#1777 National Lampoon’s Movie Madness (1982)

Advertised in the poster as the spiritual followup to the vastly popular 1978 Animal House, Movie Madness is nowhere near the same quality. As in: absolutely nobody remembers this movie.

An anthology of three short films, every one less funny than the one preceding it, Movie Madness is a horrible misfire from the director Henry Jaglom who clearly grasp even the basics how to put together a mainstream comedy.

The only even remotely interesting aspect of the movie is seeing young(er) Christopher Lloyd playing a role in the last segment.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 2%

#1181 Halloween 2019: After Midnight (1989)

Another Halloween, another horror anthology. And I’m perfectly fine with it, as short stories seem an especially good and compact format for horror fireside stories.

The anthology kicks off with The Old Dark House, an excellent haunted house spooky tale that really gets spine tingling towards the end – good stuff!

The expectations are set high for the following A Night on the Town and All Night Operator parts, but although they are somewhat entertaining, they fail in being scary.

After Midnight on the whole is still a positive surprise and is worth watching, if only for its first story.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 72%

#819 Nightmares (1983)

As usual I try not to read any info about the movie I’m going to watch to avoid any spoilers. In the case with Nightmares it might’ve been a good idea for I would’ve figured out I was watching an anthology instead of a horror movie with an exceptionally hard to follow plot. When it finally dawned to me, well — you can only imagine the amount of facepalms.

This anthology consists of four short stories, based on urban legends. The first one starts off strong with a great buildup towards the end payoff. Second one is my favorite, starring Emilio Estevez as the penny arcade wizard caught in a web of a mysterious co-op machine. From hereon it’s a slight downhill with the third episode involving a priest, a killer on a 4×4 and some magical holy water that’ll save the day. The last part of Nightmares features our favorite 80s self-absorbed company man Richard Masur as the head of the family getting a special kind of rat infestation. Too bad this is the part that drags far behind the others, relying much too heavily on subpar special effects lifted straight out of 50s monster scifi movies.

Probably one of the least known of all the 80s anthologies, Nightmares is very uneven like most movies of the genre, but still definitely one of the more interesting ones, largely thanks to its strong cast.

80s-o-meter: 79%

Total: 68%

#155 Night Train to Terror (1985)

Everyone likes a good horror anthology so I did not initially mind firing up Night Train to Terror. The movie’s setup and premise is an interesting one: God and Satan are on board of a train on its way to eventual destruction, having a conversation and sharing stories. Also on the board is some sort of pop band, whose dull performances we are subjected to watch throughout the movie – the first shortcoming of the movie in the long list of forthcoming faux-pas.

Instead of being a real horror anthology the movie presents us with three full length movies – some previously unreleased – cut down to short story form. Although many of the horror movies I’ve seen to date would’ve worked much better in a shorter form before turning repetitive, here the end result is just odd, with the plot becoming really hard to follow. To overcome this the director had to resort to dubbing in a narrative voice, which is always something of a panic design choice.

Out of the three segments the first one is totally unwatchable mess, second one has an interesting premise of something of a suicide club, but tries to cram in far too much content into its short running time. The final part is the least outrageous, but also seems to be the best movie of the bunch and is cut in a way that still seems to make sense.

The main effort in the cutting room has seemed to gone into including all the gory special effects – and admittedly they are the best aspect of this uneven mess of a movie.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 38%

#42 Creepshow 2 (1987)

The sequel to the 1982 original kicks off with ’Old Chief Wood’nhead’, a tale of and old wooden statue waking up to have a revenge. Concept and scares wise it’s the weakest short story of the bunch, but it’s sure good to see George Kennedy getting back to higher quality productions after his weak start to the 80s.

Following up is ’The Raft’, which is a treat. It’s exactly the kind of horror story that would’ve failed as a whole movie, but works perfectly as a short story in an anthology like this.

The last one, ’The Hitchhiker’ is what the nightmares are made of, and I have to applaud the way the whole gore puppetry thing has been taken to comedic levels towards the end. Good stuff!

Overall, Creepshow 2 bests its predecessor and as an horror anthology, it’s the very best that 80s has to offer.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 86%

#41 Creepshow (1982)

Creepshow an anthology of short horror stories written by Stephen King, tied together by a comic book theme and consisting of five individual stories.

It all starts very weakly with ”Father’s Day”, a total mess that Ed Harris in his minor role cannot save. Luckily the pace soon picks up with ’The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill’ featuring Stephen King himself as a redneck farmer who comes in touch with a meteor with a catastrophic outcome.

Third story, ’Something To Tide You Over’ featuring Leslie Nielsen is the strongest one of the bunch and manages to be dark, agonising and panic inducing, while the fourth segment ’The Crate’ comes very close to tie and is easily the funniest short story here.

It all ends with ’They’re Creeping Up On You’ – a kind of decent short, but the one that fails to offer any surprises.

Compared to the later Cat’s Eye, this one is much more solid and convincing package out of the two with tons of black humour and a wide selection of phobias to cater to most tastes. Recommended!

80s-o-meter: 65%

Total: 82%

#17 Cat’s Eye (1985)

While he’s still a bestseller, Stephen King’s popularity really peeked in the eighties resulting in many movie adaptations of his books and short stories.

Enter Cat’s Eye, a collection of three individual horror comedy novels linked together very loosely by a cat that wanders around the city between the stories. If you are familiar with Spielberg’s Amazing Stories, there certainly is the same vibe here.

First one of the stories stars James Woods who signs up to a clinic to quit smoking, to find soon their methods to keep to clean are pretty drastic. Second story features Robert Hays who is unvoluntarily put as a centerpiece of a sadistic wager. These two stories, especially the the one with Hays work well.

Then there’s the third one with Drew Barrymore that would be kind of cool if you are an eight year old. Although featured in the poster and ending the anthology and tying the cat theme together, this is the odd one out with a pocket size goblin breaking havoc inside a little girl’s room. I was expecting a grand finale but it really falls flat in the end.

Still, the two first ones are very entertaining.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 65%