#1720 Lust for Freedom (1987)

I could not be less interested in women prison exploitation movies that saw their hay day in late 70s and early 80s, but Lust for Freedom being a Troma release and kind of late to the show, I was hoping there to be something different of interest here.

Well, there is — kind of. Right off the bat the movie starts off with a better background story of a woman underground police officer quitting her job after traumatic events and wandering into to a small town with its law enforcers running a human trafficking ring. What follows is basically every cliché of the exploitation movies out there, only. turned to 11; there’s more blood, more action, more cat fights, more nudity and more of other x-rated filth the fans of the genre are looking forward to.

Personally I still find the whole genre irrelevant to my movie taste, but I do have to give credit to Lust for Freedom for really going overboard with everything, and at least making it somewhat interesting to plow through.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 61%

#1710 Halloween 2022: My Demon Lover (1987)

There’s little fun to be had with movies that introduce a concept doomed to fail, and then fail, but amazingly lot of entertainment when the opposite happens.

My Demon Lover is one of those cases where something I absolutely hated on paper – A street musician becoming a demon when sexually aroused and attacking women – surprises and finds an interesting tone of its own, ending up more of a romantic comedy, sprinkled with some dark, grim humour.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 71%

#1701 Halloween 2022: Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II aka The Haunting of Hamilton High (1987)

Canada produced a number of horror movies in the 80s, many of them mimicking having being shot in USA. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is one of these movies that deserve their place in this blog for a number of reasons. Shot as an independent movie but renamed as a sequel to the 1980 slasher Prom Night after being purchased by Samuel-Goldwyn Company, the movie really makes a good imitation of a an USA movie of the era, looking and feeling as American as an apple pie.

But first and foremostly: it is a solid horror movie in the best tradition of the 80s – and while not the most scariest movie out there, it is definitely one of the most entertaining ones.

The movie plays with many cliches successfully, but really finds its one tone of voice, and never feels tired of forced. The school party night is a great setting for the movie and only gets better with imaginative kills, dancing corpses and the always awesome Michael Ironside as the school principal thrown into the mix, making Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II one hard movie to pass.

80s-o-meter: 96%

Total: 87%

#1697 Halloween 2022: Monster in the Closet (1987)

Taking design cues from the endless stream of monster movies of the 50s, Monster in the Closet is a horror comedy showcasing an extraterrestrial monster living in the shared space that apparently connects every bedroom closet in the world.

Released by Troma in 1987, the movie takes place in the 80s, but with certain 50s small town flair. Similarly to those classic monster movies, the army is paged in to help, only to find out their bullets or missiles do no harm at all.

The concept may sound silly – it is – but Monster in the Closet makes mostly the best out of it. Mostly, because there is still a lot of design choices here that I can agree with and that end up hurting the movie. The silly looking monster is kind of cool as long as it stays in the closet, but loses a lot of its appeal as when exposed to the viewers for far too long time.

80s-o-meter: 57%

Total: 65%

#1693 Halloween 2022: Blood Sisters aka Slash (1987)

A potential candidate for the worst horror movie of this Halloween, Blood Sisters takes place in an old bordello where a group of youngsters are spending a night in.

The concept, and overall execution is the tamest and lamest in ages, basically just following bunch of different people wandering around the house, getting inexplicably swept into the events of the erotic events of the house and then getting killed.

The ending of the movie is just as appalling as anything seen before it, very much as expected. Blood Sisters is bad even in the scale of slashers – and that’s saying something.

80s-o-meter: 45%

Total: 7%

#1692 Halloween 2022: Ghost Riders aka Ghostriders (1987)

A gang of vicious outlaws from wild west era arrive to current day to shoot at a family whose forefather was involved in hanging their leader.

While the title of the movie gets the imagination running, the execution itself is much more on the boring side: the antagonists appear just as regular cowboys with unshaved shins and shoot at their victims from a distance, and could have as well been a local gang of drunkards.

Ghost Riders gets the menacing feeling right at times, but much of a horror movie this ain’t, despite the supernatural theme.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 35%

#1688 Halloween 2022: Retribution aka Retribution: The Ultimate Nightmare (1987)

A good reminder to never judge a book by its cover, Retribution was the movie I looked the least forward to seeing this year after having seen its less than stellar poster a few times before.

Right off the bat the movie feels off and twisted, but in a good way. After surviving a suicide attempt a sympathetic artist George starts to experience violent nightmares leading to people getting killed. But it’s most interestingly a good an interesting array of well written characters and their often warm relationship with each other that makes Retribution stand out.

But, the movie also delivers in the horror aspect. The violent dreamlike episodes feel quite effective in contrast to the quiet and serene nature of the movie. This extends to the very end of the movie that delivers on all aspects of a first class horror movie.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 87%

#1652 In the Mood aka The Woo Woo Kid (1987)

In the Mood is another movie that very likely would not be made today due to its controversial theme of an underage boy falling in love and getting into relationship with married women.

In fact, I was at first curious how the movie was even made back in 1987, until learning that it’s based on the true story of one Sonny Wisecarver, and it was only after that that I begun to enjoy the movie a bit more, as it felt much more credible from thereon. Patrick Dempsey did not seem to mind to portray the young casanova, and it’s all done in a quite uplifting mood and good spirit, and I for one never felt like it was made to promote such activity. This is furthermore aided by the fact that the movie takes places in the 1940, when the times likely were a bit different.

In the Mood will not go into my pile of movies to watch again, but for what it is, it’s still a feel good movie with a lot of good things going for it.

80s-o-meter: 32%

Total: 63%

#1635 War Cat aka Angel of Vengeance (1987)

There’s a group of survivalists living in a desert that after clashing with a motorcycle gang decide to make a game of human hunting out of one of the females. Needless to say it does not go as planned as she decides to fight back instead.

War Cat revisits the often seen human hunting / female revenge concept, and does not bring anything that new to the mix. It does perform as expected, so those who are fans of the genre will find something here to spend easy 90 minutes with.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 61%

#1612 The Barbarians (1987)

The first movie I’ve seen featuring David and Peter Paul – aka The Barbarian Brothers – the aptly named The Barbarians is an Italy – USA co-production shot in the lush landscapes and forests of central Italy, perfect for an adventure movie.

And the movie is actually pretty darn well made, starting from the basic technical aspects and camera work, all the way to the extensive set design. The brothers bring their unique flair to the movie – although it has to be said that I could have done without their constant, highly annoying snorting.

Still, the brothers manage to be lovable goofballs, and The Barbarians was actually an adventure comedy I enjoyed quite a bit more than most of the sword and sorcery movies I’ve seen lately.

80s-o-meter: 84%

Total: 83%

#1599 Halloween 2021: Deadly Daphne’s Revenge aka The Hunting Season (1987)

Deadly Daphne’s Revenge kind of shouldn’t be in this Halloween feature, but little did I know it wasn’t strictly speaking a horror movie, but more of a thriller. It seemed to be made in the vein of I Spit On Your Grave and its numerous 80s copies, but what it ends up is kind of a made for TV style movie that looks like it was shot in mid seventies, with quite terrible acting, a few quite interesting plot twists, and an ending gone horribly wrong.

It’s in this ending that the movie finally claims its name, and introduces some horror elements, but .. well … it’s just plain stupid, isn’t it.

80s-o-meter: 50%

Total: 43%

#1581 Halloween 2021: A Return to Salem’s Lot (1987)

A continuum to the 1979 CBS TV adaptation of the Stephen King’s 1975 novel of the same name, Larry Cohen’s A Return to Salem’s Lot is in independent continuum to the the series where a reporter is persuaded into writing a comprehensive history of the vampires occupying the small fictional town of Jerusalem’s Lot.

I don’t know how faithful is the newer version to the original, not having either watched the mini series or read the book, but on the surface it seems that only the overall theme is used, along with the main antagonist from the TV series being used on the VHS cover, likely to have a stronger connection with the original. In this sequel the character is not to be found.

But a quite decent vampire movie is to be found here. Michael Moriarty has always been quite a mixed bag for me, but here he does well, and the weird co-existence with the vampiric townsfolk is interesting to watch. The real delight of the movie though is Samuel Fuller in the role of Dr. Van Meer, an old eccentric vampire killer.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 70%

#1576 Halloween 2021: Aerobicide aka Killer Workout (1987)

Somebody is wasting people inside a small gym. And instead of closing it down, the gym is kept running while mutilated bodies fall out of every locker room and broom closet. Because, why not?

Aerobicide is light weight entertainment with light weight slasher elements in it. The movie never manages to be quite scary and the writer/director David A. Prior does not seem to have any elementary clue of how to build up suspense; the movie just moves from one killing to the next, and they viewer could not care less who’s next one to go. The same shallowness worked well in Prior’s Deadly Prey, but here everything just feels far too fluffy.

I did like the theme although Aerobicide does not do much with it. I mean, what could be more 80s than aerobics, sweat bands and leg warmers? Plus it seems to act as a quite potent padding material, filling up many precious minutes out of the movie’s measly running time of just 79 minutes.

80s-o-meter: 94%

Total: 38%

#1574 Halloween 2021: I Was a Teenage Zombie (1987)

Don’t let the (relatively) nice poster fool you: I Was a Teenage Zombie is a shoelace budgeted, amateurish horror movie that has nothing to offer but horrible production quality and bad makeup.

And it’s not even the teenage main character that gets turned into a zombie but a 70s style hispanic pimp (read: falls into a river and climbs up with his face mucked with green body paint). Then, he then goes around humping people. I kid you not.

You have to wait until the one hour mark for anything interesting to happen to the actual teenager, and even after that it’s not too interesting. He gets body painted in a similar fashion and walks around cluelessly until he fights the pimp, and the end credits roll.

It’s not every day that one comes across something this inadequate.

80s-o-meter: 52%

Total: 0%

#1571 Halloween 2021: Berserker (1987)

A good rule of thumb is that what it comes to horror and suspense, it’s not what you see, but what you don’t.

But Berserker takes all this too far by spraying all the scenes full of thick machine fog that makes it hard to make see just about anything. The concept of some ancient viking who would be possessed by a Berserker rage making them strong enough to fight a bear is there only to later demonstrate some bear handler wrestling with a grizzly.

Plus, the whole concept is just another spinoff of your tired slasher formula where a group of horny teenagers wander off to a remote forest, have sex and get killed. And that norse supernatural nonsense does not make that formula any more interesting.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 28%

#1570 Halloween 2021: Dark Tower (1987)

Contesting for the stupidest horror movie concept this year, Dark Tower tries to sell the viewer an idea of an evil office tower that is out to get the architect.

The concept of the high altitude office building horror reminded me of Michael Moriarty’s earlier Q – The Winged Serpent, but has quite a bit less of everything going for it. And unlike the earlier Spellbinder, the movie does not manage to sell the supernatural concept at all, ending up just plain stupid.

I was hoping that at least the movie could get some additional mileage out of its exotic location of Barcelona, Spain, but the movie does not embrace this aspect at all, and could’ve been shot in any generic office in any generic city.

80s-o-meter: 58%

Total: 11%

#1567 The Last Fling (1987)

John Ritter and Connie Sellecca, both seasoned TV and made for TV movie actors star in this TV movie made by ABC. As far as made for TV movies go, this one fares very well, resembling your quite average feature film made with a modest budget, and actually got distributed widely as a rental movie as well.

Ritter plays a popular playboy grown tired of one night stands, while Sellecca portrays a role of a fiancée who goes out to try to match her groom’s wild stag party – with dire consequences.

The story is nothing to write to home about, but solid acting work of both leads and good production quality make The Last Fling an a-ok time passer.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 72%

#1566 Tin Men (1987)

Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito, the two best disgruntled, conning scoundrels ever on the silver screen in a movie where they get involved in a massive feud? Sign me in!

Honestly, the movie seems such a good fit for both personas it feels like it was written specifically with these two gentlemen in mind. A story that starts from one bad day and unfortunate accident between two rivalling house aluminium siding salesmen soon gets out of hand, and what seems an bitter downward spiral escalating further and further soon turns out a totally unexpected, beautiful love story.

An already enjoyable comedy, surprisingly it’s this romantic part of Tin Men that ends up its strongest asset.

80s-o-meter: 0%

Total: 91%

#1558 Border Radio (1987)

When you see a black and white in the movie netting a mere 5.4 average in IMDb, it usually means the the movie does not even enjoy a strong cult following – so you know you’re not probably going to have a particularly good time with this particular title.

And this is the case with Border Radio as well. As with many other similar indie movies, Border Radio seems to be all about style over substance, and the characters and what we really know about them evolves very little during the 90 minute runtime. Sure, we get exposed to the faces a lot and they grow onto us that way, but it’s still a far cry from really connecting with any of them.

The movie and it’s southern California scenery look nice though.

80s-o-meter: 43%

Total: 22%

#1547 Lost (1983)

Ok, my bad. I should have checked the description of Lost to understand that it’s in fact a family movie, and I’ve ruled them out of my watching list.

It was only after 30 minutes of watching Lost that this became painfully obvious as nothing of actual interest seemed to take place. The pinnacle of the movie is the main character getting lost in a desert and meeting an old guy there before being found.

Lost feels like trying super hard to be a Disney TV movie, but does everything a bit worse and in a bit worse quality than Disney family movies of the 70s (that were already quite dreadful).

80s-o-meter: 8%

Total: 3%