Weird shit through the 80s

From January 1st, 1980 – December 31st, 1989, I didn’t miss a moment of the 80s. I had cable. I worked at a video store. And yet, there are still horror flicks from the decade that I haven’t yet seen. Hopefully, the supply will remain unlimited…despite shit like these four films being the bulk of what I missed back then.

SCREAM (1981)

scream 1981 cover

Before there was Scream 1996, there was…Scream 1981! It’s probably better to call it by its other title, The Outing, because you won’t scream once.

The intro is plenty intriguing and creepy. It’s just a shot of a wall clock and a bunch of figurines with their heads chopped off while perfect 80s horror theme music plays.

scream 1981 dolls

All that is shot to shit when the next scene shows people rafting to some sort of Hill Street Blues theme song knockoff crap. That’s one way to remind you this movie is from 1981. Anyway, this group of rafters hikes into an old ghost town for the night. Initially, there’s some great 80s slasher atmosphere as night falls—the shadows, the lighting, the POV, the sound effects. And while we don’t see the first kill, the shot set up and reveal of the body are uber cool and eerily effective.

scream 1981 ghost town

Unfortunately, an eerie moment here and there is the extent of it. The kills are infrequent and happen off screen, mostly because this movie is the poster child for why everyone should make the stupid decision to split up in horror movies.

scream 1981 wall cleaver

These people DON’T split up and nothing happens. They all stay in a building for a majority of the film, and whenever there’s a noise or odd occurrence to check out, they go together. How fucking boring!

The only one who seems to keep ending up on his own is the chubby guy they all pick on, and for some reason, he still survives! Plus, his scenes are accompanied by whimsical, cheesy 80s music that kills the mood.

scream 1981 chubby guy

Finally, some mysterious cowboy rides into town and the simply bizarre twist as to what’s really going on comes to light.

scream 1981 group

There are finally a couple of halfway decent kills—mostly because we at least get to see them on screen—before the film comes to a head-scratching conclusion with tons of survivors.

scream 1981 axe

It’s fascinating that a movie can have atmosphere and a creepy theme going for it, but nothing else.

BORN OF FIRE (1987)

 born of fire cover

How do you torture a dark soul? Make it watch Born of Fire. Imagine all the slow pacing and symbolic visuals in the archaeological opening sequence of The Exorcist filling an entire film, and you have this snoozefest.

A flutist and astronomer team up because they’re both hearing strange music and a volcano has erupted in Turkey where the flutist’s father died and some sort of supernatural Master Flautist awaits. So they decide to head there to investigate…despite the MFer making his freaky presence known during a drive in the rain.

born of fire windsheld

Within the depths of cavernous Turkish structures, the pair tries to uncover the truth of the father’s connection to the Master Flautist – a demonic figure (aka: man with bad skin) plotting to destroy the world.

born of fire fire small

born of fire water

In an effort to keep us entertained, there’s a little deformed man, irritating ancient rituals, endless water and fire imagery, a sex scene with bugs and skeletons, and a bug birth, pretty much the highlight for this horror fan—which is saying a lot, because I find bug births to be repulsive.

born of fire bang

born of fire birth

INCIDENT AT RAVEN’S GATE (1988)

incident at ravens gate cover

Sleepy time continues despite a promising 80s vibe.

incident at ravens gate leads

An ex-con comes to work on his brother’s farm in a rural area. He fucks around with the brother’s wife. He fucks around with the local cop’s lady. A football trophy is stolen from a local bar. A Close Encounters style light attack on a house promises something momentous down the line.

incident at ravens gate door light

incident at ravens gatg crop

There’s a distinct edge to the atmosphere in this film that keeps you watching and waiting, sensing something horrific is going to happen as hints of odd occurrences slowly build around the main characters.

incident at ravens gate cop

45 minutes in, we see a flash of a freaky creature attacking the cop’s car. But don’t expect much more than that.

incident at ravens gate windshield

It seems from that point on any threat to the two brothers comes in the form of some sort of alien beings mimicking or taking over the bodies of humans.

incident at ravens gate gun

incident at ravens gate corpse

It feels and looks suspenseful and I guess there’s a hint of “body snatchers” going on here, but the initial slow burn that feels like it’s holding on to something terrifying just never delivers and it’s really hard to determine exactly what the hell is going on.

LAS VEGAS BLOOD BATH (1989)

las vegas blood bath cover

The biggest thrill in this shot-on-video exploitation flick is the sexy 80s daddy in the black Speedo during a sex scene at the beginning.

las vegas blood bath daddy

Next, we learn that the daddy was banging some clean-cut dude’s wife. So the guy goes on a rampage, driving around and calling women sluts and whores.

las vegas blood bath lead

First he ties a prostitute up in an alley, sticks a knife through her chin (looks pretty nasty), and then rips off her limbs by tying them to the bumper of his car.

las vegas blood bath arm rip

After that, 80s chicks sit around a living room talking, trying on swimsuits, playing cards, watching female oil wrestling on TV, and ordering pizza for at least thirty minutes.

las vegas blood bath girls

FINALLY the killer comes in with a gun and begins to take the girls upstairs one at a time, where he does a variety of disgusting things to them…like cutting open one chick’s belly, ripping out her unborn baby, and throwing it against a wall!

las vegas blood bath baby

As bad as it all is, the killer has a couple of really funny and campy moments near the end. His reaction when a Jehovah’s Witness comes knocking on the door is hilarious. 

las vegas bloodbath jehovah

But his shining moment comes when a hot cop in jeans and a tank top busts in while he’s…um…taking a bath. The whole movie should have gone for this level of dark, twisted humor.

las vegas blood bath tub

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES.

I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.

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