#1915 Mysterious Planet (1982)

I take no pride nor joy hitting down on a small underdog, but Mysterious Planet just plain does not have much redeeming qualities to it.

What we have here is a sci-fi adventure where a few earthlings and their extra terrestrial buddy end up stranded on a far away planet. Not only does the movie rely heavily on a special effects the team can’t possibly provide, the pure technical quality of the movie is downright abysmal. The basic camera work is off with very tiring shaky movement throughout, and void of using basic functions like white balance. But where the movie first the most is with its dubbed dialogue, quite impossible to understand due to hissing, extra noises, echo or other layering sounds drowning it all.

An ambitious project, Mysterious Planet unfortunately bit more than it could chew. Purely as a movie experience, it is nearing zero – but I do admire that level of ambition and the fact that they manage to finish it all despite the quite apparent uphill battle they faced.

80s-o-meter: 53%

Total: 12%

#1907 Lobster Man from Mars (1989)

A spoof of 1950s monster scifi movies, Lobster Man from Mars was to my surprise a positive little comedy.

The movie successfully picks a few archetypes of the genre and parodises them with either expected or unexpected twist so almost everything you’d expect to find in the movie is there. The amateurish look and feel naturally goes with the picture, and the movie is often much more cheap and TV-series like than it needs to be to convey the message, but for once this did not take too much away from the overall experience.

80s-o-meter: 12%

Total: 70%

#1897 What’s Up, Hideous Sun Demon aka Revenge of the Sun Demon (1989)

What’s Up, Hideous Sun Demon is a 1989 redubbed spoof of the 1958 horror/scifi B-movie Hideous Sun Demon. The idea to even produce something like this and then sell it is downright ridiculous, and something you could barely pass in Youtube these days, but surprisingly What’s Up, Hideous Sun Demon does has its moments, and some of the lines are actually quite funny.

And some are not.

Despite the stupidity the movie was easy to watch through, and whet my appetite to see the original one in an unspoiled form some time in the future.

80s-o-meter: 3%

Total: 31%

#1862 The Apple (1980)

A major misfire by Menahem Golan, The Apple is a very bizarre musical taking place in the distant future of 1994.

This is, of course the future of the 70s, with everyone sporting weird 70s hair and grey scifi suits with padded shoulders. And the movie is just awful.

The Apple fails in the musical front as well, and feels like something out of a cheapo Bollywood movie. I know this is one of those so bad it’s good movie for some, but I really did not find anything to like here.

80s-o-meter: 31%

Total: 3%

#1801 Making Mr. Right (1987)

Making Mr.Right’s story revolves around a driven public relations executive (Ann Magnuson), tasked to transform a socially awkward android (John Malkovich) into a marketable household name and trying to connect with androids even more complex creator.

Drawing its humour from complexities of relationships, identity, and human connection, the movie manages to make mostly best out of its utterly silly premise, although most of the head dropping clueless android gags fail to really amuse.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 64%

#1790 Crime Zone (1988)

Another one of David Carradine’s 80s scifi movies alongside with Future Force, Crime Zone is clearly the superior one of these two.

Like Future Force, the movie is made with low budget with no fancy FX work done and relies heavily on dimly lit scenes, which are not fancy, but do their job. As a viewer I found myself rooting for the leading couple, and the movie itself also concluded in a totally satisfactory way.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 72%

#1787 Future Force aka C.O.P.S. (1989)

80s was an interesting era for David Carradine: while his star was falling (before the 2003 comeback in Kill Bill) he performed in around 40 movies during the period. Needless to say that’s a heck of a lot of movies.

Future Force is one of his many low budget movies, directed straight for video rental market. He plays the part of a headhunter working for a loose organisation of misfits called C.O.P.S (Civilian Operated Police SystemsCivilian Operated Police Systems) somewhere in the distant future of 1994. There’s nothing much noteworthy in the movie, and if it wasn’t for Carradine’s great screen presence there wouldn’t be much of a film here. That being said, Carradine does manage to lift the movie from being totally forgettable, to barely enjoyable.

If Future Force ticked your interest, you’ll be delighted to know the movie received a sequel called Future Zone in 1990.

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 53%

#1775 Alien Private Eye aka Space Detective (1989)

Something of a cult classic, Alien Private Eye starts weird until it turning into pretty much basic B-level action movie. The plot goes that there’s a guy from a faraway planet that resembles earth visiting earth and working as a private detective. There’s also a drug spreading from his planet called Soma, the alien he has pointy ears and he has some kind of wearable shooting suit in the end.

Aaaand this is pretty much as much as there’s scifi in this movie. Not much of the scifi aspect is backed in any way, and the movie could have very well done without the forced intergalactic connection.

As the weirdness fades away and we are left with the B-movie remains, that action is not bad at all, but everything before that is just so jarring that I won’t be looking forwards to seeing this movie again any time soon.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 31%

#1763 Megaforce (1982)

I have to admit that I have many fond memories of Megaforce – not due to seeing the movie, but hearing the name so many in the 80s due to an iconic Amiga demo group sharing the same.

It was for this reason I was really looking for finally seeing Megaforce, and by large it actually delivers what I expected: shoddy early 80s scifi action. The movie shares sort of the same look and feel and take on machinery than the TV series Knight Rider, launched in the same year, and even has some quite well executed and convincing effects and set design.

Both even have the same type of smug, self-centered protagonist that are as excited in conquering women than engaging into battle. But Barry Bostwick as the Ace Hunter pretty much totally lacks the undeniable charm of David Hasselhoff, and his theatrical movement, faces and delivery likely loaned from William Shatner’s Captain Kirk come often comedic – but even more often ever so slightly annoying.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 65%

#1750 The Brother from Another Planet (1984)

Hey, it’s that science dude from Terminator 2! Joe Morton plays an extraterrestrial crash landing to New York, and wandering around the big city trying to grasp this strange world completely alien to him.

I did enjoy the very special dark mood of the movie, amplified by the acting work of Morton who really possesses a great screen presence. But, I can’t help but think that there were ingredients here with a greater movie, with some other design choices.

While trying to interpret the inner life of the non-verbal alien and watching him trying to cope on earth is downright great, the goofy bounty hunters after him and his ability to fix inanimate objects felt contrived. To me just doubling down on the basic premise of two cultures clashing would’ve been just enough for the movie.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 75%

#1711 Halloween 2022: Watchers (1988)

Finally wrapping up this year’s Halloween with Watchers that I’ve had in my peripheral vision for a few years now, being one of the last Corey Haim movies of the 80s I haven’t yet seen.

My expectation was a supernatural movie with certain Watchers lurking in shadows, but to my surprise the movie was about a boy running into a stray dog whom he then adopts, later discovering that it is in fact a runaway experiment from a genetic research lab with mental powers equal to a human, being followed by a dangerous creature from the same lab.

And meeeeh, I did like my first impression better than this quite far fetched scifi story the movie presented to me. The movie is based on a seemingly solid book by Dean Koontz, so my only guess is that something got lost in translation here. The movie is ok, but its core audience leaves me puzzled as the movie feels thematically geared more towards 12-year olds, yet boasts R-rating.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 68%

#1709 Halloween 2022: The Immortalizer (1989)

For the last two years I’ve plowed through an endless list of uninspired slashers, and it was this year that I got to reap the results of that sacrifice and got to see some horror movies with more interesting concepts.

If you’ve enjoyed action comedy horror movies similar to Dead Heat, the chances are high for you to find something to enjoy here as well. The Immortalizer is wonderfully 80s straight-to-video horror movie of bunch of evil scientist types sending out their mutant creations to kidnap young, beautiful people to give old ultra rich people a chance to live in their bodies through brain transplant.

Sure, it’s trashy and highly stupid movie – but also highly entertaining one, and the poor poster does not really give it the justice it deserves.

80s-o-meter: 94%

Total: 83%

#1686 Halloween 2022: Nightwish (1989)

I was hoping to come across at least one interesting horror movie within this year, and it was formerly unknown to me Nightwish (not the be mixed up with a Finnish symphonic metal band of the same name) that unexpectedly managed to provide if not all, then at least much of something original and different to keep my interest up this Halloween.

Mixing elements of thriller, horror, exorcism, monster movies and even a flair of sci-fi together, Nightwish starts off quite safe and even boring, but ventures on to many uncharted territories in its dream like episodes of a group of graduate students trying to escape from a house possessed by an unknown force while being detained by a derailed professor.

Nightwish gets weirder and weirder towards the end – but always in a good and entertaining way. The final events might have been super banal in every other context, but given that Nightwish still is campy 80s horror by its nature, coupled with the fact that the movie plays this card quite well the ending turns out in a satisfying fashion. Sure, there were tons of aspects that I did not like or care for like the henchman of the antagonist professor, and it’s these aspects for which I have to demerit a few points from otherwise surprisingly entertaining movie.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 83%

#1680 Halloween 2022: Saturn 3 (1980)

Almost ten years into having Halloween features and still haven’t reviewed Saturn 3?? Well, to my defence it is a British movie after all but featuring US leads and undoubtedly better than the majority of similar Hollywood movies of the era, so it definitely still does earn its place here.

The film takes place in a remote station in Saturn’s third moon aka Tethys, aka Saturn 3, where a pair of a man and female scientists (Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett) receive a visitor from earth, Captain Benson (Harvey Keitel) whom we witness earlier assassinating the person who was to originally arrive at the station. There he starts to build a helper robot with an organic brain that he programs using a direct brain link connected to himself. As it goes, the robot picks the negative traits from him, including a crush to the female scientist and it is downhill from thereon.

The movie looks great and cinematic, but not 80s, nor 70s but strangely almost 60s or 50s in style. Having Kirk Douglas in the cast furthermore strengthens this feeling, but in this case I don’t really mind as it all works out quite well. The small cast is also a triumph with Keitel performing the role of a antagonist perfectly, Fawcett making for a perfect love interest that I can’t blame Benson falling on, and finally Kirk Douglas – already 64 at the time but in amazingly good shape, perfect for the role – whom you just could not have replaced and have the movie feel the same.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 81%

#1655 Beyond the Stars (1989)

It’s hard to fathom a bad movie and bad acting from Martin Sheen – yet here it is in the shape of Beyond the Stars.

The manuscript my the director David Saperstein is nothing short of idiotic and unconvincing, and it is painful to watch Sheen struggling through portraying a retired astronaut troubled with his extraterrestrial conflicts. It is especially the idiotic conclusion that still wants me to facepalm, almost two weeks after finishing the movie.

The fans of Christian Slater will probably find something to like here as Slater gives one of his cookie cutter performances of the 80s, but others should probably steer away.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 37%

#1654 Wavelength (1983)

Last one in late unexpected wave of surprisingly good low budget scifi movies arriving to my desk is Wavelength, a movie that had a feeling of something being off (in a good way) from the get go.

But it was only after the actual secret and its alarming consequences are revealed that Wavelength starts to find its own unique tone and plot line unlike anything I’ve seen to date, and really starts to whet one’s appetite as what will happen next.

Obviously done with a shoe string budget, Wavelength manages to stretch that dime amazingly far, concentrating on the atmosphere rather than special effects. The few effects there are are made in good taste, and don’t feel distracting at all unlike other low budget movies.

80s-o-meter: 86%

Total: 71%

#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%

#1650 Gremloids aka Hyperspace (1984)

Spaceballs may be the best known scifi parody of the 80s, but three years prior to it came out Gremloids, a low budget space comedy with a Dark Lord with a silly gigantic helmet.

Instead of being a Star Wars parody like Spaceballs, the premise in Gremloids is actually quite darn hilarious: because of a navigation mistake Lord Buckethead and his gang of minions land on a small village on earth instead of ”galaxy far, far away”, and proceeds to find the princess and the secret transmissions no matter how much the town folk try to tell him he is sorely mistaken.

After the strong start Gremloids never quite takes the full advantage of its unique premise and the latter half of the movie is pretty much spent on an endless trench warfare between Buckethead and local army, making the movie at this time feel like a short film prolonged to feature film length. The ending of the movie still wraps up quite nicely, making Hyperspace easily worth watching through.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 72%

#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%

#1633 Dr. Alien aka I Was a Teenage Sex Maniac aka I Was a Teenage Sex Mutant (1989)

An intentionally campy sci-fi comedy, Dr. Alien is one of those movies that could have gone either way gambling on trying to be fun and weird. It’s more often than not when these kind of comedies end up just awkwardly weird.

People getting into playing this sort of movie know what they are subscribing to, and Dr. Alien pretty much delivers what it promises, ending up in the ”better” end of the spectrum – again, for those who know what they are looking for when watching an 80s high school sex comedy.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 69%