G.I. JOE Action Stars Cereal Transformed You Into a Bonafide 80s Badass!
‘G.I. Joe Action Stars’ cereal was quite a way to start your day off in 1985! Yes, if you ever dreamed of being like Duke, Sgt. Slaughter or heck even Rambo all you apparently had to do back then was grab a box of this likely highly unhealthy but flashy sugary meal to pump you UP from your local grocery store. I mean c’mon look at this damn box-it’s the food of true action heroes……obviously!
I’m not gonna lie, I want to order that G.I. Joe tee from the back of the damn box! And even better, it appears once you’re done stuffing your face with the yummy action star shaped “Cheerios” you can actually transform the cereal box into some sort of Cobra radio relay station?!! Break out the action figures ASAP!
Talk about getting your money’s worth! Also the commercial for this wicked cereal is the ultimate selling point, putting any kid who eats it on rip roarin’ adventure with the Joe’s!! Sign me up!
Interesting fun factoid, the character featured here named “Starbuster” only appeared in cartoon form in this one and only epic commercial!
Comic Cover of the Week: Eric Vincent’s TALES OF TERROR!
A largely forgotten independent horror anthology comic TALES OF TERROR was ingrained into my memory of my teenage self. Especially in the way it brings back that old nostalgia from the 1980s when I would go into the dingy comic book shops with my older brother, before comic book stuff was all the rage, I’d buy all of the Marvel stuff and he’d by lots of the weird Indy stuff! Titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (when they were weird and gritty), Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, The Elementals, Deadworld and Tales of Terror from Eclipse Comics always stuck in my mind. Such beautifully creepy covers- This issue first issue from 1986 always stuck out in my mind, artist Eric Vincent of course killed it here! Dang I miss those days of being a nerd when it felt like you were uncovering hidden gems from a secret comic book diamond mine and comics felt edgy, underground, unique and somehow punk….
Comic Cover of the Week: SHOCKWAVES of ’85!!!
One of the most memorable Marvel Comics covers of the 1980s oddly comes from the most unsuspecting title!! The Teansformers #5 is one of the best of the era hands down! It’s a brilliant work of iconic art by Mark Bright from 1985 that gave the series sn “edge”, transforming it from a mere kids toy property to a possibly gritty sci-fi series..A truly stunning example of how to execute comic book cover perfection….
1980s Cine-MAGIC From Japan: The STARDUST BROTHERS!
I’m willing to bet you’re just like me and never heard of this near “forgotten ’til now” 80s gem from Japan: The Legend of The Stardust Brothers! This incredible movie from 1985 is most definitely one of the most unique oddities I’ve stumbled upon in quite sometime. An incredibly ambitious musical gem, packed with practical effects and eighties fashion that will likely knock your neon socks right off!
It tells the tale of two struggling rival musicians: one a rowdy punk rocker and the other an egotistical wanna be popstar who meet a mysterious man while sharing the same bill at a seedy night club. He offers them the contract of a lifetime, claiming that within one week, if they follow all the rules, the two of them will be rocketed to full blown pop super stardom. That is as long as they join forces, from that point on become The Stardust Brothers and tell the world they are indeed real bonafide brothers.
Now admittedly I’m not a real big fan of musicals, there’s only a few that I really love (Popeye, The Wizard of Oz & Little Shop of Horrors immediately come to mind). However this one has now EASILY made the list as a must watch and it’s something I’ll be watching over and over again. Essentially it’s the wildly unpredictable story of the bizarre rise and fall of this pop duo. It’s firmly glued together with a series of incredible little musical vignettes that are a visual and sonic feast.
A sweet mixture of punk rock, powerpop & some cool new wave numbers, connecting a series of incredibly ambitious music videos within one insane narrative. There are touches of the supernatural as well as a ton of amazing special effects, stop motion & practical monster effects that really impress, especially if your a fan of the 80s. It’s also filled to the brim with some of the best Japanese fashion of the era to go along with the catchy songs. As I write this, their theme song is still stuck firmly in my brain. I’d love to get my hands on some vinyl of the soundtrack. Aside from the cool music, luckily it’s got a pretty unique story that blends elements of scifi, horror and even a bit of romance. It’s unexpected twists and turns deliver a frenetic, action packed finale that will leave you pondering the events of the entire film. Its all done with a heroic dose of heart too.
Just how far do you really go to live the life of a superstar without any of the hard work required to get to the top? The Stardust Bros go the distance and the musical journey is definitely a wacky one worth taking. Apparently director Makoto Tezuka tried to catch lightning in a bottle a few years ago by producing a direct sequel, but after doing a little poking around it doesn’t seem like he was quite to able to recreate the neon electromagnetic magic of the first.
In the meantime I highly recommend picking this one up on a newly released blu ray from SRS Cinema. The Legend of the Stardust Brothers is packed with pure charisma, tons of vibrant youthful energy and shows you exactly how inventive some directors in the 1980s were in Japan with a limited budget! Don’t sleep on this one!
Lost Gems of the 80s: The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents!
I’ve been delving deeply into old 1980s horror/fantasy television shows and lovin’ it, because one thing I’ve noticed is nobody does it quite like they did back then in the “golden era” of horror- Even when it comes to TV shows!
After watching the totally radical ‘Amazing Stories’ series and the Twilight Zone 80s revival I was sooo ready for more. Digging deep back into my memories of my childhood I clearly remember the obvious choice: ‘The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ that ran from ’85-1989.
I have some fond memories of this show and one episode in particular that stuck in my mind all of these years right up to today. Part of me was wondering if I’d maybe in fact dreamt up this particular episode of the show? Not the case. In fact upon watching the 1st few episodes it was clear, this was going to be a fun ride of full on nostalgia done to perfection! I imagine remembering an episode plot from well over 35 years ago is a good sign of a memorable show? I think so!
This series, at least for me. way back then was paired in a sort of “power hour” with Steven Spielberg’s ‘Amazing Stories’. The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents is full of twists, turns, star studded cameos and now famous directors. A mix of horror, suspense and most importantly MURDER, fuel this nearly forgotten gem. It originally aired on NBC but was canceled, later being picked up on the USA Network thankfully!
Nearly every episode has a familiar face, which really makes half of the fun here and every so often a surprise director comes comes on to the scene, like a particular episode called ‘The Jar’ which is helmed by Tim Burton himself and drips with his signature tone and style.
There’s also some great star studded appearances featuring the likes of Mark Hamill, Mia Sara, a VERY young Joaquin Phoenix, Martin Sheen, Michael Ironside And many more.
One of my all time favorite episodes is ‘Night Creatures’ one of the only 100% supernatural fueled episodes. It plays out more like an incredible schlocky neon drenched 1980s tv pilot than a single episode. It features a punk rock goth rock star who’s secretly a bloodthirsty vampire and would be a welcome entry into any 1980s heavy metal horror anthology!
There are so many excellent episodes here to behold, I really can’t recommend this series enough for those those eighties horror hounds in search of some memorable cheez. Of course there are some misses among the 40 plus episodes of 4 seasons. The show covers a lot of interesting but disturbing topics too like “kids playing with guns” in one of the most unsettling episodes you’re likely to see in the series and of course that classic episode that always stuck with me featuring a woman who’s been brutally assaulted and her husband heads off on his own to stalk the perp. The twist here is one of the most chilling of the entire series!
Lastly Martin Sheen shines as a crazy aging actor who’s hellbent on landing a role so much so that he goes to the extremes of murder to get what he wants! His performance is so over the top and enjoyable It’s by far one of the standout performances of the series.
This elusive little series deserves a sweet blu ray release, I found a bootleg copy of the entire series on eBay which has been a truly fun ride over the past few weeks! Luckily many of the episodes can be actually found right on YouTube. Hunt this long lost gem down and treat yourself to the golden era of mystery and horror with the new Alfred Hitchcock presents! Here’s a great episode to start you off!
Cult Flicks in DESPERATE Need of a Blu Ray: Crazy 80s Australian Gem ‘FORTRESS’!!
I’m back again continuing the second installment of nearly forgotten cult gems that desperately need a fancy blu ray release! Here’s one from 1985 that’s definitely ripe for the picking, a movie that I’ve owned on VHS for quite some time now that’s shockingly underrated and underseen by most cult classic cinemaniacs!
‘Fortress’ was released on HBO back in 1985 and later in 86′ it hit theaters in Australia where the movie was produced. It tells the simple story of a teacher (Rachel Ward) who’s tiny countryside shoolhouse comes under attack by shotgun wielding, masked psychos hell bent on taking her and the children captive, hiding them in a cave in the Australian outback.
All goes as planned until the seemingly mild mannered teacher decides to take matters into her own hands. The tension & level of suspense are through the damn roof as it becomes abundantly clear that their captors are no push overs and aren’t afraid to pull the trigger. We’re treated to plenty of action, suspense, some truly inspiring outback locales, creepy masked bad guys (one who dons a Santa Claus mask) and a bit of a darker Amblin “kids in danger” / coming of age style shocker here as well. It becomes an epic tale of cat & mouse survival where no one is safe and its anyone’s guess who’s going to bite the bullet.
Most notably, right around the third act the movie goes pretty off the rails when the teacher and her students become a major force to be reckoned with. Almost transforming into bloodthirsty “Lord of the Flies” territory in the shocking action packed, blood soaked finale. It’s got some excellent twists and turns that are likely to satisfy both fans of 80s action as well as horror.
The shocking end scene becomes even more perplexing and unforgettable cementing this firmly on the forgotten list of cult gems. It’s a real treat how dark this one goes. Trust me if you’re a fan of weird 80’s horror/thriller/action hybrid flicks then this one will not disappoint! There was a DVD release of this movie a while back that’s out of print now, this makes the need for Fortress to receive a special edition blu ray even more necessary. Plus with fan favorite Rachel Ward (The Final Terror/Night School/Against All Odds) as the film’s trusty heroine you get an added edge of star power.
Fortress packs a powerful punch and in many cases leaves you stunned and shocked by the roll of the credits. It’s a well executed unpredictable
Ozploitation film that more genre fans need to check out, just waiting to be someone’s new favorite cult classic!
Must SEE Halloween: Spielberg’s Spooky 80s AMAZING STORIES!!
Of course, everybody’s looking for the ultimate Halloween viewing this year and it just so happens I’ve got a couple recommendations here that are a MUST see for anyone who’s a fan of those spooky “Amblin* films of the eighties! A lot of people seem to have forgotten about or never even heard of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series ‘Amazing Stories’. That’s truly a shame because many of these episodes are classic “Spielbergian” gems that are indeed quite freakin’ amazing. Better yet, there are a handful of episodes that are absolutely perfect for the Halloween season. Today I’d like to mention two of my all time favorite episodes of the series that just so happen to be quite perfectly spooky and utterly charming.
Easily one of the best episodes of the series comes from the 1st season is called ‘Mummy Daddy’. It’s directed by William Dear who’s most well known for one of my all time favorites ‘Harry and Hendersons’. This features an actor on a creepy fog laden swamp of a movie set who’s dressed in an elaborate mummy costume that’s virtually unremovable. When he suddenly gets a phone call that his wife is about to give birth, he bursts frantically from the set to head off to the hospital, In full mummy garb. What he doesn’t realize is that the backwoods locals are restless as they fear the legend of an actual evil mummy rumored to roam the forest in search of innocents to prey upon is alive and well.
There’s a lot of unique twists and turns in this half hour episode, the mummy fx look incredible and the sets and fog filled moonlit locales are top notch. One thing is clear Steven Spielberg had a movie level budget for the show and he was willing to put it all on the line. This episode features the perfect blend of spooky comedy & horror as well as some excellent supernatural action sequences.
Not to mention one of my favorites, Brion James in the role of the aggro head hillbilly, who’s hell bent on ridding their small town of the mummy’s curse forever! This one is a must see for the Halloween season!
Next up is my absolute favorite episode of the entire series which comes from season 2 called ‘Go to the Head of the Class’.
It’s directed by ‘Back to the Future’s’ own Robert Zemekis, features Mary Stuart Masterson and of course Christopher Lloyd! This one is slso a double length episode, it easily could have been made into an excellent horror flick and would have easily been one of the best episodes of ‘Tales from the Crypt’ if it’d been included in that series, where to be honest it feels like it belongs! In a nutshell it’s a story of two teenagers who who plan an elaborate revenge scheme on their asinine school teacher. However this isn’t your average tale of revenge, they instead employ the powers of the supernatural playing a record backwards and performing a ritual in the cemetery late one night after school that will supposedly put an end to their least fave douchebag headmaster!
Christopher Lloyd shines in the role of the evil teacher and like the last episode I mentioned, the special effects here are done by Stan Winston and all of the horror set pieces are utterly breathtaking in the spookiest way imaginable. It’s jam packed with the perfect blend of comedy, genuine scares and familiar faces of the eighties that are certain to put a smile on your face.
These two episodes will pack the perfect double duo punch and give you something different to check out this Halloween season. Yeah horror from a much simpler time from the golden era of horror! Do not snooze on these this year!
Comic Cover of the Week: Barry Windsor Smith’s Post Punk X-men!
Simplicity often times is the best strategy for constructing an amazing comic book cover. Also having the artistic charm and skill of icon Barry Windsor Smith definitely helps too! Well here today I am featuring one of my favorites from Barry, a simple bad ass line-up of everyone’s favorite webhead and the X-men back in the 80s when the characters had a sort of punk rock weirdo mystique to them. Check out Marvel Team Up #150 from 1985, bsck when the X-men still had an edge and life was a bit simpler…
U-Dork & Movie Melt Go on a Rad 80’s ‘ROCKIN’ ROAD TRIP’!
Check out the latest episode of the ‘Movie Melt‘ podcast where Universal Dork joins the conversation to cover an obscure summer blast of punk rock shenanigans with 1985’s ‘Rockin’ Road Trip’!
Yes! We get down to the nitty gritty of this lost 1980’s summer road trip comedy adventure but also spend some time chattim’ about a ton of other weird-o movies, stupid demonic sex and more useless cinematic information than the human brain can comprehend!
Check this ridiculous shit out right HERE and check out the trailer for our wild ass feature presentation!
Movie Review: GOTCHA! When those 80’s Paintball Skills Pay Off Yet AGAIN!
It’s funny how many movies in the 1980’s focus for some reason on the game of paintball for inspiration. I mean, I lived the 80’s and yes indeed paintballin’ was all the rage, so I guess it’s no wonder that movies like ‘The Zero Boys’, ‘Masterblaster’ & even the 1989 Mexican Gem ‘Trampa Infernal’ all begin with their main characters playing paintball & eventually using said paintball skills in a real life adventure.
For you young folks paintball is a game usually played out in the woods where two teams compete with each other with loaded guns filled with paint ball pellets. In the 80’s apparently it readied you for crazy real life adventure. This is of course just how 1985’s sweet sexy action comedy begins!
Yep, Anthony Edwards stars as a college freshman named Jonathon, a down on his luck virgin but luckily, you guessed it, an expert paintballer. He spends much of his time playing paintball on the college campus during the day while also asking out any beautiful babe who crosses his path. He soon convinces his parents to pay for a European vacation, in hopes he can finally lose his damn virginity overseas. So in Paris, he meets a slightly older, more experienced woman named Sasha Banicek (Linda Fiorentino), a sexy mysterious Czech who invites him to accompany her to West Berlin. of course Jonathon is totally enamored & will do just about anything for her affection. Sasha however, is secretly desperate to get a roll of film to the CIA & slips Jonathan the package without telling him what’s inside. Oblivious of what he’s carrying, Jonathan must elude the sinister Soviet forces trailing him at all costs & lucky for him he’s already a well versed expert in the paintball game of “Gotcha”!
Ok so this one’s pretty much exactly the kind of 80’s flick I’m down to watch any damn day of the week! It’s a cool little comedic thriller that really could have only existed in the 1980’s. It’s got some college humor that might not exactly fly today, but it’s also got some great characters at it’s core that make up for any of those shortcomings. There’s plenty of romance to go around as well, as our hero who’s a failed Romeo finally lives up to the challenge and adventure thrown his way for the woman who he claims he “loves” after knowing her for only a few days. Hey we’ve all been there at least one though right? There’s also some decent action scenes and the setting of Paris to Berlin only add to the mystique of the whole debacle. It’s a near perfect 80’s coming of age adventure that also manages to take some unique twists and turns along the way, that keep you guessing to the very end. If you’re feeling like taking a time machine to simpler, more charming times, I highly recommend Gotcha! Oh yeah it’s theme song is worth the price of admission alone, it’s so damn catchy it’ll swirl in your mind for days after, check this one out for some sweet retro vibes from my personal favorite era of cinema.