#1911 Grave Secrets aka Secret Screams (1989)

In the era where far too many slashers were made, Grave Secrets is already winning for being a good old possessed spirit horror movie.

It’s a movie that does nothing exceptionally well – but nothing that badly neither. It’s biggest problem is with the writing, with nothing too much of interest and of suspense taking place until the last act. It’s this ending where the movie finally wakes up a little, consequently waking the viewer also.

As much as I dig Paul Le Mat, he seems to be sleepwalking through the movie, and I couldn’t have but thunk that perhaps another choice for a lead would have kept the attention up for a longer.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 62%

#1908 Criminal Act aka Tunnels (1989)

Criminal Act – or Tunnels, as it’s much more apt name for it – promises a horror story inside old, long forgotten tunnels crossing under a newspaper, whose two female reporters go out wandering around there, just for the heck of it.

So it’s a bit far fetched to begin with, but what follows requires even more overlooking the probable. The movie turns into bit of a cartoon for adults, with film’s baddies sketched with heavy strokes of caricature making it even harder for one to buy the plot. It’s like watching a comedy without the humour part.

Horror is promised on the movie cover, but that’s an element that is not be found here.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 22%

#1904 Deadly Embrace (1989)

A soft porn movie disguised as erotic thriller mostly likely to just make it to the rental VHS space outside the adult corner, Deadly Embrace is a totally brain dead movie shot probably over just a few days.

Most of the running time is spend on endless dreamy erotic sequences and lingering stares.

If anything, the movie remains a testament to Jan-Michael Vincent’s at the time downhill spiralling life and career, of which Deadly Embrace is just another example of bad choices that were made.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 1%

#1898 Wild Thing (1987)

Wild Thing is basically a modern day Tarzan in a concrete jungle. After seeing his hippie parents get killed and being risen in a slums with a philosophy of never being seen and helping the oppressed, Wild Thing has become something of a urban myth on the streets.

The concept has potential for a different kind of a superhero (cartoon) franchise, by really making the main character a cool and mystical creature. But, Wild Thing ultimately fails to pull this off.

It is all in all quite tame ride that – while mildly entertaining – does not really live up to its full potential.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 61%

#1889 Slashdance aka Slash Dance (1989)

When it comes to B-movies, I often mention the padding, meaning trying to make the movie last more than an hour with insufficient footage and content by making each shot last too long and generally lingering on with one scene for much longer than necessary.

Slashdance takes this to the very extreme, with most of the movie just feeling like a filler.

There’s a theatre, young women dancing around and then getting killed one by one. And boy do they dance: endlessly, just improvising badly and trying to keep the film rolling.

80s-o-meter: 76%

Total: 3%

#1885 A Stranger Is Watching (1982)

I’ve loved Rip Torn’s work from the 80s to date, so seeing him in this earlier role as a kidnapper in A Stranger Is Watching was a mixed bag for me.

Behind his grumpy facade for me there was always something endearing in Torn, but there’s nothing of that in this role. In fact, the role of a kidnapper feels like a side role that anyone could have played, and I kind of wished they had as seeing him in the role was more of a distraction than enjoyment.

Other than that A Stranger Is Watching is a bit outdated, but still gripping thriller worth watching. It plays out a bit differently from other similar movies, and the steamy bowels of New York metro tunnels serve well as the location that the camera and viewers alike love.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 63%

#1868 Shadow Play (1986)

A writers fiancé-to-be passes away, falling off a lighthouse in the eve of their wedding. And now a few years later upon leaving her life in New York and returning to their old house, she finds him reappearing to her in dreams and visions, and also faxing him through a typing machine.

Most importantly for the plot, he is also reappearing in flesh as his brother, so we have something of a supernatural love triangle here.

Atmosphere in Shadow Play is mostly ok, but ultimately the movie was just to soap opera alike and slow for my personal taste, due to the movie introducing multiple personas and side plots that never quite contribute to what the movie is lacking: thrill. Also, the supernatural events presented here required a leap of fate too big for me to take this time.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 31%

#1865 The Beast Within (1982)

A movie I wish I had watched as a part of this years Halloween feature, The Beast Within is an apt little horror thriller taking a place in a small town along the Mississippi river.

To be completely honest I had somewhat hard time following all of the plot and nuances the movie was trying to convey, but this did not take away much of the enjoyment I had watching the secrets of the small town unravel. The production quality and direction of Philippe Mora (minus the flaws in story telling) is solid and the sense of danger and gloomy events were enough to keep in glued in my seat through the movie.

Also the cast led by Ronny Cox do their part with flying colors, contributing to an enjoyable overall watching experience.

80s-o-meter: 84%

Total: 21%

#1860 Curfew (1989)

Two demented brothers escape from prison to track down the people who sentenced them to death row in Curfew, basic but in overall satisfying little thriller.

In their revenge list are a psychiatrist, judge and district attorney for whom they have the maximum payback in mind. The brothers are an interesting mix of somewhat slow younger brother and a sharp and vengeful older brother who cites the victims word to word what went on in the sentencing.

There are no notable high points to the movie, but nothing appalling either. The movie keeps a good pacing until the very end as the brothers find conflict of interest in the members of the family they keep captive.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 75%

#1859 Night Visitor (1989)

Again a thriller about two demented brothers on a killing spree, Night Visitor throws a few interesting twists to the story that I had still easy to adapt to after finish my schools over 25 years ago.

You see, here the main antagonist is the conservative history teacher. What a thrill! After becoming the eye witness of an a satanist ritual killing a high school kid has a hard time getting anyone to taking his word over the professor.

He then seeks help from a retired detective, which for a long time seems a misstep from the movie (also a weird choice of movies for Elliott Gould), from which point on the movie drags itself through the finish line without much surprises.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 72%

#1857 Hotel Colonial (1987)

Hotel Colonial is not a widely remembered movie – and those who know it often remember it for wasting the talent of John Savage and Robert Duvall.

I think I saw a slightly different movie here. The movie took me to an adventure to a different world that I found enchanting – a bit like playing some point and click adventure on a computer. The plot is also pretty unique, and for the most parts I did not know where it was going to take me, but I did not really care as the journey was worth it, and for me the story of the protagonist being drawn to the depths of madness by the mysterious character more than warranted the 90 minutes I spent with Hotel Colonial.

But I do agree that character writing and directing is where the movie suffers the most. Savage is a bit lost throughout the movie (although it suits the mental state of the his character) and Duvall’s performance is just plain painful to watch, knowing the level of performer he usually is.

80s-o-meter: 80%

Total: 72%

#1853 Windows (1980)

An exploitation movie at it’s heart, I don’t really know how to categorise Windows; It fails as a whodunnit by revealing the culprit early on, and does not work as a psychological thriller as it fails to deep further into the psyche of the antagonist.

We see a recently divorced woman getting mugged and humiliated in her home done in a very exploitative manner, then her running into her while riding a taxi cab and then finding out he was contracted for the job by a woman whose identity is revealed. I mean, she is right there in the poster!

From thereon you are left waiting for a plot twist, that never comes.

80s-o-meter: 65%

Total: 24%

#1846 Halloween 2023: Torment (1986)

A psycho killer after women is loose, ending up in the house occupied by the girlfriend of the detective after him, and her mother-in-law to be.

As with The Stepfather movie, it’s the finding out an entirely unknown dark side of one’s close one that always personally feels the most haunting to me – which is the case also in Torment.

William Witt – a complete unknown to me – does a tremendous job in the role of the killer, making him totally believable, chillingly cold and menacing.

80s-o-meter: 86%

Total: 79%

#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%

#1816 Vice Squad (1982)

Not to be mixed up with Hollywood Vice Squad (1986) – which I always did – Vice Squad is a movie of a entirely different caliber.

At first coming across as an exploitative movie only to showcase naked skin and low-lifes of Los Angeles, Vice Squad does nothing of such but instead presents the viewer one of the tightest palm sweating action thrillers of the era.

Much of this is the credit of the director Gary Sherman, who paces and escalates the movie masterfully towards the end. Wings Hauser – of whom I’ve always been sort of on the verge if he is any good – makes a stand out role in Vice Squad as one of the most relentless, despicable, vile and chilling characters ever seen on the silver screen.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 89%

#1815 Criminal Law (1988)

Criminal Law turned out to be a solid late 80s thriller involving a young yuppie defense attorney for whom winning has been everything, until freeing an accused man he begins to have second thoughts about.

I originally assumed Criminal Law to be a courthouse drama with a thriller twist to it – the movie does open with a court case – but really most of the action here happens elsewhere. That being said, the theme of truth, judgment, law, and justice is present throughout the movie.

Young Kevin Bacon and Gary Oldman (in his first role with an American accent) make for a dynamic duo, and it’s especially Oldman’s portrayal of a successful lawyer on top of his game that resembles Christian Bale’s role in the American Psycho.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 76%

#1813 Call Me (1988)

The 1988 thriller Call Me depicts a young woman getting allured by a mysterious caller and getting involuntarily involved in a case of murder and a wad of missing cash.

Leaning more into erotic tones and mystery, Call Me might not offer the heart-pounding action of a thriller, but it compensates all this with pure ambiance and enigmatic allure that kept me engaged to the experience right to the end.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 76%

#1805 Walking the Edge (1985)

Walking the Edge is a revenge / vigilante movie portraying an asian housewife seeking revenge against the killers of her family, and finding an unexpected ally in Forster, a taxi-driver who gets dragged into the action against his will.

The leading duo is an interesting, strange couple that never seem to mix in a believable way; I would not be surprised if the two leads did not get along behind the scenes as the always seem to be unhappy sharing the same space.

The film’s vigilante theme is a standard fare in every possible way, but with Robert Forster delivering a surprisingly charming performance as the reluctant hero with an unlikely love interest to the unlikely killer, not bothered by the complete lack of chemistry between the two.

80s-o-meter: 65%

Total: 61%

#1804 The Fan (1981)

I recently watched The Seduction, a movie quite line The Fan with a handsome stalker of an admirer tormenting the female lead with his clumsy attempts to get their attention.

Both movies, released in the early 80s at first seem to be inspired by the public stalking cases that caught public attention during the era, but interestingly the original novel that The Fan is based actually precedes these cases.

Besides all this The Fan is a drag, an utter disappointment of a movie and a thriller, with very little to give 40 years after its first release; skimming the movie now through again for a review I can’t come up with one single positive thing to bring up about it.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 11%

#1803 Confessions of a Serial Killer (1985)

Based on the true story of Henry Lee Lucas, Confessions of a Serial Killer follows the interrogations of a serial killer speaking openly to the investigators about the horrific acts performed before getting caught.

The documentary style works well and the depictions of killing just for fun are quite devastating to watch, and especially the suspension in the last part of the movie is almost too much to take in.

80s-o-meter: 65%

Total: 72%