot mess. Jesse (Mark Patton) and his family have moved into the house at 1428 Elm Street, and now he has to deal with a new school, repressed homosexuality, and Freddy Krueger. That's a lot on anyone's plate, frankly.

    Admittedly the homosexuality thing is just subtext, but it's about as subtle as a backrub from Freddy's razored glove. Between all the talk of Freddy getting inside Jesse, Jesse's gym teacher getting spanked to death in the shower (after confronting Jesse at a leather bar), and Jesse running away from his girlfriend to be with his friend Grady (to name just a small handful of examples) it is, to borrow a line from Patton Oswalt, gayer than eight guys blowing nine guys. I'm thankful for all of the subtext, though, because it takes a rushed-into-production, poorly conceived sequel and makes it into something legitimately interesting to dissect. Sure, it's a bad movie, but it's a fascinating one, and I'll take an interesting failure over a soulless cash-in (which this still has elements of, for sure) any day of the week. In all honesty, as execrable as the 2010 Nightmare remake was I'd still love to see a remake of this, especially if it turns that subtext into text. It would be great to see a mainstream franchise horror movie truly tackle a subject like repressed homosexuality, especially now. Somebody get Freddy a rainbow-striped sweater and let's get filming!

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    1. I really enjoyed the post and emphasis on the gay, it is super sparkly! I like the idea of doing that text. I think you would need out gay people on production so you don't fall into the gays are all killers stereotype Hollywood likes so much. Maybe a Freddie as a rebellion to that repression and the lead struggling to want to do the same yet not wanting to be a monster. Coming terms with the fact you can be a decent well adjusted folk, maybe he is going to conversion therapy and Freddie starts killing of the therapists ect. Haha my mind went on a bit of a wonder there!

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  12. Student Bodies (1981)

    I actually haven't posted anything on the actual site this year and have only been doing my posting on Twitter. This movie however deserves a little something more.

    Maybe I'm missing something here but this didn't work for me on almost any level. From the get go the "jokes" are coming and they do not let up for the entire run time. The problem is that most of these "jokes" are just not funny in any way. Sure I chuckled a couple of times but it was more from the onslaught of "jokes" than from them actually being funny.

    Some may think I'm being harsh and that the whole point is that it is so bad, but I know this style of movie can be done so much better. You need only look to Mel Brooks, Zucker/Abrahams, and the Wayans for how to make these kinds of movies. Sure they make stinky ones too, but they also make some great ones!

    While I didn't enjoy this very much, I will give it credit for the fact that as I said before it just does not give up on the schtick even if that schtick is bad. It definitely knows what it wants to do and it does it. Badly, but it does it. I also like the fact that this came out in 1981 and the horror genre was already big enough for something like this to be made.

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  13. Lifeforce (1985):

    I would have gone with "Sexy Naked Lady Shape-Shifting Space Vampires," but what do I know?

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    1. I apologize for not re-reading Patrick's Movies I Love column on this movie - and learning that Space Vampires was, indeed, the original title - before making this joke.

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  14. Slugs (1988)

    I just want a marriage like the Brady’s in Slugs.

    Get ready folks, because I’m going to champion this movie big time. It’s directed by the man who made Pieces, and while it isn’t as outrageously entertaining as that film, I think Slugs is a far more competently made movie. The acting is really good, the effects are terrific, and I even think it’s shot really well! The main characters are very much in love married couples, which is different for an 80s horror flick and gives it a classier feel. But of course you also get some crazy gore. The scene with the teens in the bedroom is gross and disturbing! I think this is the best version of a killer slugs movie there could be.

    However, it does have an ending that is BONKERS CRAZY. Check it out on Shudder!

    Blood Diner (1987)

    Pure trashy 80s insanity! This might be the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Two cult member brothers start killing women to perform a ritual to raise their goddess to life. They also own a diner where they feed people… people. Every choice this movie makes makes you think an alien made this. There is truly nothing on the planet earth quite like it. Good god guys, watch this thing because it has to be seen to be believed.

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    1. One of my favorite movie commentary podcasts, Popcorn Poops, did a commentary track for "Slugs." If you enjoyed the movie as much as I did then this commentary (by a married couple no less!) will be right up your alley, Daniel. :-)

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    2. You recommended Raw Force, and he directed Pieces - so it's on the list. Thanks

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    3. I can't believe Raw Force gave me credibility. This is a great site!

      Thanks JM!

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  15. PUMPKINHEAD (1988)

    In which I make my triumphant return to Junesploitation with a winner.

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  16. Waxwork (1988 dir. Anthony Hickox)

    A group of twenty-somethings-as-teenagers go to a wax museum with horror exhibits that seem to come to life. Very goofy but funny relic of the Vestron video era (era).

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  17. Scanners (1981)

    Michael Ironside is so good at playing the bad guy, but when he's exploding heads with his mind he's awesome.

    Cronenberg at this time was on a fantastic role, following this up with Videodrome and The Fly. This was my first viewing , I really can't believe I waited this long.

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    1. I adore Ironside's psychic face in this movie - its next level!!

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  18. NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986)

    I'm a man who likes to be thrilled.

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  19. Blood Frenzy (1987) Dir. Hal Freeman

    "Seven people walked into a private hell...no one is walking out"

    Slasher with Lisa Loring (Wednesday Addams) in what appears to be the director's only non porno film. A group of people with various problems (man-hater, egomaniac, Vietnam vet, nymphomaniac, alcoholic and girl who doesn't want to be touched; thanks IMDB) travel in an RV through the desert with their therapist. Great opening throat slash then plenty of nothing except cleavage, a jack-in-the-box and meandering with some run-of-the mill kills in between. Besides some hotness, some ridiculous delivery of awful dialogue (they actually say "blood frenzy"), and a crazy ass ending, it's hard to recommend outside of Lisa Loring or Slasher completists.

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    1. Funny, cause I actually thought for a second about not using "problems". Then a second passed and I said "fuck it, don't care".

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    2. Oh, yeah, a lot of Vietnam vets do have it pretty tough.

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    3. Ah, we crossed swords a bit in replies, Chaybee. I was making a dumb joke about misandrism (not a real word, MRA jerks, no matter how much you try to make it one), nymphomania, alcoholism, egocentrism and an aversion to being touched never having been a problem for me.

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    4. And I use the expression 'crossed swords' quite wrongly.

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    5. haha, I got it, no worries (you sexist, egotistic, drunk misandrist(?)) :P

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  20. NEON MANIACS (1986)
    A group of disfigured killers terrorize the local teens. The filmmakers are really, really hoping to create the next Freddy or Jason. While these monsters are nifty, they don’t have the goods to be horror A-listers. You can’t create a movie icon, movie icons happen. Still, this is cheesy slasher fun, combining some memorable kills and goofy humor.

    STREET TRASH (1987)
    I’m… not sure what I just watched. There’s an epidemic of body-melting among the city’s homeless, and everyone shouts a lot. The director must have told everyone to crank up their performances to 11, with everyone being broad, loud and crazed in every scene. Add to that over-the-top slimy gore and a lack of any plot, and you’ve got yourself a movie made by space aliens.

    SOCIETY (1989)
    A privileged rich kid suspects his family are not what they seem. The satire is on the nose, but there's a nice mix of paranoia and absurdity that I liked. This movie is mostly famous for its makeup effects, and they are indeed super gross. Recommended.

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  21. April Fool's Day (1986): This comment is an April Fool! April Fool, it's June! I hate April fools so this was an interesting one.

    Yes there are some bad moments. I laughed at one point, though I don't like doing that when I am not meant to. But, with all these pranksters suffering, I think the film touches on an interesting idea about the people who do those types of pranks. That they are essentially not that far away from being bullies and being twisted with their moral codes, which I really liked about the film. Is it a joke? Is it a messed up thing someone did? A lot of bullies try pretend what they were saying or doing was a joke. I really think this film understood that. Maybe for Scary Movie Month I will see it again!

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  22. The Changeling (1980, director Peter Medak)

    Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Clint Eastwood... Wait. What? No, this Changeling has a definite article. It also has George C. (the C stands for "Come on, I'm George C. Scott. Am I awesome or what? Forget that Stephen King garbage where I played second fiddle to the little chick from E.T.; I was in Dr. Strangelove and Anatomy of a Murder, and I turned down Academy Awards for my performances in Patton and Man Getting Hit By Football") Scott.

    Superlative ghost story-murder mystery with great performances and spooky atmosphere up the wazoo.

    Most memorable scene: Trish Van Devere (George C.'s real-life wife) is pursued around a landing and down a staircase by an empty wheelchair.

    "Aaargh, my groin!"

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  23. Blood Rage (1987)
    A guy just straight up murders everyone on Thanksgiving. They abandon any semblance of plot or mystery immediately, and just starting cutting up everyone.

    Few horror movies have characters that say from their appearance that "I'm the one killing everyone." I'm serious, that guy's facial expressions are the creepiest fucking thing. Check it out!

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  24. Hobgoblins (1988, dir. Rick Sloane)

    I guess this was a movie? I've never seen the MST3K episode that made it famous. That might have been a better way to watch it. Thanks goodness for...

    Madhouse (1981, dir. Ovidio G. Assonitis)

    Weird little slasher whodunit about a woman (Trish Everly) who dreads her upcoming birthday because it reminds her of how her disfigured twin sister used to torment her. The sister is now locked away, but when people start dying, Everly suspects she knows what's going on. The use of an onscreen countdown to the birthday is cool (and maybe influenced Donnie Darko), and this is a slasher in which half of the murders are committed by a dog. There's a scene in which the main character has to explain that a child has been murdered to a room full of deaf children, which you don't get to see every day. Also, the murderer's eventual comeuppance is among the best I've seen in a long time. Just don't see this if you don't like bad things being done to dogs on screen. Even asshole dogs.

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    1. I can't imagine watching "Hobgoblins" without Mike, Tom, and Crow...or sober. God bless Vinegar Syndrome, but it's horrible.

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    2. I own and rewatch a lot of "MST3K" episodes in my DVD collection, but "Hobglobins" isn't one of them. Gotta admit, though, that the phrase 'Do a lot of coke and vote for Ronald Reagan!' from this episode has made it into my everyday vernacular. :-)

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  25. Creepshow 2 (1987)

    My history with this movie is the sorta classic 80s scenario of renting the VHS and watching it with a babysitter while reassuring her (while she hid behind a pillow) that my parents were cool with me watching it. So I have fond memories of this one and went through some extra trouble and expense to get the Arrow blu-ray.

    I want a refund.

    No, it's pretty bad but the nostalgia factor is enough keep me into it. No regrets!

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  26. Ghoulies (1985, director Luca Bercovici)

    I kept waiting for the aliens to show up, until I realised I had conflated this film and Critters.

    Wish I'd watched Critters.

    That movie has aliens.

    And is fun.

    Sample line of what is presumably supposed to be humorous dialogue: "They call me Dick, but you can call me Dick."

    The DVD cover art of one of the ghoulies standing in a lavatory is appropriate.

    F this movie. G, H and I it as well.

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  27. Very 80s DVD commentary-assisted double feature:

    Hellraiser (1987, dir. Clive Barker) w/ commentary (Clive Barker and Ashley Laurence. Moderated by Peter Atkins)

    Clive Barker provides some background on the production but mostly provides play-by-play discussion on the scenes as they unfold. Cute-as-a-button Ashley Laurence has good chemistry with Barker and shares some amusing memories of her own. Robin Vidgeon (Director of Photgraphy) is the unsung hero of this feature by Barker's admission.

    Seven word review: Uncle Frank's a real piece of shit

    Child’s Play (1988, dir. Tom Holland) w/ commentary (Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks and Kevin Yagher)

    Kevin Yagher sheds some light on what makes Chucky tick (of course) in addition to the various effects trickery utilized throughout. Alex Vincent and Catherine Hicks have nothing but fond memories of working on the film; Vincent in particular delivers some fun riffs over some scenes.

    Seven word review: Living doll using voodoo doll is priceless

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  28. From Beyond (1986)

    I had a hard time choosing what to watch tonight, but eventually settled on From Beyond, which may officially be my favorite Stuart Gordon movie. And my god, Barbara Crampton.

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    1. I always laugh when Ken Foree puts her in front of a mirror and is like "Look at yourself!"

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  29. Psycho II (1983)

    That was really fun. I'm probably going to ignore it canon-wise when I watch the original but the sequel is very entertaining and admirably crazy.

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    1. Yes! Psycho II is awesome. That shovel scene, oof.

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    2. That's basically how I felt about both II and III - I like these, but they kinda diminish the original.

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  30. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

    I can't believe this was my first time seeing this. That transformation though. Damn.

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  31. Terrorvision (1986, director Ted Nicolaou)

    I genuinely do not know what to think about this movie. It sort of felt like an extended episode of Tales from the Crypt/Tales from the Darkside (I always get those mixed up), one of the "funny" ones with slide whistle and boinnggg! sound effects that make you wish you had never been born.

    I did kinda like it, though. Got me some Gerrit Graham, some Mary Woronov, some Alejandro Rey. Got me some '80s gay panic, some cheesy practical pre-CG FX.

    I'm conflicted.

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  32. House by the Cemetery (1981)

    Not what I first think of when I hear "80's horror" but I couldn't pass up the chance to knock this one off my list! I definitely felt this was the weakest of Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy but the makeup and gore effects were amazing. Like how did they do that without actually murdering someone amazing... Also Fulci uses maggots to great effect, yet again!

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  33. Prince of Darkness (1987, dir. John Carpenter) on Amazon Channels/Starz

    Couldn't sleep. Glad I finally watched this.

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  34. I finally saw 'Sleepaway Camp' for the first time. It was absolutely awesome. I had my sister and her boyfriend over, I picked out two movies that they had never heard of and I had never seen myself but recently purchased on Blu Ray. 'The Fly' (loved it) and 'Sleepaway Camp'. They were surprised by how much they liked The Fly, because they were both iffy of my pick at first. Keep in mind they are a good 7-8 years younger than me, so a lot of 80s movies they don't quite get..yet. I knew nothing of 'Sleepaway Camp' except for it being this cult classic that 'How Did This Get Made?' did a show on and of course gets mentioned on this site and podcast all the time. We had such a great time with it, glad I watched it with a group of people like that, made it much more enjoyable, they're horror fans, so they were pretty into it. I haven't laughed that much in a long time and that ending absolutely blew me away. I feel lucky to have never had it spoiled for me, it was one of the best movie watching moments I've had in a long time. We were collectively shocked. I just had to share!

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  35. Blood Sisters (1987)

    There's not a whole lot to say about this film other than it's your typical '80s sorority slasher. It doesn't really add anything special to the genre. It also drags quite a bit. I'd say to give it a shot for any slasher film lover out there, but if you're looking for something more then I'd recommend watching films like The House on Sorority Row or The Initiation instead.

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  36. Friday the 13th 5: A New Beginning (1985)

    Ohhhh baby, oh baby.
    Ohhhh baby, oh baby.

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  37. Scanners (1981)

    First time viewing. Really enjoyed. Early Cronenberg may not have the resources and refinement he'd have later in his career, but gee, the storytelling is ambitious.

    unbelievably good makeup effects by Dick Smith and THAT explosive scene....

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