#1168 Halloween 2019: The Outing aka The Lamp (1987)

The Outing is your somewhat typical monster creature movie, with two notable variables: The creature itself is kind of a evil spirit living inside an old lamp, and the location of the movie is a museum that has acquired the lamp after it was stolen from an old mysterious lady.

While this setup works alright, I still got kind of a dejavú half way through the movie. Not for feeling if I had seen the movie before, but for guessing pretty much spot on how it all would unravel during the remaining 45 minutes, and as much as I’d wanted, The Outing didn’t offer any surprises there.

The strongest suit of The Outing remains its wonderful poster drawn by Drew Struzan. Unfortunately nothing else here reaches the same level of professionalism.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 51%

#1166 Halloween 2019: Slaughterhouse (1987)

Let’s get the bad out of the way first: Slaughterhouse is not particularly scary movie, but to be fair it doesn’t really aim to be one. And although it has that comedic / absurd side tone to it, it luckily doesn’t try to be one of those silly horror spoofs either.

But it does has the look and feel that makes you think if the director/writer Rick Roessler had read an imaginary, over the top horror tale from the Mad Magazine and then decided to turn it into an actual film. There’s an abandoned slaughterhouse, tale of a payback, a big dumb psychopath in the vein of Leatherface and naturally a bunch of teens and other outsiders who wander into the depths of the slaughterhouse and are greeted with a surprise.

Slaughterhouse is not without flaws and clichés but in this case they work for the movie’s benefit, making it a perfectly good fit for those Halloween movie nights with your friends.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 82%

#1154 Halloween 2019: Street Trash (1987)

Old stash of weird booze found in the basement of a liquor store turns the unfortunate ones drinking it into gooey liquid in Street Trash, an experience of a movie to say the least.

The main focus of the movie are naturally the imaginative death scenes that are unlike anything else seen on the screen and anyone interested in trashy effects will find them to warrant watching the movie by themselves. The time between these death scenes is filled with all kinds of imaginable filth from the dark side of mankind: violence, death, chauvinism, necrophilia, castration and rape, in a some kind of loose comic wrapper.

What differentiates the movie from similar trashy films is the quality of the production. The film looks genuinely good and the camera an FX work is solid. All this makes Street Trash a freak of a cult movie that Is incomparable to anything else I’ve seen to date and as such it’s one hard movie to recommend for anything else but to quench your curiosity.

Be aware though, whether you enjoy Street Trash or not might boil down to the state of your intoxication and/or level of medication.

80s-o-meter: 76%

Total: 57%

#1152 The Squeeze (1987)

Halfway through The Squeeze I noticed myself dozing off to ponder what grade should I give it. The movie was struggling to find its own tone of voice and although the movie looks good and features Michael Keaton it was clear this wasn’t going to be one of those definitive comedies of the 80s.

But before I finished writing the review in my head (”Easy to watch, somewhat enjoyable, but nothing much more”), the movie suddenly dropped all the excessive plot lines and really got down to business. From thereon it got better and better until the very end and I ended up really liking The Squeeze.

If only the writing had been a bit more tight during the first half of the movie, The Squeeze would’ve had a chance of not ending up in oblivion.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 83%

#1152 Leonard Part 6 (1987)

Bill Cosby who fared well as a stand-up comedian and triumphed as the all-American TV daddy pretty much brutally bombed on the silver screen during the 80s.

Leonard Part 6, the notoriously bad spy spoof movie written by Cosby himself picks the story up like the fame of the protagonist spy – now retired – had been established before, but in reality no previous Leonard movies or TV series exist. This is first of the many gags of the movie that belly flops.

Really the problem here is the inept script, along with the fact that Cosby himself is somewhat hard to stomach these days. Judging purely by the stills it actually looks like a half decent comedy, but run it from any timestamp for just one minute or more and you’ll soon understand what an unfortunate misfire the movie is.

The movie fails to provide one single laugh which really makes one thankful that the parts 1-5 don’t actually exist.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 11%

#1149 China Girl (1987)

China girl is a modern Romeo and Juliet kind of take on forbidden love between two youngsters of different ethnic backgrounds.

The movie establishes its fairytale like mood well right of the bat and mixes it up with some delicious eighties aesthetics and over the top dramatics.

The pacing of the movie works well, and what starts as a harmless rush soon escalates further and further out of control, keeping the viewer on the edge of their seat until the very end that wraps up true to its classic story origins.

80s-o-meter: 93%

Total: 87%

#1143 Deadly Prey (1987)

When setting out to starting this project, my hope was to find some super rare, wonderfully 80s, wonderfully outrageous B-movies that totally annihilate the entertainment scale. But, as it turned out, most B-movies are just that: cheap copies of better performing movies, shot with amateur actors and complete lack of any movie making skills.

And all this made discovering Deadly Prey even more of a treat, as the movie epitomises the very best that of an B-movie found on a worn out VHS tape has to offer. The movie has it all in terms of 80s action: Tons of explosions, survival, half-naked men, comical baddies and a vile revenge story.

Deadly Prey is so out there that it makes the likes of Rambo II look like a documentary. If you’re an 80s fan, you owe it to yourself to hunt this one down and watch it.

80s-o-meter: 101%

Total: 101%

#1142 Angel Heart (1987)

Although Angel Heart takes its cues from many classic film noir movies, I can’t say I’ve never seen a movie like it.

Taking place in Harlem and deep south and mixing in elements of black magic, suspense, horror and whodunnit, the atmosphere of the movie is build beautifully and is enough to keep one glued to the silver screen. Although I haven’t read the original 1978 novel, this might be one of those rare occasions where the ambience of the movie might equal or even surpass the book.

The movie also showcases Mickey Rourke at his very best, and if you’ve ever wondered what is the big deal with him I suggest having a look at this movie, and paying special attention to his choreography as he moves around the scene making it a stage of his very own.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 89%

#1139 Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)

Boasting an outrageous name even for a Troma movie, Surf Nazis Must Die does now unfortunately reach anywhere near the expectations set by the quirky title.

In fact, it’s a relatively tame show that lacks most of the wacky creativity often seen in Troma releases and it crossed my mind quite a few times that they thought of the title first and then ended up having nothing to actually follow up with it.

Suft Nazis Must Die is a movie that sounds cool on paper and looks better as still images than it actually works out as a movie.

80s-o-meter: 83%

Total: 27%

#1115 Beyond Therapy (1987)

Robert Altman was an interesting director who managed to create awful duds like Popeye as well as masterpieces that combine the best traits of both indie and Hollywood movies, like Streamers.

Beyond Therapy falls somewhere between these two. It is an artsy film that makes some annoyingly artsy and trivial choices just for the sake of it. A drama comedy about self-centred and neurotic New Yorkers struggling with relationships begs to be hated, but for one reason or another I did find the oddly off mood somewhat enchanting. And yet, I did hate the artsy move where Altman choose to locate the movie to Paris. And yet, I didn’t care for the plot at all.

Whatever there’s good about Beyond Therapy happens in small quirky moments when a dialogue leads the viewer on, only to take a sudden, unexpected 180 degree turn. Those did manage to make me smile every now and then.

80s-o-meter: 68%

Total: 42%

#1079 Hello Again (1987)

If you think about, considering that we all know movies are make believe it’s pretty amazing how much we’re willing to cut them some slack in terms of realism. We prefer a good story to realism and sympathise with characters we know never existed and it really takes a considerable load of baloney for us to lose our faith in the story.

Throughout its running time Hello Again tries these limits: Starting from improbable, moving onto unlikely, all the way through poppycock, ending somewhere between ridiculous, moronic – and downright painful.

I do love Shelley Long. She’s one great comedienne at her very best in easy going, fluffy comedies. But Hello Again is just too much nonsense for anyone with half a brain take in.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 39%

#1028 Throw Momma from the Train (1987)

Throw Momma from the Train, Danny DeVito’s feature film directional debut is a success.

The movie is never taxing to follow, visually pleasing and would’ve even withstood a somewhat longer cut; at its current running time of only 87 minutes, the great roleplay of Anne Ramsey is cut short and the nastiness of the mother from hell is never established quite enough. Not enough to warrant throwing her out from the train, at least.

The movie is based on the 1951 Hitchcock classic Strangers on a Train and does a smart move by not trying to hide this, but intertwining it as the central turn of events in the movie.

I do love nods like these in movies.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 85%

#1020 Outrageous Fortune (1987)

Bette Midler had a running streak of four solid comedies in just two years, all of which were solid box office successes.

Looking at Outrageous Fortune it’s no wonder: The movie is an obvious crowd pleaser and presses quite a lot of right buttons for moviegoers wanting a nice nonsense escape from reality for 90 minutes.

Personally I found all the agent nonsense totally unnecessary. The chemistry between Midler and Shelley Long works a treat and personally I would’ve been pretty happy just following the urban love triangle that was already well established and appetising. Luckily it all wraps up satisfactorily in the end in a finale done in the very best tradition of the 80s.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 71%

#1017 My Best Friend Is a Vampire (1987)

A spinoff of the teenage werewolf subgenre, My Best Friend Is a Vampire, an underdog of a horror comedy is one pleasant surprise.

The movie gets the mood right straight off the bat. Young Robert Sean Leonard – who’s only 17 at the time – makes for a perfect foundation for the timid teen undergoing the change of a lifetime.

Sure, it’s all done before, but My Best Friend Is a Vampire manages to find the tone of voice of its own, offering an entertaining little adventure that doesn’t just settle for recreating the most obvious clichés of the genre.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 85%

#1001 Mannequin (1987)

If a shopping mall doll coming to life as a real life woman sounds a bit far fetched, no worries; Mannequin has the back story covered from the get go as she’s helped by the Egyptian gods to escape an arranged marriage.

While its kind of a mess as a movie, its kind dodgy storyline, overacting and sheer stupidity become somewhat easier to stomach once you accept that you are actually watching a farce – or a modern fairytale – instead of your typical comedy. With this mindset even the nocturnal musical number inside the shopping mall gets not only tolerable, but actually pretty delightful.

The leads Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall pull through the nonsense with charm. On the other hand James Spader’s overacting as the shopping mall manager is really taxing to watch and the comedic talent of G. W. Bailey is wasted in the dimwit night watchman role written very much in the vein of his Police Academy Lt Harris – minus the funny.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 60%

#995 Less Than Zero (1987)

Andrew McCarthy, Robert Downey Jr and James Spader – the top talent of the era – join together in Less Than Zero, a somewhat plasticky, superficial take on the late 80s decadent lifestyle of the filthy rich.

The problem is that most of the movie’s runtime is used on just chasing after the main character on a drug hook, who just seems to get in a trouble time after another. The movie never has enough time to truly examine the ins and outs of being an addict, but offers a superficial, stylised take on the subject that has less depth than your average music video. Robert Downey Jr who is mostly irritating in most of his 80s roles is somewhat tiring also here, but already gives a glimpse into the future for the things to come with his raw portrayal of a remorseful addict on a withdrawal.

A pompous, melodramatic and wonderfully 80s take on the poor rich kids on cocaine, Less Than Zero is very recommendable as a study of the era, not so much as a serious drama film.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 61%

#991 Baby Boom (1987)

A successful New York executive receives an unexpected baby that turns their lives around and derives comedy through awkward situations with clumsy baby handling until they finally fall in love with the little one? Wait a minute. Is Baby Boom just a single mother version of the Three Men and a Baby?

That’s the way it very much looks like until the movie takes a somewhat different route and moves the show to a small rural town. It’s too bad that at the same time the movie gears towards a more traditional romantic comedy and all the clichés that go with the genre.

Baby Boom is harmless little comedy that raises a few interesting questions about women trying to make both the career and the family happen. I just wished it had the director had the courage to leave out the formulaic romantic comedy part that feels very much an unnecessary third wheel here.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 61%

#938 Fatal Attraction (1987)

One of the better known thrillers of the 80s, Fatal Attraction is a story about a lawyer who gets involved in a passionate sexual encounter with absolutely no strings attached – or a least so he thinks, until the relationship comes back to haunt him.

The movie does a terrific job laying out the motivations and relationships between the characters so that when things finally go south, the husband still earns our sympathy despite all that has happened. Glenn Close at first seems to make for the least threatening antagonist ever, but that’s part of the director Adrian Lyne’s plan, and the events that unravel later in the movie certainly gain a good surprise factor out of this equation. Also, the decision to make her exceptionally human and fragile really works for the movie’s benefit.

This unfortunately changes in the very last minutes of the film when the movie wonders a bit too far into the horror/slasher genre, which feels like a total faux pas. Fatal Attraction might not be the conversational topic it was when it was released back in 1987, but in many ways it’s still just as effective, relevant and recommendable.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 87%

#934 North Shore (1987)

North Shore is a surfing movie that at first seems like the most douche 80s piece of cinema: There’s surfer dudes, bikini girls and, like, totally groovy look and feel to it all. It was only after the actual surfing started that the movie seemed to find a tone of its own.

Don’t get me wrong. The depth of the movie is still on par with an average episode of Beverly Hills, 90210: The baddies are comical, there’s an idiotic subplot about a forbidden love and as it is a sports movie you pretty know how it is going to turn out in the end. Nevertheless, it has to be said that there’s a certain kind of undeniable enjoyment to watching the stunning Hawaiian setting coupled with some nice surfing action by the top surfers of the 80s.

North Shore is fluffy, insignificant movie that takes itself serious in a most adorable fashion. But it is also a decent escape if you need some surfing, ocean, endless summer mixed in with a dose of innocence of the youth.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 58%

#931 Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Directed with mastery by Stanley Kubrick Full Metal Jacket is a different kind of war movie consisting of individual segments all of which have been designed to stick. The barbershop opening scene, training bit, helicopter flight, tv interviews, getting pinned by the sniper all have became a part of pop culture imagery we now associate with Vietnam war.

As with any Vietnam War movie, the contemporary music plays a big part here as well, with tracks like The Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black and The Trashmen’s Surfin’ Bird. The ending scene as the soldiers march through the flaming ruins at the end, and join together in singing the Mickey Mouse club march, reminding us of the chilling of the end of an innocence.

A perfect movie in its own right, Full Metal Jacket is a flawless exercise in dark humour and sheer madness that is war.

80s-o-meter: 68%

Total: 100%