An extra dose of late 80s horror cheese

As the 80s were coming to an end, so was a decade of awesome horror flicks as things moved towards the uninspired crap of the early 90s. And speaking of, here’s a handful of crap.


night vision cover

What I love about Night Vision is just how 80s it is. The attire, the boom box, a plot focusing around a video store…and a stolen VCR that shows the future and initiates viewers into a satanic cult! WTF?

If only the movie was as cool as the premise. A writer comes to a sleazy hotel for inspiration (?) and falls in with all the quirky inhabitants, including a partial drag queen who flirts with him openly and jokes with the female clerk about his love of sailors. Amazingly, the drag queen is neither the killer nor the first victim!

night vision drag

While there’s some adolescent fart jokes and Nazi anal porn jokes, nothing much happens in this movie as the writer spends time shirtless in his room, cozies up to a woman who works at the local video store…

night vision video store

befriends a thief who likes to walk around in a black tank top and black briefs…

night vision black undies collage

…and discovers that the scary stories he’s pumping out are coming true thanks to the VCR the thief gave him.

Because there’s not much going on, the plot never really comes together and the twist at the end is pretty predictable by today’s standards.


deathrow gameshow cover

Mark Pirro, the man behind 80s low-budget trash like Curse of the Queerwolf and A Polish Vampire in Burbank, delves into the same general theme as The Running Man; prison inmates in a game show. But this is a much more family friendly game show in which the inmates are killed and tortured in a closed studio on a stage.

But the real focus is on the sexy game show host, played by John McCafferty, who looks like porn star Peter North (at least clothed) and also looks sexy in boxers as seen in this movie. And he has no shame about his thick ass treasure trail…

deathrow gameshow star

His b-movie resume includes Curse of the Queerwolf (blog here), Nudist Colony of the Dead, Witchcraft 7, and a bunch of the Emmanuelle erotica films. Hm…wonder if he gets naked in the Emmanuelle films.

Anyway, in this film he’s loathed by many, from prisoners to viewing audience, so everyone wants him dead. The movie is pretty much about a hit man who comes to the studio to kill him. There are various sequences of prisoner’s suffering the consequences of the game show. My fave features a prisoner who has to abstain from getting an erection while a woman dances provocatively, or else his wanger will get fried. He succeeds with flying colors…until our hunky game show host touches him on the shoulder….

deathrow gameshow gay touch

Aside from a funny moment here and there, to me personally, this is Pirro’s weakest film. It just doesn’t live up to the trashy goodness of his other films. It’s way too tame and boring. I just couldn’t get into it.


hellgate cover

You know it’s bad when the highlight of a horror film is Horshack’s ass.

hellgate horshack ass

It kills me to say this about an 80s film, but Hellgate sux so bad. Starts off with promise. Two chicks and a guy sit around a fireplace telling scary stories. Chick tells a story of the 1950s, when a gang of bikers kidnapped and killed a hot chick in a ghost town, and then mostly got killed by her axe-throwing dad. But one hunky as hell biker got away….

In present time, the dad gets his hands on a crystal that resurrects the dead…and shoots lasers. He brings his hot daughter back to life to seek revenge. But there’s really no one to get revenge on, so she lures Horshack and his friends from the fireplace to the ghost town.

hellgate laser

About an hour into the movie, zombie townsfolk appear in the ghost town, looking like something you might see at the Haunted Mansion at Disney World. Eventually, they kill two of the four kids then Horshack and his girl get away in a car…with the angry dad on top of it.

hellgate hunk

Meanwhile, the hunk from 50 years ago is sporting hair that’s spray-painted white to signify that he’s older (old man with hot young body fetishists take note). Throughout the movie, we occasionally see quick shots of him sharpening an axe, apparently preparing for a battle he knows is coming. Suddenly, during the final car chase, the hunk jumps out of nowhere, roars furiously…and is immediately shot dead by the father’s laser crystal! WTF? Horshack and his girlfriend drive away. The end.

Two lame deaths, kiddie zombies, pretty much no revenge on anyone because they all died in the 1950s, and one lone “hero” who doesn’t last for more than 2 seconds. Oh, and did I mention…the long-assed cancan dance scene?


leviathan cover

Leviathan is one of many Alien clones that came out in the late 80s and early 90s and would either take place in space or in some underwater environment. This time it’s a bunch of deep sea miners. And it perfectly follows the template:

  • Mostly male crew, which means lots of foul mouths and chauvinistic banter.
  • Panic mission situation to deliver some early excitement.
  • They uncover a wreck, this time belonging to the Soviets and called…Leviathan!
  • Someone gets bit by some sort of spidery creature.
  • Skin rash breaks out, people start dying, orifices ooze, bodies morph, tentacles and claws emerge.

leviathan morph

  • Crew fights, distrust, and paranoia run rampant…who’s infected, who isn’t?
  • Final standoff against the big creature and a final one-liner before the big explosion.

leviathan one liner

This one has a big cast: Peter “Robocop” Weller, Richard Crenna, Ernie Hudson, Meg Foster. The familiar faces give it a much needed boost, because it’s a pretty forgettable creature feature.

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
This entry was posted in Johnny You ARE Queer - Gay Thoughts, Living in the 80s - forever, Movie Times & Television Schedules - Staying Entertained, Scared Silly - Horror Comedy, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to An extra dose of late 80s horror cheese

  1. Joshy Lopez says:

    GREAT BLOG, as usual. I must, MUST see Night Vision. You are so right, Hellgate SUCKS! I actually saw Leviathan at the theater when I was a kid.

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