#940 Halloween 2018: Warning Sign (1985)

A surprisingly likeable piece of scifi horror, Warning Sign is a biohazard thriller made in the vein of The Andromeda Strain – a similar kind of viral outbreak movie that really resonated with me when I saw it as a kid. Had I seen Warning Sign back then, it’d surely ended up very near to the top of my favourite movies list.

But, 30 years haven’t been kind to the movie and it hasn’t aged that gracefully. And it doesn’t really help that the movie wasn’t ahead of its time, but already a bit outdated when released. Some of the casting ain’t spot on either with G.W. Bailey – whom I usually love to bits – ending up giving the movie some unintentional comedic tones as one of the doctors inside the military laboratory.

Still, I quite liked Warning Sign. The movie’s premise of scientists coming up a rage inducing virus works well and the elements mixed in from various zombie movies make the movie entertaining, even scary at times. If you can forgive the movie for being fluffy – to the extremes at times – Warning Sign makes for a decent, campy piece of cinema with a certain lovable underdog feel to it.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 76%

#923 The Day After (1983)

The Day After portrays a nuclear war between the two cold-war giants USA and Soviet Union, and the effects there after. The initial setup establishing a Kansas site of nuclear weapons works and the movie escalates in an interesting way to its nuclear holocaust peak, but the events after that – as horrid and graphic as they may seem – just feel much too staged and phoney.

Set design is pretty impressive for a made for TV movie and could’ve partially passed for an actual feature film. The same cannot be said about the special effects and the make-up where the lack of budget really shines through. There’s an impressive array of actors involved for a made for TV movie, but here they don’t really add up any additional value to the movie compared of going with some no name actors. The movie is also too long at 120 minutes of which a good 40 minutes could’ve been left in the cutting room floor to save us from many of the scenes that drag on for much too long.

The Day After is a movie made to touch and to shock, but its melodramatic, soap opera feel to it plain prevented me to get really emotionally involved in it. The grim and hopeless Testament, released the same year, portrays the devastating effects of a nuclear war in a more subtle but realistic and powerful way.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 46%

#885 Starflight: The Plane That Couldn’t Land (1983)

All the way from the movie Airport, continuing through Airport 1975, Airport ’77 and The Concorde, 70s was a decade of dodgy disaster movies that got rightfully ridiculed in the early 80s Airplane and in Airplane II: The Sequel, with the latter taking place in a commercial space shuttle. Given this background it’s hard to fathom what exactly went through the minds of the executive producers that green lighted Starflight: The Plane That Couldn’t Land after the genre already done to death and even worse, ridiculed.

To add insult to the injury this movie, released in 1983, plays a lot like the Airport parodies, but with a lesser production quality and totally sans humour.

Starflight is a product of the past that offered very little mileage when it was released back in 1983, and much less today.

80s-o-meter: 42%

Total: 24%