#654 Just Before Dawn (1981)

Just Before Dawn is one of those kids hiking in the woods and getting chopped by a serial killer movies – but it’s one of the slightly better ones.

The plot you already know if you’ve watched any of these kinds of movies, but clearly some thought has gone into making sure the movie is not just a carbon copy of the others, and things are kept more interesting for example by giving the movie a slightly different pacing.

Like most of the movies in this genre, this slasher cannot really be recommended. But, if you really must watch one of these, Just Before Dawn might just be the ticket.

80s-o-meter: 61%

Total: 59%

#653 Cat People (1982)

What we have here is basically a werewolf movie, with wolves replaced with leopards. As daft as it sounds, the switch is actually a successful one and Cat People is a breath of fresh air in the endless line of werewolf movies popular from 70s to the 80s.

Genre-wise the movie is listed as an erotic thriller, which mostly always is bad news, and a sure sign of a cheesy movie. There’s some cheese here as well, but fortunately Cat People is a thriller first, with some strong horror & gore elements added, and the erotic motives are just a sprinkle on the top.

Nastassja Kinski is a spot on casting here with her cat like appearance and movement, and John Heard is his always likeable self and plays his part in perfectly harmony to Kinski and the tone of the movie.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 80%

#652 Robot Jox (1989)

Remember those battle themed 90s saturday morning TV shows aimed for kids from 7 to 12 year olds, created to sell kids some kind of merchandise? The theme here is the same, but Robot Jox doesn’t quite reach that sort of depth or visual fidelity.

If I had to guess, I would’ve placed style wise to the late 70s, and done with a sub 500k budget. To think this is a 1989 movie with a staggering 10 million budget instead, aimed for the adult audience… Well, it just boggles the mind.

In all of its shoddiness, I can see Robot Jox being a guilty pleasure movie for some. The unconvincing miniature Robots hanging by visible wires from the sky and very lazy set design including CRT monitors, off the shelf items, remote controls with huge antennas and 80s clothes to mention a few are all so hilariously poor and campy that there certainly is a humour factor to watching the movie.

Strictly as a movie it’s a misfire that really bombed in the box office – and for a very good reason.

80s-o-meter: 74%

Total: 26%

#651 The Forest (1982)

If you’re looking for a cult movie, you’ve got one right here.

Shot and produced by a team of unemployed film makers, the beauty of The Forest is the way it’s so adorably clumsy and yet done with such a sincerity. It’s one of those movies where you are never quite sure if the movie was done with tongue in cheek, or if they were seriously thinking they had a good thing going on here. As it turns out watching the ’making of’ not only they were dead serious, but the director ended up losing his mortgaged house because he really believed in this movie. Ouch.

Whether you get your kicks off a movie like this boils down to your personal taste for bad movies – and probably what you had in your pipe today.

As far as bad movies go, this is definitely one of those so bad it’s good kind of films, but be advised that its value is very limited for any other kind of consumption.

80s-o-meter: 43%

Total: 17%

#650 Hell Hunters (1988)

Listed the in the IMDB as an American movie, but shot in Brazil and Philippines with most likely with a local crew, Hell Hunters is a prime example of how cheap most 80s action films shot outside USA look and feel like and why they aren’t generally included in this blog.

The production quality is plain bad and the same goes for the script and the dialogue. Most of the dubbed dialogue is hilariously bad, if you’re in the mood for that. If not, it’ll very quickly grow tiresome to listen to.

Outside the somewhat solid action scenes Hell Hunters can’t offer anything that hasn’t been done elsewhere a thousand times better.

80s-o-meter: 68%

Total: 12%

#649 Crackers (1984)

A loose remake of an italian movie Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958), Crackers at first has the look and feel of a movie that’s going to be a tiresome movie with some relationship drama and comedic but dull insights about adult life and unemployment.

Instead, what we have here is a pretty snappy caper comedy about five dimwits planning to rob their friend’s pawn shop. The characters are well fleshed out caricatures that feel like they’ve started writing themselves in the manuscript phase and they compliment each other in a believable fashion.

Crackers is a positive experience that much to my surprise even managed to stir up some actual laughworthy moments.

80s-o-meter: 65%

Total: 81%

#648 Pulse (1988)

Although Pulse’s idea of making the possessed electricity a cruel killer is pretty unique, the movie starts to soon follow trails often seen in similar movies: A little kid, shunned by his peers senses a great danger within the house, but none of the grown ups believe him before it’s too late.

This is not to say that some predictability is bad – in many cases following the beaten path but in a memorable way can create a genre cult classic. Pulse really does nothing in a memorable way and it certainly isn’t that long lost classic movie of the era. With that out of the way, there’s a lot to love here as well. The cinematography is solid and the movie successfully culminates towards the end. Cliff De Young has always been a great guy to be cast as the family dad and the same goes here, and Joey Lawrence as the 12-year old protagonist performs admirably and comparable to many top kids actors of the era.

Pulse doesn’t reach the standards of the other haunted house movies of the 80s – the likes of Poltergeist, House and Amityville Horror – but is still very much a recommended watch.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 76%

#647 Dead Bang (1989)

Don Johnson, committed to his role in the iconic 80s series Miami Vice reportedly declined a lead role in movies like Die Hard and The Untouchables that became huge box office magnets, and his post TV roles are often viewed as failures.

Dead Bang and the later Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) go on to prove he would’ve made quite a decent movie star as well.

While Dead Bang is no Die Hard, it’s still one of the better action thriller of the late 80s. Johnson plays a detective Jerry Beck who sides up with mysterious FBI agent to go after a christian neo-nazi supremacist cult protected by the local public servants. Besides the tight top-notch action there’s are a few hilarious scenes often mentioned by the fans of the movie that are just as fun as advertised.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 83%

#646 The Mean Season (1985)

A serial killer contacts a reporter to get a wide coverage of his killings in Kurt Russell’s lesser known 80s thriller that feels like reading a light summer vacation paperback.

The script doesn’t leave much for actors to work on; Russell’s journalist character goes on making one dumb decision after another, putting everybody’s life and the police investigation in jeopardy, and Mariel Hemingway as his girlfriend seems passionless throughout the movie and the chemistry with Russell stays nonexistent.

Although The Mean Season is still a pretty solid thriller out there with no huge flaws to speak, it doesn’t have enough high points either to make it an easy recommendation.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 70%

#645 Creepozoids (1987)

For some unfathomable reason the Creepozoids’ team seems really impressed of its plasticky, unconvincing antagonists giving them far too much screen time, thus turning a potential Alien (1979) in a warehouse into home-video like wrestling with inanimate puppets laugh fest.

It’s a shame though, because despite the often patchy directing and editing, the movie and its effects, scares and the superb synth soundtrack often seem to far outperform its shoelace budget.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 58%

#644 The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)

There’s no doubt about the star of this show: The Swamp Thing played by the stunt man Dick Durock has to be one of the most sympathetic super heroes to ever appear on the silver screen.

The movie itself is so-and-so. The decision to make it an intentionally campy comedy works half the way, but should’ve been faded out or carried out even further. As it is, it just takes away from the thrills and makes the movie seem more trivial. The overall production quality is way stronger than the plot, and creatures are hilariously imaginative and skilfully masked.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 75%

#643 Sorceress (1982)

Starting from very weird dubbing to sub 60’s style special effects, there’s very little to like about Sorceress: It is noticeably bad even midst other Sword & Sorcery movies, a genre known for some notoriously awful stinkers.

It starts weakly and yet somehow manages to get even less entertaining by the minute. Limited camp value and numerous tits on screen really don’t make it worth one’s while.

80s-o-meter: 3%

Total: 8%

#642 C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud (1989)

The biggest flaw in the sequel is that is isn’t actually a sequel at all, but a completely different horror comedy rewritten to mimic one. While this is not unusual at all (as is the case with House III and Halloween III for example) it does set the viewer to a wrong mood to begin with, only to get something completely different than anticipated.

Viewed as a completely separate entity, Bud the Chud is actually not that bad.

There are a few actual laughs every now and then, and the showdown in the swimming pool is pretty unique. It’s just the amazingly strong competition of the late 80s horror comedies that make it look bad: Compared to the likes of The Lost Boys, Return of the living dead, Night of the creeps or Beetlejuice it’s just totally forgettable.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 73%

#641 C.H.U.D. (1984)

Starting off as a very b-movie, C.H.U.D. finally picks up the pace after 45 very sluggish minutes and gets eventually so good that i’d easily watched another 15 minutes of it. As entertaining as the movie was towards the end, there’s no way around that it’s just very unorganised mishmash that could’ve used some streamlining in the production department, and as it stands now, it’s just too little, too late.

A shoelace-budgeted work of a few devoted film makers, C.H.U.D. still earns a tipping of a hat as a valiant effort.

And in case you’re wondering: The acronym stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 63%

#640 Cheech & Chong’s The Corsican Brothers (1984)

The sixth installation in the Cheech & Chong line of movies is their attempt at Mel Brooks’ style of historical comedy, but the few and far between jokes it has to offer are idiotic and can be seen approaching miles away.

While the duo’s movies have always taken sometimes hilarious pride of being stupid, but charmingly so, The Corsican Brothers lacks that certain charm of its predecessors, and is so dreadful that even the die hard fans of the comedy duo deny it from ever happening.

The Corsican Brothers was the last traditional movie from the duo, followed only by the short mockumentary Get Out of My Room, released the following year.

80s-o-meter: 7%

Total: 0%

#638 The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

Taking place in some alternative comic book reality, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is intentionally campy movie that deserves praises for trying out something so completely different that it’s hard to explain in one sentence.

Although the movie has become something of a cult classic, personally the calculated weirdness here never manages to really entertain.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 35%

#637 Clue (1985)

Although a bit short and rushed though and the three alternative endings are needlessly smart-alecky, Clue (based on the classic board game) is a charming murder in a mansion whodunnit that keeps the viewer engaged and entertained while the events unravel.

The atmosphere here beats the actual plot: Clue gets is its play-like murder mystery atmosphere just right, and while not that bad at all, it’s only the manuscript that could’ve be improved. Overall presentation and the characters are top notch.

If the 80s mystery in a mansion movies are your thing, be sure to also check out The Private Eyes (1980)

80s-o-meter: 62%

Total: 82%

#636 The Golden Child (1986)

The Golden Child has a lot going for it: It’s an adventure comedy starring Eddie Murphy with great supporting acts from my favourite baddie Randall ’Tex’ Cobb and Charles Dance, who’s as chilling as always. Too bad it’s the overall lack of vision that makes the movie a letdown; The Golden Child is more than often too childish, but still has a lot of adult themes like graphic kills and sexual innuendo. The effects are extremely bad for a late 80s movie, and for some reason the movie decides to rely very heavily on the towards the end.

Eddie Murphy is his likeable self, but very much just repeats his mischievous character form the Beverly Hills Cop (1984) to play it safe and to please the audience.

The Golden Child mixes tons of good ingredients – and a few bad ones – into a potpourri that ends up being less than the sum of it parts.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 74%

#635 The Goonies (1985)

The definite adventure of the 80s, The Goonies ticks almost all the right boxes from the great array of the characters to the great sense of adventure. The buildup with skeletons, pirates and Indiana Jonesy type of adventure works fluently that the actual showdown inside the cove feels rushed in comparison and is even a bit of a letdown. Luckily the movie is redeemed by the last act on the beach.

The Goonies is synonymous to the 80s adventure movie and its charm and magic holds amazingly well after 30 years of its original release.

80s-o-meter: 97%

Total: 94%