The Best 80's Horror Movies part 5
Halloween horror movie month continues.
The best horror movies of the 1980's list continues. Still not sure how long this list will be, at least one more entry, probably two. I keep remembering movies I forgot about. The 80s was a great decade for horror, old school Times Square type theaters and drive ins were flourishing, and home video brought the New York theater experience to every town. The culture exploded in popularity and magazines like Fangoria, Famous Monsters, Deep Red and Gorezone gave us a community feel before the internet. If I had a time machine I would go back in a heartbeat.
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41) Street Trash (1987)
I always thought Street Trash was a Troma movie for some reason, but it's just an independent 80's comedy/horror flick from NYC. A liquor store owner decides to sell some 60 year old cheap Viper brand wine that has gone bad to local area homeless folk and anyone who drinks it melts in a grotesque fashion. This movie has great effects and its sleazy as hell. A large part takes place in a junk yard and the subplots include police brutality, necrophilia, homeless vets, murder and castration.
Censored in the UK on video in the 80's. I think it would be a good double bill with the Stuff (1985), covered last blog. This movie has a cult following now and I think some distillery made some real Viper wine a few years ago if I am not mistaken. Anyway Street Trash has great gore special effects and its a fun gross out movie for you and your buddies, assuming your friends are twisted too.
42) INFERNO (1980)
Dario Argento's Inferno doesn't get as much love as his better known Suspiria, but it's still a great movie. A woman buys a book from a rare book seller called "The Three mothers" and learns she lives in one three buildings mentioned in the book, each house controlled by a different witch, or mother.
Not everything that happens in the movie is totally clear, and its definitely a case of style over substance. I love Inferno though. A film about witches and alchemy its a bit light on plot, but the sets are gorgeous. It makes a good double with Suspiria, it was going to be the second film in the three mothers trilogy, but no third film ever got made
43) Maniac Cop (1988)
Maniac cop is supernatural /action/ slasher film directed William (Maniac) Lustig, written by Larry (the Stuff) Cohen, and starring Tom (Halloween 3) Atkins, and Bruce (Evil Dead) Campbell. The story is about innocent people being killed on the streets of NYC by a maniac dressed up as a cop who appears to have inside information about police business. Is it a real cop, or something more sinister?
Followed by two sequels, Maniac Cop did poorly when it was released and only found success in the home video market. One of the last true NYC grindhouse films, Maniac Cop is big dumb horror movie, but I love it. The acting is good, it looks good and and keeps the viewers attention. Maniac Cop probably won't be your favorite horror movie but it's still lots of fun.
44) The Stepfather (1987)
A suspense / horror film about a guy named Jerry Blake who kills his whole family and then remarries and plans to do it all again. His step daughter seems to be the only one suspects that something is wrong with the seemingly perfect new set up, and anything that potentially upsets the ideal white picket fence life he desires gets Jerry feeling murderous.
The Stepfather benefits from a great performance from lead actor Terry O'Quinn and has a nice Pacific Northwest backdrop. This film is actually a fairly intelligent look at a madman, whose motivations are equally crazy. Followed by sequels and a remake this is probably the only film worth watching, mostly for O'Quinn's chilling performance....
45) WOLFEN (1981)
Wolfen is decent little crime horror film starring Albert Finney that may be the best werewolf film not actually about werewolves. It has a great plot about a series of murders that are blamed on wild animals, but it turns out an ancient Indian curse may be to blame. Based on a book of the same name by Whitley Strieber. Instead of just a film about werewolves, Wolfen explores the idea that people and wolves can exchange souls, and is set in a crumbling 80's version of the Bronx. It often gets overlooked as it came out the same time as The Howling and American Werewolf in London.
46) TETSUO: THE IRONMAN (1989)
Directed by Shinya Tsukamoto, Tetsuo the Ironman is a totally mad Japanese body horror film. The man character is known only as "the salary man" and one day while shaving he notices a piece of metal coming out of skin, and its downhill from there. He starts to change, becomming a cratureof pure metal. He eventually develops a rivalry with a bad guy known as the metal fetishist on the other side down, its pretty clear a battle between the two is going to happen.
Influenced by films like Eraserhead it is a bizarre black and white movie with great expressionistic lighting and really elaborate art sets. You have to see the sex scene, you will laugh. I like this film because it pretty much launched the Japanese horror underground. Its got a great industrial music soundtrack too.
47) THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984)
Director Neil Jordan (Crying Game, Interview with the Vampire) directed this Gothic fantasy horror mashup. It didn't do that well at the box office as it was promoted as a straight horror film, when its more like an adult adaption of Little Red Riding hood. There are a few tales interspersed in the film, its mostly an allegory of sexuality with transformation into a wolf. The effects are top notch and won various awards. Company of Wolves is a stylish dream like affair that more people should see....
48) THE CHURCH (LA CHIESA) (1989)
Directed by Michele Soavi (The Sect, Cemetery Man) The Church actually pretty good. Despite being released in 1989 I only saw it in the last year. The plot involves a group a Knights Templars who massacre a bunch of devil worshipers and bury them. They build a church over the mass grave to contain the evil within. Fast forward to modern times, the church seems to a source of evil, trapping human victims inside and possessing them as it tries to raise a demon from hell.
I like the Church, its got elements of surrealism and Gothic horror and has great kills. Its the tail end of the Italian horror/giallo craze that started in the late 60s and was produced by Italian horror king Dario Argento whose daughter Asia has a role in it.
Score by Italian prog rock band Goblin.
49) The House by the Cemetery (1981)
A family from New York movies out to a old house in in the country and discovers something evil in the basement. The house comes complete with spirits, bleeding walls, mysterious banging, a rabid devil bat, the Shining-esque ghost of a little girl and the murdering eyeless reanimated corpse of the house's former owner Dr. Freudstein. All in all a fun twist on the haunted house tale.
Lucio Fulci made House by the Cemetery as a tribute to HP Lovecraft without the film being based on an actual Lovecraft story. Like all Italian films of the 80's this one is dubbed, and the kid's voice is particularly hilarious.
50) Without Warning (1980)
Jack Palance, Martin Landau, Neville Brand and David Caruso star in this low budget alien invasion horror movie. A really tall alien played by Kevin Peter Hall (AKA the guy in the Predator suit) lands and begins killing people with this weird flying starfish thing and stores their bodies in a shack.
The whole movie plays up the rural setting of spooky wooded areas and features a weird town populated by weirder townsfolk, for instance Landau plays a Vietnam vet with PTSD. Its cheesy and corny, but its still fun. The director Greydon Clark is known for making low budget trash like Satan's Cheerleaders and Joysticks. I quite like this movie, it may be cheap and corny but its fun.