My never-ending hunt for more obscure 80s horror flicks I had yet to add to my movie collection recently resulted in the addition of five from two directors I already have in my collection: Roberta Findlay, who was also a porn director, and Rick Sloane, who spent the 90s making Vice Academy after his 80s horror output movies. As a bonus, each director delivers a movie to add to the holiday horror page!
THE ORACLE (1985)
We’ll start with Roberta Findlay, the director of Prime Evil and Tenement, who beat Kevin Tenney to the Ouija board horror flick idea by a year…but apparently she couldn’t get the rights to use the actual board from Parker Brothers, so she had to craft an automatic writer for her movie. Quite frankly, it’s a lot cooler and more mysterious than a Ouija board.
The film takes place over the Christmas and New Year holiday week and features horror happenings at parties for both holidays.
It also has a big butch lesbian as a psycho who likes to do awful things to women. Eek!
Oh yes. This one is sleazy, offensive, cheap, gory, and silly. In other words, 80s awesome!
A woman and her husband move into a new apartment. She finds an automatic writer left behind, starts using it, and unleashes a ghostly presence in her apartment along with a whole lot of eighties nonsense.
Basically, the spirit is out for revenge from beyond the grave. As the main woman tries to figure out what is going on, there are some odd and totally eighties horror moments drenched in eighties horror lighting, like some weird claymation monster that comes out of the automatic writer to attack a maintenance man, and a corpse ghost that attacks near the end of the film. That’s enough to make this one a winner for me.
BLOOD SISTERS (1987)
With Blood Sisters, Roberta Findlay manages to tick off all the right boxes for an 80s horror movie plot, and even includes plenty of scenes that provide just enough clips for a great trailer when plucked out of the full film.
However, despite the fact that this one really propels you right back to the eighties, it is oddly flat and uninspired with no real tension or scares.
The opener has a prostitute and her client shot to death in the most beautiful whorehouse I’ve ever seen.
13 years later, a bunch of sorority pledges is sent to that very house for a scavenger hunt.
But first they hang out, party, and have sex with their boyfriends…while some guys are busy at the house rigging it to mess with the girls.
A majority of this film is simply cheap scares as the girls stumble upon one prank after another.
They sit around talking about the house’s history, there’s a flashback sequence to the whorehouse days, and one girl has visions of ghostly whores roaming the halls.
58 minutes in, the first girl gets murdered.
What few kill we get are quite weak with very little blood.
The girls run around screaming a lot, and the killer reveal is pretty lame. It really is hard to believe that the perfect setup for an 80s slasher is wasted this badly.
With this one, Roberta Findlay basically remakes The Sentinel with a 1980s vibe and less controversy.
The opener has a young girl forced by her bitch of a mother to go outside of her apartment building to play. Creepy girls wrap a jump rope around her neck, a mysterious woman lurks nearby, and then the girl somehow ends up safely in bed at night with zombie ghosts surrounding her.
15 years later, the girl is a woman living in the city. She is about to get married, but she is still haunted by her childhood. She sees creepy little girls and has nightmares of her evil mother. She consults a psychic. She tries to get help from her hot priest brother, sporting his best George Michael facial scruff, but he wants nothing to do with her—leading her boyfriend to assume the brother is probably a queer who hates women. I can work with that.
Things really don’t pick up until the couple decides to return to her old apartment building in hopes that confronting her past will help her move forward. This is when shit gets trippy.
She’s separated from the boyfriend and is subjected to a series of creeps and crazies doing sexual and psychotic things at a party where everyone is out to get her.
Seriously, if you’ve seen the 1977 film The Sentinel, this main girl experiences the same fate as the leading lady in that film…
BLOOD THEATRE (1984)
The first horror flick from Rick Sloane, the director of Hobgoblins, Blood Theatre is a sort of supernatural slasher spoof. It has a reputation as being a bad film. However, IF a) it’s from the 80s, b) it’s a bad horror movie from the 80s, and c) it’s a bad horror movie from the 80s starring Mary Woronov, THEN it’s an awesome movie.
The owner of a movie theater buys another movie theater that has been closed since a murder there years before.
He sends half his crew to the empty rundown theater to clean it up, and that’s when the killing begins.
Movie theater themed kills, silly humor, oddball characters, some tits, cat fights, plenty of red lighting, and Mary Woronov make for a cheesy retro 80s good time, but the killer is a pretty lame old dude in a tuxedo, and I’m really not sure if he was supernatural or just a lame old dude in a tuxedo.
THE VISITANTS (1986)
The Visitants is the second horror film from the director of Hobgoblins, and this just might be my favorite film by the director of Hobgoblins.
Going for a totally old school 1950s alien sci-fi flick feel, it’s about a high school kid who believes the man and woman living next door are aliens. So he breaks into their house and steals one of their alien guns to show his science teacher.
The couple is onto him and terrorizes him to get it back…coming for him at a totally awesome Halloween party. Yes, this is a Halloween alien sci-fi flick!
Campy and kooky, the film features animated intro credits and has plenty of Halloween spirit, a likable cast of kids, an 80s vibe, a totally 80s dance scene set to a surf punk rock song, and a sequence with the kids getting taken aboard a spaceship!
But best of all is the alien couple. The pair playing the parts look like they are having a blast doing it and bring a perfect cheesy 80s tone to their performances.