#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%

#1164 Halloween 2019: The Last Horror Film (1982)

Shot in location in Cannes Film Festival 1981 without permits, The Last Horror Film makes a valiant effort of mixing real life events and elements to the heartbreaking story of a dazed and confused New York taxi driver who dreams of making a horror movie with a beautiful actress he admires.

The real power of the movie is how well it depicts the mind of its protagonist turned to a stalking antagonist without realising it and the viewer will find themselves going through a barrage of emotions, and feeling sorry for him as he breaks and enters an apartment of a understandably shocked and traumatised young actress.

But it’s not all good news. This is a very uneven movie – even shoddy at times – and while the idea to mix in real life footage with sounds good on the paper, in reality it feels disconnected and out of place.

The Last Horror film is an admirable and ambitious attempt to do something out of the ordinary, but unfortunately its execution does not reach that same level of ambition.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 61%

#1157 Halloween 2019: Basket Case (1982)

An indie cult horror comedy Basket Case follows a bizarre story of a deformed half of the formerly conjoined, but separated against their will twins seeking for revenge, while being carried around in a rattan basket.

A pet project of the writer/director Frank Henenlotter, Basket Case is a refreshingly different take on slasher movies and the movie’s mood as well the attacks of the deformed creature are nothing short of nightmarish and haunting.

Although Basket Case can be considered to be ahead its time as an indie horror comedy that punches above its weight, it did feel a bit more dated than I hoped for. Basket Case would go on to spawn two sequels, released in 1990 and 1991, respectively.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 63%

#1155 Halloween 2019: Silent Rage (1982)

A slasher featuring Chuck Norris? Although the movie markets itself as a action crime movie, make no mistake as it takes most of its cues from the contemporary slashers – in good and in bad.

On the bright side, Silent Rage also brings something a little different to the table and manages to move cross-genre in a surprising way. There is even a bit of scifi brought into the mix as we are introduced to the mad scientist who fiddles with the Mother Nature, creating a self healing, relentless kill machine not unlike Michael Myers or Jason.

With this genre of choice many of its banalities are unfortunately also brought in to the mix, including a very disappointing and clichéd last second cliffhanger ending.

80s-o-meter: 68%

Total: 58%

#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%

#1104 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Star Trek, the iconic TV show from the 60s saw continuum in 1979 as the first movie of the Star Trek series was released and received with mixed reviews. Given the vast public interest in scifi at the time a cost effective sequel was green lighted, and the first Star Trek movie of the 80s, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan finally saw daylight in 1982.

Made with a budget of $11.2M – one-fourth that of its predecessor – the sequel became a sleeper hit that restored the public interest in the franchise and is considered by many the best movie of the series. Much of the success is due to iconic Khan, the villainous title character of the movie played with certain charism by Ricardo Montalbán.

Personally I also preferred the sequel to the original 1979 movie, although I admittedly found the overall experience less epic than I recalled. But what the movie itself may lack in grandiosity is more than redeemed in its emotional ending that wonderfully bridges the saga towards its next instalment, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

80s-o-meter: 69%

Total: 71%

#1102 Liquid Sky (1982)

Invisible aliens in search for heroin land in New York end up harvesting the endorphin that forms in the brain as people orgasm, consequently killing them.

Liquid Sky is one of those purposely weird independent films – and apparently something of a cult classic at that. Directed by the USSR born Slava Tsukerman, the movie is really nothing to celebrate about but more of a disjointed collection of scenes than a solid movie experience. It’s characters and neon lit scenes are stylish, but very much style over substance, and the movie feels like it’s mostly designed just to impress those who associate themselves with New York’s early 80s Warholian hipster art scene.

The main problem with Liquid Sky is that it’s just plain weird – but never quite wonderfully nor charmingly so.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 23%

#1089 The Last American Virgin (1982)

As I sat down to watch The Last American Virgin, I had no idea I was up for the biggest movie surprise of the year.

In fact, half way through the movie I still had no idea; what I’d seen so far was pretty typical early 80s tits & ass teen comedy. But unexpectedly the consequences of all the irresponsible actions suddenly start piling up, the movie changes from trivial comedy to serious drama, with even some heart breaking elements of tragedy to it.

I loved the sudden changes of genres and I loved how the movie had the courage to try out something completely different. I loved the kick ass soundtrack. And most of all I loved how the movie fittingly depicted the heartrending nature of an unfulfilled, unrequited love. What a positive surprise.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 87%

#1084 Savannah Smiles (1982)

I can think of thousands of ways Savannah Smiles could’ve gone very wrong; a tale of two criminals in a run after a jailbreak inadvertently kidnapping a young girl is a delicate subject even for 1982, and a theme that would never go through the executives these days.

What happens afterwards is of course foreseeable. The young girl touches the hearts of the fugitives who let their shields down for the first time and grow attached to her. And Savannah in return finds love and comfort she lacked back home.

What makes this movie tick is the heartfelt change the leads Mark Miller and Donovan Scott manage to convey, as well as the the apparent love that Miller – who also wrote the manuscript – had for the subject.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 65%

#1072 Jekyll and Hyde… Together Again (1982)

There are movies that I look forward to watching at some point, and then there are the ones that I just have to get over with. Jekyll and Hyde… Together Again is definitely of the latter variety: I could tell already from the poster that this is going to be one of those stuffy early 80s comedies with the roots firmly in the mid-70s, and a quick glance through the chapters confirmed that I wasn’t in for a treat.

Much to my surprise the first 20 minutes of the movie aren’t that bad at all, and there are some genuinely funny visual gags here. It’s when the transformation to the sex crazy Hyde happens that the movie goes completely to the shitter.

I loathed the movie and its design choices. The chance of a possibly passable crazy comedy is ruined by an annoying lead character and on top of it all the movie manages to completely waste the talent of Tim Thomerson.

80s-o-meter: 32%

Total: 3%

#1071 Hanky Panky (1982)

Hanky Panky plays it safe.

Far too safe, in fact: It gives us the basic story of a man wrongly accused of a murder that soon finds himself tangled in an international espionage ploy.

It really feels like a rehash since Gene Wilder’s previous comedy Stir Crazy already presented us with a similar plot. There are some funny aspects here, like Wilder foolishly trying to outwit the powers that be, but otherwise Hanky Panky ends up pretty eventless, predictable and bland adventure comedy.

80s-o-meter: 68%

Total: 43%

#1023 Jinxed! (1982)

For a movie about gambling, Jinxed really truly pulls a great sleight of hand. With its story of a boorish, womanising gambler going after one specific blackjack dealer who he thinks is jinxed, the movie really seems to have an interesting and unique little comedic story in its hands.

But as the we reach the end of the act one, the movie really goes down the shitter and an interesting story that was being developed all along is changed to something of a cannonball run where the woman lead played by Bette Midler goes for a hunt after heritage left behind by his late husband. Nothing in the movie really works from hereon.

Midler does his comedic work in a satisfactory way, and Ken Wahl – who later gathered fame as the lead in Wiseguy, a successful late 80s TV series – co-stars as a hunk of a casino worker, delivering one of the most wooden acting ever recorded on film, yet somehow managing to be likeable.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 41%

#1022 A Little Sex (1982)

A newly married man keeps on landing on his dick on every woman that crosses his path in A Little Sex, an early eighties sex comedy.

The theme of the movie might’d still been somewhat relatable if the main male character wasn’t written in such a dull way: He’s portrayed as this whiny, poor thing that is forced to extramarital affairs by the sex craving women, instead of taking any of the initiative himself.

There’s somewhat interesting tension built between the couple as the dude finally is caught, but even that is quickly diluted in a disappointing, uninspired romantic comedy ending.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 32%

#1015 Young Doctors in Love (1982)

A crazy comedy no doubt inspired by the iconic Airplane, Young Doctors in Love many cues from its paragon, but doesn’t really measure up to enough for any further comparison.

The usual problem with crazy comedies – making an attempt for a joke all the time and at all the cost – easily makes the plot and the events in the movie feel trivial. This is very much the case with Young Doctors in Love as well, and I noticed getting somewhat indifferent about the events and characters in the movie.

Young Doctors in Love is not a total dud, but I have this nagging feeling that the movie could’ve worked better as a more traditional comedy – with a bit less crazy in it.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 50%

#1004 Grease 2 (1982)

Grease 2, the sequel for the original 1978 runaway musical hit starring John Travolta was a critical and a box office failure. Oh boy, I thought as I pressed the play on my remote, assured I was facing a torture even worse than having to watch through the original.

Pessimism be blessed, as the experience didn’t turn out to be nearly as bad as I’d anticipated. The movie is inept – that’s given – but it all seems to have been done in a good humour with a fair amount of tongue in cheek. Grease 2 does a remarkably bad work at establishing the early 60s setting and the movie never seizes to feel like 80s kids doing a cosplay of the former era.

Personally I count this only as a definitely plus for the movie.

80s-o-meter: 41%

Total: 48%

#1002 Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982)

Obnoxious teen with an obnoxious band goes on tour with with an english punk band with an annoying lead singer in Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, a mouthful of a movie.

On top of the unpleasant cast, the movie offers very little to like. Plot is all over the place and the smallest hopes of some human interest story are never actually followed through.

As the musical numbers are nothing to phone to home about and both the turning point the movie as well as the denouement are amongst the most inane I’ve ever had to witness, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains ends up a movie I won’t be revisiting anytime soon.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 22%

#1000 Blade Runner (1982)

The poster on the left is from the Australian release of Blade Runner. A cinematic landmark of its time, it’s also one of the main drivers why this blog came out to be in the first place.

The director Ridley Scott had already demonstrated his prowess for crafting impressive sci-fi worlds oozing with atmosphere with the 1979 Alien, but it was Blade Runner that saw his craftmanship come to full fruition. Aided by the concept artist Syd Mead, cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth and an exceptionally talented team of FX artists, Blade Runner came into form in 1982 as a movie years ahead of its time, leaving its footprint in the history as the cinematic template for the dark dystopian future.

Equally impressive is Vangelis’ haunting synth track that at times is able to paint the film’s aesthetics on an even deeper level than the moving images can. Synonymous with the movie itself, Vangelis’ Blade Runner suite sets the mood right from the very first second of the movie and continues to do so until the end credits have stopped scrolling.

Harrison Ford who was on a winning streak at the time after starring in Star Wars and Indiana Jones movie series creates another character here that is very exclusively his. In a similar fashion Rutger Hauer crafts his portrayal of a replicant on the run to such perfection that it’s hard to fathom anyone else playing the role.

Essentially a futuristic film noir, the original Domestic Cut was compromised by the studio who after showing it to a test audience changed the ending and added a very unfortunate narrative voiceover. The 1992 Director’s Cut improved on the original theatrical cut by removing the aforementioned faux pas, and the movie finally saw its ultimate form in 2007 Final Cut, still the preferred version of the movie.

Blade Runner has established its status as a classic and arguably stood the test of time still feeling fresh almost 40 years since its initial release; every viewing of the movie seems to unfold just another layer of it, serving as a somewhat bittersweet reminder of how science fiction of this caliber does not come by often.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 200%

#999 The Retrievers aka Hot and Deadly (1982)

I’m still trying to wrap my head around what the alternative poster of The Retrievers on the right is all about. It certainly does not seem to be any way related to the movie I just plowed through. Given the setup and the title, my guess is that the movie performed badly initially and was released again with a more exploitation, revenge porn sounding title and the poster to go with it.

Either way The Retrievers is a remarkably insignificant movie with equally insignificant plot line and production values. There’s a limited amount of entertainment to the dodgy kung-fu aspect where everybody in the movie seems to be some kind of a karate champion, grabbing a pair on nunchukas that happen to be handy when the fight starts, and the choreographed fights really seem out of place given the setting, mood and the outfits. And on most parts the fighting is pretty much on par with the home movies you made as a kid, throwing a few roundhouse kicks that felt just about perfect in your mind, but looked much less impressive as you later viewed them on telly.

There isn’t much info available online about the movie to be shared. The director and the writer Elliott Hong would direct another movie in the same year, a martial arts comedy called They Call Me Bruce? that would end up his best known title by a long shot.

80s-o-meter: 59%

Total: 21%

#988 The Executioner’s Song (1982)

Tommy Lee Jones stars in The Executioner’s Song, a solid made for TV movie documenting the life and ultimate death of Gary Gilmore who was executed in 1977 upon his own request.

Unlike many other crime movies, The Executioner’s Song doesn’t go out to glamourise the killer or the criminal life style and handles its subject in a way that seems semi-documentary at times. Gilmore is pictured as a complex, short-tempered man who often resorts in violence and even in the passing moments of regret he still maintains his ominous, possessive and obsessive presence.

Tommy Lee Jones makes the best out of the role, easily outperforming the movie itself.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 64%

#987 Tex (1982)

Unbeknownst to the young Tex McCormick his life is at a turning point and it’s up to the confused small town teen to figure out what to make out of his family, school, relationship, and ultimately the rest of his life.

The drama presented in Tex is subtle and believable, and Tex himself is an easy point of reference to the viewer. It’s this subtle approach that makes the drama much more impactful: We’re tightroping with him knowing that any small wrong step he takes could easily snowball out of control, leading his future life off to an awfully bad start.

The movie admittedly takes its sweet time to get going by the time that the end credits roll the movie will have you fully involved in Tex’s life. Young Matt Dillon has the natural grasp for the acting and Tex joins Drugstore Cowboy and The Outsiders as his prolific movies to date.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 85%