But you gotta love them anyway—or at least, have them in your DVD collection if you’re an 80s fanatic like me. It’s time to look at obscurities Bates Motel, The Undertaker, Night Feeder, and Prime Evil.
BATES MOTEL (1987)
3 decades before Bates Motel, there was…Bates Motel. There shouldn’t have been.
This made-for-TV flick pretends Psycho II & III didn’t happen and then sort of borrows from the plot of Psycho II.
Bud Cort (Invaders from Mars, Love at Stake, Out of the Dark, Brain Dead) plays a guy who was locked away with Norman Bates for all those years and became his good friend. Norman dies and leaves his motel to Bud, who decides to reopen the motel.
Being as cheesy as late 80s made-for-TV horror can get, this one is all whimsy and bogus scares. Bud makes some friends—including Lori Petty, who he discovers squatting in the Bates house dressed as a chicken (that’s how bad this crap is)—and begins renovating the place.
He sees signs of Mrs. Bates in the window upstairs, and her actual body is dug up during the renovation.
However, that storyline is suddenly forgotten because…
The motel opens, and some woman comes to stay in a room to commit suicide. She is inexplicably transported back in time to a high school prom, where she dances with Jason Bateman and gets lectured by all these teen ghosts that committed suicide and urge her not to do it.
Their intervention works. What the frick is this movie?
Back in the original storyline, we get an absurd Scooby Doo ending. I can’t with this film…yet now that it’s finally on DVD, I just had to have it to complete my Psycho collection.
THE UNDERTAKER (1988)
If you catch this one on Amazon Prime, it begins with a shot-on-video hair band/aerobics girls intro credits sequence. The Blu-ray release from Vinegar Syndrome leaves all that out while inserting a whole bunch of good horror stuff later on that had been lost from previous releases of the film.
Tragic to not have that intro sequence, because it’s awful in a really awesome late 80s nostalgic way…just like the rest of this disaster. Joe Spinell gets a chance to be a bit more of a campy killer than he was in Maniac and The Last Horror Film at the beginning of the 1980s. In essence, this movie needed to be made so that Joe could complete a sort of Maniac trilogy for the 80s just before his death in 89.
Joe’s a mortician whose business is drying up due to low death rates. So he decides to do something about that…by targeting all the physically fit aerobics girls from the gym.
Man, this movie is bad.
However, the synth suspense music is quite worthy of the 1980s during the occasional cheesy gory kill scenes. In between all that, we watch a bunch of gym bunnies exercising or chatting while showing their boobs in the gym locker.
Meanwhile, Joe’s 80s-hot nephew figures out what he’s up to and attempts to convince the aerobics instructor that he’s trying to warn her of what’s going on and not stalking her.
Man, this movie is bad.
Really, Joe and the genuine 80s vibe are all it has going for it. And that’s enough for me.
NIGHT FEEDER (1988)
Night Feeder is like The Undertaker’s new wave partner in criminally bad late 80s direct-to-video garbage. This is pure sleaze, loaded with bad acting, neon colored lights, awesomely gross gore, a boring as fuck plot, lots of boobs, and finally, a moment of totally nonsensical horror payoff.
Oh, and let’s not forget the perfectly ripped jeans. I had those jeans. Only I didn’t wear black underwear under them. Okay, I didn’t wear anything under them.
People are having their brains removed in a bad part of town, and somehow, a pretty reporter finds herself in the middle of all of it.
But that doesn’t stop her from throwing one awesomely debased punk rock party. Like it seriously seems as if the director just went to an underground club and filmed.
There are some cheesy gory deaths, no scares, a disgusting autopsy, spooky dreams, and that super trippy reveal at the end of the film of who…or what…is doing all the killing.
PRIME EVIL (1988)
How about a nice little Christmas time flick about a cult of satanic priests hoping to stay alive forever by sacrificing a virgin when everyone in the vicinity seems to be a slut?
I don’t even know what the hell I was trying to follow here. There were like three different times when I thought I was being introduced to the “main girl,” so I eventually just gave up trying to care about these cum buckets.
There are crazy priests and nuns, a pretty boring looking dude barging in on women—sometimes alone, sometimes when they’re with men—and killing them, and another creep in a mask barging in and attacking women.
And there are some detectives on the case.
Prime Evil culminates in a satanic ritual and orgy in a church (doesn’t it always?).
Someone turns instantaneously into a devil after being stabbed and everyone turns old. The look on this guy’s face is what 80s horror was all about.