#1847 Halloween 2023: Witchcraft II: The Temptress (1989)

Just when I thought the Witchcraft was an useless horror movie, enters its sequel Witchcraft II: The Temptress.

A kind of continuum of the witch story seen in the first movie, the second part builds its story upon an evil vamp seducing the now grown up baby from the prequel, with the hope of him becoming the supreme warlock. Gone is the little budget there was in the first installation, and everything here from writing to effects is subpar. Having much too old actors play teenagers is the ongoing joke with the 80s movies, but this movie really takes things to another level.

Probably the only good thing I can say about Witchcraft II: The Temptress is that it is the last one one in made during the 80s in the Witchcraft series of movies that has spawned a whopping 15 sequels to date, and that I don’t have to sit through the remaining 14.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 24%

#1841 Halloween 2023: B.O.R.N. aka Merchants of Death (1989)

With this stack of movies you never quite know what you’re going to get. Ok, so B.O.R.N. was not much of a horror movie despite the evil plot of of organ harvesting clinic, but as a thriller it turned out to be one of the most impactful movies I’ve seen in ages.

Perhaps thanks to its attempt to be a horror movie the action here is quite top notch, and the ruthless actions of the criminal organisation kidnapping people is just plain vile. As you’d expect of people who see people as a commodity to make some bucks.

The way that the soundtrack is integrated to the movie felt odd and music video like at times, but did not really feel like a faux-pas in this otherwise decent thriller.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 75%

#1839 Halloween 2023: The Chilling (1989)

The Chilling is one of those B-movies that fell in between of being of a good enough quality for the masses, while also failing to gain a cult status for themselves as many horror movies do.

While the story of people in cryogenic sleep waking up to terrorise a facualty was never a contender for Oscars, I did enjoy the overall theme and atmosphere here. And while movie is cheaply put together, there’s nothing totally bad in here. The reanimated corpses are vicious and look menacing.

The handsome, chiselled Dan Haggerty makes for a great charismatic hero who single handedly manages to bring up the movie a notch or two.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 72%

#1835 Halloween 2023: Family Reunion (1989)

I believe there is an ok horror movie somewhere to be found in Family Reunion; I like most of the individual pieces presented here like the setting of the ghost town, mysterious cult and an old forgotten secret.

But Family Reunion can never quite put these elements into order that makes sense for the viewer and the storytelling lacks the depth needed to make us empathise with the characters and comprehend their choices. I found myself constantly excited of events on the screen, but then ending up trying to connect the dots between events and people in a hope that it would all make sense somehow.

Despite all of this the movie did have a good atmosphere to it, and was never too much of a chore to watch. Rather, it was the constant feeling of the movie not fully living up to its potential that felt the disappointment for me.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 59%

#1834 Halloween 2023: Psycho Cop (1989)

Piggybacking on the success of Maniac Cop, Psycho Cop strips out pretty much everything that made its paragon great, keeps what doesn’t and introduces elements that nobody asked for.

For example turning the concept to a basic teen slasher taking place in a remote location, at the time where slashers were already a yesterday’s story.

While Maniac Cop played it smart with its antagonist police officer and kept him as something of an enigma, Psycho Cop is nowhere near as smart. Here he is just a stupidly grinning police killing people in the daylight, armed with an irritating laughter laughter that could peel paint off the walls.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 21%

#1829 Halloween 2023: Epitaph aka Mommy’s Epitaph (1987)

For me the movies of a family member – someone you ought to trust – turning out to be evil is one of the most effective forms of horror. This is the premise Epitaph is built upon.

And there’s a lot going for the movie. The family protecting the secret of a psychopathic mother and hoping that everything will end up well, the young daughter balancing between the horrors of the family and making an attempting to fit into her new school all work well. The movie also invites the viewer to witness the madness as sort of a voyeuristic, documentary style.

It’s only too bad the movie isn’t very well made which unfortunately spoils a lot of what the movie could have offered. The pacing and endless zooms in and out of the mansion feels tiring and the feeling of the team working at the very edge of their skills steals the viewer’s focus of what could otherwise been a nice little horror story.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 58%

#1827 Halloween 2023: Iced (1989)

By 1989 you would have thunk that there was enough slashers for the filmmakers to take notes of, stand on the shoulders of the greats and deliver something new.

For the team behind Iced this certainly has not been the approach.

An amaterish slasher taking place in a small cabin in some ski resort, the movie fails to deliver on all fronts: originality, suspense, horror and gory deaths, and it’s really hard to think of anyone outside the close family and friend circle of the movie crew to enjoy this train to Dullsville.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 8%

#1826 Halloween 2023: Buried Alive (1989)

Buried Alive is such incoherent mess that I’m really quite not sure where to even start. There’s some juvenile delinquent schooling centre with just girls in it, run by lunatic personnel and with a new teacher being dropped in the middle of all of this.

The movie draws random horror movie elements from left, right and center and nothing of it really seems to fit together. There’s disappearance of the girls, a murky basement, visions of tormented people and people being trapped behind brick walls. And if all of the previous sounded cool, I assure it was not.

The movie is shot in South-Africa with some veteran actors like Robert Vaughn, Donald Pleasence and John Carradine hired just for their name and I can’t help but to think that three gentlemen would have come up with a much better horror movie brainstorming just 15 minutes together.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 31%

#1809 Fortress of Amerikkka (1989)

Resembling more of a video game than a movie, Fortress of Amerikkka follows an alternative reality in a small rural town somewhere in America where corrupt Sheriff and crazed militia group fight for the power and terrorise the citizen.

Like many other movies distributed by Troma, Fortress of Amerikkka is more of a experience that has a little bit of everything low brow and exploitative, and of course lots of bad acting and naked skin just for the heck of it and as an action movie it’s just a bit entertaining than it really deserves to be.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 71%

#1806 Miss Firecracker (1989)

I’ve seen my fair share of 80s comedies that classify themselves quirky. You know, the ones where every character is off just a little. The problem is that this quirkiness, meant to create memorable characters with lovable peculiarities often falls short and the characters feel forcefully written and acted, and often come across plain annoying.

Miss Firecracker gets all of this right. With its cast of a young girl (Holly Hunter) dissatisfied of her life and wanting to change the course of her life by entering a local beauty contest, and her two cousins Delmount (Tim Robbins) and Elain (Mary Steenburgen) with equally interesting traits to them the movie is just plain entertaining and soothing to watch.

80s-o-meter: 54%

Total: 93%

#1794 Family Business (1989)

First of all, let it be known that if I had Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick to my avail, Family Business is not the movie I would have made.

That being said, let’s see what we have here. A quite mediocre and far fetched crime comedy about three generations of men whose grandpa is something of a small time thug, and the father is a recovering criminal, now a jefe in the meat packing industry. Three of them decide to go ahead and do a heist for some experimental science stuff, and of course it doesn’t go as planned.

The following events kind of tie the broken family together, but in a way that’s never satisfying, or something I could take with me as a memory or a lesson for life. Life your own life and don’t do what your gramps wants, maybe?

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 60%

#1794 American Rampage (1989)

I’m not quite sure whether to call this one a harmless or useless action movie. In any case, the world would have remained the same even if American Rampage never existed.

The movie does a little of everything seen elsewhere in the genre, but with less oomph and craftsmanship. The female lead seems like a nice change of pace on the surface, but remembering that this is still at heart a woman revenge movie, American Rampage feels less like something new and fresh, stinking more of a typical exploitation movie of the era.

Speaking of which – since there is not enough content here to fill a VHS tape, the movie is padded with numerous far too long nude scenes to help the movie make it to to the 90 minute mark.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 21%

#1788 Girlfriend from Hell (1989)

An evil spirit possesses a nerdy girls who becomes a vamp draining the life out of all the few guests taking part in a teen get together.

Here’s a part of Girlfriend from Hell that actually works to an extend, and I wished the movie would’ve double downed on this premise, with party guests missing one by one, upping the ante as the last few ones figure things out. Unfortunately the latter half of the movie concentrates on the God’s bounty hunter after the spirit, depicted in the spirit of a cheapo scifi movie.

The scifi part I don’t mind, but the character is just too weak and out of place to carry the movie that quite disappointingly comes to a total halt in a moment where it should really take off.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 60%

#1787 Future Force aka C.O.P.S. (1989)

80s was an interesting era for David Carradine: while his star was falling (before the 2003 comeback in Kill Bill) he performed in around 40 movies during the period. Needless to say that’s a heck of a lot of movies.

Future Force is one of his many low budget movies, directed straight for video rental market. He plays the part of a headhunter working for a loose organisation of misfits called C.O.P.S (Civilian Operated Police SystemsCivilian Operated Police Systems) somewhere in the distant future of 1994. There’s nothing much noteworthy in the movie, and if it wasn’t for Carradine’s great screen presence there wouldn’t be much of a film here. That being said, Carradine does manage to lift the movie from being totally forgettable, to barely enjoyable.

If Future Force ticked your interest, you’ll be delighted to know the movie received a sequel called Future Zone in 1990.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 53%

#1785 Rosalie Goes Shopping (1989)

Rosalie Goes Shopping is a quirky little comedy about a quirky German family whose quirky mother who effortlessly switches between being the caring mother showering her family with all kinds of presents – and then turning into a con artist to support this lavish life style

Quirkiness can be a double edged sword, and I’ve seen it go south more than once in this movie journey. But Rosalie Goes Shopping does all of it right, and the family remains lovable no matter how unrelatable their peculiarities are. It’s especially the father Brad Davis who comes across lovable in his child like enthusiasm.

Davis replaced Fred Ward whom the film team failed to get for the role, and he performs the role admirably, possessing the same sort of undeniable rugged charisma.

80s-o-meter: 40%

Total: 68%

#1775 Alien Private Eye aka Space Detective (1989)

Something of a cult classic, Alien Private Eye starts weird until it turning into pretty much basic B-level action movie. The plot goes that there’s a guy from a faraway planet that resembles earth visiting earth and working as a private detective. There’s also a drug spreading from his planet called Soma, the alien he has pointy ears and he has some kind of wearable shooting suit in the end.

Aaaand this is pretty much as much as there’s scifi in this movie. Not much of the scifi aspect is backed in any way, and the movie could have very well done without the forced intergalactic connection.

As the weirdness fades away and we are left with the B-movie remains, that action is not bad at all, but everything before that is just so jarring that I won’t be looking forwards to seeing this movie again any time soon.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 31%

#1766 Sonny Boy (1989)

Sonny Boy, a story of a criminal clan living in the New Mexico desert, who raise a young boy, Sonny, as a weapon to take revenge on their enemies, is one challenging film to classify. Through flashbacks and vignettes, the audience is shown the abuse, endurance tests, and deprivation Sonny is forced to endure to transform him into an animalistic avenger. The film is open to multiple interpretations and is not a routine or formulaic exploitation film. It could be seen as a cruel, contemporary fairy tale or an allegory about child abuse – or, very well as an anarchistic commentary on normalcy and conformity.

Director Robert Martin Carroll creates a dream-like atmosphere that is closer to the cinema of David Lynch, with the desert setting, the muted colors, and soft-focus cinematography. The performances of the cast are eccentric but appropriate for the characters and storyline. Paul L. Smith commands the screen as a monstrous brute of a father figure, Brad Dourif excels in his portrayal of a ratboy like sociopathic accomplice and David Carradine gives totally unexpected, but memorable role as Pearl, who tries clumsily to act as the only thing closer to a family member, and a mother figure for Sonny Boy.

Despite the film’s eccentric storyline and grotesque characters, it is hard to imagine an indifferent viewer as Sonny Boy is a film that will definitely polarize its audience – you’ll either tune out immediately or watch in fascination and disbelief.

80s-o-meter: 40%

Total: 70%

#1755 Luther the Geek (1989)

Luther the Geek (geek referring to a circus freak) is a horror movie that revolves around a psychopathic killer released from prison, only to immediate resuming his killing spree.

The makers of the movie aimed to create a character that would be off-putting and revolting, and they certainly succeeded as Luther is one of the characters I hope never to see in another movie. His appearance is reminiscent of the classic movie villain, Nosferatu, but with a much more gruesome method of killing, as he bites off the heads of his victims and even chickens he catches.

But there are positives here as well: The movie really manages to create a haunting and suspenseful atmosphere and as such is an above the average horror movie. I have to say I was surprised to find the movie rated as comedy as I did not find anything comedic about, other than the almost ridiculous amount of gore presented.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 65%

#1745 Heart of Dixie (1989)

In 1957 Alabama was going through a change that hit the southern Dixie states in a big way, as segregation was coming to its end and integration took its first clumsy steps – often with the contempt of the white community.

It’s at this time when young university student Maggie (Ally Sheedy) finds herself awakening to a new social consciousness, after meeting with a photo journalist (Treat Williams) who’s documenting the ongoing change.

Heart of Dixie has been called a lightweight take on a big event and the cultural shift – which it is – but for me this approach feels much more believable purely from the point of view of a single youngster of that place and era.

80s-o-meter: 52%

Total: 70%