#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%

#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%

#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%

#1677 Halloween 2022: Scared Alive aka Island of Blood aka Whodunit (1982)

If it is a pure slasher you want to watch this Halloween, the lesser known Island of Blood is not a bad option.

It is a pure slasher so you get pretty much what you expect: a group of youngsters getting killed one by one in an imaginative manner.

The most distinctive aspect of the movie is they way the killer plays a quite catchy song with lyrics ”Burn me, stab me, chop me, nail me, boil me, saw me” before commencing the killing. On top of that the end, especially that last few seconds are refreshingly different from what you’d expect.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 59%

#1673 Frances (1982)

Other celebrity biographies well known in this side of the Atlantic ocean, while others, apparently well known in the stateside can remain relatively unknown here. The story and controversial life events of Frances Farmer falls at least to me in the latter category.

A sensation of her time, Farmer’s temperament and lack of respect for authority lead her to discord with Hollywood and a burnout that lead her to be arrested and put into a mental hospital where she was subjected to now-brutal methods of treatment.

As with many biographies, the 2-hour movie format is just too short to give a good treatment to a whole life of events, and the movie feels at many times rushing just to get the story told, and Frances as a character remains to the viewer quite distant and enigmatic.

80s-o-meter: 4%

Total: 60%

#1665 The Seduction (1982)

The Seduction takes a tone inspired by the late 80s TV and series like Dallas, marching to the stage one ridiculously good looking character after another, leading a picture perfect life. Now, I don’t have any problem with beautiful people, but having even the antagonist look and dress like a model just makes everything feel a bit plasticky.

Talking of good looking people, The Seduction stars Morgan Fairchild, of Dallas fame herself.

As far as thrillers go, The Seduction may not be anything special, but luckily it’s quite easy and effortless to watch. The traits of the antagonist (gets into fights, but gets his ass easily handed over to him) are quite odd, but at least they made the experience just a little bit more memorable.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 60%

#1663 Six Weeks (1982)

Ho hum. It’s Dudley Moore once more playing Dudley Moore, this time not only falling in love with beautiful woman, but also with her daughter who is terminally ill.

It’s not the most original concept as far as tear jerker dramas go, and for the Six Weeks felt really, really calculated effort that never managed to move me. Call me cynical, but this one did not feel like coming from the heart at all.

There are some good moments between Moore and the daughter, and the odd love triangle between the three is something that keeps the interest somewhat up in an otherwise snoozefest of a movie.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 29%

#1644 Runaway Nightmare (1982)

There’s only one thing wrong with being a renaissance man, and that is if you aren’t that talented.

This Mike Cartel’s movie, directed by Mike Cartel, written by Mike Cartel and starring Mike Cartel is one of these cases. It’s a messy, messy movie with no real focus what it really wants to be. The movie tries out quite a bit of different things, but fails on each and every one of them.

Runaway Nightmare makes me wish I had the will power to exclude all these kinds of exercises in movie making from my to-do list, but I’m still hoping there’s a gem to be found from that pile. Runaway Nightmare was not that gem, no by a long shot.

80s-o-meter: 58%

Total: 11%

#1627 Yes, Giorgio aka Bravo, Giorgio (1982)

Written as a vehicle for Luciano Pavarotti, Yes, Giorgio portrays a fictional tenor called Giorgio touring in America.

Giorgio is a big man child with superstition to ever singing at Metropolitan Opera, and so he desperately seeks the love and care of a female doctor. A world class singer, in private life he is something of a half-grown, with the inner life of a 5-year old: he throws tantrums when things don’t go his way, and gets into food fight with the opposite sex.

The only thing Yes, Giorgio has going for it are its opera numbers. But really – you’d be much better off watching any of Pavarotti’s opera performances on VHS, than to sit through this drivel.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 9%

#1622 Truckin’ Buddy McCoy (1982)

There was apparently something alluring about the name, the premise and the VHS cover art of Truckin’ Buddy McCoy as it apparently turned out as one of the enduring favourites in the home video stalls for many years.

And admittedly there was a promise of a easy, mindless entertainment in the name as I saw it for the first time. But really, there’s nothing much going on here. There’s a truck driver who turns his new truck into bachelor hideout, drives around picking people up (in reality he just runs through outskirts of Los Angeles throughout the movie) pondering if he should get back with his girlfriend.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 21%

#1605 Honkytonk Man (1982)

Moving from 70s to the 80s Clint Eastwood’s career was stuck (and built upon) repeating permutations of this lone ranger character, and it was only in City Heat and Heartbreak Ridge where he was able to break somewhat free from this mold. Well, arguably he still kind of played first and foremost Clint Eastwood in all of his movies, and this is what the audience (me included) were looking forward to seeing.

Then, there are movies like Bronco Billy and Honkytonk Man here where Eastwood gets to play a flawed anti-hero that needs others to save him from himself. Here Eastwood plays a worn-out alcoholic travelling musician playing in honky-tonk bars, and who recruits his 15-year old nephew (played by as his son, Kyle Eastwood) as the chauffeur and road manager.

The movie plays its hand straight away, and while the show is somewhat entertaining to watch, there’s very little progression or growth going on here, and I can’t help but to think that without Clint himself in the lead role the movie would’ve been completely forgettable.

80s-o-meter: 7%

Total: 57%

#1604 Halloween 2021: The Sender (1982)

The Sender is a movie akin to The Dead Zone, released one year later and does have many same kind of interesting properties to it including the final events of the movie.

But it does not have the same kind of sharpness in writing that Stephen King was able to put into his work. As for someone who enjoyed The Dead Zone, I did find The Sender interesting indeed, even with its needlessly convoluted plot.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 68%

#1602 Halloween 2021: Pieces aka Chainsaw Bastard aka Chainsaw Devil aka The Night Has 1000 Screams (1982)

Pieces, a Spanish horror movie shot in Spain with American actors gained cult fame with its cruel depictions of deaths by chainsaw, and inexplicable encounter with a martial artist, totally detached from any events in the movie.

The movie does a fairly good work presenting itself as an American movie, and even if the movie isn’t anything extraordinary, it’s still one of the better and more original slashers of the era, and definitely earns its place alongside the most iconic examples of its genre.

80s-o-meter: 56%

Total: 60%

#1605 Halloween 2021: The Game aka The Cold (1984)

Some old buggers start a game where young people staying in a mansion have to face their fears.

The Game is an amateurish mess devoid of any movie magic. The plot is all over the place and it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on. I quite get what they were after, but phew, what a mess this one is.

As bad as it was, I guess I did not hate it. Hating it would’ve required me to care enough, and The Game really set the expectations low in the very first minutes to the film.

80s-o-meter: 23%

Total: 3%

#1596 Halloween 2021: Visiting Hours (1982)

No Halloween without sneaking in at least one Canadian horror movie in. This time around the reason for including one is the awesome looking poster, plus of course film including Michael Ironside as the main antagonist, as well as William Shatner in a smaller side role.

Too bad the movie is once again a good reminder that nice covers do not a good movie make, and Ironside can’t really do much in his role if the manuscript and directing is not up to his skill level.

A far cry from a haunting psychological horror thriller, Visiting Hours has violently intensive moments in it that might make your heart beat a bit faster, but the lack of dimensions and depth in everything shines through.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 43%

#1594 Halloween 2021: One Dark Night aka Night of Darkness aka Dark Night aka The Entity Force (1982)

A bullied girl takes on a challenge to spend a night in a Mausoleum to be accepted by a small sisterhood. Little does she know that a man in possession of strange powers has been just sealed inside one of the crypts, and he’s about to make the bodies reanimate this same night.

The premise in the movie is super interesting and there’s certainly a good tension and atmosphere to be found here at times, but the obvious padding and buildup just takes much too long, making One Dark Night one of those horror movies that would’ve worked better as a short film.

The finale isn’t quite the fireworks I hoped it to be after the lengthy buildup, but the tension is definitely there.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 61%

#1585 Halloween 2021: The Aftermath aka Zombie Aftermath (1982)

I’ve been somewhat in the know about the cult status of The Aftermath, but 30 minutes in to the movie I did not understand quite why; it’s pretty shoddy, but not quite bad enough to entertain, and visually it’s more close to movies you’d see towards the early 70s – including its beginning, lifted straight out of the original Planet of the Apes. Also the way the camera was operated and framed seemed to be a bit off all times.

It was only after digging to the internet for more information that I learned how the whole movie is a brainchild of the movie’s lead Steve Barkett, who also wrote, directed and edited the movie. Considering how much harder all this was not only to finance, but to pull off technically, my hat is off to Barkett. Overall, well done – the movie looks better than many bigger budget movies of the 1978.

You read it right. The movie was actually shot originally in 1978, but it took Barkett four years to shoot additional footage and to get the movie released. Released in the UK as Zombie Aftermath, the movie does not actually contain any zombies, and is very slim in the scary department as well, falling more closely to dystopian action movie category, rather than horror.

80s-o-meter: 28%

Total: 45%

#1554 The Escape Artist (1982)

Here’s something I always look forward to when watching these 80s movies: to find a relatively unknown gem of a movie. The Escape Artist tells the story of a son of a famous escape artist who wants to follow his late father’s steps, while also learning what really happened to him.

Griffin O’Neal (the son of Ryan O’Neal) plays the young illusionist thrown in the adult world so convincingly that it was astounding to find out he wasn’t hired based on his magician skills, but only learned the basics for the movie. Griffin is a natural on the silver screen and no doubt ramps up an already decent movie quite a bit, and I was therefore saddened to learn about his troublesome life ever since as it seems to me we lost quite a great skill here. Raul Julia makes for one of his best characters as the slick son of the mayor who form a duo with the young magician, constantly trying to outwit one another.

The Escape Artist is – well, magical – coming of age movie of one exceptional young man on an exceptional journey, relying on his exceptional skills and wit.

Much recommended.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 91%