It came from 1989…four times

The day I can no longer dig up lost 1980s films I’ve never seen is the day I will stop living in the past. Okay, I’m lying. But this foursome was a delicious dive into first time viewing of horror from the peak of the VHS horror era…1989.

SOUNDS OF SILENCE (1989)

I think Sounds of Silence could have been a bit more entertaining with better pacing, which could easily have been accomplished by trimming it down from 105 minutes to 90.

The cute alien guy that impregnates a human girl in the original V plays a photographer who suddenly inherits a mansion from a long lost relative.

Right here is an example of how badly the film needs editing. I can’t tell you how unnecessarily long the sequence is of him having a hard time finding the mansion. It serves absolutely no purpose.

Anyway, he moves in with his woman and her deaf mute teen son, who immediately starts seeing pasty-faced ghost children and scary adult men ghosts all over. And over. And over.

The film has very atmospheric music, settings, and visuals, but it becomes agonizingly repetitive. It only picks up when the leading man and his woman look into the history of the house and realize the boy is experiencing something very frightening aside from the scary children. It’s a big scary dude with a sledgehammer!

FAMILY REUNION (1989)

Family Reunion has the feel of a Tales From the Darkside episode—the grainy film quality, the iffy acting, the weird tone, and even the score.

After a cheesy black and white scene of a cult sacrificing a baby, the movie begins its descent into making no sense.

A family, including grandpa, hops in a car for a Christmas road trip…to a ghost town?

Meanwhile, a sleazy guy with magic powers is arrested by police. On the way to the station with him, the police meet the family on the road and warn them away from their destination. So the magic guy immediately forces their car to drive to the town.

It’s really that bad.

The son is a prankster, the daughter likes Madonna, grandpa seems to know a secret about his family’s past and the town, and the dad blames grandpa for weird, satanic cult nightmares he has suffered for years.

The family kills a lot of time exploring and looking for each other in the town, but eventually the magic guy escapes prison, gathers his cult together, and drags the family into their ritual. It’s as bad as direct-to-video horror of the 80s gets.

There’s a scene at the end that’s filled with Christmas spirit—finally.

SHOCKING DARK (1989)

80s Euro horror director Bruno Mattei (Rats, The Other Hell, Scalps) couldn’t give us a creature feature more perfectly “late 80s weekend video rental” than Shocking Dark.

Despite the film being titled Terminator 2 in some markets because there’s an indestructible headhunter character, don’t let that distract you; this is purely a creature feature loaded with pre-CGI monsters right from the start.

Geretta Geretta is a member of a team of soldiers that heads into Venice after it has been evacuated due to a toxic cloud hovering above it. They find a guy trapped in a sort of web and then…out come the monsters. Yay!

There’s plenty of red light, fog machines, and monster attacks, but Geretta Geretta ends up taking a backseat as a white woman becomes the hero, trying to save a young girl from the monsters and the T2 man.

In true bad Euro horror fashion, the main girl and the little girl melodramatically scream constantly to the point that they’re looking directly at the camera to be even more annoying. Safe to say they just don’t make them like this anymore.

THE IMMORTALIZER (1989)

All hail the companies still digging up obscure 1980s horror to bring to Blu, because my life would not have been compete if I didn’t have Re-Animator meets The Rejuvenator knock-off The Immortalizer in my collection before I died.

This is so purely 80s, from the moment we meet two couples on a double date in their 1980s fashions while a totally 1980s song plays in the background. As they walk home after seeing a horror movie, they are jumped by muscle head zombies and taken to a mad scientist’s facility, where rich old people buy hot young bodies for him to transplant their brains in. The Golden Girls tried something similar in Rose’s dream once…

One of the cute guys on the date wakes up and spends the rest of the movie on a rescue mission to save his friends from the scientist’s evil clutches. He battles burly zombie men and mad scientist assistants, and even enlists the help of an old lady who poses as a prospective client to infiltrate the facility.

With gory brain and body swaps and a neon green hypodermic right out of Re-Animator, this is silly 80s horror bliss and definitely my favorite of this foursome from 89.

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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