#1718 Listen to Me (1989)

Listen to Me is basically a sports movie, with physical college sports replaced with following events of an underdog debate team. And as such it’s a unique take on the sports genre, and it’s refreshing to see a sports movie that relies thought-provoking debates instead of the last second slowed down comebacks we’ve all seen way too many times over.

While the movie may not be nowhere accurate representation of real life college debate teams, it does tackle a controversial topic – pro life vs the right to abortion – which caused controversy among some parents upon the movie’s release.

It’s this controversial topic and well written dialogue that remains topical, making Listen to Me still relevant and thought-provoking to watch.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 71%

#1709 Halloween 2022: The Immortalizer (1989)

For the last two years I’ve plowed through an endless list of uninspired slashers, and it was this year that I got to reap the results of that sacrifice and got to see some horror movies with more interesting concepts.

If you’ve enjoyed action comedy horror movies similar to Dead Heat, the chances are high for you to find something to enjoy here as well. The Immortalizer is wonderfully 80s straight-to-video horror movie of bunch of evil scientist types sending out their mutant creations to kidnap young, beautiful people to give old ultra rich people a chance to live in their bodies through brain transplant.

Sure, it’s trashy and highly stupid movie – but also highly entertaining one, and the poor poster does not really give it the justice it deserves.

80s-o-meter: 94%

Total: 83%

#1706 Halloween 2022: Redneck Zombies (1989)

I’ve drawn the line to any movie to end up in my watching list to be shot in film as towards the end of the 80s the amount of VCR recorders skyrocketed and so did the bad movies made by amateur teams, especially in the horror genre.

But, although shot on video Redneck Zombies came with high recommendations from Troma Entertainment so there must be something they saw in the movie, right?

Redneck Zombies is funny, extremely gory and almost anarchistic in the same way that Bad Taste is, and the video treatment only adds to the atmosphere. It’s also shot and cut as a movie shot on a film would’ve, with some actual directing work done by Special Effects coordinator Pericles Lewnes. It’s odd, extremely poor in taste and utterly stupid, but for the people looking exactly for those things Redneck Zombies will provide in abudance.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 63%

#1694 Halloween 2022: Stepfather 2 (1989)

A sequel to the great 1987 The Stepfather is one of those movies propelled by the success of the original movie, without any original artistic merits in mind.

As a standalone movie Stepfather 2 would be quite an ok thriller, but compared to the first installation it offers so much less of everything. The story now concentrates on one family, when the earlier one managed to muscle in more people and still keep the story interesting, and this is the theme of the movie, a tamed down, VHS sequel of a great original.

The movie offers a good opportunity for the fans of Stepfather to see a little bit more of the same, and Terry O’Quinn is still great and charismatic as the lead. But truth be told, even that fans of the movie would be better off just rewatching the first one.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 72%

#1686 Halloween 2022: Nightwish (1989)

I was hoping to come across at least one interesting horror movie within this year, and it was formerly unknown to me Nightwish (not the be mixed up with a Finnish symphonic metal band of the same name) that unexpectedly managed to provide if not all, then at least much of something original and different to keep my interest up this Halloween.

Mixing elements of thriller, horror, exorcism, monster movies and even a flair of sci-fi together, Nightwish starts off quite safe and even boring, but ventures on to many uncharted territories in its dream like episodes of a group of graduate students trying to escape from a house possessed by an unknown force while being detained by a derailed professor.

Nightwish gets weirder and weirder towards the end – but always in a good and entertaining way. The final events might have been super banal in every other context, but given that Nightwish still is campy 80s horror by its nature, coupled with the fact that the movie plays this card quite well the ending turns out in a satisfying fashion. Sure, there were tons of aspects that I did not like or care for like the henchman of the antagonist professor, and it’s these aspects for which I have to demerit a few points from otherwise surprisingly entertaining movie.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 83%

#1683 Halloween 2022: Beyond Dream’s Door (1989)

Horror as a genre is something that seems to attract indie movie makers, and the results are often more clumsy and weird rather than scary.

Beyond Dream’s Door, a brainchild of an Ohio based director/writer Jay Woelfel is interesting due to its team of unknown actors and inexperienced crew being able create something that looks and feels like an actual movie. Woelfel’s directing is surprisingly solid, and the camera drives never feel odd or off, but rather professional throughout. The movie’s story of nightmares coming alive and haunting is interesting, and as the reality and dream world get mixed up together, the movie manages to capture the weird atmosphere it was going for in the first place.

But the story gets far too convoluted for its own good, and the monster effects – as nice as they are for an indie movie – must’ve worked much better in VHS tape hooked up to a CRT television rather than modern high resolution TV sets.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 60%

#1679 Halloween 2022: Beware! Children at Play (1989)

Creepy kids in movies are certainly nothing new, and Beware! Children at Play actually does remarkably bad in this sense. The kids lost in the forest and attacking adults don’t feel menacing at all, more like as if a teacher in a school had decided to direct a short film of scary kids in a forest.

But those who know the movie by its reputation already are aware what the movie is most well known for (and I don’t think I’m revealing any real spoilers here); it’s gory showdown in the that really caught me totally surprised, and I’m still not quite totally if what I saw actually took place in the movie.

Everything preceding this event is just a buildup to justify the ending, and if it’s quite unbelievably mind-boggling cult B-movie to have a laugh with your gorehound friends, Beware! Children at Play has got you covered. Those looking for actual scary movie and frightening events should look elsewhere.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 50%

#1660 Lisa (1989)

And interesting twist on similar thrillers where the main character gets into telephone conversations with a mysterious stranger, here that main character is Lisa, a 14-year old girl who can’t wait but to be grown up and not treated like the kid any longer.

This setup creates an extra layer of suspension as she is not only in the danger of being exposed to the main antagonist, but also trying not to get caught by her protective mother – although in this case we root for the mother to find out and stop the calling before things escalate any further.

Lisa makes for one of the better thrillers of the era while being a true time capsule of its era.

80s-o-meter: 93%

Total: 83%

#1659 Hitcher in the Dark aka Fear in the Dark aka Return of the Hitcher (1989)

An Italian horror movie directed by Umberto Lenzi leveraging off the success of The Hitcher (1986), Hitcher in the Dark is very different from its paragon, but for the good: it delivers the uttermost tension seen in the original Hitcher, but manages to successfully stand on its own.

Hitcher in the Dark would not have worked if it was tame, and it acknowledges this by making some very dark moves along the way that really work for the movie’s advantage. It leaves the viewer with an uneasy feeling, with no wish to ever engage into hitching a ride from a stranger.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 79%

#1655 Beyond the Stars (1989)

It’s hard to fathom a bad movie and bad acting from Martin Sheen – yet here it is in the shape of Beyond the Stars.

The manuscript my the director David Saperstein is nothing short of idiotic and unconvincing, and it is painful to watch Sheen struggling through portraying a retired astronaut troubled with his extraterrestrial conflicts. It is especially the idiotic conclusion that still wants me to facepalm, almost two weeks after finishing the movie.

The fans of Christian Slater will probably find something to like here as Slater gives one of his cookie cutter performances of the 80s, but others should probably steer away.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 37%

#1641 Gleaming the Cube (1989)

What do you get when you put 80s up and coming skating legends like Mike McGillMark ”Gator” RogowskiRodney MullenLance MountainMike VallelyNatas Kaupas, Tony Hawk and Tommy Guerrero into the same movie with young Christian Slater on the top of his game, mix it up with a kick ass soundtrack and Californian scenery?

A totally rad 80s action adventure movie – that’s what.

Gleaming the Cube is enjoyable on most of its aspects and a movie that offers tons of aspects that make it worth revisiting time and time again.

80s-o-meter: 100%

Total: 92%

#1639 Blades (1989)

Blades – a silly movie about a killer lawnmower loose in a golf course sounds 100% like a Troma Entertainment production.

Or does it? Compared to the zany Troma movies of the earlier 80s, Blades feels almost playing it safe and trying to cater for some big enough niche audience: the creative anarchy is missing, but on the other hand Blades is actually quite well-rounded movie with some real budget and effort put into it. Even so that the silly machine antagonist feels like a faux pas, and the movie could have fared much better if it didn’t want to be so much tongue in cheek.

While the lack of a good baddie makes Blades a disappointment, it’s still an easy to watch and enjoyable disappointment for the most parts – especially if you are a golf aficionado. It was especially the shaky golf pro lead who was written as a counterweight for typical movie male characters that made Blades feel interesting and fresh.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 65%

#1637 Big Man on Campus (1989)

Big Man on Campus is one of those movies with a super annoying character that you genuinely hope would start growing on you so that watching through the movie would not turn into complete torture. Here that character is a degenerated hunchback living in a bell tower in a campus where he gets discovered by two students and their professor, played by Tom Skerritt.

Ok so it does take quite awhile, but when the wild man starts to take his first clumsy steps into the civilised world the movie stopped rubbing me the wrong way, and I found myself finally rooting for the character.

Big Man on Campus has multiple weak moments that should have ended in the cutting room floor, but luckily the crudest and most boorish humour is absent, making it actually quite tolerable comedy.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 70%

#1633 Dr. Alien aka I Was a Teenage Sex Maniac aka I Was a Teenage Sex Mutant (1989)

An intentionally campy sci-fi comedy, Dr. Alien is one of those movies that could have gone either way gambling on trying to be fun and weird. It’s more often than not when these kind of comedies end up just awkwardly weird.

People getting into playing this sort of movie know what they are subscribing to, and Dr. Alien pretty much delivers what it promises, ending up in the ”better” end of the spectrum – again, for those who know what they are looking for when watching an 80s high school sex comedy.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 69%

#1621 Over-sexed Rugsuckers from Mars (1989)

An indie scifi comedy of aliens made out of silly putty who cross breed humans and a vacuum cleaner and then urinate to a bottle, making a hobo fall in love with the vacuum.

Well, there you pretty much have it.

These kind of lame film school exercises were never my cup of tea, and the same goes for Over-sexed Rugsuckers from Mars. There’s some attempt to humour that felt fresh and imaginative, but really – a movie should not be the form for delivering a few one-off jokes buried inside 80 minutes of uninteresting fill material.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 8%

#1613 Think Big (1989)

The second movie featuring The Barbarian Brothers isn’t bad one either.

In fact, it is pretty enjoyable one – flawed no doubt, but easy to watch and something I would consider a near-perfect rental for a late 80s stay at home Friday night.

A road trip comedy, Think Big is ultimately a spitting image of its two leads: often childish and silly, at times annoying and stupid – but always with a heart.

80s-o-meter: 93%

Total: 79%

#1603 Halloween 2021: Rush Week (1989)

After the early 80s flood of slashers the sub-genre suffered a quiet death which quite honestly was not a bad thing. The slashers did see a small scale comeback towards the end of the 80s, and although none of those slashers got anywhere near as much fame as the previous generation did, at least this time around the movies were generally more interesting, and not just blatant copies of the genre icons.

Rush Week is one of those movies that definitely gains a lot of being a late 80s release. The movie looks good, is entertaining for the most parts, the lead and the events are likeable, and all that sweet 80s culture from yuppies to home computers can be found here.

On the downside the movie is quite forgettable and typical to the late 80s slashers Rush Week also suffers from featuring a weak antagonist.

80s-o-meter: 93%

Total: 70%

#1595 Halloween 2021: Edge of Sanity (1989)

Eroticism, lust and decadence are the main themes here, and the movie is more of a cheap late night peep show rather than a horror movie. I know it was Perkins himself that has agreed to make the movie, but still seeing him in a humiliation like this almost turns my stomach.

The worst Halloween movie and quite possibly one of the worst horror movies I’ve seen to date comes from a very unexpected place. Anthony Perkins of the Psycho fame stars in this erotic Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde movie, but unlike the quite capable 80s Psycho sequels, Edge of Sanity is an irritatingly bad movie.

Edge of Sanity is one of those rare movies that one does not only without any merits or redeeming qualities, but that you start to hate so much you hope they never actually existed.

80s-o-meter: 1%

Total: -1%

#1593 Halloween 2021: Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes aka Amityville Horror IV (1989)

..and Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes is where the series gets stupid again. The evil has escaped from the Amityville house in a form of a brass floor lamp(!) and is now tormenting a new place.

Other than that the movie plays heavily with typical the genre clichés, like priests teaming up against the evil.

Amityville 4 is the first movie in the series to be made for TV – and frankly that should’ve been a cue for the team to leave skip the project and dedicate their time on something else.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 35%