#1925 Blue Velvet (1986)

I hovered around Blue Velvet for a long time, aware of its stature as a seminal David Lynch piece, and being a fan of Twin Peaks. And speaking of which, there’s certainly similar tones in both. Both taking place in a small towns that seem ordinary until the veil is lifted, revealing a dark, intricate mystery underneath, and Lynch’s fascination with the darker sides of human nature is apparent also here.

Both also star Kyle MacLachlan, navigating through layers of surreal and often disturbing realities acting as audience surrogate through whose eyes we get a front-row seat to the unsettling, surreal events that unfold on the screen. The transitions between what’s peaceful and normal, to scenes of insanity and nightmare are well done and seem to come almost too near to the viewer.

Blue Velvet took me to places and to this bizarre world where you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen next, and I appreciated it more as an experience rather than your traditional movie. It’s one of those films that takes you to places and stirs up feelings very few movies can.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 85%

#1902 The Delta Force (1986)

One of the definite action movies of the 80s The Delta Force inspired by hijacking and resulting two-week hostage drama of TWA Flight 847 taking place only year earlier, in 1985

Directed, co-written and co-produced by Menahem Golan, the movie itself is heavily connected with Israel and Israeli officials with the filming taking place there and backing the movie up with airplanes and other gear needed for the movie.

The first half of the movie is actually quite well done with the events inside the airplane, and the building up tension, where the second part of the movie with liberating the hostages gets as ridiculous as a Chuck Norris movie can get, with him riding a rocket shooting motorcycle and being basically immune to any kind of projectiles or bullets. The fans of Norris and these kind of over the top action movies who know what they are looking for will find tons of guilty pleasure to enjoy here.

80s-o-meter: 86%

Total: 78%

#1900 Thrashin’ (1986)

Now I’m puzzled. If Gleaming the Cube was a definite rad California 80s skating movie, so is Thrashin’, both totally cool for partly the same, and partly different reasons.

Like Gleaming the Cube, the movie has just about everything one would love from the era; warm Californian landscapes, beach, boys from The Valley, skating baddies, famous skaters like Tony AlvaTony HawkChristian Hosoi and Steve Caballero, music and a live performance from nobody else than Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a totally bitchin’ title song of the same name from Meat Loaf.

After saving this one for later on for quite some time, I’m glad to say that Thrashin’ did definitely not disappoint. Comparing the two, Gleaming the Cube might edge it out slightly, but my suggestion? Watch them both and enjoy the ride!

80s-o-meter: 100%

Total: 91%

#1893 Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

A movie that I have earlier managed to mix up with Crimes of the Heart (likely due to somewhat similar posters), Hannah and Her Sisters is a routine work from Woody Allen.

Even so that I found myself drifting off multiple times when watching it. Allen plays his trademark neurotic self, and other cast is populated by the typical cultivated, cultured and self-interested New Yorker types. The main storyline is about the toned back husband played by Michael Caine having a crush on the sister of his wife, and struggling with his thoughts, and this part of the movie is interesting to some extend. The other storylines, not so much.

For me personally seeing Caine here was the high point of the movie, with everything else falling to the generic Woody land. Allen has done better, both before and afterwards.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 42%

#1877 Violets Are Blue (1986)

A romantic drama starring Kevin Kline and Sissy Spacek, Violets Are Blue (title sometimes followed with extra ’…’) depicts a long lost young love coming into life again as the Gussie (Spacek) returns to her home town for a brief vacation. Time has passed and lives have takes much different turns since the couple last saw, but they soon find themselves in a situation where the relationship cut short continues right where they left it some 15 years ago.

I admittedly had difficulties adjusting myself seeing Spacek in such a different role from her usual range, but both Spacek and Kline managed to sell the relationship to me with ease, and it was a pleasure seeing the two working together on a silver screen. The movie’s overarching theme of hard choices we make in life resulting in consequences with live with was also fully delivered, and relating to the situation the lead characters found themselves in was very relatable.

The movie itself did not grasp me on the same level than its theme did, and there were certain aspects and scenes in the movie that for me dragged the overall experience down from great to OK.

80s-o-meter: 83%

Total: 74%

#1875 Spiker (1986)

If this was 80s, Spiker had been as massive success and I was the editor of Mad Magazine, I would have mischievously named the parody a ”Stinker”. But, in this reality it’s 2024, and nobody in this world has ever heard of Spiker.

I have to give it Spiker that at least it is a bit different than your basic sports movie. But in this case it means it’s bit of a mess of elements from beach comedies, weird plots of the team travelling around the globe, trying to make it the national Olympic team and helping people behind the iron curtain. And then some stock footage of real USA volleyball team competing.

And then it suddenly ends.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 28%

#1869 Smorgasbord aka Cracking Up (1986)

Before Jim Carrey’s rise to fame, I often heard comparisons how Jerry Lewis was the true monarch of physical comedy. Upon watching some of Lewis’ work online, however, I remained unconvinced and thus was not particularly eager to delve into his comedies from the 1980s.

As it turned out, my experience with Smorgasbord (or Cracking Up as it’s more widely known) was even more disappointing than anticipated. The film showcases Lewis in a series of physical mishaps, including a prolonged scene where he comically struggles to get up on a sofa, occupying what feels like most of the movie’s running time.

The remainder of the film is peppered with disjointed, lackluster gags that seem to bear no relevance to the overarching narrative.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 7%

#1868 Shadow Play (1986)

A writers fiancé-to-be passes away, falling off a lighthouse in the eve of their wedding. And now a few years later upon leaving her life in New York and returning to their old house, she finds him reappearing to her in dreams and visions, and also faxing him through a typing machine.

Most importantly for the plot, he is also reappearing in flesh as his brother, so we have something of a supernatural love triangle here.

Atmosphere in Shadow Play is mostly ok, but ultimately the movie was just to soap opera alike and slow for my personal taste, due to the movie introducing multiple personas and side plots that never quite contribute to what the movie is lacking: thrill. Also, the supernatural events presented here required a leap of fate too big for me to take this time.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 31%

#1846 Halloween 2023: Torment (1986)

A psycho killer after women is loose, ending up in the house occupied by the girlfriend of the detective after him, and her mother-in-law to be.

As with The Stepfather movie, it’s the finding out an entirely unknown dark side of one’s close one that always personally feels the most haunting to me – which is the case also in Torment.

William Witt – a complete unknown to me – does a tremendous job in the role of the killer, making him totally believable, chillingly cold and menacing.

80s-o-meter: 86%

Total: 79%

#1844 Halloween 2023: Hunter’s Blood (1986)

It’s hard not to find a pattern after seeing so many horror movies, and in case of Hunter’s Blood it’s yet again clean cut city folks travelling to rural America – this time to do some hunting – and then getting attacked by maniacal rednecks.

But Hunter’s Blood plays its cards quite wisely here, and goes against the plot clichés often seen in this subgenre: the police isn’t evil, or trying to protect or help the hoodlum gang, the antagonists seem more close to real backwoods delinquents rather than the hillbilly caricatures, plus the movie does not rush into killings just for the case of showcasing blood, but instead takes its sweet time building up the characters and excitement. And it’s one of the most palm sweating, thrilling rides I’ve seen.

The fans of Billy Bob Thornton and Billy Drago will be delighted to know that both gentlemen can be see here in one of their early roles.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 75%

#1838 Halloween 2023: Dreamaniac (1986)

The award of least effort in a horror movie seems to go to Dreamaniac this year.

Haphazardly put together slasher with no real storyline and taking a place in a younger’s party with a summoned succubus doing all the killings is pretty much as uninteresting as movies come. The former porn director David DeCoteau even failed to get any of the females undressed for the gratuitous nudity the movie was clearly going after.

And yes, that VHS cover needs also addressing, touting to frame this straight to video release as something too gory for the silver screen, when we all know it was just plain too bad to ever see a theatrical release.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 72%

#1836 Halloween 2023: Ozone: The Attack of the Redneck Mutants (1986)

I’ve seen the premise before: country hicks getting infected by virus turning them into undead creatures. Bloodsuckers from Outer Space and Redneck Zombies were both surprisingly entertaining zombie movies, but Ozone: The Attack of the Redneck Mutants unfortunately falls far behind of both.

The movie makes a maximum effort of being just plain disgusting. There’s endless scenes of people turning into zombies, gushing black ooze and puking yellow excrement. On top of this the movie has been dubbed completely, with voice actors really working for their money adding all kinds of moaning, gushing and cacophony, making the movie really hard to watch through.

The zombies look, well, passable, but that’s just about the only good thing I can say about the movie.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 2%

#1817 Let’s Get Harry (1986)

On the surface an American trigger happy action comedy of heroic friends from small rural down travelling to Columbia to save their friend, Let’s Get Harry actually has a bit more depth than that to offer.

From the get go the movie is quite honest that the guys are way over their heads for a challenge of this proportion, and this is evident through the movie as self-doubt and cowardism that does not always turn into heroism, which I found extremely refreshing in a movie like this. Even the mercenary they hire for the mission has his flaws and sometimes misjudges the situation gravely.

The sprinkle on the top of this donut is the great cast, each of which bring something of their own into the mix.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 81%

#1807 Bad Girls Dormitory aka Bad Girls (1986)

Bad Girls Dormitory starts off as any sleazy women prison exploitation movie out there: someone innocent gets jailed, they go to prison with a sadistic warden, corrupt staff and strict picking order between the prisoners. Catfights and topless shower scenes aplenty.

Compared to the other similar sleaze out there, Bad Girls Dormitory landed somewhere in the lower rank, with shoddy production values and with the whole movie looking like it was shot in a backstage of an empty restaurant.

What I did not see coming thought was that in the third act Bad Girls Dormitory turns from below average prison exploitation to actually quite good and entertaining action movie. If the movie had relied only on this aspect, the movie could have been something of a gold nugget instead of the kind of turkey it is.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 45%

#1800 Last Resort (1986)

Last Resort is one of those silly and totally harmless comedies of the 80s that could have been almost entirely forgettable without the strong cast of Charles Grodin, John Ashton and Jon Lovitz starring in it. There just never was anyone better than Grodin to portray your average white collar American who when faced with huge adversities keeps on talking softly and agreably while building up thrilling amount of anger behind his polite smile.

There are also some gags here that genuinely made me laugh, like being stuck in a bungalow walls so paper thin that anyone can hear them speaking; upon discussing with his wife if they should make love they decide to pass on it, concluding the night by telling they love each other, to which their son replies that he also loves them.

Also the Lovitz’ character of a bartender not getting one word Grodin says to him, and often popping to scenes uninvited is a recurring gag that eventually managed to made me snicker.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 74%

#1796 P.O.W. the Escape aka Behind Enemy Lines aka Attack Force ’Nam (1986)

Look, I’ve seen so many movies about Americans going back and actually winning the Vietnam war that I either look into two interesting aspects: realism or the total lack of it. P.O.W. the Escape very much falls into the latter category.

The story here is about hard boiled ol’ Colonel Cooper with a track record of never leaving anyone behind, now being assigned to rescue prisoners of war from a sadistic Vietnamese camp run by officer who persuades Cooper to escort him out of the country with a gold treasure.

Charismatic David Carradine is the perfect lead for this schlock and it’s downright ridiculously funny how he is immune to all the gun fire. When everyone else holds back, Carradine just rushes in to demolish the whole village; there is never any feeling of real danger which is not optimal for a action thriller. Other than that, P.O.W. the Escape is made to entertain, and as such it does keep the good action pace going on to the very last minute.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 72%

#1789 The Devastator aka Kings Ransom aka The Destroyers (1986)

How would you like a movie like First Blood, but with multiple Rambos running around in the forest for the price of just one?

Enter The Devastator where a Vietnam vet reassembles his combat strike force to fight a horde of cannabis farming hoodlums in the California forests. And yes, there is even the corrupted Sheriff of a local small town after this bunch of John Rambos.

Compared to First Blood, this one is a paper thin show where no character or act of violence has any real weight to it: it’s just a bunch on random guys running and gunning around the mountains. One of the protagonists is a show wrestler kind of big guy who walks around laughing maniacally, and one of the real upsides of the movie is the moment he finally gets gunned down and rendered quiet.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 26%

#1786 Troll (1986)

Do you know which movie stars the brown haired pre-teen boy called Harry Potter Jr who’s interested in all kinds of magical and superstitious and gets sucked into an adventure full of weird mystical creatures, witches and such.

If you answered Troll, you are quite right! If you answered something else, you must have mixed up this masterpiece with some less known trivial pulp.

The house getting overtaken by Trolls and other magic creatures is bit of a weird mix made a bit in the vein of Gremlins, but does not manage to hit the same buttons in terms of adventure, scares, thrill and humour – but it does a pretty good job attempting it. While the Troll figure is well made, it’s not a strong antagonist lead in any sense of the word, but the remaining visual effects are actually executed much better than in your average movie of the era. Speaking of humour, there is a little song with wonderfully weird atmosphere to it, performed by the Troll army – something I will be looking to listening soon again.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 71%

#1760 Rad (1986)

With Rad we are closing in to what I would consider a 100% 80s rating: there’s BMX bikes, BMX baddies, evil businessmen, crazy futuristic gears, dance offs, radical and rebellious kids, and conservative parents and townsfolk, simply amazing pumping soundtrack – and the dreamy Lori Loughlin to top it all off.

It’s a sports movie, so there’s that certain formula everyone already knows – but then it just becomes the question of not how it will all and, but how entertaining the movie will be along the way. And Rad is admittedly pretty entertaining.

The Canadian shooting location does its very best to pass as an American small town. In all honesty I did not find Bill Allen to be the best choice for the lead role as he comes off a bit plasticky compared to many teen stars of the era – but he still manages to pull off the role as a something of a poor man’s Matthew Broderick.

80s-o-meter: 95%

Total: 87%

#1724 Working Girls (1986)

Not to be mixed with a similarly named Working Girl from 1988, the 1986 Working Girls takes a documenting approach to a work day of Manhattan prostitutes, and their clients.

I was informed that the team had done some research for the movie by visiting similar brother apartments and the end result feels quite believable. The story doesn’t take place in one of those crack house brothers often seen in action movies, and this is also not one of those glamorous penthouse brothels that the ultra rich visit. The same goes with the workers and the clients alive who conduct their business without making a big number out of it; this is just one day among the others.

It’s specifically the men visiting the shoppe that feel like they’ve been lifted straight out of real life clientele.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 67%