It’s another segment covering movies you’d rent on a Friday night because all the hot titles were gone or you’d already seen all the best stuff in the horror section!
VICIOUS LIPS (1986)
The first thing you hear is new wave girl pop perfect during the opening credits. The first thing you see is an oiled stud in a loincloth. I’m so in.
Vicious Lips is a Sci-fi/horror new wave fantasy! Or should I say dream. A young female singer gets picked from a talent show to be the lead singer of an all-girl group called Vicious Lips. She passes out at the news and the weirdness begins.
The rockin’ chicks hop on a spaceship to travel to a club on another planet. They crash on Tatooine…I mean, a desert planet. Their manager goes for help. For a majority of the movie, the girls hang out on the spaceship singing songs and stuff while a demon dude gets on the spaceship and is stuck in another room. Eventually the main girl comes face-to-face with him and there’s a chase scene. Good thing it’s all just a dream!
It’s cheesy and not much happens, but the 80s of it all is amazing: the neon lights, the smoke machines, the high hair, the outrageous outfits, the gaudy makeup. And the music! Some awesome 80s girl group sounds, including songs by Sue Saad, who sings the theme song to the movie Looker! Sadly, there was no soundtrack for Vicious Lips, but one of the Sue Saad songs is available on the CD release of her album Sue Saad & The Next.
If this film had been on cable back in the 80s, I would have watched it dozens of times. I have to put the DVD on repeat to make up for lost time!
AFTER MIDNIGHT (1989)
How I love horror anthologies from the 80s. In After Midnight, a bunch of students, including Dolores from Grease 2, explore the concept of fear by going to the home of their smoldering hot teacher (Ramy Zada, who was equally as scalding hot in Two Evil Eyes) and telling scary stories.
In the first story, a couple gets two flats near a creepy old house where a hedge clipper killer once lived! The guy who was Jimmy Olsen in all the Christopher Reeve Superman movies is the hubby. This one has a spooky house and a devilish Tales from the Crypt type of twist.
The second story is about four girls, including raft girl from Friday the 13th Part IV, the prime time bitch from Elm Street 3, and the chick from Mr. Belvedere, who go clubbing in their 80s best and make a wrong turn to the bad side of the city…where they get chased around dark alleys by hungry dogs! Good suspense, but attack dog horror just doesn’t do it for me.
The third story is about a phone service operator, played by CSI’s Marg Helgenberger, who is getting creepy calls from a man. This is a strong stalker/slasher segment.
And finally, it’s back to the wraparound, which is really a story of its own, involving someone who has an axe to grind with the crazy hot teacher. After Midnight is the kind of simple gem you’d discover in your stack of rentals back in the day—and could only hope it was the last film you watched so you’d end on a high note.
TIME WALKER (1982)
King Tut came from outer space! Yep. That’s the premise of Time Walker. A college class is studying Tutankhamun’s tomb, someone steals some of his gems, and he wakes up to get them back.
There’s green fungus, green-tinted mummy POV, the Pathmark/Return of the Living Dead guy, the guy who thought Blanche’s granddaughter was her own baby on The Golden Girls, a floating mummy, a mummy party complete with a dance montage to a “Mummified” song, Jordache chick Shari Belafonte, and a nakedless shower scene.
Okay. The movie sucks. It’s a mummy slasher that doesn’t deliver enough of a body count. But, there’s a chase scene that totally rules and it involves an elevator. Best part of the whole movie. Well, that and the mummy turning into a classic bug-eyed alien in the final scene.
And the most mysterious moment goes to the “To be continued…” message that closes the film.
Gothic is a fictionalized account of what inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein. Mary (played by the late Natasha Richardson) and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley (played by Julian Sands) go to the home of Lord Byron (Gabriel Byron…I mean, Byrne) for a night of writers telling scary stories and doing drugs. It begins with a game of hide and seek, ensuring we get a tour of the magnificent house and see how atmospheric the gothic setting is. Then the small gathering of friends talks about sex and horror before they all start tripping and experiencing sex and horror.
Gothic is all about the atmosphere because none of it makes any sense—it’s just a series of horror situations strung together. Julian Sands shows off his magnificent butt when he goes out on the roof naked and also feels up a life-sized dancing doll.
Byron flirts with writer John Polider, author of The Vampyre (played by Timothy Spall, who many will recognize as Wormtail from Harry Potter) and runs around in a creepy mask acting like a monster.
The terrifying little guy on the cover of the DVD is part of Mary Shelley’s dreams, and it’s just one of many ghouls that run through the characters’ hallucinations. There are themes of motherhood, pregnancy, birth, and infidelity—including Julian Sands and Gabriel Byrne making out!
As if the movie isn’t illogical enough, it suddenly shifts to modern times with a tour group being told the tale of Mary Shelley, and then ends with what looks like a baby Frankenstein floating in the water. Get it? The birth of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? Yeah. As intriguing and spooky as Gothic is, it’s also a bit boring and pretentious in its “literary” artistry.
Evilspeak makes War Games look like child’s play! Clint Howard plays a young military cadet who uses a computer to summon demonic forces (including Bull from Night Court) to kill the bullies at his school!
Sounds exciting, but most of the movie is about Clint’s exploration of creepy dungeons under the school, his bonding with the computer, and his challenges at school. His only real friend is fricking Dwayne from What’s Happening!
Clint gets towel whipped in the locker room. He gets a puppy and keeps it in his dungeon. He gets stalked by the old guy whose book of black magic he stole. He gets spanked by one of the men in charge at the school. He has freaky dreams about babies in jars. He gets attacked by pigs.
It takes forever, but eventually, all hell breaks loose and the blood flies. The number of pig attacks is out of control, Clint flings a guy upward and impales him on a chandelier, levitates, sets a church on fire, and uses a sword to lob off the heads of all the bullies to the ominous chanting of a satanic chorus.
It’s kind of worth seeing this piece of shit.
FOREVER EVIL (1987)
Forever Evil is sort of like When A Stranger Calls. The first fifteen minutes and the last fifteen minutes are awesome, but everything in between sux.
This group of friends goes up to a cabin. All it takes is for one chick to get naked and hop in a shower for the horror to start. Her death is particularly grisly and within minutes, everyone else is getting slaughtered. When it’s down to a final guy, he comes face-to-face with an icky zombie dude.
He ends up in a hospital and his initial conversation with a doctor sets up the great dry and dark humor in this film. The funny tone is great, but it doesn’t help make the entire center of the movie any less boring. Not to mention, the director’s cut of the film runs two hours long! But at least you get one robed demon with glowing red-eyes and fingers that shoot lightning.
Finally, the guy goes back to the cabin location to face his demons—which are demons! Shower chick is back for more gore and so is the zombie dude from the beginning of the movie. It’s fun, fun, fun. But the conclusion of the film is just ridiculous.
Can’t deny it. This would have been a pretty craptastic pile of movies to bring home from the video store back in the 80s.