By 1981, shortly after the birth of the slasher genre, it was already ripe for parody.
In came Student Bodies, to fill that void.
Filmed quickly during the writers strike at the time, producer/director Michael Ritchie was forced to use the notorious pseudonym Allen Smithee. The uncredited writing team of Mickey Rose and Jerry Belson are actually successful at making the movie pretty damn funny, mostly thanks to some great one-liners and oddball ideas.
Filled with rapid fire gags and pot-shots at the obvious tropes of the genre, this entertaining flick gave us the very first “horror comedy”!
The story follows the footsteps of a killer known as “The Breather”, shown mostly in Halloween-style first person view along with the sounds of his ridiculously heavy breathing.
The killer is stalking the students of Lamab High School, ridding them of the harlots and bimbos, and no one seems to know who he is.
We are introduced to Toby, the obvious Jamie Lee Curtis final girl stand-in, and her slutty friends. The killer makes ominous phone calls to the victims, hissing his threats through a rubber chicken, you know, to disguise his voice. The film makers even give us an on-screen body count, and various hints at who the suspects may be.
Everyone is a suspect, from the principal to the nurses to the horsehead-obsessed woodshop teacher, and especially the goofy double-jointed janitor.
The Breather even breaks the fourth wall at one point, speaking directly to us, the audience, complete with drum rolls : Hello, it’s me, The Breather. You’re probably wondering who I am. Who could I be? Could I be the innocent looking Toby? Would you trust a girl who looked like Prince Valiant in a plum sweater? Maybe I’m Dr. Sigmund; a man who was once arrested for corrupting the morals of a hooker. Then there’s Malvert; with an I.Q. of a handball and the personality of a parking meter: violated! Could I be the principal Mr. Peters; a man who keeps cheese in his underwear to attract mice? Let’s not forget Ms. Leclair; English teacher by day and English teacher by night. Ah, Miss Mumsley; She’s eats 12 prunes a day and nothing happens. Nurse Krud and Ms. Van Dyke; what’s in a name? Everything! And then there Dumpkin; a man who sleeps with nuts in between horsehead bookends.
The gags are all over the place, and they stick more often than not.
Some very memorable lines and sound effects get some good laughs. This is goofball humor along the lines of other 80s comedies like Airplane and The Kentucky Fried Movie, with a horror theme.
The kills range from death by paperclip to chalkboard eraser, and all of the male victims are put in trash bags to suffocate.
The off-the-wall sense of humor drips from every scene.
Along with fart jokes and blatant references to then-current horror flicks like Halloween, Friday the 13th and Carrie, the writers even throw in some Laurel and Hardy inspired dialogue :
Toby: Who could have done these murders? Hardy: I don’t know. It could have been anybody. Toby: Well, it can’t be ANYbody. It’s gotta be somebody. Hardy: Of course it’s somebody, but that somebody could be anybody. Toby: Well, look, we didn’t do it, right? Hardy: Right. Toby: So you can’t say it could be anybody. WE’RE anybody. Hardy: True, but we’re also somebody.
The film was released to a disappointing reception in the theaters, but went on to gain cult status after multiple repeats on late night cable TV, since it featured no nudity or profanity and very little on-screen violence.
In fact, the hilarious scene below was shot and inserted into the film just to secure the R-rating for the theatrical run. Seriously.
It even ends on a series of trick endings, running the gamut of well-worn genre tropes, very insightful for the time.
All in all, Student Bodies is a fun and funny throwback to the 80s!
Check it out on Amazon Streaming.
You’ll never guess who the killer really is…
Thanks to Fangoria‘s recent effort to get some lost classics back up on big screens, I got the opportunity to check out Silent Night Deadly Night at my local theater last night.
When this film released in 1984, it caused a huge controversy with it’s ad campaign. The image of Santa Claus weilding an axe scarred so many impressionable little minds upon the release.
You have to think back to the 80s (or imagine them for you youngsters) when the entertainment choices presented to you were just a fraction of what we have easily in our grasp these days. You had only a few channels on the TV to choose from, and a severely limited choice of programming on those channels.
So pretty much all of America was watching the same channel when those commercials appeared, and caused a huge uproar.
The advertising campaign was so controversial, in fact, complete with protests and picketing, that TriStar Pictures pulled all ads for the film six days after its release. And later, they pulled the film from theaters to appease angry parents.
As you might expect, the film didn’t get a ringing endorsement from other critics. It is easy to forget how slasher movies were often thought as so awful at the time as to be barely a step up from pornography. Such was the hatred of slasher movies by 1984, many local critics simply refused to review them.
Siskel & Ebert got in on the bashing of the film, calling it “sick and sleazy and mean-spirited”. They even go so far as to condemn the movie as one of the “most contemptible films ever made” and try to publicly shame all the producers involved in the making of the film, as you can see in the video below.
The film was later re-released by an independent distributor in the Spring of 1986 with an all-new ad campaign that edited out all close-up shots of Billy in the Santa suit with weapons. The new ad campaign smartly took advantage of the previous controversy, building it up as “the film they didn’t want you to see”!
The movie itself is a wonderfully 80′s hour-and-a-half of goofy fun. It gets off to a great start with a classic opening sequence where 5-year-old Billy is traumatized when his mute paralyzed grandfather starts telling him about Santa Claus punishing naughty kids on Christmas. As soon as Billy’s parents come back in the room, he is silent again, only alive enough to terrorize the child.
Later that night, the family is heading home and has the misfortune to run into a desperate criminal dressed as Saint Nick who punishes Billy’s “naughty” parents right in front of him.
Obviously scarred for life by this ordeal, we see Billy a few years later at a strict Catholic orphanage getting punished by some very nasty nuns.
They even force poor little traumatized Billy to sit on Santa’s lap, which goes over about as well as you would think…
Cut to 1984, and 18-year-old Billy has apparently come to grips with his demons, and gets a job in a toy store. While not exactly a well-adjusted young man, he seems to be getting by in the world, as you can see in this gloriously 80s montage, complete with the forgotten Christmas classic “The Warm side Of The Door”!
Later, during the holiday shopping season, his sleazy boss promotes Billy from stock boy to (you guessed it) department store Santa. Billy’s descent into madness is confirmed later at the toy store’s employee Christmas party. He has a few drinks and losses his shit, and the rest of the film follows Billy’s rampage through the town.
Overall, Silent Night Deadly Night is a fun slasher film, and is well-deserving of it’s re-release treatment!
If you get the chance, definitely check it out on the big screen.
Check the full listings here to see if this holiday classic will be hitting a theater near you.
If you are not lucky enough to see it in theaters, you can find a 2-pack DVD set with the film and it’s (inferior) sequel for just $8.99 here.
Fun for the whole family!
“One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires.”
Remember when vampires were cool? Not these love stricken, glittery, beautiful, girly bitches or so called vampires, but the bad ass motorcycle driving, almost 80’s hair band, wanna eat you kind? With the influx of vampire media flooding the mainstream with things like, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the new Dracula series, Twilight, invading our psyches, it’s possible to forget. Or maybe it isn’t. You ask someone what their favorite vampire movie is and there’s a good chance they will answer with The Lost Boys. There was something about this film that really stood out not only among the 80’s movies in general, but also the continually growing long list of vampire movies and TV shows as a whole. It spawned two direct to video sequels, Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst. Let’s take a look at why this film has withstood as one of America’s favorite vampire films.
“Maggots Michael. You’re eating maggots.”
One of the first things to come to mind is the blend of comedy and horror elements throughout the film. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. The film does this in such a way that it does not hinder or hold back the horrific scenes in any way. It made vampires fun while still making them terrifying. All throughout are unforgettable one-liners. One of my favorites was when Sam shoots an arrow through the chest of Dwayne, sending the vamp flying back into the stereo, making it and him explode, and Sam saying “Death by stereo!” Yes, that is where my pseudonym comes from. And now you know.
“My own brother, a goddamn shit sucking vampire! You wait ‘till mom finds out buddy!”
The screenplay went through several changes before transforming into what we saw in the theatres and on video. The original screenplay was written by Janice Fischer and James Jeremias and was about 6th grade vampire kids, the frog brothers were chubby cub scouts, and star was originally a boy instead of the love interest she ultimately turned out to be. James Jeremias’ inspiration came from the Peter Pan story. Peter could fly, visited Wendy and her brothers at night, and never grew old. So he asked himself, what if Peter Pan was a vampire? Hence the title, The Lost Boys. Keifer Sutherland’s character, David, was originally named Peter. And there were other nods to Peter Pan in the shape of naming the characters after the children in the story. Many changes took place over a period of time including the names of the people in the script. The Frog brothers, Edgar and Alan, were name after the notorious author of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. Executive producer Richard Donner intended to direct the film himself, but as production became sluggish, he moved on to direct Lethal Weapon instead and hired Joel Schumacher to replace him. Joel Schumacher hated the original material and said the only way he would sign on would be if he could change the main characters to teenagers, believing this would be more sexier and interesting overall. The changes were obviously made and what we have left is the final film. The film grossed over $32 million.
“Great! The bloodsucking Brady Bunch!”
There was also a novel written and released to accompany the film by Craig Shaw Gardner, who received a copy of the script to adapt from. It was released in paper back and is 220 pages long. Though a short read, it contains several scenes later dropped from the film such as Michael working as a trash collector to make money to buy his leather jacket. It also expands the roles of the opposing gang, the Surf Nazi’s, who were seen as just nameless victims in the film. It includes several tidbits of vampire lore, such as not being able to cross running water and salt sticking to their forms. It has since become a collector’s item among fans, with a price range of anywhere to $20 for a well read and battered copy, to $150 for copies in good condition.
“Now you know what we are, now you know what you are. You’ll never grow old Michael, and you’ll never die. But you must feed!”
While he may not be the main character, the star of the film has got to be Keifer Sutherland as David. His charismatic character is fun to watch, being a terrifying vampire one minute and sinisterly messing with Michael’s head in the next. Corey Haim’s character, Sam, also brought some comedic relief at times and his interactions with his brother, Jason Patric’s character Michael, in most scenes, were downright funny.
“Bad breath, long fingernails? Yeah his fingernails are a little bit longer, um, he always had bad breath though.”
Now time for the Did You Know part of the article. Kiefer Sutherland was only supposed to wear the black gloves he sports as David when riding his motorcycle. However, while messing around on the bike behind the scenes, he fell off, breaking his arm so he had to wear the gloves throughout the entire movie to cover his cast.
The movie was filmed in Santa Cruz, CA. Santa Cruz in Spanish means “Holy Cross,” which is an interesting connection given the vampire subject matter and their vulnerability to crucifixes.
The Lost Boys was Corey Haim and Corey Feldman’s first film together, which marked the start of a popular 80’s trend “The Two Corey’s” in which they both starred together in a number of teenage films.
The merry-go-round sequence foreshadows the order in which the Lost Boys will die. Marko dies first, Paul second, Dwayne third, and David last.
Edgar Frog predicts how each of the vampires will die saying, “No two vamps die the same way, some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, and some implode.
In the vampires cave you can clearly see a poster of Jim Morrison. He recorded the original version of “People are strange” with The Doors. And later when Star and Laddie are being carried into Sam’s room, you can see a poster of Echo & The Bunnymen who recorded the version of the song used in the film.
David is impaled on a pair of antlers and doesn’t disintegrate like the other vampires. Despite what Max says later, David is not really dead. This was intended to be picked up in the sequel “Lost Girls,” which was scripted, but never made. The Wildstorm comic’s mini-series “The Lost Boys: Reign of the Frogs,” helps bridge the 20 year gap between films. It’s implied that David not only survived the impaling, but went on to create Shane, the head vampire in Lost Boys: The Tribe.
“Holy shit! It’s the attack of Eddie Munster!”
So all in all what do we have? A delightful and memorable vampire romp right out of the 80’s.
“You’re chasing that girl aren’t you? Come on admit it. I’m at the mercy of your sex glands, bud.”
Let me take a brief moment to apologize. I had a short interview with Corey Feldman scheduled for this feature about his experiences on the film and his most memorable moments during filming. But due to his new book releasing and him touring to promote it, the chat got pushed back to some time in November. But don’t worry, it is coming and will be added to the article as soon as it happens.
“Death by stereo!”
The Lost Boys (1987) stars: Jason Patric (Michael Emerson), Kiefer Sutherland (David), Corey Haim (Sam Emerson), Jami Gertz (Star), Corey Feldman (Edgar Frog), Dianne Wiest (Lucy Emerson), Edward Herrmann (Max), Alex Winter (Marko), Billy Wirth (Dwayne), Jamison Newlander (Alan Frog), and Barnard Hughes (Grandpa).
Keep away from Pumpkinhead,
Unless you’re tired of living,
His enemies are mostly dead,
He’s mean and unforgiving,
Laugh at him and you’re undone,
But in some dreadful fashion,
Vengeance, he considers fun,
And plans it with a passion,
Time will not erase or blot,
A plot that he has brewing,
It’s when you think that he’s forgot,
He’ll conjure your undoing,
Bolted doors and windows barred,
Guard dogs prowling in the yard,
Won’t protect you in your bed,
Nothing will, from Pumpkinhead.
Pumpkinhead was the directorial debut of special effects legend Stan Winston.
After years of creating the monsters we all know and love from Aliens, Predator, Monster Squad and many more, he took the reigns to bring us the tale of Pumpkinhead, which was allegedly inspired by the poem above by Ed Justin.
The film stars Lance Henrikson as a proud hillbilly dad who, thirty years prior, witnessed a vengeful monster terrorizing a horrified man. Now in “present day” (1988), his character Ed Harley is all grown up with a child of his own and a tiny general store located in the middle of nowhere.
When a group of irresponsible and cocky college kids decide to stick their necks in his woods, things suddenly go terribly wrong. A terrible dirt bike accident kills Ed’s son, and the guilty college kids panic and take off.
Desperate, Ed seeks out the help of a terrifying old witch named Haggis, who lazily warns him that vengeance will come with a terrible price. She directs him to an old pumpkin patch where he is to dig up a disfigured body and bring it to her. The witch then uses blood from father and son to resurrect the creature’s corpse, and unleashes the demon on the world.
Soon after the demon is conjured, both Ed and his victims are wracked with guilt and regret, but it is too late to stop the monster. In fact, we learn that the only way to stop Pumpkinhead is to kill the summoner as well, as they are slowly becoming one and the same. So, in order for the demon to die, Ed must die as well.
This one has gone on to achieve a cult status, mostly based around the design of the menacing creature. A sequel titled “Pumpkinhead 2 : Blood Wings” went direct-to-video in 1994, and two further sequels were produced for the sci-fi channel in 2006 and 2007.
Also, a comic book series was begun and quickly abandoned in 1994 after publishing only two of the four planned issues.
Some impressive figures have been sculpted over the years of Pumpkinhead the demon, including awesome pieces from McFarlane Toys and Sideshow Collectibles.
Musical tributes to this flick include a great Misfits tune from 1999, and a nod on the just-released “Pagan Holiday” by Harley Poe.
And some nice fan art and re-imagined posters have popped up celebrating this lost classic of the 80s!
This one is a classic, and a must-watch for this time of year!
If you have never seen this overlooked gem, it is time to do your homework!
Get the collector’s edition here, or check it out on streaming Netflix.
No matter how old you are you know who Stephen King is. For him to say, “I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker,” speaks volumes.
Hence my introduction to the movie, Hellraiser.
In 1987 Clive Barker had his directorial debut with his film, Hellraiser. Based on his novella The Hellbound Heart: A Novel, the story centers around 4 main characters, Julia, Frank, Larry, and Kirsty.
The film has an originality that is not commonly matched. There are many things that separate this film from other horror movies. Take the story for example, it is essentially a forbidden love story. Even through all its grotesqueness and taboos. Julia ends up having a passionate affair with her to be husband, Larry’s, brother Frank. It is clearly unlike anything she has ever experienced before, hence her willingness to do the unspeakable things she does for the man she lusts for and all his sexual depravity.
But what kind of Hellraiser fan would I be if I didn’t mention everybody’s favorite, the Cenobites. Clive did an amazing job imagining these “super butcher,” denizens of hell. From the costumes, to the ongoing torture of varying degrees, that each one has. Though Clive did not originally name the Cenobites individually, the fans took to these demons and gave them all nicknames that have stuck to this day. “Pinhead,” “Chatterer,” “Deepthroat,” and “Butterball.” The cenobite imagery is where some of the taboo nuances and symbolism come into place, among the other things, like the innuendo of Frank wanting a sexual relationship with his niece, Kirsty, and Frank and Julia’s love affair, etc.
In a way, I feel this is almost two separate movies. The love triangle of Julia, Frank, and Larry and the drama that ensues with that and Kirsty, the Cenobites, and the common thread, skinless Frank, with the gore, dread, and horror that follows those characters.
The acting was pretty good for the time. Clare Higgins as Julia was my favorite. I feel she did a phenomenal job in playing the originally naïve, then reluctant seductress turned murderess psychopath. Andrew Robinson as Larry also did a good job. I feel like he played down his character on purpose just enough, in order for Sean Chapman’s character, Frank, to seem more enticing, exciting, and sexual. Ashley Lawrence playing Kirsty hit most of the high notes, but fell flat and lacked motivation in a couple of scenes, but overall did a good job. Doug Bradley even with minimal speaking parts brought something special to the “Pinhead” character. He made him feel like he was a “worldly” character, like he had seen and done it all. I can not imagine anyone else portraying that character. Even though it was tried by Dimension in the most recent sequel, and failed miserably.
Christopher Young and his orchestral score beautifully complimented the film. While not the original choice Clive had in mind, he made a good decision.
The film was released in both the US and the UK and was met with mixed reviews. The majority of the negative coming from critics residing in the US, in particular one Roger Ebert, who basically said the film was made with “no wit, style, or reason.” I couldn’t disagree more. The low budget of the film forced Clive to face some major decisions and get creative with his cinematography. The film was made for around a million dollars and was somewhat of a big box office success, grossing around twenty million dollars.
Talk of a “remake” by Dimension, has floated around on the internet for years now. Even a “re-imagining” of Pinhead was screen tested and the video can be found on several websites. But to me, a remake is wholly unnecessary. The film is perfect even with all its problems and imperfections.
The movie itself has left its imprint in pop culture. From body piercing to full body suspension and the like. There are also countless comic books and graphic novels, some done by Clive Barker himself to flesh out his world and mythology even more, highly collectable action figures, and cenobite busts. Hellraiser costumes are also a Halloween favorite.
As I’ve watched the film over the years, I have posed many questions to myself. Like, how powerful is the sexual experience? Is there a line to be drawn? Can pleasure really be derived from pain? What is people’s obsession with this film that has made it such a cult classic?
Without a doubt this is my favorite horror movie. The imagination it took to flesh out all of these characters (and demons) that spawned eight sequels, is nothing short of amazing, and is rarely seen in the film industry these days, especially in the horror genre. If for some reason you have yet to see Hellraiser, do yourself a favor… Watch it! Or the Cenobites may just “Tear your soul apart!”
In 1982, director Frank Henenelotter had an idea to make the “stupidest movie ever”.
He enlisted some help and threw together a script about a guy carrying around a monster in a basket, and shot it all for around $30,000, in the hopes that no one would ever see it…
The story concerns a man named Duane Bradley, and his visit to New York City. He arrives with only one piece of luggage; a large wicker basket. It’s eventually revealed that Duane carries around his deformed and angry formerly conjoined twin, Belial, hunting down the doctors that separated them to exact bloody revenge!
The 80s earnestness in the performances (especially Kevin Van Hentenryck as wide-eyed Duane) and the no-budget effects are what makes this one a cult classic. Belial is a lumpy mass of foam latex, brought to life with a combination of off-screen puppetry and stop-motion animation. But he is a living breathing character, and you will find yourself cheering on his quest for revenge.
As Belial continues his rampage, wiping out the doctors that separated the twins, Duane finds himself falling for a young receptionist, and trying to have his own life. But the connection between him and his brother is too strong, and as goofy as the film is, it actually has a lot to say about attachment and jealousy in personal relationships.
Some bonds simply cannot be broken…
Basket Case became a cult classic, and spawned two increasingly weird sequels in 1990 and 1992, following the further adventures of Duane and Belial, as they are taken in by a community of freaks, under the care of kindly Granny Ruth and her grand-daughter.
The special effects team really goes wild in the sequels, crafting a whole family of deformed weirdos.
Of course, Belial is still the star of the show, and he gets increasing upgraded in his iconic look, especially into part 3 : The Progeny, where the family of “unique individuals” travel south, where Belial is going to become a proud monster father of an ungodly brood.
Of course, a beloved film like this weirdo classic has no shortage of fan art!
Check out some great examples here :
The 1980′s belonged to John Carpenter.
After redefining (or defining) the slasher genre with his masterpiece Halloween in the late 70′s, Carpenter kept hitting them out of the park all throughout the decade of greed, with one classic after another!
The Fog (1980), The Thing (1982), and Prince Of Darkness (1987) are all bona-fide cult classics, and Carpenter closed out his reign of the 80′s with a subversive look at the corporate society building up around him in 1988 with today’s 80s Baby, They Live!
The idea for They Live came from a short story called “Eight O’ Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson, originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the 1960s.
The more political elements of the film are derived from Carpenter’s growing distaste with the ever-increasing commercialization of 1980s popular culture and politics.
He remarked, “I began watching TV again. I quickly realized that everything we see is designed to sell us something… It’s all about wanting us to buy something. The only thing they want to do is take our money.”
To this end, Carpenter thought of sunglasses as being the tool to seeing the truth, which “is seen in black and white. It’s as if the aliens have colorized us.”
After a budget of approximately three million dollars was raised, Carpenter began casting the film. For the crucial role of Nada, the filmmaker cast professional wrestler Roddy Piper, whom he met at WrestleMania III earlier in 1987.
For Carpenter it was an easy choice: “Unlike most Hollywood actors, Roddy has life written all over him.”
Carpenter was impressed with Keith David’s performance in The Thing and needed someone “who wouldn’t be a traditional sidekick, but could hold his own.”
Carpenter wrote the role of Frank specifically for the actor.
One of the best parts of the film has to be the legendary 5 minute fight scene between these two actors!
Carpenter recalls that the fight took three weeks to rehearse: “It was an incredibly brutal and funny fight, along the lines of the slugfest between John Wayne and Victor McLaglen in The Quiet Man.”
Although it was not an immediate commercial success, the film has gone on to cult status along with most of Carpenter’s early projects, and inspired tons of fan art and retro posters. Check out some great examples below!
Awesome cover for the Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray!
Possession is one of those love or hate films.
A deliberately off-putting mixture of drama, suspense, and horror, with an untraditional narrative that keeps you guessing, Possession is a true cult classic in every sense.
Filmed in Berlin in 1980 after writing the screenplay in the midst of a messy divorce, Andrezj Zulawski’s film is like a nightmare come to life.
Starring a very young Sam Neill and a gorgeous young lady named Isabelle Adjani as a struggling husband and wife, the film throws you right into their world, as he returns home from some kind of secret mission to find his home life in chaos.
His wife wants a divorce, and they fight about it intensely. Sam Neill’s character Marc shows himself to be emotionally fragile, and though some may say he is overacting, his character really leaves you with an unpredictable feeling ; that he could snap at any second. Isabelle Adjani’s character Anna, on the other hand, is cool and distant, and extremely unhappy, fueling Marc’s constant frustration with her.
Early in the movie, Marc loses his shit completely making obsessive calls and basically losing his mind. He ends up having a complete meltdown and trashing a restaurant, then spasming and curling up into a fetal position for three straight weeks.
After a little R&R, Marc returns home to find his son neglected and alone in the apartment he shared with his family, and learns that Anna has been just as unreliable as he has.
He insists on staying to take care of their son, and trying to repair their fragile marriage.
But his mental state is still deteriorating, and the film does it’s best to keep us on edge as well, to keep questioning what is real and what is not.
Anna comes and goes without explanation, and Mark learns that she has been unfaithful and confronts her lover, getting beaten to a pulp by the older man. But Mark’s capacity for violence is constantly growing and feeding itself, and Anna has no trouble antagonizing him (or taking a punch).
She runs off, bleeding, and Mark decides to hire the most obvious private investigator ever, to follow her around and see what she is doing. She returns home once, and begins to prepare a dinner while having an intense argument with the increasingly unpredictable Mark, which escalates into one of the most intense scenes in the film, which truly lets you know that you have no idea where this story is headed…
If this synopsis has intrigued you so far, I urge you to stop reading right now and order the film from Amazon from this link here, and let yourself be surprised and disgusted by the rest of the film by watching it for yourself.
The rest of this article may intrigue you further or turn you off completely, so the choice is yours.
Beyond this point are spoilers!
The third act of the film takes a wild turn into some kind of deranged precursor to Hellraiser. The P.I. talks his way into Anna’s barren apartment and noses around until he stumbles upon a strange creature, and Anna attacks him with a broken bottle.
She begins to collect victims, presumably to feed and grow the creature in the back room.
“He’s very tired. He made love to me all night,” she says. “He’s still unfinished, you know.”
The film now visually tries to horrify us, but in my opinion it is all meant to illustrate the mental and emotional break-down of these two people as they struggle with their own unbearable feelings and dark sides.
The film seems to be saying that no one can ever truly know or “possess” another person, and the pursuit of this will lead only to madness and confusion.
Some of the tricks used by the film-makers to keep us off-balance are seriously brilliant, and you might just finish this one scratching your head. Or you may just embrace the weirdness and find your new favorite movie…
Either way, this cult classic from 1981 is definitely worth a look!
1981 was the year for high-profile werewolf movies.
Following the release of Joe Dante’s The Howling and a big screen adaptation of Whitley Streiber’s Wolfen, John Landis jumped in to the mix on August 21st and blew everyone away with what is widely considered the definitive werewolf film, An American Werewolf In London.
The likeable main characters and believable friendship between them is the key to this film, which is generally noticed for the mind-blowing special effects work by Rick Baker.
But without the easy-going and realistic relationship between the characters of David Kessler and Jack Goodman, you get, well, An American Werewolf In Paris…
The story goes that two American college students are backpacking across the Yorkshire moors. As darkness falls, they decide to stop for the night at a pub called “The Slaughtered Lamb”. Jack notices a five-pointed star on the wall. When he asks about it, the pub becomes very quiet and the drinkers start acting very strange and hostile.
The pair decide to leave, but not before the others offer them pieces of advice such as “Beware the moon, lads” and “Keep to the road.”
While conversing with each other and wondering what they meant, they wander off the road, onto the moors.
In the dark night, lit only by a full moon, the pair are attacked by a large animal and are mauled badly. David wakes up in the hospital to find his friend is dead, and he begins having strange dreams, in some effectively jarring sequences of the film.
After his rough adjustment period, David’s old dead pal shows up, constsantly encouraging David to kill himself, to allow the victims of the monster to rest in peace.
Jack warns of the moon and the coming change, as he slowly decomposes…
With David convinced he is slowly losing his mind and/or becoming a werewolf, the adorable nurse he shacked up with and his doctor begin to become concerned.
One evening without warning, the transformation begins…
And it is truly an amazing feat of make-up work, that still holds up today!
Check out the entire scene in the video below :
The ground-breaking special effects work from Rick Baker and his team certainly deserve all of the credit they get for the success of this film being elevated into cult status.
An amazing job all around!
Special effects legend Rick Baker won a well-deserved Academy Award that year for his incredible work on the transformation. See the video below to learn more about how it was done in the pre-CGI era!
Of course, after the initial transformation, all hell breaks loose, as the wolf goes on a bloody rampage through London, all building up to an exciting climax, with a most abrupt ending.
There was a disappointing sequel produced in 1997, An American Werewolf In Paris, with none of the original cast or crew and heavily computer generated effects work that couldn’t even come close to the original. Talks have been circulating since 2009 about a potential (and unnecessary) remake, but seem to have been halted for the time being.
A good thing, because if there is one werewolf film that has stood the test of time, it is this one!
A cult classic like this one has spawned a plethora of fan art, and I have collected some favorites below.
A true cult classic, and one of the best of the 80s Babies, An American Werewolf In London is available in a beautiful blu-ray “Full Moon” edition from Amazon by clicking right here!
If you have never seen this classic from the crazy 80′s now is your chance.
Do your homework!
David Cronenberg’s The Fly is widely considered one of the handful of good remakes.
It was loosely based on George Langelaan’s short story from 1957, which also formed the basis for the 1958 film The Fly.
Cronenberg made it into a unique and horrific vision, which is genuinely disturbing for the time it was made, and still holds up to modern viewings (despite obvious technological differences.)
When it was released that year, the film made Jeff Goldblum a household name, and received incredibly good reviews for a horror film.
David Cronenberg was surprised when The Fly became embraced as a cultural metaphor for AIDS, since he originally intended the film to be a more general analogy for disease itself, terminal conditions like cancer and, more specifically, the aging process.
He was quoted as saying; “If you, or your lover, has AIDS, you watch that film and of course you’ll see AIDS in it, but you don’t have to have that experience to respond emotionally to the movie and I think that’s really its power; This is not to say that AIDS didn’t have an incredible impact on everyone and of course after a certain point people were seeing AIDS stories everywhere so I don’t take any offense that people see that in my movie. For me, though, there was something about The Fly story that was much more universal to me: aging and death–something all of us have to deal with.”
The Fly was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Special Effects in 1987, and many people were actually rooting for Jeff Goldblum to be nominated for Best Actor!
His performance in the film is great, and the characters transformation from man to monster is incredibly well done, with practical effects work that still stands out today.
The film is memorable and beloved for many reasons.
Of course, I already mentioned the great bug-eyed performances from Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis and the amazing effects work, but the success of the film has a lot to do with Cronenberg’s own style and vision.
Initially, Cronenberg was slated to direct Total Recall at the time, and was brought in after the original director, Robert Bierman, had to leave the film due to a death in the family. Cronenberg did an extensive rewrite of the script, keeping in some of the beats of the original, while inserting his own obsession with body horror and sexuality prominently into the mix.
The unsettling feeling of having something growing inside of you is the main thing that makes the viewer squirm while watching The Fly, and the director really makes us effectively feel it.
A rare deleted scene from the film shows Cronenberg’s further attempt at gross-out body horror.
In the scene below, Brundlefly tests out his new third pod on a cat and baboon, fusing them together into a freaky cat-monkey hybrid that scampers across the room. After he beats it to death, he falls out a window and grows an insect leg from his stomach, which he then bites off.
I’m not making this up. Check it out.
The Fly has inspired tons of great fan art over the nearly three decades since it’s 1986 release. Check out some great examples by talented artists below, and follow the links to their sites!
Although it has been some time since Cronenberg has made a horror film, he has in fact expressed interest in making a sequel of sorts to The Fly. He has even written a screenplay that has struggled to get financed, for some reason!
Cronenberg described the project as, “more of a sequel or a sidebar. It was a meditation on fly-ness. None of the same characters or anything and, of course, with an understanding of modern technology.” Which sounds like a fantastic idea! In a 2012 interview with Empire, he elaborated further, saying;
“Well, I did talk to Fox, because my agent found out that they were approaching people to do a remake of my film. He sort of said, ‘Well, you know, what about David?’ And they said, ‘Well, we never thought of that!’ I think they’d been to Guillermo del Toro and Michael Bay. I said, ‘Long ago I proposed a sequel to Mel Brooks when he said he wanted to make a sequel.’ He didn’t like what I proposed because he said it wasn’t the same as the original movie. ‘A sequel,’ he said, ‘should be more of the same.’ And I said, ‘Well, Mel, then I’m not interested.’ And he went off and did his sequels (sic) and they had nothing to do with me and they weren’t very successful. But I still had this idea in mind – which no, I won’t tell you – and I said to Fox, ‘I’ll write that idea up because, as I think of it, it could be interesting.’ And they were excited about it enough to pay me to write a script. And then for various reasons it kind of got bogged down. I don’t know exactly why. It seems now that it’s not going to happen. But it’s a script that I like and would do. It’s not exactly a sequel, and it’s certainly not a remake. More a meditation ; it involves teleportation.”
What a sad thing that a project like this can’t find the funding. I know that I would love to see Cronenberg return to horror, and especially expand upon the mythology he began with The Fly in 1986.
A relatively original idea exists, from a proven A-list director, and Hollywood is content to just regurgitate the same shit we have already seen, over and over again…
What a shame.
Well, at least we will always have the original, now available in a beautiful Blu-ray edition of The Fly loaded with special features from Amazon!
I hope you enjoyed this quick look at this 1986 classic, and be sure and do your homework and check out the other 80′s Babies we have talked about in the past!
Catch you next time, maggots!