Thursday, April 19, 2012

Down A Dark Alley: The 1980s

Now I've viewed the most from the 1980s during my Horrorfests since this decade has some of the most fun horror movies, not to mention the fact that it was the last big era for the genre until the 2000s. So here we go....

Despite the fact that I'm not a big fan of werewolves in general, I liked this movie a lot. Dante starts out with a strange and creepy encounter and then gives us some measure of calm before plunging us into a world even stranger, deadlier, and featuring hot werewolf sex. I'm not kidding about that last part, and yes its heavy. Although this movie isn't better than Gremlins, which I consider to be his best work, its still a must see for fans of his work and horror movie buffs in general.

Furthermore, the atmosphere here is laid on pretty damn thick. The characters (just like in An American Werewolf in London) are somewhat familiar with the werewolf mythology, and there are several key scenes that actually freaked me out. What Dante delivers is a workman like film, one that pulls very little punches, manages to be entertaining, and is a worthy companion to its superior competitor that was released the same year.

No I have not seen the sequels, and I hear they are quite terrible so I think I'll pass. But I do eagerly recommend this one to viewers, as its quite possibly one of the best horrors of the 80s. Even though I kind of saw the twist and the ending coming, the last scene is actually great, and the final shot is deliciously eerie. Too bad the current decade hasn't been as kind to Joe Dante, as he's really a good director and has a substantial body of work. 87

Scare Level: 6.0

Even though this is a good movie, and it does feature some really inspired creepy/freaky/weird moments, I'd say that compared to the fantastic Videodrome that this movie is messy, and a lesser movie. Sure there is a head exploding, and Michael Ironside being his usual great self, but this film fails to further dive into its themes; if anything a lack of a good budget and a more interesting script would have helped this movie more. Not going to lie, though: I also wanted more head exploding. Cause that was really cool.

Once again, Cronenberg covers his usual brand of body mutation and human monsters living among us-with the creatures being fairly obvious, less subtle-yet at the same time we get an earlier glimpse of the human mind bending morphing strange occurring moments that showed up in his later movies. I'm not sure if the protagonist and the woman who becomes his partner were supposed to be stilted in their acting approach, either, as if that results in seemingly more realistic performances, or maybe they just weren't very good. I didn't find that to be distracting anyways.

Sure the last act where critical mass is literally reached and a Jedi mind battle takes place leading to something rather frightening, but this movie never gets beyond its bare minimum ideas. As an early effort sure it works, but this is one movie where a well done remake would probably improve upon what has already been accomplished. 80

Scare Level=3.5

As far as slashers go, this one is fairly standard-and yet, due to some well done kills, a decent sense of pacing, and a great deal of entertainment thrown in, its passable and better than some of the slasher sub-genre's offerings. Plus you have Jason Alexander and Fisher Stevens playing teenagers when the former looks too old to really do so, and its amusing to view them in action before they become more famous. Oh and of course Harvey Weinstein helped write the movie, so really its important in terms of having helped launch several notable people's careers, which is cool I guess.

What happens in the movie isn't really important: some stupid kids play a prank, set a dude on fire, guy survives and comes back to wreck his terrible brand of violent, gory vengeance. The movie actually starts out slow, and for a while all we get is some boobs and kids playing pranks. The killer stalks and sneaks around, waiting to strike while showing off his horribly disfigured and burned face. I will say that the movie's opener, with a stupid corner getting his just deserts, was the highlight of the movie's first half.

Many fans of the movie note the awesome kills, namely the hilarious and rather blood filled raft massacre, which came as a bit of surprise to me when it probably shouldn't have had. There's more boobs, death by clippers, and an epic battle to the death between hero and evil sadistic villain that works actually quite well. Despite the lack of real suspense with a few exceptions, and the high level of dumb thrown in (all slashers have it, otherwise their would be a lack of victims), this is worth viewing if you enjoy this sort of thing (I suppose I do to a degree). I'm glad there wasn't a sequel. 75

Scare Level=4.0

No comments:

Post a Comment