Kristin Davis slashing before sexing, Joey Lawrence before he becoming a sex object, and Roddy Piper without his wrestling speedo, but still looking sexy. I take a look at three from the late 80s.
DOOM ASYLUM (1987)
The intro to Doom Asylum is so unintentionally funny it promises a great 80s piece of crap, and therefore, I’ll spend a majority of my time focusing on this scene. A couple fucking around while driving gets into an accident and is apparently ejected from the car. The man crawls over to his woman, grabs her hand…and realizes it’s no longer attached to her arm! He screams and tosses that shit aside in horror instead of putting it on ice. It’s safe to say the woman died from losing her hand because we never see her again. Next, a body is brought in for an autopsy. While the movie doesn’t bother to show us the face of the victim, provided we actually paid attention when the handless chick mumbled something to her screaming man, we’ll know his name was Mitch, which is the name of the dead guy according to the coroners. Unfortunately, it’s not until after the coroners feel the need to peel off the face of a man who died in a car accident (say what?) that they realize he’s still alive! Now we see his nasty looking face, but if it’s Mitch, there’s no telling. We’ll just have to take the coroners’ word for it. Anyway, Mitch grabs a scalpel and shows them how it feels.
As for the rest of the movie, Kristin Davis of Sex and the City goes with a bunch of her friends to an abandoned asylum. The asylum is the best part of the film because it’s an actual abandoned asylum. The other best part features clips of good old rotting Mitch roaming a dark, foggy tunnel.
Kristin and friends realize there’s an all-girl punk band jamming at the asylum. The extremely flamboyant black guy in Kristin’s group is apparently not gay because he keeps having daydreams about running in slow motion through a field towards one of the punk girls (although, that’s pretty gay), the punk girls throw condom water balloons at Kristin and friends, and killer Mitch watches black and white movies. However, in between, he takes some time to kill off the trespassers. There’s nothing scary here—the whole movie is shot during the day (the film crew was probably afraid to shoot in that creepy asylum at night)—and killer Mitch is kind of campy, throwing one-liners at his victims regularly.
The kills are pretty dang good and gory for a low-budget 80s film. There’s a drill to the head, Kristin gets a hand saw to the face (nope, she’s not a final girl), toes are snipped off, and a punk chick is seriously turned into a cube of human flesh when she falls on a conveyor belt like something out of a Woody Woodpecker cartoon. Just don’t expect there to be any thrilling chase scene at the end of Doom Asylum. There’s a chase scene, but it isn’t thrilling.
Almost 20 years before Pulse, there was…Pulse. This is definitely 80s horror lite (the look and vibe is very Poltergeist), with a young Joey Lawrence playing a boy who comes to stay with his dad and stepmother. Learning that a nasty neighbor across the street just died mysteriously after a battle with a household appliance, Joey immediately becomes suspicious of anything that plugs into a wall. It’s kind of funny, really.
Not much happens beyond long, panning scenes following the inner workings of electric appliances, plus Joey walking around staring in terror at every wire he sees. There are no deaths, and every cheap jump scare is totally predictable. There’s an ominous, creepy old man (as in every 80s horror flick), Joey’s little brother plays a neighbor (so yes, Joey looks just like his neighbor, bowl cut and all) and eventually, Joey and his dad get trapped in the house with the relentless electricity, giving us an ending that was pretty much recycled in the first Final Destination.
THEY LIVE (1988)
John Carpenter’s sci-fi/horror/action/comedy was pretty popular back in its day. While it’s not as adventurous as Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China, it has such a nostalgic 80s feel, and wrestler Roddy Piper is perfectly charming as an unexpected hero…who looks great in a pair of tight jeans. He’s a drifter who takes a job at a construction site, befriends Keith David of Carpenter’s The Thing (not David Keith—that’s a different guy), and I don’t know why, but from the moment Keith first spots Roddy, I got a homoerotic vibe….
After a half-hour of weird, conspiracy theory stuff going on around the construction site, Roddy finds a carton full of sunglasses. When he puts on a pair, not only do they reveal that every sign in the city contains a subliminal message (“buy,” “Watch TV,” “conform,” “obey”), but they also expose the true faces of random members of society—they are freaky, skull-faced aliens!
Like an idiot, Roddy immediately calls out one of the aliens, quickly making himself a target of the entire alien population. He then scores a shotgun and begins going around town blowing away aliens, making himself an armed criminal.
After one of the best one-on-one, hand-to-hand combat scenes ever in a movie, Roddy convinces his buddy Keith David to put on the sunglasses, and together they decide to join a rebellion to take down the aliens. To solidify the movie’s 80s status, sci-fi and horror queen Meg Foster is thrown into the mix. While the film has a pretty momentous and cool social message, by today’s standards, it’s fairly tame as far as action and excitement go.