The 80s really is the decade that just keeps giving and giving, so I was psyched to add three more titles to my always growing library. This trio takes us from 1985 to 1990.
HARD ROCK ZOMBIES (1985)
This crazy little film doesn’t even wait to go off the rails. It’s as messy as 80s horror gets.
It starts with a young woman luring a young man into some skinny-dipping while a short dude, a wolf man, and a tall man with a camera spectate.
Then we meet a “hard rock band”…that plays some of the best power pop new wave that should have been hits in the 80s. Only once at the end of the film is there a montage with a song that actually resembles hard rock. Hell, in one of the many montages in this film, these guys with long hair even dance. That was a total taboo for hard rock guys with long hair back in the 80s.
Anyway, this weird film has the faux hard rock guys come to a bizarre town. One guy falls for the skinny-dipping girl, there are werewolf people, there’s Hitler and Nazis, and 45 minutes into the movie it gets to the point—the townsfolk kill the band members and then resurrect them as zombies.
The zombies then go on a rampage turning the Nazis into zombies.
I don’t know what the hell I was watching, but the movie rocked (or new waved) in a totally retro 80s way.
The musical highlight is a montage featuring a power ballad with a girl’s name as the title. Ah, the 80s. Rosanna, Carrie, Gloria, Sherrie, Veronica, Jenny Jenny, Amanda, Eileen, Billie Jean, Elvira, Baby Jane, Nikki, Joanna, and thanks to this movie…Cassie…
THE AMERICAN SCREAM (1988)
80s horror doesn’t get any more WTF? than this. It feels like no one involved in The American Scream had a plan going into it. I guess the best way to describe it is as Children of the Corn with the protagonists and antagonists flipped…and a bunch of nonsense tossed in to fill the time due to a non-existent script(?).
A family wins a trip to a resort. It might be Christmas because there are hints of the season once they get to the resort, but nothing substantial.
The gang consists of a mother and father (the mother played by Oscar Goldman’s secretary Peggy from The Bionic Woman), a totally 80s cute son and his buddy, and a daughter and her friend. The mother and father seem like they’re not normal, almost as if they’re living in another world. The son’s buddy seems like he’s psychotic right from the start. This all just complicates matters when the resort town is inhabited by adults only and they all act openly crazy.
Even worse, no one in the family seems to think they need to get the fuck out. This dilemma starts during the ride there, when all four kids are in the back of a station wagon, see a couple in the car behind them beat a baby to a bloody pulp on the dashboard…and then just go on about their business of going to the resort.
It’s that bad. Even worse, there are barely any kills, and when there are, the film is edited in such a way that you have no idea what is going on.
There’s a lot of time spent at a polka dance party, then late in the game some mysterious dude all in black comes across as the leader of the crazy adults. At that point, the kids decide the only way to survive is to dress up as adults. Huh? Instead of looking like adults, they look like kids playing adults in really bad costumes in a high school play.
There’s a message here about adults being afraid of youth bringing change to society, but it’s buried in a mess of a movie.
NIGHT ANGEL (1990)
The director of Halloween 5 and Omen IV proves that sometimes you’re much better off making your own movie than hopping on a cash cow to make a name for yourself. Night Angel rocks!
A she demon crawls up from the ground and transforms into a sexual seductress. She gets work at a fashion magazine run by Karen Black and begins banging her way through the men there, often killing them, while making Karen her demon bitch.
The main guy is dating Karen’s sister and gets sucked into the demon’s web.
He has some wild nightmares and visits a hellish sex club of the deformed, tortured, and mutilated.
It felt like something out of a Clive Barker movie adaptation, and it freaking rocks the horrific imagery.
We even have a young Doug Jones, who went on to become a horror icon, as one of the demon’s bitches. He even does a funky dance with her early on.
Finally, the main guy and his girlfriend take on the demon with the help of the typical wise old mystic lady.
When we get to see the demon in her real form, she is horror perfection.
Night Angel is a feast for the eyes for lovers of practical effects.