#1184 Halloween 2019: Nightbeast (1982)

An alien with his face frozen on a silly grin crash lands on the earth and begins to kill anything that passes their way.

There are b-movies movies that are made intentionally bad. Then there are bad movies that are made without any skills, and end up being just plain bad and boring. And out of all the b-movies only a fraction are like Nightbeast: really bad, but totally disarming in its clumsiness and unintentional humour.

80s-o-meter: 68%

Total: 76%

#1183 Halloween 2019: Lurkers (1988)

There’s something off with Lurkers throughout it’s running time. The picture angles seem odd, stylistic choices feel weird, pacing is way too slow and scenes are padded with unnecessary footage that should’ve ended up on the cutting room floor; it’s clear the movie wasn’t made by someone who knows their stuff.

The story only gets interesting towards the last 15 minutes, and even then it’s made for TV quality at best. Lurkers should’ve probably been a short movie as it doesn’t really carry through 90 minutes.

The movie was heading steadily to zero total scoring, but the twelve points I ended up giving to it are due to the last scene inside the house.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 12%

#1183 Halloween 2019: Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

The prize for the most positive surprise of this Halloween goes once again to a made-for-TV movie.

Unlike the contemporary slashers, being a TV movie Dark Night of the Scarecrow can’t rely on gore or nudity so it has to make up for it with smart editing, suspense and atmosphere.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow is not particularly 80s horror movie, owing much more the classic black and white scary stories – but it stands out in a positive way for that very reason.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 83%

#1182 Halloween 2019: The Prey (1983)

Filmed already in 1979, but released only four years later, The Prey was originally prepared for Essex Productions known for its adult movies. And it shows: there’s a notable amount of naked skin on display here even for an early 80s slasher, that are well known for their gratuitous nudity.

The story is without surprises: a gang of horny teens wander off to forest, to be crossed off one by one by a manic killer.

The Prey manages to make its attempt entertaining and the production quality and cinematography is somewhat solid, but there’s nothing in here that would set it apart from similar titles. And due to its weak antagonist you will probably want to look elsewhere if cult slashers are your thing.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 55%

#1181 Halloween 2019: After Midnight (1989)

Another Halloween, another horror anthology. And I’m perfectly fine with it, as short stories seem an especially good and compact format for horror fireside stories.

The anthology kicks off with The Old Dark House, an excellent haunted house spooky tale that really gets spine tingling towards the end – good stuff!

The expectations are set high for the following A Night on the Town and All Night Operator parts, but although they are somewhat entertaining, they fail in being scary.

After Midnight on the whole is still a positive surprise and is worth watching, if only for its first story.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 72%

#1180 Halloween 2019: A Night to Dismember (1989)

One of the longest movies in making ever, most of A Night to Dismember was shot already in 1977, but it took the director Doris Wishman 10 or so years to actually get the movie put together and released.

The movie is a horrid mess that looks and feels like it was shot under heavy medication. There was absolutely nothing for me here, but the unintentional clumsiness might appeal to certain people.

While there is a certain value in perseverance and seeing a project through to the end, A Night to Dismember stands as a reminder that sometimes it would be preferable to just let your pet projects die a dignified death.

80s-o-meter: 54%

Total: 1%

#1179 Halloween 2019: Don’t Answer the Phone! (1980)

A typical trashy exploitation of the early 80s, Don’t Answer the Phone! does provide interesting setup of a serial killer calling to a radio psychologist and tormenting her with descriptions of his evil doings, but in the end does very little else in a satisfactory way.

Instead for opting for well build suspension, the movie focuses on providing lots of on-screen sadism that does very little in providing scares, but just concentrates on giving the blood hounds out there the gore and the agony that they came in for.

If trashy gonzo slashers are your thing, Don’t Answer the Phone! more than delivers – but if it is actual horror you’re after, you will want to look elsewhere.

80s-o-meter: 65%

Total: 32%

#1178 Halloween 2019: Demented (1980)

A violent rape gets a woman institutionalised and later suffering from PTSD with constant nightmares in Demented, one of the revenge exploitation movies done in the vein of I Spit on Your Grave.

And it’s not a strong show. Demented feels quite a lot like an early 80s porn movie, and a brief Googling soon reveals why: The male lead Harry Reems was one of the most well known porn actors of the time.

Despite the grave theme the movie is bit on a boring side with most of the interest in waiting on how the husband’s gaming with his extramarital affair plays out. There’s a slight payback in the end for sticking around as the movie gets pretty absurd and wanders deep into the black comedy territory.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 61%

#1177 Halloween 2019: Mausoleum (1983)

Girl enters a forgotten Mausoleum and becomes possessed by demon that had previously killed her mother.

The movie has a strong made for TV vibe to it and the green glowing demonic eye effect provides only unintentional humour these days.

The few gory deaths and gratuitous nudity can’t save the movie’s soap opera like execution that makes it somewhat of a snooze fest.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 38%

#1176 Halloween 2019: Frightmare (1983)

An iconic old school horror movie star passes away, but has still more than one trick up his sleeve for those that dare to violate the peace of his tomb.

And it’s soon after this that a few young fans decide to break and enter the tomb and to remove his body, with baneful consequences.

Frightmare offers a somewhat interesting twist to slashers, but never quite reaches its full potential. The 40s and 50s style of horror cinema combined with 80s aesthetics works well – including that ultra modern, almost discotheque like tomb – but as much as I sympathise with Ferdy Mayne’s portrayal of the haunting film star of the yesteryear, the character remains a much too weak antagonist to offer any real scares.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 60%

#1175 Halloween 2019: Trapped Alive (1988)

Watching Trapped Alive I realised I’ve got a soft spot for movies taking place in tunnels and underground locations. But, I’ve yet to find the definite movie of the sub genre.

Trapped Alive isn’t that movie, but there is definitely something here that kept my interest up, perhaps more than the movie itself deserved. The setup of the convicts on the run, coupled with innocent kidnapped bystanders and a deputy that gets trapped underground with them.

But, the horror aspect with the deranged miner feels completely glued on, and I can’t shake off the feeling that the movie would’ve been better without it.

80s-o-meter: 88%

Total: 67%

#1174 Halloween 2019: Slime City (1988)

An amateurish, below the average slime horror comedy ride, Slime City does very little to stand out from the competition: A young guy drinks from the wrong jug containing dangerous substance that turns him into murderous, slime oozing thingie.

The slimy, violent kills are of course the main focus here and that’s the only aspect of the movie where it delivers: The end mayhem culminating with a crawling brain is one of the wackiest gore comedy scenes of all times.

80s-o-meter: 64%

Total: 51%

#1173 Halloween 2019: Offerings (1989)

A mistreated boy grows up in an asylum and breaks free to pay the old neighbourhood a visit and to have his revenge on his tormentors.

Offerings is the most blatant Halloween clone I’ve seen to date, smartly disguised as a homage. The antagonist has the same bodily properties than Michael Myers – bullets don’t seem to slow him down – but as a character he is a far cry from his paragon.

The name Offerings is derived from the habit of the killer leaving body parts to his loved one – a girl who stood up against the bullies – and it’s a charming little touch in this otherwise eventless slasher.

80s-o-meter: 74%

Total: 51%

#1172 Halloween 2019: Mutant aka Night Shadows (1984)

Ever since I first saw the poster for Mutant, it got me excited; was this going to be an arctic scifi horror in the vein of The Thing?

Nope, it’s all lies. There’s nothing here even closely resembling it. No interesting location, no extraterrestrial creatures nor that much horror either. Instead what you get is a bunch of hillbilly villagers turned to dodgy blue zombies right out of Dawn of the Dead. And no, that’s not a compliment.

Everything in Mutant aka Night Shadows is weirdly disconnected, starting from the misleading title to the cool poster to the plot and the actual movie that feels as it was pasted together using leftovers from various low budget movies. While Mutant isn’t horribly bad, I can’t find much here that I like either.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 42%

#1171 Halloween 2019: Breeders (1986)

Horror in general already had a reputation or being sleazy before 80s, but it was in the early 80s that the movie producers really knew their core audience and catered them with cheap frights and gratuitous nudity so much that the genre – especially the slashers – became highly predictable. While this predictability was repelled by the critics, the young moviegoing audience ate it all up.

Breeders offers little new to what similar movies have done: There’s blood, graphic effects, virgins, rape and strange, otherworldly gooey substances and various other elements of an exploitation movie: it’s all about voyeurism, filth and sleaze. But what sets Breeders apart from the others is how unashamedly it is just that: absolute sleaze. It makes no hesitation of undressing every female just to show some nudity and the movie lingers on to these moments for what seems like an eternity.

There’s not much to be said in Breeders’ defence other than that it’s trash – but at least it’s being completely honest about it.

80s-o-meter: 76%

Total: 59%

#1170 Halloween 2019: The Unholy (1988)

Originally written in the 70s after the box office successes of The Exorcist and The Omen, The Unholy boasts similar base story of a catholic priest fighting against the evil powers, and does so in a wonderfully 80s way.

The concept actually works well and the movie stands out in a positive way among the horror movies of the era. Despite the unfortunate ending revealing the antagonists – usually a bad idea – the movie makes many effective design choices. The effects are scarcely used, but among one of the most effective ones.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 76%

#1169 Halloween 2019: Transylvania 6-5000 (1985)

Picking fun of Glenn Miller’s song Pennsylvania 6-5000 – a pun that wasn’t much fun back then, and even less today when the song is long forgotten – Transylvania 6-5000 unsuccessfully aims to poke fun of two reporters of a sleazy tabloid flying over to Transylvania to investigate a reported sighting of the Frankenstein’s monster.

The word on the internet is that the movie was financed by a chemical company that had frozen finances in the former Yugoslavia that couldn’t be used in the U.S., and the movie was written to accommodate that problem. When the motivation to shoot a picture is this, you can only imagine the hollowness of the end result.

The movie gets absolutely no mileage out of the foreign location and gathers up a remarkably strong cast that it then wastes due to a remarkably lousy script. Out of Jeff Goldblum, Ed Begley Jr., Jeffrey Jones, Geena Davis and Michael Richards it’s only Richards that manages to provide with little entertainment with his physical humour.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 17%

#1168 Halloween 2019: The Outing aka The Lamp (1987)

The Outing is your somewhat typical monster creature movie, with two notable variables: The creature itself is kind of a evil spirit living inside an old lamp, and the location of the movie is a museum that has acquired the lamp after it was stolen from an old mysterious lady.

While this setup works alright, I still got kind of a dejavú half way through the movie. Not for feeling if I had seen the movie before, but for guessing pretty much spot on how it all would unravel during the remaining 45 minutes, and as much as I’d wanted, The Outing didn’t offer any surprises there.

The strongest suit of The Outing remains its wonderful poster drawn by Drew Struzan. Unfortunately nothing else here reaches the same level of professionalism.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 51%

#1167 Halloween 2019: Grandmother’s House aka Grandma’s House (1988)

It’s not that Grandmother’s House’s last 30 minutes were horribly bad – they’re average – but what makes them remarkably disappointing is that they follow one hour of interesting buildup, but then miss most of the marks that were so carefully laid down before.

The latter half also leaves some gaping plot holes and far too many big questions unanswered to make Grandmother’s House a completely satisfying experience. But most of the experience still is fascinating and the story revolving around young kids adopted by their grandparents works well. The intensifying around the mystery involving a strange lady roaming about works well and the thrilling parts are well timed and effective.

Grandmother’s House works because of its pure daylight horror / mystery setup and as such still felt like a fresh breeze in a genre that relies very heavily on clichés and walking in the worn out footsteps of the big box office magnets.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 73%

#1166 Halloween 2019: Slaughterhouse (1987)

Let’s get the bad out of the way first: Slaughterhouse is not particularly scary movie, but to be fair it doesn’t really aim to be one. And although it has that comedic / absurd side tone to it, it luckily doesn’t try to be one of those silly horror spoofs either.

But it does has the look and feel that makes you think if the director/writer Rick Roessler had read an imaginary, over the top horror tale from the Mad Magazine and then decided to turn it into an actual film. There’s an abandoned slaughterhouse, tale of a payback, a big dumb psychopath in the vein of Leatherface and naturally a bunch of teens and other outsiders who wander into the depths of the slaughterhouse and are greeted with a surprise.

Slaughterhouse is not without flaws and clichés but in this case they work for the movie’s benefit, making it a perfectly good fit for those Halloween movie nights with your friends.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 82%