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.
Here’s a sweet little Hong Kong horror/action/comedy hybrid from 1985 that really put a BIG smile on my face, ‘Those Merry Souls’. Yeah this all but forgotten flick has some serious star power, featuring the likes of martial arts legends like the charming Yuen Biao & the late horror icon “Mr. Vampire” himself Lam Ching Ying (RIP) together for one spooky comedic action packed romper.
Now as you can see the poster here. makes it look maybe like a full on comedy, and in many ways ‘Those Merry Souls’ plays out like one. However it also has a serious supernatural aspect and threat that slowly rears it’s head to the final genuinely creepy action packed finale. This one tells the story of two stuntmen one a wildly talented martial artist and his bumbling whiny cousin who’s obsessed with a beautiful local club singer. Oh yeah and their uncle has recently developed a rare creepy ability to astral project and has been helping people who die find their way to the other side. He helps those merry souls but during his waking life doesn’t remember a lick of it ever happening.
The two bosom buddy stuntmen spend most of their time trying to ridiculously find romance and getting into trouble while doing so, one of the best scenes takes place on a beach where Yuen Biao shines showing his kick ass martial arts skills taking on a gang beach bullies in only his skimpy little swim suit. Biao really should have been an international star, he’s got the skills and a similar raw charisma of Jackie Chan. Things do get a bit dark and scary here though and what starts off like the perfect 80’s Hong Kong buddy comedy morphs into a pretty thrilling little supernatural tale.
This happens when their uncle, while in his astral form is instructed to take the soul of his own nephew when he’s injured doing a wild stunt on a movie set. At the moment of truth though he decides to let him live & spare his soul a mistake that costs him his own life and sets forth an evil entity upon them. In a way it’s a tiny bit Final Destination and when they employ the help of their other uncle, played by Lam Ching Ying, who’s of course got some secret magic skills of his own to ward off evil, things get really interesting.
The film’s finale is joyous as the whole gang along with their girlfriends all face off the evil entity along with their taoist priest uncle in an action packed final showdown. The stakes get high and the action is off the rails bonkers in true Hong Kong fashion as the entity possesses members of the group and soon things erupt into a crazy supernatural kung fu battle.
We even get to see Lam Ching Ying and Yuen Biao go at it full force, which is treat to behold. Bottom line here, ‘Those Merry Souls’ is a damn good time balancing out the comedy, kung fu & supernatural elements in all the right ways, something I’ve noticed many Hong Kong films of this era seem to fail at in my opinion more often than succeeding. If you’re looking to get in 80’s Hong Kong Horror I highly recommend ‘Those Merry Souls’ as the perfect party movie to share with a hungry gang of movie maniacs!
And for fans of Yuen and LamChing Ying check this out too..
Yowza!! Are you in the mood for the wildest and craziest summer camp antics from the great white north of Canada? Well look no further as Universal Dork headed back on the Movie Melt podcast to talk about some seriously idiotic 80’s trash cinema! This time covering 1984’s slapstick summer camp cult classic Oddballs. Yes, you’ll find more worthless movie knowledge than your brain can humanly comprehend!
Oddballs is one weird ass forgotten comedy and if you’re a fan of stuff like ‘Top Secret’ or ‘The Naked Gun’ then there’s more than enough of that schtick here to quench your thirst. Inspired by the classic ‘Meatballs’ this one’s so dumb you’re likely to lose a few brain cells just by simply viewing it’s raunchy cover!
Check out the whole PODCAST RIGHT HERE!
Oh yeah and if you’re reaaaaaally feelin’ the summer heat you can watch the damn movie on Youtube!
This Halloween I’m gonna make a few obscure retro foreign horror movie recommendations that you may have missed out on from that oh so sweet era of the genre: the 1980’s! I just checked out a rad little Hong Kong Horror movie from 1987 called ‘Vampire’s Breakfast’!!
This forgotten little horror gem is a load of fun with a heapin’ dose of spooky settings, comedy, romance and action in the way that only Hong Kong cinema delivered back in the day. I really enjoyed how for the most part this one plays the horror pretty straight, keeping the all too usual Hong Kong “slapstick potty humor” out of the equation entirely. For me some of the 80’s Hong Kong stuff can be completely ruined by crappy potty humor and comedy that just plain hasn’t aged well (and keep in mind I’m not normally easily offended either). Nope, here we have a cool cast of characters and genuinely nasty “American/European” style vamp on the loose rather than the traditional Chinese hopping kind. We’ve got some funky footage of Hong Kong in the 80’s here and totally sweet fashion of the era in full swing.
The iconic Kent Cheng stars as a newspaper reporter who’s hot on the trail of a serial killer and after poking around a police crime scene begins to suspect that the killer might actually be a living breathing vampire. No one takes him seriously except a boozed up car stereo thief, who he reluctantly teams up with to track down the suspected bloodsucker. Along the way though he interviews one of the killer’s victims who barely escaped with her life, the oh soooo cute Emily Chu looking as stylee as ever.
Of course it’s love at first sight and we’re then treated to a full on 80’s style Hong Kong “John Hughs” cheezy romance, which is a total charm amidst the horror. The thing I really dig about this is movie, are the horror elements, unafraid to get nasty when it needs to as well as some action sequences that can be pretty exciting as well. No kung fu here though, which is kind of nice actually as it plants this one in a more believable horror setting, but that’s not to say the portly Kent Cheng can’t deliver the kicks, check out 1989’s ‘Vampire Buster’ to see his skills.
There’s a lot to love here if you’re looking for something different this Halloween, the vampire here is plenty fierce as well. He’s got a pretty sinister look and raises plenty of Hell on the foggy streets of Hong Kong. There’s also some unexpected moments of gore as well that ramp things up nicely in the finale. I’d say this one definitely deserves more love and most definitely a cleaned up blu ray release with more fleshed out subtitles. A colorful, creepy tale full of endearing characters and a brisk pace make this one standout viewing this Halloween for those who love uncovering hidden gems from horror’s sweet spot era of the 1980’s.
The Snyder cut Justice League movie is I guess all the rage for the HBO Max, but to me I think it looks like more bad DCEU stuff that’s not aging well! Luckily for me someone decided to make this cool retro trailer for the Justice league, featuring some of my favorite faces from the past! This one is a ton of fun and I wish it was the movie they were premiering! I’d be signed up for sure! So maybe in the mulitverse alternate reality this is a real thing?!!
Hey I’m back & I’m coming at you with 5 badass movie recommendations for everyone who’s staying home as much as possible due to the crazy ongoing crisis in the country. It’s definitely been a strange summer so far and it’s looking more and more likely that many states might go back on lockdown. So with that being said I think it’s a good idea to have some cool shit planned for those days ahead whether or not it ends up happening. I’ve got 5 flicks that you’ve got to check out if you’re a fan of 80’s and early 90’s cult/cinema/horror goodness! You know, movies that took place in far simpler, more totally rad times in general! So let’s get down to business-it’s been too long!
Miracle Mile (1988)
Damn this movie was a great surprise, especially if you are obsessed with the 1980’s. Right off the bat, It’s got one of the coolest soundtracks around from the masters Tangerine Dream. It’s basically the story of a guy in L.A., in a brand new relationship, who late one evening randomly answers a ringing pay phone. He has a bizarre conversation with a soldier who claims to have secret info of a nuclear missile that’s currently headed there for a collision course with the city! There’s so much tension as he tries to figure out what the hell to do next and if the threat is even real at all. If it is he’d better come up with one helluva plan to get out of dodge, save himself and his new love before the city is turned to a big pile of rubble. It’s filled with thrills ‘a plenty, true heart, action, comedy, romance and a looming sense of impending doom that’s hard to shake! Track this down if you’re looking for a nearly all but forgotten pitch perfect 80’s gem.
Full Eclipse (1993)
Yeah, Mario Van Peebles kicks major ass in this awesome early 90’s horror/action hybrid cult classic. It’s got a full on “Blade” vibe to it too as Mario plays a cop who bites off more than he can chew when he meets an elite group of vigilantes who get jacked up on a weird drug that mutates them into wolf like super humans. He eventually gets tricked into getting a dose of the drug and finds himself conflicted in the ranks of his new gang of “crime fighting” friends. Filled with frenetic action, lots of blood, cool fx and a big hairy ass werewolf, Full Eclipse is 90’s horror action gold. It also showcases Mario’s skills as an action hero that really deserved much more cred back in the day. I love that he basically becomes Wolverine with a gun! You can’t go wrong with this one, it’s kind of like werewolf vigilante version of The Lost Boys meets the X-men!
Web of Deception (1989)
This rad little creepy Hong Kong thriller is a ton of fun! It’s got an all female cast of women who get tangled in a true “web of bloody deception” filled with evil double crossing and plenty of murder. A high profile business woman finds herself being blackmailed by a mysterious stranger right before she’s to relocate to Canada for a new job opportunity. Becoming more than obsessed in finding out who the crook is she’s soon stalked inside of her dimly lit mansion by the money hungry perp. Things get fully out of control & over the top as several “friendly” acquaintances find themselves wrapped up in the drama as well and soon no one is to be trusted. This absurd, darkly comedic thriller takes so many unbelievably fun twists and turns that you’ll have to turn your own suspension of disbelief up to 11, all the way to it’s crazy finale. Great sinister atmosphere & awesome evil females really prove that the ladies can be just as terrible as the men. It can be tuff to find, but it’s definitely worth the trouble to track down..
The Aftermath (1982)
Have you ever seen ‘Empire of the Dark’? If so you’re likely a big fan of Steve Barkett, the most unlikely of action heroes!! If you’ve never seen “Empire” you’ll likely wanna check ‘The Aftermath’ first, though not as ridiculously over the top as it’s predecessor it’s a great intro to the “younger” more “fit” version of Barkett. The Aftermath was written, directed, produced by & stars Barkett and you can definitely tell it’s the case because he’s always way on top of his damn game. It’s got a sort of ‘Planet of the Apes’ type of thing going on, as he plays an astronaut who returns to Earth after a nuclear holocaust to encounter evil gangs, mutants, beautiful women (of course right?) & main diabolical villain, Sid Haig! Barkett pours his heart and soul into making himself the best at damn near everything he attempts and really goes the distance with his limited budget to recreate a demolished cityscape. It’s a grimy world but Barkett is there to clean it up, save the ladies and take no prisoners. It’s a perfect midnight movie, filled with stupidly awesome action sequences and some sweet gore to boot! Double feature this one with Empire of the Dark from 1990 for the full “Barkett Experience’!!
Def by Temptation (1990)
Here’s probably the best Troma release outside of the ‘Toxic Avenger’, a great horror flick that simply deserves more love. One of the few early all black cast/directed horror movies make this a pretty unique viewing experience. The simple tale of an evil succubus who hangs out at a local big city bar to pick up skeezy womanizers and feed on their sinning souls! With a bit of a “Fright Night” vibe going on & a cast of interesting characters (plus a cameo from Samuel L. Jackson!) Def By Temptation def has a lot going for it. The ultra charismatic Kadeem Hardison leads this movie along with James Bond III (who’s sadly the weak link here) as two friends who become involved in the twisted web of the demonic woman, both falling hard for her one night while out at the bar. Add the awesome Bill Nun to the action and you’ve got a pretty well rounded cast of characters looking to get to the bottom of the mysteriously evil barfly. There’s some great 80’s fx here, comedy, gore and plenty of sexy exploits to behold. Much of the movie has a sort of dreamlike feel to it as well and the whole thing just looks fucking great. Super sleazy totally fun horror romp that many fans missed the first time around!
I finally checked out an animated movie I’ve been curious about for years! ‘The Plague Dogs’ from 1982 is from the same team who brought us ‘Watership Down’ so if you’re familiar with that you know right off the bat that you’re in for something quite special. Like Watership down The Plague Dogs is hardly a children’s movie, it deals with some pretty damn heavy stuff. We the follow two dogs Snitter (John Hurt) & Rowf (Christopher Benjamin) who’re caged in a lab where they’re continuously abused by scientists for testing purposes.
However one day, one of the “white coats” (as the dog’s call the doctors) accidentally leaves Snitter’s cage door ajar and both him and Rowf escape to the open countryside. In the wild they struggle to find food and shelter and find help from a mischevious fox named the Tod (James Bolam). The three of them go on an epic journey. where the two dogs long to find a new kind family to take them in, but once the Government tell the locals that the two of them are infected with the bubonic plague, it becomes a race for survival as true danger lurks around every corner.
The Plague Dogs goes in some shockingly dark directions, some sequences so surprising I’d paused the movie to double check the rating. Much of it’s admittedly depressing and bleak but done so beautifully with it’s animation and painted backdrops that’s it’s really worth the effort. It’s the morning after and the movie still weighs heavily in my mind so much so that I’d really rank this in the top 10 best animated features I’ve seen. There’s so much heart in it’s characters and by mid point in the movie there’s nothing more I’d wanted than to see these characters get a happy ending. Be warned though, this one doesn’t play out like a Disney movie of the 80’s, no one remains safe here and some of the directions it goes in will literally have you on the edge of your seat. At least it did for me. All that being said I’d wondered who they made this movie for back in the early 1980s, as most kids seeing it might be fully scarred after viewing. I suppose ‘Watership Down’ follows this same formula and has a similar reputation. I’m surprised it took me this long to finally view as it’s clearly in a league of it’s own, one that nearly had me in tears several times, unlike anything I’ve seen in recent years. Continue reading
Hello everyone from the land of self quarantine! Damn!! I really hope all of you out there are staying safe safe, staying home and keeping your damn sanity. With all that being said, I guess some good can indeed come out of all this isolation? On the bright side there’s now plenty of time to watch as many movies, tv shows & read as many comic books as humanly imaginable. But let’s face it, the hard part is finding the quality entertainment to pass the time. So my question to you all: what should I be watching to take my mind off of all of this damn craziness? One can only watch so much of the depressing anxiety inducing news! So please let me know in the comments what the hell I might be missing out on!
I’d say the best thing that I’ve seen since this stinkin’ self quarantine began was a movie called “Good Boys” from 2019. It’s easily one of the best damn comedies of the last 5 years, no doubt about that. It follows the adventures of three tween boys as they go on a “desperate” mission to recover a lost drone they used to spy on their teenage neighbor in hopes of learning how to kiss for an upcoming “kissing party”. Of course along the way they get into a shitload o’ mischief and meet more than their fair share of ridiculously shady characters. It kind of reminds me of ‘Superbad’ with 12 year olds. Make no mistake, this by no means is a kids movie though, but the kids in it are full on comic geniuses. One of my new faves for sure. So check it out if you’re looking for something that’s likely to put a smile on your face in the times of pandemic. It won’t disappoint!
Otherwise the movie pickins have been pretty slim to be honest. I checked out a couple horror movies from the 80s that were filmed in my home state of Wisconsin, both of which ended up being interesting for that reason to me but easily could cause drowsiness to the average movie fanatic. Oddly, both I believe were released by Troma films at some point in time. First was ‘Blood Hook’, a semi-promising 80’s fishing slasher flick and second was the super snoozer ‘The Capture of Bigfoot.’
Both appeared, from their cool VHS covers to be epic horror flicks, but I quickly found myself nearly nodding off or having those wicked thoughts of god damn Corona weaseling it’s way back into my mind. Not a good sign. I am though, very intrigued with movies that were filmed in Wisconsin, especially horror movies which there really aren’t many of in the land of cheese.
The Midwest was not exactly the epicenter of groundbreaking filmmaking especially in the 80s. But if you’re from “America’s Dairyland” both of these are definitely worth a peek for that fact at least I suppose?
I did though check out a cool movie from 1989 called ‘Vampire Buster'(AKA Ninja Vampire Busters), a sweet Hong Kong horror comedy. It follows an haunted urn containing a wicked demon that mysteriously ends up in Hong Kong after being auctioned off to a rich Tycoon. Of course things go off the rails when the evil is accidentally released from it and wastes no time to begin possessing innocent people. Luckily the owner of the urn, “The Vampire Buster” is hot on its tracks, arriving in Hong Kong with his supernatural abilities and smooth ass martial arts moves in full effect.
Lots of cool 80s visual-effects going on here and some genuinely creepy moments, along with a hefty dose of well landing comedy make ‘Vampire Buster’ one of the standouts in my recent binge of Hong Kong horror viewing. Much of how entertaining it is largely relies on Kent Cheung’s (who stars as the magical demon buster) charisma and highly impressive martial arts skills. For a man of his stature he surely has some truly impressive feats of agility, bringing to mind the legendary Sammo Hung. Track down ‘Vampire Buster’ and I even advise watching it with the English dub track as it’s pretty well done and the voices for once I feel actually enhance the movie’s charm. That being said there was not one damn vampire to be seen in ‘Vampire Buster’….Ok now what have YOU seen that’s worth a watch during the pandemic?
Last nite I picked up quite an interesting new VHS release at Portland Oregon’s Tanker Tape Swap, a great event where you can have drinks a’ plenty while doing some serious rare retro movie shopping! Black Wideo, a new Portland based VHS label was there with their first release, the 1989 oddball, no budget, shot on video, long lost horror comedy ‘Executioner: The Musical’.
One thing I’ve always adored is the amazing cover art from vhs tapes of the 80’s and ‘Executioner: The Musical’ surely delivers that tradition with it’s stunning cover, bbq’d burgers and grilled eyeballs anyone? If I didn’t know better I’d have assumed this tape was released in the 80’s and someone just unearthed a big box of deadstock vhs. Anyway this morning before work I popped this sucker into my vcr (the movie’s only 25 minutes long and perfect for breakfast viewing) and now I’ve got it’s theme song stuck firmly in my brain still, hours later. What we’ve got here is a charming little slice of lost 80’s video nostalgia. The simple plot for this: there’s a weird singing hooded executioner dude on the loose and his presence in the city’s got the suburban teens undie’s in a total bundle. It’s NOT safe anymore to walk the streets and even worse the teenagers aren’t able to ‘party hardy’ like they used to. It seems the killer’s favorite time to strike, when a ‘killer’ party is going down!
One of the my favorite parts of this one is the bad boy greaser teen character, who’s down right P.O.’d that he can’t party. I mean he’s reeeeally upset about it, so damn much so that he leads the rest of his pals (who’re a bit like rejects from a ‘Breakfast Club’ audition) into a full on ridiculously awesome numbskull “pop song” about how bad they wanna throw a damn party, immediately. Even though the music here’s pretty much a guy and his acoustic guitar (with some help from his friends at times), the songs are oddly catchy, albeit 100% idiotic. I mean that in a good way and being that the short film is from the late 80’s you get some sweet nostalgic fashion choices and fully over the top teen stereotypes on display (and for some reason spotting vintage Doritos bags in movies always seem to get me quite excited-YUM!) . Like the rich kid with his boat shoes, no socks, short shorts & English accent, the stoner druggie dude & the classic nerd with the taped glasses are all on display and ready to get sliced up and even “sing” some songs.
‘Executioner: The Musical’ may not be for everyone, but if you dig weird stuff from the 80’s and low budget oddities you’re likely to find something quite endearing about it. For horror fans there’s enough red kool-aid and corn syrupy blood to go around & a syringe to the skull as well! With such a short run time it’s hardly a commitment & it’s the perfect opener for a night of trashy retro horror movies. Check out Black Wideo for a copy, it seems they’ve got plans to release more from the director, Scott Grenke’s archive of lost films! Beware though, the film’s theme song “Friendly Killer” just might get stuck in your head for far longer than you ever thought possible!
‘Tenement’ AKA ‘Game of Survival’ is the third movie from Roberta Findlay I’ve seen and so far she definitely knows how to serve up the grimy goods in true grindhouse flavor. Yeah, Roberta understood how to make a truly sleazy horror flick that’s for sure. Even though Tenement might be considered more of a low budget action/thriller, it’s got plenty of horror and gore to go around. Findlay surely didn’t give a damn if she offended anyone, even though this came out in ’85 it’s jam packed with scenes that you’d likely not see put to screen in 2019.
Playing off a bit like John Carpenter’s ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ except in a run down inner city apartment building, Tenement features a pretty diverse cast of characters who face off in a violent battle of life or death. The bad apples in this one look like they stepped right out of ‘The Warriors’ and are just about the meanest most over the top street gang put to film. These drugged out leather clad assholes are ready kill nearly anything in sight, and when one of the tenants of the apartment complex tires of them hanging around in the basement he calls the cops, all hell breaks loose. Just when the residents decide to throw a party in celebration of the gang’s arrest, they’re let loose into the night by police. Hellbent on revenge they head back to the “tenement” to get bloody revenge on each and everyone who lives within it’s sweaty spray painted walls.
The film moves at a brisk pace and it’s not afraid to get ugly quick. There’s a shocking brutal scene of rape, beatings, drug overdoses, guttings and that’s just the damn start. As crazy as this sounds at the same time the production quality is pretty low, the acting often pretty flimsy/over the top and it’s all sorta hard to actually take seriously. That all being said, for a female film maker back in the 80’s (and especially today) it’s got more bite than most films of this genre made by men. The action and gore is pretty ambitious and luckily the blood here, looking basically like red paint, tames some of the it’s sheer brutality making it a bit more consumable for genre newbies. I really dug a lot of the characters as well, though some may seem a bit stereotyped but the protagonist, a grumpy loner bad ass hero named ‘Washington’ (a cool add to black horror heroes) gets the job done once the gang begins to wreck havoc on his turf, the tenement. It’s quite glorious actually once the surviving apartment tenants decide to band together and fight back, revenge is well served here for sure and it’s quite worth sitting through the earlier nastiness for some sweet revenge. Also never ever underestimate a pregnant woman in danger!
One of the best things about this mean little movie is the actual setting itself. The run down apartment building is a dirty gritty mess of a place. The perfect place for an inner city showdown to occur, with no help of course from the local police. A lot of Roberta Findlay’s movies, at least what I’ve seen so far, have this totally sleezy city vibe going on and it she works that angle quite well. When people bring up grindhouse films this one is actually the perfect example of the genre and for what it is this one’s easily one of the best out there. Her movies feel like they were made a decade earlier as well and have much more of of 70’s feel to them in look and style. A dark yet entertaining action packed urban battle that might not be the most digestible piece of cinema in 2019, but it’s surely something you likely won’t forget anytime soon!