Once again I return to the 80s with five films that have landed in my personal collection in recent months. So let’s see what goodness the worst of the 80s turned up this time.
JULES VERNE’S MYSTERY ON MONSTER ISLAND (1981)
Horror kings Peter Cushing and Paul Naschy in a movie together at last? Not quite. They are each in Mystery On Monster Island for about three minutes or less, and not in the same scene, but their joint presence was reason enough for me to add it to my collection.
The movie is about a young man who wants to travel before his upcoming marriage. So his uncle sends him to explore an island he just bought at auction, with an experienced professor as his traveling partner.
Soon the ship they are on is invaded by humanoid sea creatures! They are the only two to survive, and they end up stranded on the island.
They set up camp, and it is immediately established that the professor is the comic relief. So despite the pretty intense first scare scene with the somewhat goofy sea creatures on the ship, this is based on the writing of Jules Verne and more of a “family” movie for the most part…
See, the idea of two men stranded together on an island takes on a whole blue (boy) lagoon dimension for a young gay kid. I always loved how bare asses were okay in family movies when I was a kid as long as they were hanging out of loincloths on native tribal characters. And that’s exactly what we get here. The main guy and the professor spot cannibals about to indulge in native man they have strapped up. Yummy.
In an uncomfortably dated scene (and also oddly sexual), the two leading men save the native, he bows down to kiss their feet as thanks, he insists on being the professor’s servant, and the professor agrees to be his master to appease him. You’d never see that kind of “polite” racist shit happening in a movie these days.
The native joins their little party, and in the process immediately became a distraction for me for the rest of the film with his hot, barely covered bod.
The trio encounters a dinosaur, different humanoids from the sea, a giant caterpillar…all in the first half of the film.
The second half is much less exciting, and things begin to drag as the focus shifts totally to human enemies, plus the addition of a woman to their group. Blah.
THE SECRET OF THE MUMMY (1982)
This is an unbearable Brazilian…horror comedy? Exploitation? Soft core porn? I don’t know. Maybe something was lost in translation, but I didn’t find it to be funny, and it was a mess of spliced together, amateurish scenes. But it was in a cheap boxed set with a film I needed to complete my Paul Naschy film collection.
Feeling like it’s comprised of news footage half the time (often in black and white), this is the story of a mad scientist who finds a mummy and brings it back to life.
In flashbacks we learn this mummy was a pretty—to the point of looking kind of queer—and psychotic young prince that liked orgies and liked murdering young women during sex.
40 minutes in the mummy goes on a killing spree in what feels like a bad spoof of mummy movies.
And that’s in between raunchy sex scenes, including one involving a mouse used as foreplay and another that features actual tongue slathering over bush.
BLACK CANDLES (1982)
I’m a fan of director of Jose Ramon Larraz’s movies like Vampyres, Rest in Pieces, Edge of the Axe, and Deadly Manor. Even better, most of them are from the 80s, as is Black Candles. Therefore, I purchased the Blu-ray release without a second thought.
I guess every director is entitled to a miss. This one is it for me. Sex, depravity, and a satanic cult sound like a lot of fun, right?
Unfortunately, it’s all about the sleaze without any suspense or scares. That’s mostly because rather than try to escape the horrors that await, our main girl basically just goes with it until she is seduced to the dark side.
She comes with her boyfriend to the home of her missing brother. Little does she know that her sister-in-law has evil plans for her.
This is mostly two hours of sensual soft core sex, complete with a load of lesbian sex. Amazing how the devil always seems to be into lesbians but doesn’t have any interest in having guys bang each other at his orgies.
We get lesbian hand jobs, tit licking and squeezing, a “priest” going muff diving, boring hetero sex, and then a few heinous scenes, one in which a woman gets fucked by a goat—missionary style!—then lustfully licks its face, and one in which the cult anally impales a dude with a sword.
With so much sex going on, it’s hard to believe this film is so utterly anti-climactic.
THE POWER (1984)
I’ve finally completed my collection of Steve Carpenter horror movies, which also includes The Dorm That Dripped Blood, The Kindred, and Soul Survivors (his one dip into the new millennium), and I have to say—I do wish he had made more than three horror flicks in the 80s.
The Power is a total direct-to-video horror flick that delivers much of what I want from 80s horror, even if there is a drop in action in the center of the film and it tends to go off on tangents.
The opener rocks. A professor teaching students about an Aztec figurine is actually possessed by the figurine, leading to a wild levitation and impalement scene filled with fog machine atmosphere.
The figurine lands in the hands of students after they sneak into some building and play with a Ouija board, and then each of them begins to experience paranormal attacks in their rooms.
They also drag a female reporter into it and she begins having nightmares. But it’s her reporter boyfriend who becomes obsessed with and eventually possessed by the figurine.
The final act gets into good old skool 80s horror territory, with the kids again in some building (I had no idea what was going on at times), and the possessed reporter stalking them.
The money shot is a practical effects body mutation scene. There’s also a cheesy fun final frame ending.
THE SEVEN VAMPIRES (1986)
What a difference four years makes for the director of The Secret of the Mummy. This oddity delivers the direct-to-video nonsense we expected in the 80s, including musical performances, nudity, and even a variety of horror subgenres crammed into one plot.
It all begins with a botanist acquiring a man-eating plant from Africa.
When it does what it does best to him, his special lady becomes reclusive, gets bit by the plant, and then decides to produce a show at a club called The Dance of the Seven Vampires. Uh-oh.
As we begin to suspect the plant that we never see again has turned people into vampires, one of the detectives on a case concerning a rash of murders around town also believes vampires are on the loose.
So, if you stick with the vampire concept for a while, that eventually leads to a killer in a robe and mask!
WTF? This film ends up at a theater and suddenly feels like a slasher with a hint of The Phantom of the Opera thrown in just for the hell of it.