Category Archives: remember the 80’s

Gremlins (1984)

“Don’t expose him to bright light. Don’t ever get him wet. And don’t ever, ever feed him after midnight.” This sage advice is ignored midway through Gremlins, with devastating results. This comic Joe Dante effort is set in a Norman Rockwell-esque small town at Christmastime. Seeking a unique gift for his son an erstwhile inventor (Hoyt Axton) purchases a cute, fuzzy little “Mogwai” from a Chinatown shopkeeper’s (Keye Luke) grandson (John Louie), who dispenses the above-mentioned warning before closing the deal. Meanwhile, young bank clerk Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) must suffer such antagonists as rich-bitch Mrs. Deagle (Polly Holliday) and priggish Gerald (Judge Reinhold) while pursuing his romance with Kate (Phoebe Cates). These and a variety of other plot strands are tied together when the lovable mogwai (named Gizmo) is exposed to bright light and gotten wet. In short order, the town is invaded by nasty, predatory Gremlins, who lay waste to everything in sight as Billy and Kate try to contain the destruction. Like most of Joe Dante’s works, Gremlins is chock-full of significant cameo appearances: in this instance, such pop-culture icons as Dick Miller, Jackie Joseph, Chuck Jones, Scott Brady, Harry Carey Jr., Steven Spielberg (the film’s executive producer) and even Robby the Robot all show up briefly on screen.(ROTTEN TOMATOES)

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Beetlejuice (1988)

Thanks to the carelessness of a cute little dog, newlyweds Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are killed in a freak auto accident. Upon arriving in the outer offices of Heaven, the couple finds that, thanks to a century’s worth of bureaucratic red tape, they’re on a long celestial waiting list. Before they can earn their wings, Davis and Baldwin must occupy their old house as ghosts for the next fifty years. Alas, the house is now owned by insufferable yuppies Catherine O’Hara and Jeffrey Jones. Horrified at the prospect of sharing space with these obnoxious interlopers, Davis and Baldwin do their best to scare O’Hara and Jones away, but their house-haunting skills are pathetic at best. In desperation, the ghostly couple engage the services of a veteran scaremeister: a yellow-haired, snaggle-toothed, profane, flatulent “gonzo” spirit named Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton). The problem: Beetlejuice cannot be trusted-especially when he falls in love with O’Hara and Jones’ gloomy, black-clad teenaged daughter Winona Ryder. Beetlejuice producer David Geffen, director Tim Burton, and composer Danny Elfman were also involved in an animated TV-series spin-off.(ROTTEN TOMATOES)

 

 

 

 

Blade Runner 1982

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A blend of science fiction and noir detective fiction, Blade Runner (1982) was a box office and critical bust upon its initial exhibition, but its unique postmodern production design became hugely influential within the sci-fi genre, and the film gained a significant cult following that increased its stature. Harrison Ford stars as Rick Deckard, a retired cop in Los Angeles circa 2019. L.A. has become a pan-cultural dystopia of corporate advertising, pollution and flying automobiles, as well as replicants, human-like androids with short life spans built by the Tyrell Corporation for use in dangerous off-world colonization. Deckard’s former job in the police department was as a talented blade runner, a euphemism for detectives that hunt down and assassinate rogue replicants. Called before his one-time superior (M. Emmett Walsh), Deckard is forced back into active duty. A quartet of replicants led by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) has escaped and headed to Earth, killing several humans in the process. After meeting with the eccentric Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel), creator of the replicants, Deckard finds and eliminates Zhora (Joanna Cassidy), one of his targets. Attacked by another replicant, Leon (Brion James), Deckard is about to be killed when he’s saved by Rachael (Sean Young), Tyrell’s assistant and a replicant who’s unaware of her true nature. In the meantime, Batty and his replicant pleasure model lover, Pris (Darryl Hannah) use a dying inventor, J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson) to get close to Tyrell and murder him. Deckard tracks the pair to Sebastian’s, where a bloody and violent final confrontation between Deckard and Batty takes place on a skyscraper rooftop high above the city. In 1992, Ridley Scott released a popular director’s cut that removed Deckard’s narration, added a dream sequence, and excised a happy ending imposed by the results of test screenings; these legendary behind-the-scenes battles were chronicled in a 1996 tome, Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner by Paul M. Sammon.(ROTTEN TOMATOES)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael & friends…

happy halloween!!

Fright Night 1985

With the remake now in the movie theatres let us please not forget the FANTASTIQUE original!!!

A teenage horror film addict is shocked to discover that his new next-door neighbor is a vampire in this delightful mix of horror and comedy. The problems only grow for young Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) when he expresses his thoughts about fanged new neighbor Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon). His girlfriend, Amy (Amanda Bearse), thinks Charley is avoiding their relationship issues, his single mom thinks Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) could be a potential boyfriend, and his buddy “Evil” (Stephen Geoffreys) just thinks Charley’s losing it. Worst of all, Dandridge and his nasty assistant, Billy Cole (Jonathan Stark), are on to Charley’s wild notions — and have plans to pay him a late-night visit to silence him. With no one to help him, Charley turns to the one man he knows has faced the wrath of the undead and lived, the fearless vampire killer Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall). A washed-up actor who has just been fired from his job as the host of a late-night horror show, Vincent is not about to believe in the rantings of an impressionable teen. However, lured by Amy’s cash offer, he agrees to help her convince Charley that Dandridge isn’t a vampire. There is just one problem: Dandridge is a vampire and when Amy falls under his evil spell, its up Charley and Peter to drive a stake through their potential romance. (ROTTEN TOMATOES)

 

Night of the Comet 1984

In this satirical sci-fi comedy, Samantha (Kelli Maroney) and Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) are two sisters whose father was a hard-bitten Green Beret, but who’ve grown into typical Valley Girls. They end up spending the night in a steel-lined room just as a comet passes close to the earth, vaporizing the people in its wake. When Samantha and Regina emerge, they discover that they have the city to themselves, and they begin the shopping spree to end all shopping sprees. En route to the mall, they discover Hector (Robert Beltran), the only survivor they’ve found so far, and they argue over who gets the last boyfriend on Earth. However, the mall holds an unpleasant surprise — a small army of zombified stockboys who the gals must battle using an arsenal they shoplifted along the way (while lamenting that “Daddy would have gotten us Uzis!” after a MAC-10 fails to fire). Meanwhile, a cadre of soldiers from a special military experiment have come out of hiding, but it seems that they need fresh blood to survive, and Samantha and Regina look like just the refreshment they need. Cult figure Mary Woronov also appears in a supporting role as a scientist. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi(ROTTEN TOMATOES)