Tagged: 1988

VHS Verdict: 1987’s Aussie Slasher ‘Dangerous Game’ is a Lost Gem!

Ever wonder what the other movies the guy who directed ‘Predator 2’ & ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street: 5’ did? No?! Well I found a great little movie from Jamaican born British director Stephen Hopkins from 1987 called ‘Dangerous Game’ that I had the pleasure of watching this New Years Eve. Something even better was that throughout the movie you could see it was clearly Christmas time, making this one a neat-o flick to watch during the holiday season as well. The premise is simple, a group of rowdy college kids are targeted by a full on corrupt, mentally unhinged cop one day near their campus. Things escalate when later the same cop follows them in what ends up a high speed chase and ends up losing his job after crashing his police motorcycle near the damn police station! This sends the crazy cop into a ballistic rage and when the college kids sneak into a huge department store to spend he night (cuz that’s what people did in the 80’s!) naturally he follows them in and hunts them all down!

This one’s a true pleasure to watch, it’s got some great teenage characters, one who’s like the Aussie version of Duckie from Pretty in Pink. These aren’t really your typical throw away annoying teens, which is always good for a movie like this when you’ve got a deranged killer on the prowl. It sucks to not give a shit if characters bite the dust cuz they’re annoying or have no personality or sometimes when you want the slasher to actually catch his prey! It does a damn fine job keeping you invested in the creepy ass game of cat and mouse that’s going on onscreen. It’s also got a great location going for it, the giant dark department store is a maze of 80’s awesomeness, with tons of Christmas trees, blinking x-mas lights and Christmas decorations scattered about. There’s also some super rad scenes up on the rooftops that are pretty stunning, the cinematographer does a great job all over in this film. The killer cop is played wonderfully by Steven Grives as he’s quite convincing as an unhinged force to be reckoned with. The movie’s got sweet action sequences as well going for it, some I gotta say, over the top in a great way, like a motorcycle chase inside the department store is total crowd pleaser for sure.

This one’s a great ozploitation 80’s flick that definitely deserves to be on more people’s radar. It’s a damn near perfect horror hybrid action movie that’s a ton of fun for people who’re fans of the 1980’s slasher genre. Though there’s not a ton of gore, there’s more than enough nail biting horror and suspense going on, it’s the more superior version of a similar American cult classic slasher flick ‘Hide and Go Shriek’ that came out a year later. Track this one down if you’re looking for something to add to next years holiday horror play list or just happen to love the 1980’s as much as I do!

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VHS Verdict: ‘Vibes’ Starring Jeff Goldblum & Cyndi Lauper Is a Forgotten Gem!!

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. 

Comic Cover of the Week: Remembering ROACHMILL!

Back in the 1980’s there were some pretty awesome indie books out there. If you were looking for something different than what the “big two” had to offer there were some unique ones out there, one I was quite intrigued with was ‘Roachmill’! What? You say you never heard of Roachmill? Well this ultra oddball superhero came on the scene in 1986. He was a professional futuristic exterminator, a killer for hire and he was bad to the bone.

He also had two bizarre cockroach arms that extended from his body making it easier for him to kick the living tar outta people and shoot guns a’ plenty . The series was set in New York City during a time when there were hoards of aliens from other planets moving to Earth. Apparently this caused a lot of crime and chaos in the city and they needed badasses like Roachmill to keep humans and aliens alike in line.

This rad indie series was written and drawn by Rich Hedden & Tom McWeeney and had a heroic dose of grit & comedy evenly bound within it’s pages. I’d really like to revisit it soon to see how it holds up in 2017  and being part of my comic book cover of the week posts Roachmill stuck with me all these years as having some totally excellent cover art. In the late 80’s it got picked up by Dark Horse Comics. I totally dig these weird offbeat 80’s series, hey who knows maybe Roachmill will make a return?!

Comic Cover of the Week: Marvel’s Classic Anthology Series!

Marvel Comics Presents was a cool anthology series from 1988 that really kickstarted the first Wolverine solo series that same year. This started one of my favorite eras of the character where he took the nickname “Patch” and hung out on the mythical island of Madripoor for some truly grand adventure.

Marvel Comics Presents #1 features the start of the ‘Save The Tiger’ storyline, which is pretty awesome and has some great artwork by John Buscema and features Wolverine going up against the classic Shang-Chi villain Razorfirst. The series featured four, eight page stories from four different superheroes Wolverine remaining at the forefront for most of it’s run.

This particular cover was always a favorite of mine, features some awesome artwork by Walt Simonson and has Wolverine, Shang-Chi, a gigantic Man-Thing and the Silver Surfer. It’s a full cover front and back. What a great cast and an epic cover from a great era!

 

VHS Verdict: ‘The Unholy’ Brings Those Pesky 80’s Demons to Church!

Here we have a rather rare VHS I ran across recently while doing some major thrift store shopping up in the north woods of Wisconsin! The Unholy is a pretty neat-o piece of 1980’s demon church cheeze! This is the kind of movie I really enjoy stumbling across.

The Unholy was released in 1988 and tells the story of a Father Michael (Ben Cross) who’s appointed to a church in New Orleans where two priests where murdered two years before. The movie’s pretty dang fun over all, giving you a ton weird ass 80’s goth night club types who perform violent looking mock rituals while the priest investigates the scenes in the New Orleans cult underground. If you’re intrigued by the over the top fashion and nightlife of the 1980’s you’ll dig this.

Of course Father Michael’s going to be ‘tempted’ by some rather ‘unholy’ racy, 80’s style, sexy situations by this demonic force running amuck. Yep this powerful sexy demon goes by the name “Desederious” and spends most of the time trying to seduce Father to the side of the Devil. Too bad Father Michael, despite being a priest doesn’t believe in demons or the Devil!

Ok now this is some scary shit.

Well it doesn’t take long before his mind is changed once weird shit begins occurring around the church! This one does drag a bit during the middle with a bit too much jibber jabber going on that quite honestly I could give two shits about. I mean c’mon let’s get on with this shit and have a demon battle already! Well thankfully the third act of this movie is pretty satisfying as a fan of 80’s monster movies this one gets pretty good once Desederious shows her true form and Father Michael loses his sex drive pretty damn quickly!

Yep we get some pretty fun little pesky mini demon minions running around and Desederious looks pretty ridiculously awesome in her true demon form running around on all fours. I mean if I saw that fucking weird ass thing appear in a dark alley I’d most definitely run for the hills while peeing my pants!

‘The Unholy’ has a pretty decent cast, we even see Ned Beatty show up here, we get some fun as hell classic special effects and sweet 80’s fashion. if you can get through about 25 minutes of rather boring dialogue in the middle the third and final act will surely deliver the goods!! Seek this one out if you can and if you’re a true fan of C-movie 80’s horror!

Metallica’s “And Justice for All” With Audible Newsted Basslines!?

Word came out in the last day finally from Steve Thompson, the man responsible for mixing Metallica’s classic 1988 masterpiece “And Justice for All”. Finally addressing the elephant in the room- the fact that the album has no bass in it’s final mix! For years us Metallica fans were downright perplexed as to why it sounded as if Jason Newsted was absent from the record.

Was it a hazing he got for replacing legendary bassmaster Cliff Burton? Or was it just a bad decision by the mixer himself? Well the man had this to say about Lars Ulrich:

“We had to get the drum sound up the way he(Lars) had it,” Thompson says. “I wasn’t a fan of it. So now he goes, ‘See the bass guitar?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, great part, man. He killed it.’ He said, ‘I want you to bring down the bass where you can barely, audibly hear it in the mix.’ I said, ‘You’re kidding. Right?’ He said, ‘No. Bring it down.’ I bring it down to that level and he says, ‘Now drop it down another 5 dB.’ I turned around and looked at [Metallica guitarist James] Hetfield and said, ‘He’s serious?’ It just blew me away.”

“My only regret is that we didn’t have enough time to at least mix it the way we heard it,” he says. “I wanted to take Master Of Puppets and blow that away. That was my sonic direction for … And Justice For All. It was all there but I think they were looking for more garagey-type sound without bass. And the bass was great; it was perfect.”

Damn that Lars, always fucking some shit up, My question is why not re-release the album today with a new mix and remastering? They must have all the tracks still, it’s one of the most legendary metal album of all time. They’d make a ton of money and the fans would eat it up. Officially remix this shit! In the meantime there’s an awesome video on youtube where Newsted’s bass IS actually enhanced check this shit out, it give the album a whole new vibe!

 

Deadbeat at Dawn: Bad Movie Bliss!

Sometimes I just leave my queue on Netflix run it’s course, I still have a Dvd account by the way, meaning that I have like two hundred movies in waiting. Often I forget to move stuff around and I get those weird wild card flicks gracing my dvd player. Sometimes when bored I’ll load up my queue with a bunch of weird shit I have never heard of. Often upon viewing these I end up much a much more elightened movie buff while other times the movies suck so bad I don’t last fifteen minutes. However this week I hit the jackpot! “Deadbeat at Dawn” is easily one the most memorable “bad” movies I’ve seen in quite some time.

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Filmed in 86′ and released in ’88 Deadbeat at Dawn was written & directed by Jim Van Bebber who also stars as the films main Character, anti-hero “Goose”. Bebber also did all the special effects and performs all of his own stunts, one of which Van Beeber jumps off a city bridge! This guy pretty much did anything it took to make this film as action packed with such a small budget. Nunchucks, ninja stars, gang fights, drugs, booze this one has got it all. It will make you think twice before joining a street gang that’s for sure! Goose however decides it’s time to quit the gang so that him and his girlfriend can start a legit life together. However when his girl is brutally murdered by gang members with golf clubs, he hits rock bottom and wants nothing more than to avenge her death, and boy does he get the damn job done!!

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It’s been quite a while since I have seen a movie with an ending that kicked so much ass. It’s jam packed with so much hyperactive action it’s hard to keep your breath. Seriously, the last 30 minutes, which Bebber apparently filmed first to try and generate interest in this film from the industry back in ’86, is some of the most ridiculously awesome cinema I’ve seen in years. That’s not to say the film isn’t a bit on the nasty side as there’s not really one likable character in it. Nope, pretty much everyone is a mean spirited prick even the lead character Goose. Even when Goose is trying to be “nice” he still comes across as a total fucktard. We really only see glimmers of a good guy toward the films finale, what can you expect from a self proclaimed “Deadbeat” huh? Well all that aside it’s pretty inspiring filmaking by a guy who wanted to make a film you wouldn’t forget, I know I won’t forget this one anytime soon…