Sunday, January 15, 2012

VHS Memories XII: 80's Grab Bag

Here are some random 80's flicks. Some good, some bad, some meh.

A rather bland Sho Kosugi action movie that has him as a cop going after the drug dealers who killed his partner.  It doesn't really wake up until the end and even then, it's a slog to get through.

A fun giant monster on the loose film with a clever, funny script by John Sayles and a nice turn from Robert Forster.  One of the better examples of its sub-genre, it has some nice gory moments and a sly sense of humor.  Definite recommendation.

This is an entertaining William Friedkin thriller starring William Petersen as a Secret Service agent going after counterfeiter Willem Dafoe.  The highlight of the movie is a really good car chase on a freeway, the twist in case is that it's a chase against traffic.  Good stuff.

Here's a funky little slasher from 1982 starring the great Michael Ironside as a twisted killer with some real women issues who targets a news reporter.  William Shatner is also on hand as the woman's lover and all in all, it's an agreeably tense motion picture.

I have no excuse for it, but I love this movie almost as much the original.  It's a goofy, really stupid parody that features an early role for George Clooney and a dynamite turn from John Astin as the mad scientist responsible for the killer tomatoes.  It's fun, just make sure you don't think too much during it.

One of the better Roger Corman 80's productions, this takes stock footage from Battle Beyond the Stars, a nice monster and tons of nudity and wraps it all into a gory 77 minute fun house ride.  I think this may have the most gratuitous shower scene in the history of film as the two female characters in the film come up with a plan of their own to defeat the alien...while sharing a steamy shower.  It's so hilariously out of the blue that it makes it impossible to get offended.  Great sleazy flick.

Here's another great bad taste horror flick as old time western star Rory Calhoun plays a motel owner who also has a popular line of food products...I think you can see where this is heading.  It's a wonderfully sick dark comedy with a bravura finale featuring a chainsaw duel between Calhoun wearing a pig head and the local Sheriff.  This is one you need to see.

A fun follow-up of sorts to Strange Behavior, this is an engaging 50's style alien invasion movie about aliens who landed here in the 50's and haven't updated their disguises since then (the film is from 1983).  A fun cast comprised of old vets like Ken Tobey as well as younger stars such as Nancy Allen make for an enjoyable way to kill 90 minutes.  There are some nice, gooey alien effects too.

This is a rather disappointing Alien riff which came out during the glut of underwater movies in 1989.  The other big ones were the similar and since we're being honest, worse Deep Star Six and the quite good James Cameron flick The Abyss.  This one has a great cast including Peter Weller, Richard Crenna and Daniel Stern as an underwater drilling team that comes across a parasite that ends up mutating into a horrible creature designed (and woefully underused) by Stan Winston.  It actually is pretty great until the monster comes into play which is really bad when you;'re making a monster movie.

Better is this neat little 1987 thriller that mixes Lethal Weapon with an alien invasion movie as cop Michael Nouri teams up with FBI agent Kyle MacLachlan to go after an alien who likes to inhabit bodies.  It's a real blast and one of the best blending of genres I have ever seen.

To finish things off, here's a notorious Scott Spiegel slasher set in a grocery store.  Shot in 1989 and cut all to hell by the MPAA, it has finally been given an uncut release by Synapse Films.  The story is pretty pedestrian (outside of an odd twist at the end) but the real showcase here is the incredibly gory set of murders featured.  Both Sam and Ted Raimi meet gruesome ends, a guy has his head crushed in a baler and there's much more in the first big job for KNB.  It's certainly worth a look and as one who works in a grocery store, I can say that they made full use of the location which is exactly what a movie set in a specific location should do.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.