Any slasher movie with it’s deranged killer donning a huge weird ass feathery owl head mask deserves a watch right?! Yeah Italian horror movie ‘Stage Fright’ (aka Deliria, Aquarius) from 1987 is a prime example of how to perfectly execute a stunning slasher flick. I’m surprised I’d never seen this movie before, I probably need to delve deeper into the 80’s Italian horror, as aside from a lot of the cult classics I think I may be missing out on some cool shit, especially when it comes director Michele Soavi (Cemetery Man) who directed this creepy gem. It’s been a long time since seeing Cemetery Man and after viewing Stage Fright it’s clear I have to check it out again asap.
Stage Fright has got it all and then some, taking place in a spooky theater where the cast of play become trapped and hunted down by a mysterious madman donning a big feathery owl mask. It’s beautifully shot, ultra creepy and has a ton of great bloody action sequences. The old theater is the perfect setting for this mystery to unfold as well and there’s plenty of that to go around as the cast during the rehearsals soon discover a crazed lunatic has escaped a nearby mental ward and trapped them all inside for the night.
The atmosphere of Stage Fright at times has an mesmerizing dream like quality to it as well that adds a unique spin to the usual slasher fare. Add in the truly bizarre looking owl headed slasher and you’ve got one of the most unique looking antagonists of the genre. There are few that are as truly memorable looking as it’s crazy killer. This alone sets it in a category of it’s own. I mean check this dude out, it’s straight out of a nightmare.
There’s also a ton of cool chase sequences and impressive gore to behold here. This one’s not afraid to get nasty eitherand the final girl’s battle is beautifully filmed as well as action packed, especially when the battle moves high above the stage on the catwalks. The exceptional cinematography adds so much to this movie as well, an excellent scene beneath the stage where feathers float all though the air while the killer looms above is truly breathtaking and adds again a surreal element to the horror. Of course there’s also some neat twists and turns in the plot that keep this one a slice above most 80’s slashers and ramps up the the tension. If you’re a fan of 80’s horror and especially the slasher/giallo genre movies this ones about as good as it gets for those who love that neon 80’s era of film!
Here’s another pretty neat little creature feature from 1991 I’ve been wanting to see for a while now, well luckily I scored a cool VHS copy of the movie at thrift shop. As I’ve said before my favorite type of horror flick’s a monster movie and that’s exactly what this here is nothing more nothing less. Though released in ’91 it feels like a full on ’80’s movie, with tons of neon, cheezy dialogue and a big savage man in suit Bigfoot type of creature running around the city offing people. Yeah and it also features one of the bad guy henchmen from ‘Die Hard’, Alexander Godunov, who’s the heroic handsome Nordic godly clockmaker monster hunter.
Anyway we’ve got a bunch of fun plot points as a mystic runestone is found in a coal mine in Pennsylvania and transported to NYC, where we all know, the excitement always seems to happen. Soon the runestone displays it’s magic powers and an archeologist becomes possessed by an evil ancient Norse spirit. Of course the dude transforms into a crazed sasquatch called Fenrir that goes on killing spree throughout New York and ends up frequenting art exhibits where over the top yuppies seem to think he’s someone’s hip new art installment. Of course he gets pissed off and wreaks “havoc” in the art community. The creature actually looks kinda cool (some decent animatronics/make up) all things considered and that’s clearly the main draw here with this one. He’s got a sweet no BS attitude and does his best to fuck shit up as much as he can. Way to rep the monsters in the 90’s dude!
That being said, there’s relatively little gore splattered about and the movie spends probably an extra 20 minutes or so too long trying to create “compelling” character development. Most of the while I just was wondering what the goddamn cranky ass creature was doing? Let’s get back to what he’s up to cuz he’s likely pissed off and freaking people out somewhere in the city! I’d have also loved a bit more of the “Die Hard” dude as well, but sadly he’s not given as much screen time as he deserves until the finale, but damn if the guy doesn’t look like a bad ass when he shows up. I dig the final act as well as the characters face off against the creature briefly entering a different dimension. This one’s often confused with Julian Sands movie ‘Warlock’ from 1989 and feeling surprisingly similar at times it’s understandable why.
There’s plenty of fun to be had here if you’re not expecting a helluva lot from ‘The Runestone’ and you dig low budget late 80’s early 90’s creature cheez. This one’s a prime example of an old school horror movie that if edited down to about 85 minutes would be a total crowd pleaser/cult fave. There’s a ton of total gems out there from the 80’s & 90’s that tried to fill their run time to a more “respectable length” adding too much filler, this one for example at 105 minutes does indeed have areas that drag somewhat, some day perhaps I’ll try and edit a few of these down. Either way there’s definitely some fun to be had regardless and it’s most definitely worth a watch if you’re down for some early 90’s monster business!
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!!!
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:
So I recently found a copy of an 80’s monster movie I’d been trying to track down for years- Blue Monkey from 1987. One thing I totally dig is an awesome or even badly entertaining 80’s horror flick and with this one I was certain I’d found either a lost gem or at the very least a full on golden turd!! Well it turns out I was quite wrong on both guesses, after years of waiting I was quite disappointed to find out Blue Monkey is neither, but rather a total snooze fest that’s bound to put the kibosh on any movie nite party!!
The funny thing is for the first half hour this one delivers some serious promise, that’s the sad thing because after a strong opening you’re so damn sure this movie is going to deliver the goods and then some that it’s tough to give up on it! The basic premise is someone gets bit by a weird bug in an exotic greenhouse that causes big slug like parasites to emerge from the hosts mouth. When the person is taken to the hospital that’s when the “mayhem” begins and then quickly peters out into a movie that feels far, FAR longer than it’s 97 minute run time!! Yeah the first half hour has some cool gross out fx and even introduces us to a young Sarah Polley!
Aside from that there’s not much else to report, the rest of the movie features a shit ton of boring ass scenes of people walking around dark hallways and talking about a ton of shit my brain wasn’t willing to absorb. I watched this at a movie nite on a projector and as I looked around the room it was clear this movie was the fucking cure to the most intense case of insomnia!! I’d also like to add that there’s no blue monkey or anything related to a damn blue monkey in the whole damn film!!
Yeah people were nodding off and some I think got some nice zzzzz’s during most of the movies tiresome duration. When we finally get to see the monster mutant bug it’s just too little too late to give a damn. The only thing that kept this movie the least bit interesting were the two boozed up senior citizen patients at the hospital, and even the promise they showed waned pretty damn quick. The actual monster itself was actually pretty well done. If they’d have had the creature stalk people on and off during the loooong ass middle section of this movie it’d have been a helluva lot easier to sit through. Even adding a few of those “shadowy creature arm attacks and you throw some fake blood on a wall” type of scenes could have saved this one from being a full blown fucking sleep-aid!
I get really bummed out by movies like this, that with some clever editing, could have actually been a pretty fun little romp. It seems though the only thing this one succeeds at is being spectacularly boring, proving again the search for that lost 80’s horror gem is a tuff one. Every so often I’m proven wrong but usually if I haven’t heard of a movie being awesome from the 70’s or 80’s by the year 2017 there’s usually good reason! I’m glad the wait is over though with Blue Monkey, even though it was a total turd, it’s one I can happily cross off the list. This one never got a proper DVD release and now it’s finally clear why…you’ve been warned!!
One of the greatest comic book artists of all time is unarguably Bill Sienkiewicz, to prove my point once again I’m posting a pretty mediocre one shot from 1986, with a simply stunning cover by Bill. Step aside Wonder Woman cuz here’s……..Wonder Man?! Yeah, here’s one of my favorite Avengers that simply never got enough love. Wonder Man was a mega strong kick ass dude who sported one of the coolest looks in the comics, nobody could sport that stylin’ red jacket any better! Also known as Simon Williams, he quit the Avengers to pursue an acting career something not many other superheroes would ever dare attempt. Originally a bad guy created by legendary villain Baron Zemo to take on The Avengers in 1964, Wonder Man ranks as one of the strongest Avengers too and Bill Sienkiewicz provides the character with his most glorious appearance on this classic, forgotten piece of cover art!