Monday, April 30, 2012

Down A Dark Alley: The 80s Continued

After this batch of reviews will be my look at some of the Friday The 13th film series, followed by the 90s and 2000s. Oh and don't forget to check out last year's Horrorfest, which was covered in this blog from August to November.

Out of all the horror movies I've seen over the years, this one might be the most fun. The 80s were all about outlandishly entertaining movies, period, and it shows in this movie which is a unique twist on the zombie genre, released a year later after 1985, The Year of The Zombie (Re-Animator, Day of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead). Plus it stars Tom "Thrill Me!" Atkins, who embodies a badass sarcastic cop who's unfazed about most things. But not everything.

The opener is hilarious, thus also showing that horror and comedy have often gone hand in hand with horror movies, although this one doesn't have a great deal of humorous moments. The main two characters are likable enough, and of course they are the ones to unleash the Creeps upon an unsuspecting college population, primarily a sorority house full of your average bubble headed female coeds. I like that the movie slowly builds up and increases the amount of crazy events, until the final act boils over-too many horror movies lack that kind of patience. "The good news is your dates are here. The bad news is... they're dead."

What's great about the newly released SE DVD of the movie (which I own, and watched again a couple months ago) is that it contains the two endings created for this movie. The original ending being more shocking yet amazing, while the SE's ending that the director preferred, one which would have left the door open for a sequel. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately considering a sequel might have sucked) we are left with only the stand alone feature, which is a classic and a candidate for my famous Top 20 Horror Movies list. 95

Scare Level=3.0

As far as vampire movies go, this one is fairly original in various ways. For starters, the movie acts more as a western than a horror movie, even though there are some creepy moments and the main players are, well, vampires. Also there is a great deal of twisting some of the rules, although when you think about it the rules really aren't hard and fast with mythical creatures. Okay, so long as they don't goddamn sparkle-screw Twilight. Besides Twilight never had a vampire character as cool as Bill Paxton's psychotic, sun glasses sporting, murderous badass.

Sure some elements of Romeo and Juliet also exist here to a small extent, but that's not why I found this movie to be so refreshing and entertaining. The characters themselves are engaging and well written, and Bigelow endows the movie with something of a female touch that works-and also because those elements match up with the movie's more hard edged, macho tendencies. Why we don't have more horror-westerns that as good as this one is beyond me, if only because having vampires in Texas just simply makes sense.

After all, vampires are really as ancient and outdated as cowboys are. The final showdown between the hard luck and tired youthful protagonist, spurred on by a desire to save his beloved while opposing forces stronger than he is strikes anyone who's seen plenty of the western genre (I certainly have, and I'm a huge fan of it) as being rather familiar. How Bigelow handles the ending results in something very tension and exciting. Even though there are better vampire movies in existence, this one is recommended due to being something off the beaten path. 90

Scare Level=5.0

Back in the late 80s-the mid 90s, Peter Jackson was giving us very gory, highly entertaining, and completely outlandish horror movies (and a twisted take on puppet TV shows as well, in addition to the critically acclaimed Heavenly Creatures). Unleashing his creative fury despite budget limitations and the fact that at times he had no idea what the hell he was doing, Jackson gave us movies that, looking back, are quite original and really off the pale. This counts as his first feature, and in creating it he gave birth to something that while not at all scary is gloriously campy and quite hilarious.

Fast and furious really describe this movie, as since the length isn't particularly long the movie doesn't waste any time setting things into action-so there really isn't any set up or build up, which isn't a bad thing in this case. Between wondering what the the blue blazes was going on and laughing a lot, the movie establishes that these aliens come to earth seeking us humans as the ultimate in fine dinning. Yeah they want to eat us, which is surprising considering that most humans lack basic nutrients and are high in cholesterol.

What transpires is batshit madness, carefully executed yet unleashed upon the audience, as a bunch of highly trained psychotic badasses take on the alien menace. Not even bothering to ask questions or check things out save for five minutes, they blow everything to hell and back with a glee that goes beyond comical. The ending is beyond wacky, which is in line with the other inspired craziness. I really would like to see Jackson go back to making these kind of movies, but I don't think he will. At least we still have films like this one to watch again and again. 87

Scare Level=Non-existent

No comments:

Post a Comment