#1824 Halloween 2023: The Dorm That Dripped Blood aka Death Dorm aka Pranks (1982)

This Halloween begins once again with a slasher – a sub genre I’ve learned not to expect much from.

The Dorm That Dripped Blood gives you pretty much what you’d expect from a slasher of the era, teenagers played by too old actors getting eliminated one by one by a deranged killer in a distant location.

Where the movie stands out though is that it doesn’t seem to carbon copy any other slasher out there but manages to carve its own space inside the genre; the killer is not an invincible super human and the ending does not follow the often seen last minute jump scare approach. Despite the low budged the effects feel well done, landing The Dorm That Dripped Blood ends up on the higher end spectrum of the slashers.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 60%

#1816 Vice Squad (1982)

Not to be mixed up with Hollywood Vice Squad (1986) – which I always did – Vice Squad is a movie of a entirely different caliber.

At first coming across as an exploitative movie only to showcase naked skin and low-lifes of Los Angeles, Vice Squad does nothing of such but instead presents the viewer one of the tightest palm sweating action thrillers of the era.

Much of this is the credit of the director Gary Sherman, who paces and escalates the movie masterfully towards the end. Wings Hauser – of whom I’ve always been sort of on the verge if he is any good – makes a stand out role in Vice Squad as one of the most relentless, despicable, vile and chilling characters ever seen on the silver screen.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 89%

#1795 Waitress! (1982)

Before Troma Entertainment found its own niche that brought them a certain cult status they tried their wings with a series of sex comedies in the early 80s.

While the wackiness is already found here, it’s without shape and purpose – it feels like Kentucky Fried Movie, but devoid of all laughter and fun.

For the little plot there is, Waitress! follows two females, other getting undercover to write an article to ”Mature Teen Magazine”, and other pestering a director throughout the film to get to play Joan of Arc, getting to nerves of the director and the viewer alike.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 12%

#1784 Lookin’ To Get Out (1982)

Here’s a movie and a concept that has aged badly.

Lookin’ To Get Out is a rascal comedy about two gamblers who get into debt and evade to Las Vegas to try to make it big. It’s one of those comedies where the comedy part means stupid and implausible – not something to make one laugh. Both of the lead characters quite unlikeable and really I could not care less how they ended up since the whole movie feels completely like a charade.

Jon Voight and Burt Young are both excellent actors, and should have used their time better in some other endeavour.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 27%

#1777 National Lampoon’s Movie Madness (1982)

Advertised in the poster as the spiritual followup to the vastly popular 1978 Animal House, Movie Madness is nowhere near the same quality. As in: absolutely nobody remembers this movie.

An anthology of three short films, every one less funny than the one preceding it, Movie Madness is a horrible misfire from the director Henry Jaglom who clearly grasp even the basics how to put together a mainstream comedy.

The only even remotely interesting aspect of the movie is seeing young(er) Christopher Lloyd playing a role in the last segment.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 2%

#1770 Losing Ground (1982)

Losing Ground is a recovered piece of lost cinema history, directed and written by Cathleen Collins that never got distributed outside film festivals, and was ultimately restored and released upon initiative of her daughter.

As much as I love seeing any piece of movie retuned from the dead, I found Losing Ground pretty typical piece of indie movie of the era. We have intellectual and artistic academic people wallowing in their troubles and relationships. Here the lead is married to an artist who apparently can’t keep his pants on, leading to all kinds of mishap between the two.

I found the movie within a movie the most interesting aspect here and there was something relatable to the leads willingness to jump into the world of cinema even if for just a passing moment of glory.

80s-o-meter: 50%

Total: 37%

#1769 Night Crossing (1982)

Night Crossing is one of the movies where the story is bigger than the movie itself: the real life events of two families building a hot air balloon in late 70s and use it to jump to the west from East-Germany is certainly something that warrants a movie, or two.

This is not to say Night Crossing is a bad movie. It does it job and tells the story in a relatable and understandable manner – but its style is documenting, to the point and TV-movie like. The story would definitely have worked without western leads – but, if I get John Hurt and Beau Bridges starring together in any movie, you won’t see me complaining.

Normally I would have complained about the uninspiring European setting, but given the Eastern-Germany theme and the 70s era, here it works of course for the benefit of the movie, even if shot in the western side of the fence.

80s-o-meter: 50%

Total: 77%

#1763 Megaforce (1982)

I have to admit that I have many fond memories of Megaforce – not due to seeing the movie, but hearing the name so many in the 80s due to an iconic Amiga demo group sharing the same.

It was for this reason I was really looking for finally seeing Megaforce, and by large it actually delivers what I expected: shoddy early 80s scifi action. The movie shares sort of the same look and feel and take on machinery than the TV series Knight Rider, launched in the same year, and even has some quite well executed and convincing effects and set design.

Both even have the same type of smug, self-centered protagonist that are as excited in conquering women than engaging into battle. But Barry Bostwick as the Ace Hunter pretty much totally lacks the undeniable charm of David Hasselhoff, and his theatrical movement, faces and delivery likely loaned from William Shatner’s Captain Kirk come often comedic – but even more often ever so slightly annoying.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 65%

#1753 Class Reunion aka National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982)

Let me cut to the chase: I really wish the Class Reunion hadn’t chosen to parody slasher movies. I really, really do.

Because, this first produced cinema movie screenplay by John Hughes certainly has certain aspects going on for it, including a few moments when the movie breaks the usual comedy mould with some crazy comedy and meta elements – sort of being a parody of a high school comedy.

But, unfortunately multiple uninspired creative decisions (including the quite tired slasher angle) keep Class Reunion from really standing out and being memorable genre classic.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 62%

#1746 Things Are Tough All Over (1982)

Just a personal reminder here that every stoner film of the comedy duo Cheech & Chong is worse than the previous one, starting from the strong 1978 Up in Smoke, all the way to the very appalling 1984 The Corsican Brothers.

Things Are Tough All Over already sits in the lower end of this spectrum. The stupidity is still definitely there but it isn’t that lovable any more, just more stale and uninspired. The humour in Things Are Tough All Over consists of Cheech and Chong dressing up as arabs or women and never really getting more inventive than playing through all the tired stereotypical jokes.

These two C’s really should’ve called it a day while they were still ahead.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 2%

#1741 I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can (1982)

I don’t know where to even start with this one.

Apparently there was some documentarian who started to eat too much valium in the 70s and upon quitting it cold turkey got derailed and had to spend a few months in a mental institute.

I don”t know how exciting her story had been in real life or in the novel this movie was based on, but if it was, nothing of that has transferred into this movie. I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can is one drab movie to follow from the start to the ending and I could not say I could get emotionally involved with any of the characters here. The topic of people getting addicted to description medicine is interesting though, but I’ve seen multiple documentaries about the subject done in much more interesting fashion.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 16%

#1734 Butterfly (1982)

Looking at Butterfly, and the first few moments of it I assumed it to be one of those icky 80s sensuous erotic movies with the theme of teasing daughter of a mine guard moving in with his father and driving him crazy in a very off putting forbidden incest love relationship.

And here I was thinking; how on earth has Stacy Keach gotten himself involved in such a sleazy piece of celluloid.

But, Butterfly surprises positively as there’s much more depth in the story than first meets the eye. Sure, it takes a leap of faith to go with some of the wildest plot twists, but if you if you get over that Butterfly is surely one of those few rare, original movies that leave a lasting impression.

80s-o-meter: 23%

Total: 71%

#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%