I recently stumbled upon a beautiful big box VHS version of the 1983 gem ‘Raiders of Atlantis’ and it’s easily one of the most entertaining 80’s action/sci-fi genre mash up’s I’ve ever seen. Even more interesting is that we’ve got cult director Ruggero Deodato, most well known for his extreme gore flick ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ at the helm. Well, while ‘Raiders’ doesn’t feature the offensive gross-out gore of ‘Holocaust’ it does have it’s fare share of unexpectedly crazy bloody good moments and then some to spare.
As for the plot, there’s not much to it, basically two hot shot war vets (Mike, who’s a slightly past his prime playboy and his buddy, recently converted to islam, Washington, who desperately wants people to call him Mohammed) and their crew head off by boat to investigate the strange suddenly rising continent of Atlantis that emerges from the depths of the ocean covered in a transparent dome. Well pretty much as soon as our crew of trusty adventurers set foot on Atlantis’ shore they discover a creepy, fully ravaged city with dead people scattered about, leading to a particularly excellently executed chilling scene involving a skipping record. Deodato immediately sets the stage for a full on genre sandwich that’s part action/sci-fi/horror & post apocalyptic adventure.
Of course none of this can really be taken too seriously as the movie opens with Washington & Mike displaying their innate ability to kick major ass and then some within the first few minutes. However the movie shifts gears when it’s revealed that the natives of Atlantis are actually psychotic punk rock post apocalyptic warriors who’re out to kill anyone and everything in sight. Their leader even wears a ridiculous see through plastic skull mask and they all drive around freaky jacked up killer cars and motorcycles like total maniacs. The rest of the movie is really one fucking awesome action sequence after another, ridiculous hi-octane shit that never slows. Continue reading
Hot Damn!! Did you all watch the latest YouTube Red series ‘Cobra Kai’ or what?! Talk about a surprise hit show, it’s still blowing my mind that somehow they completely pulled this show off and then some. Who’d have thought a sequel series to The Karate Kid 34 years later would have turned out to be a bonafide hit show? I’m going on record though to say this series not only exceeded my expectations but is one of my favorite TV shows of all time.
So it got me thinking, what other 80’s movie franchises could they give a similar treatment to after the surprise success of Cobra Kai? Here’s five other 80’s franchises I think if given the care of ‘Cobra Kai’ might work in a similar way as tv series. Obviously the movies have to have had memorable characters that we wonder what are up to today! So here we go…
ROMANCING THE STONE (1984)
Like The Karate Kid the original from 1984 is one of my all time favorite movies. It spawned a lackluster sequel called ‘Jewel of the Nile’ and I think is the perfect franchise to revisit if done with respect of the original franchise. The movie captured people’s hearts back in 80’s and struck a chord with people longing for some real romantic adventure in their normal everyday lives. I always wondered if Joan Wilder & Jack Colton lived happily ever after? Well this series could revisit Joan & Jack today who’re obviously much older but also catapult their now normal lives into one last adventure.
Teaming them up with their children, who somehow are pulled into another bizarre treasure hunt that reaches exotic places of the earth that are little traveled or perhaps even completely uncharted. Michael Douglas is in his early 70’s and Cathleen Turner in her 60’s but adding their younger children or single child into the mix could make for a surprisingly fun exotic action adventure. Hey they’re still both younger than Harrison Ford and he’s getting another Indiana Jones movie! Handled the right way I think a Romancing the Stone series would be a blast. Probability of this happening: Highly Unlikely.
WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (1988)
I think a Roger Rabbit series could be totally insane & a ton of fun. Imagine Toon Town 30 years later? What hell is going on there? The show could take place in the 1980’s or even in the same time period as the first movie. Because most of the characters are cartoons it’d be easy to bring them back for another adventure and you could even pull a great new cast for this second adventure and really flesh out the Toons.
As far as a storyline it’s interesting to know that there are actually a trilogy of Roger Rabbit books the first one being written in 1981 ‘Who Censored Roger Rabbit’, the second in 1991 ‘Who P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit’ and in 2013 ‘Who Wacked Roger Rabbit’. So as far as material there’s a lot to pull from. I think this would be a great franchise to revisit in a series and again like it was in 1988 there’s nothing out there today quite like it. Probability of this happening: Unlikely.
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)
Ahhh…now here’s a great one that could be taken in so many fun directions. People have wanting a proper sequel to ‘Big Trouble’ for decades and it’s even been given a sequel treatment in comic book form recently. So why the hell not kick start the further adventures of Jack Burton in current times? Bring back Kurt Russell as the character and let him get into more trouble all over again. He certainly doesn’t need to stay in “Little China” this time around but let’s find out just what the hell he’s up to these days.
Let John Carpenter write, direct or do both even but fill it to the brim with more of the amazing monsters, adventure and 80’s fx that made the cult classic so damn beloved. Kurt Russell looks as bad ass as ever too and he really wouldn’t even need to be paired up with a bunch of young hip side kicks for the first season at least. Theres’ so much potential here for a great series and I think fans would eat it up if it was handled with the same respect and care as Cobra Kai. Probability of this happening: Good. As a reboot has been talked about for years with Duane Johnson.
THE GATE (1987)
Ok so I know this will NEVER happen but a seed has to be planted somewhere right? Cuz you just never really know? However I had to add this one because it’s a truly great 80’s franchise I hold dear to my heart. The Gate from 1987 is one of the best 80’s horror flicks ever and I think if some place like Shudder was looking for a horror series to kickstart The Gate would be the perfect choice. It’s got a cult following and it’s two main stars Stephen Dorff and Louis Tripp (Who also starred as the lead character in The Gate 2) are both only in their 40’s at this point.
What if The Gate was opened once again by one of these guys in modern times, Maybe Louis Tripp’s kids find one of his old demonic metal records and set things into motion? I’d imagine it’d be amazing to see one of them have to make the call to the other to save suburbia from complete evil again. Maybe Stephen Dorff has a family of his own? Maybe Louis Tripp, the heavy metal obsessed kid from the first two movies is in a once popular but now failing metal band of his own? Whatever the case I always thought it’d be cool to see these two guys later in life as Dorff still stars in plenty of movies and we’d have to get Louis Tripp out of acting retirement! Probability of this happening: Between slim and none but now with this post slightly better!!
THE GOONIES (1985)
Ah…ok so now we get to an 80’s movie that I think has got a decent chance of being revived as a tv series! How awesome would it be to have a Goonies TV show in the works? I mean who the fuck doesn’t wanna know what the damn Goonies are up to now that they’re all grown up?!! Imagine them all now settled down in their normal boring every day lives, some may have families and some may be in completely different places but one thing remains true Goonies never say die! Through some strange turn of events the grown up Goonies become involved with their most incredible adventure yet. Something none of them ever imagined would happen ever again. The cast is still relatively young and the possibilities are endless.
There’s a so much heartfelt drama and adventure that could be explored between these characters as they’re now all grown up and longing for the nostalgia of their childhood, well what happens when that nostalgia gets dropped directly onto their laps? It’d be time to see if The Goonies still have what it takes decades later. You could incorporate their kids into the mix as well if they wanted to pass the torch but I think ‘season one’ would be great to get the old gang back together for a more adult, but still fully comedic adventure of a lifetime. This show could work on so many levels and a tv series is fully the way to go with it. That would all be true if it had a truly great story and writers behind it as it could also easily turn out to be a full on disaster. So many great characters and I think it’d finally give Corey Feldman the adult role of redemption he’s been looking for all these years. Probability of this happening: Likely!!!
So last night I got a sneak peak of the first two upcoming episodes of Youtube Red’s new series ‘Cobra Kai’ AND ‘The Karate Kid’ side by side on the big screen! Yeah, I’ve been super pumped about the new series as The Karate Kid still remains in my top five favorite movies of the 1980’s and maybe even of all time. I like it that much, so as a big fan I’m gonna give it to you straight. The first two episodes of Cobra Kai are everything you’d hope them to be and then some especially if you’re a fan of the original 80’s classic. If you’ve somehow never seen The Karate Kid, you really should do so first to fully appreciate this series, but if not I still think it’s got just as much to offer to those who don’t know the history of the franchise. Here’s some of the basic story set up in the first two episodes without spoiling anything, as a good deal of the stuff I’m about to tell you about the plot is in the trailers for the show…
Original stars/rivals Ralph Macchio as ‘Daniel LaRusso’ & William Zabka as ‘Johnny Lawrence’ return and both look amazing in 2018. In fact they look so eerily similar to the way they did in the 80’s at times it’s a bit surreal. The story here picks up in the present day & former high school mega bully karate champion Johnny is no longer the rich “cool guy” he was back in the 80’s. He’s a jaded, down on his luck alcoholic who still spends a fair amount of his days reminiscing about the glory days of his high school years. Despite all of that from the very opening he also displays he can kick ass just like he used to just as well. He ends up accidentally saving a high school kid from a major ass kicking from a bunch of bullies. Not out of the kindness of his heart but because they’ve possible messed up his 80’s sports car in the process of doing so. Continue reading
Dang it, it’s now official ‘Ash Vs. Evil Dead’ has been cancelled by Starz. I’m gonna admit, I’m pretty bummed out about this news as for decades I’d always hoped for Bruce Campbell to return to the iconic role of Ash Williams which he brilliantly portrayed in the Evil Dead & Army of Darkness films from the 80’s and early 90’s. When it was announced the series was a go in 2015 I was beyond thrilled. I’m fully up to date on season 3 and to this point I’m still a big fan of the series. I think it’s been a mighty fun gory and gooey ride and was fully looking forward to seeing where season 4 might take us. It seemed the show from the start had quite a big buzz and lots of Evil Dead fans were there to check it out the mayhem. Over time however, the viewership shrunk and of course it also ended up being one of the most pirated shows on the internet. At the end of the day we’ve gotta wonder what the hell went wrong here ultimately?
Aside from people pirating the show and being a bunch of cheap skate Evil Dead fans I’d say there’s a couple issues at hand that might have led to it’s demise (the show being on Starz honestly was a problem from the start-because who the hell has Starz to begin with?). The good was we had Bruce back wisecracking his way in and out of every episode. We had a ton of old school 80’s inspired gore galore & it seemed that perhaps was all that fans needed to keep interested in the series. But perhaps that’s not quite the case? If I look at it critically, even though I adore the show and really didn’t expect much more than what we got there’s a few things I think may have hindered it’s success. I’m not sure first of all that the story presented throughout the three seasons was really interesting enough to keep most on board for THREE full seasons. At a half hour each in length that’s a lot of slapstick horror for most people & one season may have been just enough? Not for me.. Continue reading
I do tons of hunting around town here in Portland Oregon and beyond for awesome VHS tapes for my own viewing pleasure and also for my shop Hollywood Babylon. The fun is always running across cool movies, often times I never even knew existed. This is most definitely the case when I ran across a VHS copy of ‘VIBES’ from 1988 starring Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum!? Yeah, at least for me this was a surprise as I’d never even heard of this one before and the unlikely pairing of Goldblum as “Nick” & 80’s pop icon Lauper as “Sylvia” kinda blew my mind. At first I thought it was simply an 80’s rom com, but upon reading the synopsis on the back I was even more excited to find that Vibes is actually a supernatural adventure flick with light elements of Indiana Jones sprinkled about it’s odd colorful plot.
Talk about a movie that sounds right up my alley? Vibes was indeed a ton of fun and it’s two unlikely leads make it a full on trip down 80’s nostalgia lane. Both Lauper and Goldblum play quirky down on their luck psychics who are hired to head off to Ecuador to find the missing son of a mysterious wealthy fortune hunter. Both seem reluctant to work together even though Sylvia who’s major bad luck with men, seems immediately enamored with Nick who’s character is as over the top Godlbum-esque here as they come. Both use their unique powers to piece together the mystery they become entrenched in, Sylvia speaks with a dead woman named Louise and Nick can see the psychic history of objects from merely by touching them.
Once the two leave the city they quickly realize there’s a supernatural element at play and their employer hasn’t been entirely honest about why they’ve been hired for the job. It’s a total pleasure to see the two leads playing off each other and it’s quite obvious from the get go it’s gonna be physically impossible for Golblum to resist the cute as a button Lauper. Cyndi shines here with her extra thick New York accent and most of all it’s the unlikely pairing of these two icons that really make this one such a treat.
The back of the VHS boasts something of a special fx extravaganza from one of the dudes from Ghostbusters which was sadly a bit misleading. There are a few neat scenes of 80’s fx at play here but ultimately the supernatural spectacle here wasn’t nearly as impressive as I’d hoped for. A few more scenes of paranormal mayhem would have made this one a full on lost 80’s classic. It does have some great sets though and the Ecuador back drop gives this a bit of a Romancing the Stone vibes at times although with less physical adventure actually going on. There’s a great dance sequence between the two as well that’s pretty darn cute as well. The main reason to seek this out is the two leads, it’s an interesting pairing and filled with a ton of fun moments despite it being a full on bonafide box office flop. One of the best parts of the movie is the closing credits song by Cyndi Lauper called “Hole In My Heart” which is one of her best and adds to the pure nostalgia of this little forgotten gem of an 80’s movie.
Dan Haggerty (RIP) most famously known for his family friendly iconic role as “Grizzly Adams” also did some major ass kicking in the 80’s & early 90’s C-list cinema. I was lucky enough to check out a VHS copy of ‘Repo Jake’ and damn did it catapult Haggerty to a whole new level of awesome. First off, a movie with the name “Repo Jake” featuring Haggerty in the lead role might sound a bit ridiculous and it turns out in this case you can totally judge a book by it’s cover. From start to finish this one is pretty much nonstop idiotic fun, though not entirely intentionally a “comedy” per say it’s the perfect action party flick from 1990 that’s got enough going for it to charm the pants off a Tommy Wiseau.
Haggerty stars as Jake Baxter an ex military dude who moves from the midwest to LA to make some quick cash as a repo man to pay off his own debts on a repossessed home in Minnesota. From the get go we know Repo Jake Baxter is a total bad ass with a big heart as he immediately helps a woman recover her stolen purse on the streets of Cali. This opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie, Jake kicks the purse snatchers ass big time an while doing so completely demolishes some poor dudes corner store. But hey at least he recovers that purse!!
From that point on it’s clear, Repo Jake has got some seriously unusual magnetic sex appeal too as pretty much every woman he runs into from that point on wants to relentlessly get down with him. Jake of course can’t help that he’s so damn sexy and in that wholesome “Haggerty way” never caves to their advances. Whatta guy I tell ya. Who knew he was such an object of desire? Well that’s not the only mischief Jake gets involved in, when he lands his job as a repo man there’s trouble around nearly every corner and his co-workers are a full on 80’s style motley crew of crazy over the top characters. Jake’s first job is fucking amazing as he heads off on his own to repo a car from a gang of drunk morons who’re cheering on their buddy as he drives in circles around Jake in a parking lot. It’s not long before Jake’s on the hood of the car for a ridiculous drunken joyride. Jake always gets the damn job done.
He gets his repo on kickin’ ass along the way, Jake even repos a fucking helicopter from a seriously persistant pilot, yeah he’s a total natural, like the Rocky Balboa of repo men. He’s got it all at this point, the money’s a’ flowing an of course he’s soon dating his sexy aspiring actor neighbor in his apartment building! Clearly twice her age it seems his rugged animal magnetism is just too damn much for any human to resist. Eventually he pisses off a “powerful” crime lord and reveals he was once a hotshot drag racer who lost the love of his life due to his passion for kick ass car racing. Of course Repo Jake gets another chance to show off his mad skills as a car racer when he’s put to the ultimate test forcing to compete against the local crime boss in a high profile high octane race and then all sorts of madness ensues in full on ridiculous final boss battle.
Haggerty totally shines in this flick, I’d say it’s one of his best and proves him to once again be an unlikely action hero. He certainly does have a degree of humbling charisma that always makes him a pleasure to watch on screen. As far as movies that fit into that “so bad that they’re great” this one is a winner and a lot of it’s charm comes from director Joseph Merhi, who knows how to push the perfect buttons with a limited budget. He’s got quite a few movies from the 80’s and 90’s (The Newlydeads, LA Heat, Epitaph) I’m looking to check out now after having such a great time with Repo Jake. Check this out on a Saturday night with a gang of rabid movie maniacs along with plenty o’ booze and it’ll surely provide all with one helluva good time!! Here’s the full movie on Youtube for a Repo Jake quick fix:
Ok so here’s an interesting clip! You remember that old Star Wars holiday special that George Lucas wants to pretend never happened? Well here’s another bizarre moment in retro Star Wars history, all the way back in 1980 Hamill made an appearance on German television making a cameo on a musical Star Wars themed variety show, recently Hamill shared the video and commented on it also saying “I remember not wanting to wear a gold jumpsuit like a rejected member of ABBA or if I could memorize dialogue in a foreign language-but thought “Who cares? No one outside of Germany will ever see this!” Thanks to the internet-NOTHING EVER GOES AWAY. Who knew?”
I’ve never seen this before but I’ll say it’s quite a treat for any true fan of the beloved series. In case you missed this one here it is in all of it’s glory!