#1662 Prime Risk (1985)

The poster for Prime Risk makes a bold comparison to War Games, stating this movie will make it look like ’kid stuff’.

The reference is not unfound as prime risk successfully draws from its paragon, presenting us a similar setup where youngsters’ mostly innocent tomfoolery turns out something much more than they originally bargained for. In Prime Risk, it’s hacking credit cards that leads to a plot of a hostile nation aiming to crash the U.S. monetary system.

What it comes to hacking and peeping behind curtains of state secrecy and international politics, Prime Risk is an excellent contender to War Games, only taking a few missteps towards the end by turning more into an action packed agent movie rather than what War Games ingeniously pulled off. Still, anyone who enjoyed War Games will find a lot to be loved here.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 84%

#1653 Beyond the Rising Moon aka Star Quest aka Outerworld (1987)

First released in 1987, and then re-released in 1994 with added CGI and its name updated to Outerworld, Beyond the Rising Moon is a massive undertaking by its writer/director Philip J. Cook.

The cheap effects and heavy use of miniatures do not go undetected, but considering how everything in the movie was done by just a handful of enthusiastic people with the passion to make a scifi movie, the end results is amazingly solid, and as the viewer you want to believe you are in fact taking part in this dystopian adventure alongside with its cyborg heroine.

The movie’s pacing gets a bit too slow towards the end and the latter half couldn’t keep in in its grips like the first half did, but even so Beyond the Rising Moon earns my recommendation, if only to check out what likely the best indie scifi movie of the 80s looks like.

80s-o-meter: 79%

Total: 74%

#1649 The Aurora Encounter (1986)

Sometimes the story behind a movie is more interesting than the movie itself. I was at first put off by the fact how The Aurora Encounter had cast one Mickey Hays based on his appearance caused by progeria to portray the role of an alien out of space, until I learned that it was actually Make-A-Wish Foundation that had made Mickey’s dream come true to get to act in a Hollywood movie.

Now, for the movie itself, it’s another prime example how much further ahead the marketing and art departments ofter were to the movie crew itself. The poster art is absolutely stunning, with a great promise of an engaging scifi adventure.

What you actually get is haphazardly made western where a space ship quite obviously held by crane and often visible wires lands and takes off, with the alien stepping out, visiting and scaring a few people. It’s tediously boring thing to sit through, with no real engaging plot going for it.

80s-o-meter: 3%

Total: 7%

#1647 Die Laughing (1980)

A horribly disconnected effort, Die Laughing throws in a little bit of everything into the mix without ever finding its own tone of voice.

How disconnected? It genuinely felt like watching an episode of some random late 70s afternoon TV series that just keeps aimlessly going on, and on, and one. The boring action is padded with even more boring sections of the main character performing songs in auditions – another aspect of the movie that felt totally artificial and plastered on.

Die Laughing can really only be recommended to those who want to relive the worst of the 70s television.

80s-o-meter: 12%

Total: 2%

#1642 King Kong Lives (1986)

King Kong got a pretty ok reboot in the 1976 Dino De Laurentiis remake starring Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange and Charles Grodin, and ten years later King Kong Lives tried to pick up where the previous movie left by introducing a female counterpart for the colossal gorilla, but without the star power of the previous installation.

Well, almost. Linda Hamilton plays the female lead and John Ashton (of the Beverly Hills Cop fame) the army dude trying to blow up the big ape.

Movie fails to utilise neither one, and the apes themselves could be passable for late 80s, early 80s release, but by 1986 the audience had been already spoiled with the next wave of special FX and King Kong Lives absolutely can’t keep up in this race, and feels like a relic from the past with absolutely no value for the viewers of today.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 28%

#1638 Assault of the Killer Bimbos (1988)

Ok, so the name here sounds much worse than what the movie actually is.

Assault of the Killer Bimbos is more like an early, rough version of Thelma & Louise. Actually, to them actually contemplating to sue its production team. Truth be told, Assault of the Killer Bimbos is no Thelma & Louise, but some of the similarities here are uncanny.

But Assault of the Killer Bimbos is really a feel good comedy, and actually not a bad one at that.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 75%

#1625 Barbarian Queen (1985)

I had always hard time telling Amazons and Barbarian Queen apart. Both are made in the mid 80s, are shot in Argentina with Argentinian crew, have a very similar posters (and logos!) drawn by Boris Vallejo and have basically the same premise of beautiful and strong female crew of fighters battling in iron bikinis.

Here’s the bad news: after seeing them both now, I still won’t be able to remember which one is which. There are certainly other similar movies like Deathstalker that will probably make it even harder for me to tell each movie apart, but these two are just too darn close for me to ever remember.

Notes to the future self: Barbarian Queen is the one with the much more exploitative tone to it, and the one that feels much more like 80s actors larping sword & sorcery.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 51%

#1616 The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980)

Politically incorrect in multiple ways these days, The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu depicts a quirky asian mastermind criminal, played by Peter Sellers, chased after a quirky inspector, also played by Sellers.

Movie feels visually and thematically old beyond its years – like something made in the 60s – and there’s only little value in viewing it these days. The Fu Manchu character has its moments, but anything that you see here is better made in for example the later Austin Power movies. Clearly made for a showcase for Sellers’ versatile character actor skills, neither of the character he plays here are amongst his best, and in many ways feel like a mix of some of his other roles.

The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu is probably the most remembered for being Sellers’ last movie, before his untimely death at the age of 54.

80s-o-meter: 50%

Total: 47%

#1612 The Barbarians (1987)

The first movie I’ve seen featuring David and Peter Paul – aka The Barbarian Brothers – the aptly named The Barbarians is an Italy – USA co-production shot in the lush landscapes and forests of central Italy, perfect for an adventure movie.

And the movie is actually pretty darn well made, starting from the basic technical aspects and camera work, all the way to the extensive set design. The brothers bring their unique flair to the movie – although it has to be said that I could have done without their constant, highly annoying snorting.

Still, the brothers manage to be lovable goofballs, and The Barbarians was actually an adventure comedy I enjoyed quite a bit more than most of the sword and sorcery movies I’ve seen lately.

80s-o-meter: 84%

Total: 83%

#1608 Amazons (1986)

I had always hard time telling Amazons and Barbarian Queen apart. Both are made in the mid 80s, are shot in Argentina with Argentinian crew, have a very similar posters (and logos!) drawn by Boris Vallejo and have basically the same premise of beautiful and strong female crew of fighters battling in iron bikinis.

Here’s the bad news: after seeing them both now, I still won’t be able to remember which one is which. There are certainly other similar movies like Deathstalker that will probably make it even harder for me to tell each movie apart, but these two are just too darn close for me to ever remember.

Notes to the future self: Amazons is the one with the balding antagonist with black and white beard who looks like the dude in the background of C64 game Barbarian. It also has the strong blond female lead leading the fight by herself, battling against the magic effects of the evil that are quite cheaply just drawn on the film.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 70%

#1559 Uphill All The Way (1986)

Imagine any Burt Reynolds’ action comedy of the late 70s / early 80s, change the setting to the wild West, take out Reynolds and any other notable star – and you’ll end up with Uphill All The Way.

Roy Clark and Mel Tillis – both unknown to me – lead this cowboy Cannonball Run, going from one hardship to another, even more boring one.

Reynolds actually visit that set in a quick uncredited cameo as a poker hustler, which only confirms there was some some of connection going on behind the scenes.

80s-o-meter: 8%

Total: 14%

#1547 Lost (1983)

Ok, my bad. I should have checked the description of Lost to understand that it’s in fact a family movie, and I’ve ruled them out of my watching list.

It was only after 30 minutes of watching Lost that this became painfully obvious as nothing of actual interest seemed to take place. The pinnacle of the movie is the main character getting lost in a desert and meeting an old guy there before being found.

Lost feels like trying super hard to be a Disney TV movie, but does everything a bit worse and in a bit worse quality than Disney family movies of the 70s (that were already quite dreadful).

80s-o-meter: 8%

Total: 3%

#1510 Pink Cadillac (1989)

Pink Cadillac is one of those movies I watched at the very beginning of starting out this project, but it turns out I never got around reviewing it.

Turns out I remember at the beginning with Clint Eastwood as a skip tracer going after the trailer park beauty queen Lou Ann (Bernadette Peters) who has fled to Reno with a briefcase full of her husbands counterfeit money – but the second half with them battling together against a camp full of white supremists I’d totally forgotten about. Probably due to it being more forgettable and less impactful than the plot twists that preceded it.

So, Pink Cadillac is a totally enjoyable movie – but not quite as iconic as I remembered it to be.

Still, you can never go much wrong with Eastwood.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 81%

#1508 Raise the Titanic (1980)

The movie knows what its money shot is: it uses minutes to show the surfacing of the Titanic model from under the sea shot from a dozen of different angles in one of the most expensive special effect sequences in a movie at the time.

And it pays off; this is why we sat down to see the Raise the Titanic for in the first place. Otherwise the movie is not bad an adventure movie at all. It manages to sell us the idea of being able to lift up the iconic ship from the bottom of the sea and gives a good reasoning for doing so. Although the movie does feel dated, being already 41 years old, it’s definitely ahead of most movies of the 1980 and in a way a promise of all the great summer blockbusters we saw in the 80s.

Watch closely as the ship finally surfaces to catch a hilarious easter egg put there by the effects team: two crewmen still onboard, frantically pumping water off the deck.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 74%

#1506 Tempest (1982)

One more to the pile of movies portraying the 80s New York jetset intellectuals who wallow in money and self pity.

Shot half and half in New York and a remote island in Greece, the movie establishes the vast difference of both well: when we move from New York to the island, the change feels genuinely relaxing, and when we finally get back to the big apple, it again feels like a breath of fresh fresh air after the stuffy island and it’s perverted inhabitant Kalibanos (Raul Julia).

But what happens in both locations is hardly interesting or logical. At 140 minutes the movie is also far too long. It’s so long that it feels downright arrogant from the production team as there really is nothing that epic or interesting on display here.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 14%

#1492 Island Claws (1980)

I’m not quite sure if it’s an accidental or intentional, but Island Claws is a flawless homage to the 1950s gigantic monster movies.

In fact, it totally looks and feels as if some old black-and-white movie had been AI coloured posthumously. The small village, idyllic little bar, main male leads and the research faculty are all charmingly familiar.

It’s therefore a shame such a nice set up is wasted on a totally average monster movie. I would’ve much preferred seeing some kind of a thriller/drama taking place in this same setting, instead of this low-quality monster nonsense.

80s-o-meter: 4%

Total: 50%

#1491 The Sisterhood (1988)

One of those dystopian wasteland movies, The Sisterhood brings very little new to the table but slightly improved production values over its early 80s counterparts, but still clearly falling behind of the fidelity seen in the Mad Max series of movies.

Here we follow a clique called The Sisterhood that possesses supernatural powers as they make their way through the wasteland trying to free the women captured by the evil tribes of the desert.

The movie consists mostly of driving sequences, shot in a sand pit of some sort with vehicles quite lazily modified of their 1970s and 1980s originals.

80s-o-meter: 84%

Total: 21%

#1465 Sacred Ground (1983)

A mountain man in mid 19th century Oregon builds a cabin to the Native American’s burial site and then revenges the death of his wife by kidnapping a woman from the tribe and killing the chasing tribe members with a repeater stolen from the vendor who lent his horse to him.

In the age of political correctness all the depictions with Native Americans seem a bit uncomfortable, and I’m not sure it Sacred Ground does justice to the Paiutes. I kind of like how the movie handles the disputable decisions of its caucasian lead – this is not the heroic, virtuous character often seen in classic Western movies – but I’d appreciated if the movie had included more the point of view of the tribesmen.

The real star of the show are the Oregon nature and mountains, and the movie captures well what I’d imagine the life there might’ve been back then.

80s-o-meter: 0%

Total: 43%

#1462 She (1984)

After just a few days after suffering through Robot Holocaust I happened to watch She, a similar kind of sword & sorcery adventure set in the future dystopian world.

But where Robot Holocaust failed, She manages to be actually probably the best movie in this sub genre I’ve seen to date. The different factions and places the leads run into are imaginative, but not completely ridiculous and the whole look and feel of the movie reminds me of a post apocalyptic RPG, kind of like Fallout, with less 50s and mutation.

Heck, I enjoyed the movie and can’t but to credit the director/writer Avi Nesher for managing to put together a surprisingly solid movie out of such a shoddy ingredients.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 80%