“You ain’t got to pull that Blacula shit with me.” The line is an attempt to link what seems to be a half-hearted star-vehicle with something else: blaxploitation. By simultaneously comparing Murphy’s ’90s effort with its ’70s predecessor, whilst slyly digging at the older genre’s foibles, the gag it is a somewhat noble, if pithy, effort to give Vampire in Brooklyn more heft.
The best movies of the eighties either celebrated frivolity and gave us great entertainment, or rejected norms and pushed the boundaries towards broader innovations. Eighties indie movies were especially bold in this regard, and few directors tackled social and personal shape-shifting as deftly or entertainingly as Jonathan Demme.
The aptly titled, Something Wild gives us everything the eighties were famous for: laughs, sex, craziness, danger, secret lives, violence, drugs, nasty things in small towns and a great pop music soundtrack.
“Something Different. Something Daring. Something Dangerous.”
The most accomplished horror filmmakers aren’t really interested in delivering easy shocks or jump scares. What they try to do is chip away at the layers of defence we have created in order to protect our delicate psyches. To do this, they often try to tap into our most primal fears – conscious and unconscious. I will elaborate later on what these seem to be in the case of Spring. On first impression, Spring appears to be a form of ‘boy-meets-girl’ story, but the seemingly simple plot delves deeper into the impulses of love and commitment than the usual Hollywood product.
“Love is a monster.”
Doug Roos’ independently produced, feature-length, post-apocalyptic horror film was promoted primarily on it’s practical special effects, make-up and lack of computer-generated imagery (CGI). In this respect The Sky Has Fallen does not disappoint. Shot in Missouri and clearly influenced by Ryuhei Kitamura’s Yakuza/Zombie splatter-fest Versus (2000), The Sky Has Fallen combines elements from various horror subgenres and, whereas most would fail, Roos’ somehow manages to make everything work cohesively with only a few missteps.
“All practical FX. No CGI.”
Out of all the bizarre trends the ’80s hoisted upon pop culture, ninjas have to be among the most prolific. Suddenly, any two-bit action flick schlock factory received a license to render their product “mysterious” and “exotic,” just by decking out half their actors in black long johns. Never one to pass on a fad that could net them some extra bucks, the Cannon Group gladly hopped aboard the martial arts bandwagon, putting out a series of cult cheesefests that included 1985’s American Ninja.
“The deadliest art of the Orient is now in the hands of an American.”
The Mission (1986): Other than the all-star cast—Jeremy Irons, Robert De Niro and Liam Neeson—the score of this historical drama by Ennio Morricone alone makes it material for a best of list, and while it’s not the only great reason to watch the film, it’s definitely one of the reasons you’ll come back for more.
“If might is right, then love has no place in the world. It may be so, it may be so. But I don’t have the strength to live in a world like that…”
Horror fans nowadays are spoiled rotten. They’ve grown up with fancy special effects and boundary-pushing thematic content packaged with the latest genre titles, whereas viewers way back when made do with the main actor staring at everyone as a movie’s big draw.