Saturday, June 7, 2014

1983: Guilty Pleasures

A good selection of enjoyable crap, missing one that made the top ten just for being so out there.

What list of enjoyably bad movies from 1983 would be complete without this magnificently cheesy sword and sorcery flick from Roger Corman's New World Pictures? The film follows our hero, known only as Deathstalker (say what you will about giving your kid a weird name but this one at least won't get him beaten up at school), as he fights against an evil wizard.  tons of gratuitous nudity, a rather unpleasant rapey vibe from most of the characters and a huge pig man make this one a real memorable one.

Part concert film, partly the ultimate stoner film given its Amsterdam setting, Still Smokin' is the last Cheech & Chong film before they broke up.  There are funny sketches here and there but the real enjoyment comes when the duo finally starts the actual performance.

The sheer cheesiness of the 3-D and the finale are the only things keeping this from the worst of the year list.  A riff on Indiana Jones, this follows Tony Anthony as a rather dumpy adventurer who is looking for treasure.  It's actually quite terrible but it's one of those films you really have to see if you're a fan of bad cinema.

Shave about fifteen minutes off the running time and this would be a hell of a fun fantasy epic.  As it stands, Krull is a nicely made, great looking film with a good cast and some interesting ideas (I dig the bad guy's fortress vanishing and reappearing elsewhere on the planet it lands on) but the characters aren't terribly compelling and the pacing is off.  Still, it's pretty enjoyable if you have two hours with nothing to do and wouldn't mind an afternoon nap.

Sylvester Stallone directs this hilariously awful sequel to Saturday Night Fever with Tony (John Travolta) trying like hell to make it on Broadway whilst also coming off like the biggest jerk in the history of creation with the way he handles his love life.  Travolta is unlikable, the finale is hysterically funny in how bad it is and the whole thing just ends up being something you have to laugh at.  I said it when I recapped this for The Agony Booth and I'll say it again: It's quite amazing that in the films Travolta's character appears in, he's more likable in the first one where he nearly commits date rape.

Lou Ferrigno and Sybil Danning star in this goofy, sort of insane take on the ancient Greek myth.  This is one of the better Italian pickups from Cannon and director Luigi Cozzi does a nice job of keeping things moving.  A coherent plot?  Not do much but it's still a blast to watch.

It's not often that a bad adaptation of a good novel with bland to terrible performances makes me smile but The Keep is definitely worth seeing.  As I said, the film is not very good as an adaptation or even as the lyrical, dreamy horror fantasy it tries to be.  Performances across the board are disappointing with Ian McKellen not at all in his comfort zone (he was more a stage guy at this point in his career), Scott Glenn doing a very good impression of an actor who has no clue what the script is going for and Jurgen Prochnow and Gabriel Byrne turning stock performances as Nazis that are good in fits and starts but not enough to really be called "good".  I do get a kick out of Byrne's sadistic SS officer screaming like a chick when he confronts the demon the titular keep is supposed to hold, though.

What saves the movie is Michael Mann's direction and visual style.  The film looks fantastic, especially in widescreen and while it is truly disappointing  on a deep tissue level, it is still watchable enough to make one either laugh or marvel at just what the hell went wrong.

Coming Soon: The Best of 1983


  1. Cheech and Chong did do one more film together before the official breakup: 1984's The Corsican Brothers, which might be best left forgotten.

    1. Very true, I did forget about that one. Thanks.


About Me

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