#1140 Class of Nuke ’Em High (1986)

Among with Toxic Avenger series, Class of Nuke ’Em High is one of the best known Troma movies of the 80s.

The movie actually has some similarities with the Toxic Avenger – released two years earlier – with its theme of nuclear mutation.

I was expecting to see plenty of mutated students throughout the movie, but the movie changes its direction to following a toxic creature instead, and as well the monster is made, this seemed like a wasted opportunity to me. Similarly the movie showcases an array of wacky high school caricatures, but does not get the best possible mileage out of them.

Usually known for the intentional sub b-movie quality, this Troma release actually has some pretty decent special effects in it, and the imaginative fx scenes are the inspirational part of the movie – I’d just wished they’d gone even more overboard with those as well.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 62%

#1139 Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)

Boasting an outrageous name even for a Troma movie, Surf Nazis Must Die does now unfortunately reach anywhere near the expectations set by the quirky title.

In fact, it’s a relatively tame show that lacks most of the wacky creativity often seen in Troma releases and it crossed my mind quite a few times that they thought of the title first and then ended up having nothing to actually follow up with it.

Suft Nazis Must Die is a movie that sounds cool on paper and looks better as still images than it actually works out as a movie.

80s-o-meter: 83%

Total: 27%

#1138 She’s Back (1989)

Bad comedies are aplenty but you rarely get to watch something so cringeworthy that it resembles of having to witness someone dying on the stage. She’s Back, starring late Carrie Fisher and Robert Joy is just that.

I don’t honestly know what the team was aiming to do here but I do know that it backfires big time. The movie is not only unfunny and unenjoyable, but downright annoying and painful to watch.

The director Tim Kincaid would return to adult movies after finishing She’s Back, which just might be the right calling for him.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 0%

#1137 Enter the Ninja (1981)

Well color me me surprised. I watched Enter the Ninja totally randomly and I was surprised to find out that not only does it stars Franco Nero from the The Salamander, the very previous movie I watched, but that its his very previous movie release. That’s a first for me so far.

Taking its name from the iconic Bruce Lee movie Enter the Dragon, Enter the Ninja is often credited for being the catalyst for the endless stream of ninja assassin movies of the early 80s. But on top of showing some impressive Ninjutsu moves by Shô Kosugi, the movie has somewhat limited entertainment factor to it, given you haven’t seen it before.

I watched the remastered Bluray version, and somehow I suspect that the movie lost something in the translation, and that this is one of those few movies that gets a better mileage when viewed from a worn out VHS tape instead of a flawless source.

80s-o-meter: 84%

Total: 61%

#1136 The Salamander (1981)

Shot in Rome, following an italian policeman (played by an italian actor) who investigates murders that seem to be intertwined with italian politics, The Salamander is in many ways more italian than some of the italian movies.

In fact, if the character spoke italian, the movie would totally pass as the real deal.

The plot of the movie is somewhat laborious and unstimulating to keep up with, and the movie looks and feels like many mid-70s European action movies. Thick-moustached Franco Nero plays the lead role with somewhat admirable coolness, being one of the few things that stands out positively here.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 38%

#1135 Trouble in Mind (1985)

I wish I’d checked out the poster of Trouble in Mind before watching the movie as I was more than a puzzled at first what to make of the movie that first looks like your ordinary film noir influenced action movie featuring a cop beaten by life.

Trouble in Mind is all this, but what sets it apart from similar movies is its comedic, surreal tones that I first thought were completely unintentional misfires by the director Alan Rudolph. But I’m not completely to blame for this as the movie starts pretty normal but turns somewhat quirky only later as the story moves on to showing the underworld of the fictional Rain City.

While I did not care much for Trouble in Mind, I did find something intriguing in its setting of an alternative timeline combining 50s and 80s and it will go my list of movies to check out later again. I might like it more on the second run.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 48%

#1134 Alamo Bay (1985)

”I don’t know what to tell you, Dinh. You gotta be one of the last cowboys left in Texas”.

Alamo Bay, a fictive movie about actual clashing between refugee Vietnamese and local fisherfolk around Galveston Bay, Texas in the turn of the decade did not catch my interest at first as I was excepting yet another superficially inspirational tale of prejudice and racism rooted deep within the people that just gets sorted with overnight. But the director Louis Malle does not let things slide that easily and turns the movie into nerve wrenching thriller where in the end there might not be any winners at all.

Ed Harris delivers something of a immaculate performance as the unforgiving local fisherman who seeks for vengeance after losing his boat to the bank.

80s-o-meter: 77%

Total: 84%

#1133 Stewardess School (1986)

Yet another movie heavily influenced by Police Academy series, Stewardess School follows the journey of a misfit class as they make their way through training for graduating as airplane cabin crew.

What looks like a perfect eighties fluffy and nonsensical comedy is ruined by idiotic, lowest common denominator humour that reminds me of endless parade of cheap bulk no name comedies that begun pouring to video stores from mid 90s on.

Essentially, farting in a crowded elevator is pretty much as clever as this movie ever gets.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 27%

#1132 The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

I’m trying to think up the positives about The Watcher in the Woods.

First of all I love the title, which really sets up the mystery and the mood in the right way, and I also like how the movie tried to achieve something a little different in the horror genre. But the movie never managed to build up the suspense nor the atmosphere in a way that I suspect that the original 1976 novel does.

If I was ten years old and the year was 1980, The Watcher in the Woods might’ve been just the ticket. But from today’s point of view the movie is unfortunately just too outdated to recommend to anyone previously unfamiliar with it.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 41%

#1131 Midnight Madness (1980)

An early 80s adventure hunt movie in the vein of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (and its many clones), Midnight Madness replays the same formula of multiple teams racing against each other, trying to outsmart and outrun each others to the finish.

I’m usually sucker for the genre and the little interest I had in the movie was because of this. But everything Midnight Madness does, it does a little bit worse than its competitors: there are no big celebrity names here, no cameos, no great landmarks nor road movie elements to be found here.

If you’re new to the genre, you might still enjoy Midnight Madness. For similar, slightly better versions of the era, check out The Cannonball Run or even the 2001 Rat Race.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 60%

#1130 Ladyhawke (1985)

Sad news hit us this week with the news of Rutger Hauer passing away at the age of 75.

To commemorate him I watched through Ladyhawke, a fictitious fantasy tale taking place in the 13th century. It was only too bad that pretty much the only interesting bit for the movie was Mr.Hauer himself, and I really didn’t find other aspects of the movie that interesting.

Shot in location in Italy, the damp and drafty atmosphere did not lure me in, and although I’m not a fan of sword and sorcery movies, I wished the movie had had some more interesting fantasy element to it than the dodgy shapeshifting to animals, like the landmark movies Willow or Legend did.

The movie does have a strong fan base that really seem to dig it, so if the genre interests you, you might still find something here to love.

80s-o-meter: 38%

Total: 51%

#1129 Melvin and Howard (1980)

Melvin and Howard is a good example how movies already changed from seventies to the early eighties, and from there to date.

The movie first starts with Melvin picking up a stranger in the desert who later claims to be one Howard Hughes, much to Melvin’s amusement. During the next hour after this event the movie concentrates to draw a picture of Melvin Dummar as an all-American dreamer and a high stakes loser who seems to have all the odds stacked up against him. It’s only in the few last minutes to the film when after Howard Hughes passes away that we see the actual meat of the story when Melvin claims to have received a will from a stranger giving him one-sixteenth of Hughes’ heritage.

Everything from the movies pacing to the themes and focus may seem odd from todays point of view when, but it didn’t stop Melvin and Howard becoming a huge critical success back in the early 80s. Considering its contemporaries Melvin and Howard is not a bad movie, but it the critics wouldn’t give it the time of day had it been released today.

80s-o-meter: 31%

Total: 37%

#1128 Feds (1988)

Part of a wave of novice cop comedies that was launched after the huge success of Police Academy, Feds mixes in some female buddy cop action into the mix and takes the story to a highly fictional FBI academy where two women fight to graduate and to break through the glass ceiling.

It’s a predictable show where you know that the underdogs will come out as winners in the end and there aren’t too many delightful events along the way. Both leads fare fairly well, but don’t possess nowhere near the comedy muscles of Shelley Long or say, Goldie Hawn.

As long as you accept that the movie doesn’t offer much surprises nor originality, Feds offers an easy to watch comedy, surprisingly enjoyable in its own mediocrity.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 68%

#1127 Double Exposure (1982)

A fashion photographer sleeps with countless of models and then dreams about killing them, after which they end up turning dead in Double Exposure.

The movie has tons of problems, least of which are not the way the movie tries to sell Michael Callan being the divine gift for them ladies and the lengthy love making scenes that ensue.

Erotic thrillers never quite were my thing, and Double Exposure has nothing special enough under its hood to change my stance on this.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 36%

#1126 Blind Date (1984)

An USA production directed by the Greece born Nico Mastorakis and shot in Athens, Blind Date is something of an unique experience.

Follow this if you can: Jonathon is bit of a peeping Tom, gets chased in the forest by a dude in a car and hits his head, consequently making him blind. As he wakes up, a doctor offers him an implant that can make him see again by using a sonar build into a Walkman. If all that sounds like a mouthful, it gets better: Jonathon then wires an Atari 2600 console straight into the Walkman which overloads his brain, giving him an ability to connect with the serial killer loose in Athens.

Blind Date is a good looking movie where the basic setup works, but other elements just fail to connect in a satisfactory way. The movie earns extra kudos though for the European location that for once works well in a Hollywood movie. This is the first one of the movies of the same name released in the 80s and not to be mixed up with the 1987 comedy.

80s-o-meter: 66%

Total: 58%

#1125 Haunted Honeymoon (1986)

I always mistook Haunted Honeymoon for one of the definite comedies of the pre-millennium era, probably mixing it up with the popular Young Frankenstein, another spooky horror comedy starring Gene Wilder.

But although Haunted Honeymoon is a relatively well known release, it never was a commercial success and hasn’t had cult following to speak of. The movie is mostly harmless, tamed down take on the Mel Brooks’ comedy style and never quite grasps the viewer like a movie of this caliber should.

Haunted Honeymoon ends up an outdated comedy effort that offers few snappy lines, interesting concept and characters – but somehow just isn’t much fun to watch.

80s-o-meter: 23%

Total: 52%

#1124 Ghost Warrior (1984)

400-year old samurai frozen alive is revived with the miracles of the modern science in Ghost Warrior, by far the coolest concept of the ancient man in present day movies I’ve seen to date.

There’s no doubt about the star of the show: Hiroshi Fujioka is nothing short of awe inspiring as the oriental warrior Yoshimitsu, bringing to the role tons of charism,

The movie provides some very enjoyable kickassery by Yoshi but regrettably nothing much more than that. It’s a shame, since Yoshi’s clashing with the modern day could’ve easily provided enough material to fuel even a full TV-series.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 81%

#1123 The Night Before (1988)

Waking up in a strange place with no memory of the events that lead you there might be a clichéd setup, but one that often kick starts a book or movie in an interesting way. The same goes for The Night Before, an adventure comedy exploring probably the most unfortunate prom night ever.

Keanu Reeves performs his trademark awkward Californian surf dude character that we’ve come to love and while it suits the movie perfectly, he seems almost too goofy and dazed here.

As the mystery of the night unravels one memory at the time, the movie successfully ups the ante continuously as it evolves through its non-linear timeline.

80s-o-meter: 88%

Total: 84%

#1122 Jacknife (1989)

A late 80s movie featuring Robert De Niro, Kathy Baker and Ed Harris that I’ve never even heard about? Color me interested!

And it looks I’m not the only one. Jacknife is a relatively small budget movie that saw a limited release, grossing only a fraction of its budget. It’s a shame since it is one of the better Vietnam veteran movies that handles its main characters with certain affection that at least feels genuine to the viewer. Unlike other similar movies, Jacknife does not start with a huge bang nor draw its strength from powerful flashbacks of the war, but concentrates more on carefully peeling off layers of its subjects.

The movie does a good job of balancing between not glorifying nor antagonising the characters and I found the setup that revolves around personal issues instead of justification of the war interesting and a refreshing approach to the subgenre.

80s-o-meter: 74%

Total: 82%

#1122 Silverado (1985)

A tale of misfit scoundrels with a heart of gold, Silverado joins Pale Rider, Young Guns and The Long Riders as one of the most essential western movies of the 80s.

This is very much a romantic, Hollywoodian take on the western, and takes place in some alternative reality where even the hookers look like immaculate fashion models, but I dig the way the movie totally embraces its approach and does not even try to represent itself as being historically accurate in any way.

While one could make a case for Silverado to being unrealistic, they’d be hard pressed to ever calling it boring.

80s-o-meter: 45%

Total: 77%