Once again, it’s back to the VHS days. This time, I take on four flicks spanning from 81 – 96, and featuring, demons, aliens, a killer hand, and a naked psycho with a knife.
The ultimate unintentional laughfest, this one is even funnier if you watch the director’s alternate cut included on the Blu-ray.
After all her birthing issues in The Brood, Samantha Eggar went on to this disaster, which has a name that doesn’t belong to a movie about a killer hand. Seriously, it’s just a killer hand movie.
Samantha and her husband find a possessed hand during a Mexican mining expedition. It apparently attaches itself to the husband (we don’t see it actually happen), and then the husband goes to Vegas and dies. WTF? The hand drags his corpse out of the grave just long enough so that zombie husband can sever it from his body, after which it apparently latches on to a black cop (we again never see it happen) and temporarily becomes a black hand.
It’s hacked from the black cop’s wrist, becomes a white hand once again, and hitches a ride on a train after a car chase scene. I just can’t with this movie. Eventually it chases Samantha and a priest around a church, leading to Samantha screaming the longest “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo” ever in a movie as she’s running up the center aisle of the church, creating some fierce competition for Linda Day George’s phenomenal dramatic moment in Pieces.
Finally, despite severing the hand from the priest and tossing it in the water, Samantha is only slightly suspicious when she receives a hand-sized package in the mail while finding seaweed and puddles of water all over her house at the end of the film. She deserves what she gets.
The alternate cut of the film surprisingly doesn’t include the theatrical version’s opening scene, which gives the historical backstory of the hand. Robed men capture a woman, strap her up to a cave wall, and tear open her robe to expose her huge breasts…so that they can cut off her possessed hand. Ah, the 80s.
Despite missing that scene, the alternate cut is ten minutes longer. Several of the gore scenes are extended, yet missing from the final scene of Samantha getting attacked is an awesome shot of the hand slamming a mannequin version of her head through a glass table. Also, the soundtrack is replaced with a horribly hokey, overdramatic score that even attempts to throw in some sort of cult choir vocals a la The Omen. Awful. Someone needs to recut this crap and bring the theatrical version’s intro, outro, and musical score to the alternate cut. Eh, fuck it. That wouldn’t even help.
10 TO MIDNIGHT (1983)
This is the only Charles Bronson movie I’ve ever bothered to watch, for two reasons: 1) it was on cable when I was a young teen and features a hot naked guy running around killing young people, and 2) Charles Bronson’s appearance in the film is virtually an afterthought.
Despite being handsome and having a kick ass body, the killer in 10 to Midnight can’t get any attention from the girls around his office because he’s creepy. So…he gets naked and kills them. No full-frontal, but he’s got a bod of death (literally) and a great ass. He also happens to have been in the gay film Cruising.
Meanwhile, Charles Bronson and Andrew Stevens are the detectives trying to nab the guy. Bronson’s daughter becomes romantically involved with Stevens (even offers to check his prostate), who is trying to protect she and her three roommates—one being Kelly Preston, another being Ola Ray of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video—from the threat of the killer, who begins obscene phone calling Bronson’s daughter.
From a horror perspective, this one is classic 80s sleaze (I miss sexy horror movies). The killer is even referred to as “The Slasher.” My favorite scene is a kill with a couple fucking in a van. However, there isn’t a large body count until the end. He kills one other chick, and is then quickly a suspect and being harassed by Bronson, who at one point whips out a jack-off toy in his attack against the killer’s masculinity. Following the classic analysis of horror movie killers, this guy is assumed to be sexually deficient, unable to get a woman, and, as one forensics guy says, “His knife has gotta be his penis.”
After some detective work and court drama, the film refocuses on the killer in a scene that is a slap in the face of every scream queen making her mark on horror in the early 80s. The killer gets into the girls’ apartment looking for Bronson’s daughter. Instead of ganging up on him (he’s a naked guy with a knife, they could have taken him, especially if they had just pointed at his penis and laughed) they allow him to take them down one by one. And worse? As her roommates deny she’s there to protect her and are killed because of it, Bronson’s daughter stays hidden in a closet listening to them get sliced and diced!
Meanwhile, Bronson seriously is to blame for this final massacre, making him one of the shittiest movie heroes ever. The killer even calls him out on it during the final confrontation.
FRATERNITY DEMON (1992)
Amazing how a low-budget piece of crap can bring back such fond memories, but that’s what Fraternity Demon does.
It appears that no one told the people behind this college sex horror romp that the 80s were over. I truly felt like I was back in 1989 as a bunch of kids in 80s fashions hang out at a frat party while a metal hair band performs.
That’s pretty much all that happens for the majority of the film. There’s a busty blonde sex demon summoned by a frat geek, so she occasionally has sex with a guy. The sex scenes are more campy than sexy and not very explicit at all. Eventually, the sex demon becomes lead singer for the hair band and makes everyone at the party horny. At this point, all the actors stand around waiting for the geek who summoned the sex demon to say a few words that reverse the magic and send her back.
It’s bad. It’s really bad.
THE ARRIVAL (1996)
It’s hard to believe The Arrival came out in 1996, because there’s something very 80s Spielberg about it.
Charlie Sheen plays an astronomer who detects signs of alien life. When he goes to his boss (played by Ron Silver) with the info, Silver has him canned and covers up his discoveries.
Sheen, in a surprisingly lighthearted and comic performance, starts his own scientific research to prove he’s right, even going as far as traveling to Mexico. He also befriends a curious, outgoing kid, leading to a Spielberg-esque relationship—you know, cute, funny, PG.
There are some cool alien moments once Sheen infiltrates their hideout and witnesses them stepping into a machine to morph out of their human form, giving me V: The Mini-series flashbacks. But in the end, the movie skimps on alien thrills and chills and The Arrival wraps up like every PG alien movie you’ve ever seen.