#1700 Halloween 2022: Twice Dead (1988)

Here’s what I’m always looking forward with every movie I put in my VCR to be watched for this blog: a movie that just oozes 80s in some wonderful way.

This definitely holds true with Twice Dead that delivers wonderfully all that 80s goodness a bit in the vein of The Return of the Living Dead, although in a bit less outrageous fashion. The story of a Colorado family moving into a house possessed by ghost of an old is non-sensical, but all that’s besides the point anyway as nobody is here for that: the real entertainment factor of Twice Dead is all in its stereotypes and overall cheesiness.

It’s no The Return of the Living Dead, but those who enjoyed it will likely find themselves right at home the Twice Dead.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 80%

#1697 Halloween 2022: Monster in the Closet (1987)

Taking design cues from the endless stream of monster movies of the 50s, Monster in the Closet is a horror comedy showcasing an extraterrestrial monster living in the shared space that apparently connects every bedroom closet in the world.

Released by Troma in 1987, the movie takes place in the 80s, but with certain 50s small town flair. Similarly to those classic monster movies, the army is paged in to help, only to find out their bullets or missiles do no harm at all.

The concept may sound silly – it is – but Monster in the Closet makes mostly the best out of it. Mostly, because there is still a lot of design choices here that I can agree with and that end up hurting the movie. The silly looking monster is kind of cool as long as it stays in the closet, but loses a lot of its appeal as when exposed to the viewers for far too long time.

80s-o-meter: 57%

Total: 65%

#1696 Halloween 2022: Girls Nite Out aka The Scaremaker (1982)

With Death Screams I mentioned one of the characters being one of the most annoying comic relief ever. In Girls Nite Out it seems almost all of the character are like this: goofing off, cracking jokes and faking to have oh so good time, all the time.

..aand it’s oh so annoying most of the time.

Girls Nite Out is one of those easy to forget slashers that does much by the book in an average or less than average way: unforgettable killer, imaginative deaths, iconic theme song or some other distinctive quality are all missing here.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 35%

#1695 Halloween 2022: Boardinghouse aka Boarding House aka Psycho Killer aka Housegeist (1982)

John Wintergate (with extremely short list of movie credits) wrote, directed and starred in this movie called Boardinghouse, where he gets to walk around in a pair of sloggis, exhibit his naked upper body and seduce multiple beautiful women.

Presented as a worn out film copy, and shot in very low production quality, Boardinhouse looks and feels like a sleazy porn movie, minus the porn.

This is one of those movies that the plot feels like it was improvised on the spot – and I’m not saying this as a compliment. It’s hard to find things to compliment in the movie, but I guess a limited number of people may find the total weirdness of the movie interesting in some level.

80s-o-meter: 40%

Total: 17%

#1694 Halloween 2022: Stepfather 2 (1989)

A sequel to the great 1987 The Stepfather is one of those movies propelled by the success of the original movie, without any original artistic merits in mind.

As a standalone movie Stepfather 2 would be quite an ok thriller, but compared to the first installation it offers so much less of everything. The story now concentrates on one family, when the earlier one managed to muscle in more people and still keep the story interesting, and this is the theme of the movie, a tamed down, VHS sequel of a great original.

The movie offers a good opportunity for the fans of Stepfather to see a little bit more of the same, and Terry O’Quinn is still great and charismatic as the lead. But truth be told, even that fans of the movie would be better off just rewatching the first one.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 72%

#1693 Halloween 2022: Blood Sisters aka Slash (1987)

A potential candidate for the worst horror movie of this Halloween, Blood Sisters takes place in an old bordello where a group of youngsters are spending a night in.

The concept, and overall execution is the tamest and lamest in ages, basically just following bunch of different people wandering around the house, getting inexplicably swept into the events of the erotic events of the house and then getting killed.

The ending of the movie is just as appalling as anything seen before it, very much as expected. Blood Sisters is bad even in the scale of slashers – and that’s saying something.

80s-o-meter: 45%

Total: 7%

#1692 Halloween 2022: Ghost Riders aka Ghostriders (1987)

A gang of vicious outlaws from wild west era arrive to current day to shoot at a family whose forefather was involved in hanging their leader.

While the title of the movie gets the imagination running, the execution itself is much more on the boring side: the antagonists appear just as regular cowboys with unshaved shins and shoot at their victims from a distance, and could have as well been a local gang of drunkards.

Ghost Riders gets the menacing feeling right at times, but much of a horror movie this ain’t, despite the supernatural theme.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 35%

#1691 Halloween 2022: Deadly Games aka The Eliminator (1982)

Masked killer is doing away with women, and one of the sisters of the victims arrives to the scene to do her own investigations, only to romantically involved with a detective investigating the case. The detective often goes to play a round custom made board game with his suspicious friend as the killings go on.

Here’s the main problem with Deadly Games. We are from early on led to believe that the killer is either one of these gentlemen. Meanwhile we see three of them hanging out together as if this was a romantic comedy, just interrupted by killing scenes.

Although listed as horror movie, Deadly Games is not one despite a few more graphic kills to please the gore hounds, but instead a thriller. This means, it isn’t particularly scary, especially for those who’ve watched any modern television, and as such cannot really be recommended for your list of Halloween movies this year.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 54%

#1690 Halloween 2022: Midnight aka John Russo’s Midnight aka Backwoods Massacre (1982)

A girl runaway from her home runs into a family a maniacs in Pennsylvania’s backwoods that locks her up to prepare her for satanist sacrificial ritual.

John Russo’s (of the Night of the Living Dead fame) Midnight does not excel in its storyline, nor with its technical aspects, but a couple of aspects and tweaks here make the offering stand above your average early 80s horror movie in terms of keeping up one’s interest. First and foremost the movie takes sudden unexpected turns with both the protagonists and antagonists being vulnerable – something that so many horror movies often get very wrong.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 60%

#1689 Halloween 2022: Night of the Demon (1980)

Night of the Demon is one of those quite uneven low budget horror movies that I did not rate highly when watching through it, and it was only after reading the reviews that I learned that the movie enjoyed a cult status among the horror fans.

Basically a slasher with big foot – in other words a guy with patches of fake hair glued on him – Night of the Demon’s status escaped me, and only real positive thing I could say about it how the movie gets good kind of weird at times and at least tries something a bit new with its story of weird relationship between the big foot and a hermit woman.

For the gore hounds there’s dodgy killing effects to enjoy with perhaps the worst fake blood ever seen on the silver screen – I’m guessing cheap tomato juice. These kill scenes – or the story behind them – is perhaps the most interesting aspect or trivia of the movie, as most them were shot and posthumously added into the film by its producer completely as surprise of the director, a move which probably contributed quite heavily to the movie’s cult status.

80s-o-meter: 41%

Total: 22%

#1688 Halloween 2022: Retribution aka Retribution: The Ultimate Nightmare (1987)

A good reminder to never judge a book by its cover, Retribution was the movie I looked the least forward to seeing this year after having seen its less than stellar poster a few times before.

Right off the bat the movie feels off and twisted, but in a good way. After surviving a suicide attempt a sympathetic artist George starts to experience violent nightmares leading to people getting killed. But it’s most interestingly a good an interesting array of well written characters and their often warm relationship with each other that makes Retribution stand out.

But, the movie also delivers in the horror aspect. The violent dreamlike episodes feel quite effective in contrast to the quiet and serene nature of the movie. This extends to the very end of the movie that delivers on all aspects of a first class horror movie.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 87%

#1687 Halloween 2022: Play Dead aka Killer dog aka Satan’s Dog (1983)

Perhaps the saddest concept for a movie this Halloween, Play Dead tries to sell us the concept of old madame doing some voodoo magic in her home and sending her dog to plot and carry out imaginative killings on her enemies.

It’s a stupid premise executed in a poor and uninteresting way.I can’t imagine the movie being able to entertain or scare anyone in 1983, let alone today.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 5%

#1686 Halloween 2022: Nightwish (1989)

I was hoping to come across at least one interesting horror movie within this year, and it was formerly unknown to me Nightwish (not the be mixed up with a Finnish symphonic metal band of the same name) that unexpectedly managed to provide if not all, then at least much of something original and different to keep my interest up this Halloween.

Mixing elements of thriller, horror, exorcism, monster movies and even a flair of sci-fi together, Nightwish starts off quite safe and even boring, but ventures on to many uncharted territories in its dream like episodes of a group of graduate students trying to escape from a house possessed by an unknown force while being detained by a derailed professor.

Nightwish gets weirder and weirder towards the end – but always in a good and entertaining way. The final events might have been super banal in every other context, but given that Nightwish still is campy 80s horror by its nature, coupled with the fact that the movie plays this card quite well the ending turns out in a satisfying fashion. Sure, there were tons of aspects that I did not like or care for like the henchman of the antagonist professor, and it’s these aspects for which I have to demerit a few points from otherwise surprisingly entertaining movie.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 83%

#1685 Halloween 2022: The Final Conflict aka Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

A sequel to the two earlier Omen movies, released in 1976 and 1978 respectively, Omen III: The Final Conflict picks up the story when Damien, the satanic child, has now grown up and has gotten highly successful as a politician. It’s behind this facade that he works in shadows, running his own cult, eliminating those who stand in his way, attempting to find and kill a reborn Jesus baby, all while while trying to dodge the attacks of monk brotherhood trying to kill him using a set of sacred daggers.

The movie kicks off in a quite graphic and effective way with a scene of a politician resigning to make way for Damien to become the new American ambassador in UK. But it’s after this that movie defaults to quite average and uninspired depiction of good vs bad with a bits of bible as well as occultism thrown into the mix and does not grow nearly as menacing or intimidating that I’d hoped for.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 61%

#1684 Halloween 2022: Death Screams aka Night Screams (1982)

Oh dear, Death Screams wanders around every which way for ages with one pointless part after another before getting to the actual slashing.

It also loses to its counterparts of the era in multiple ways, being unable to produce imaginative kills nor an iconic antagonist. Where it succeeds though is casting perhaps the oldest men ever to attempt to pass as teenagers, plus one of the most annoying comic relief characters ever cracking jokes and goofing off in every scene.

Death Scream feels like multiple movies put into one, and there’s something likeable in the way it presents its characters and those trivial activities they engage in. But as a horror movie Death Screams just does not carry.

80s-o-meter: 68%

Total: 21%

#1683 Halloween 2022: Beyond Dream’s Door (1989)

Horror as a genre is something that seems to attract indie movie makers, and the results are often more clumsy and weird rather than scary.

Beyond Dream’s Door, a brainchild of an Ohio based director/writer Jay Woelfel is interesting due to its team of unknown actors and inexperienced crew being able create something that looks and feels like an actual movie. Woelfel’s directing is surprisingly solid, and the camera drives never feel odd or off, but rather professional throughout. The movie’s story of nightmares coming alive and haunting is interesting, and as the reality and dream world get mixed up together, the movie manages to capture the weird atmosphere it was going for in the first place.

But the story gets far too convoluted for its own good, and the monster effects – as nice as they are for an indie movie – must’ve worked much better in VHS tape hooked up to a CRT television rather than modern high resolution TV sets.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 60%

#1682 Halloween 2022: The People Across the Lake (1988)

Funny how genre affects on how you view a name of a movie.I originally mistook The People Across the Lake as a made for TV drama, and my instant assumption was a tired costume drama, but upon learning that this is actually a horror movie the name became much more interesting one. In fact, I quite like it!

Many made for TV horror movies of the 80s have been positive surprises, quite unexpectedly so. Generally they have the courage to try out something a little different and rely on eery feeling instead of excessive gore, and the same goes with The People Across the Lake.

I was super pleased to see Barry Corbin in one of the main roles in the movie, but given how I’ve learned to perceive him, the role seemed bit of a misfit for him in the end, but it’s no deal breaker by any means. The movie could have built up much more suspense towards the end, but takes a bit too easy path in the end making The People Across the Lake entertaining – but not exceptional.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 72%