They’re not your everyday 1980s horror films

Every time I think I’ve covered just about all the horror the 1980s had to offer, some lost films resurface. So let’s take a look at The Nesting, The Strangeness, Beaks, and Dream Demon.

THE NESTING (1981)

Before there was Girl On the Third Floor there was this mess of a haunted whorehouse movie.

An agoraphobic female author finally goes outside and comes upon a unique, isolated house she simply must live in. She doesn’t listen when the handyman tells her she should reconsider.

Once nestled all snug in her new home, she begins having creepy dreams about being assaulted by sleazy men. She hears noises. She’s afraid to go outside—yet not afraid to climb out a window onto a ledge in a very weird scene that leads to a death.

She argues with the handyman and he gets his ass beat by supernatural forces. She gets surrounded by female ghosts. She somehow ends up being chased in her car by a psychotic dude. She has some confrontations with John Carradine, because that just happened in movies back then.

And she has one of the weirdest final encounters with the ghosts after learning the truth of what happened at the whorehouse in the past. A disaster, but who cares, because it’s the 80s, baby!

THE STRANGENESS (1985)

This is definitely bottom of the 1980s creature feature barrel. After an initial “what we don’t see is sometimes scarier” opening, we watch for over an hour as a group of assessors explore tunnels in a gold mine.

Nothing. Happens. For. Over. An. Hour.

Not even the 80s Euro horror style music can make this any more interesting.

When the first victim finally gets grabbed by the monster in the tunnel, the mine is suddenly drenched in red lighting. O…kay.

There are some cool scenes of bodies trapped in some goo on the ceiling but…the monster. The claymation monster. What a disaster.

Its jerky movement in the horror lighting could have been creepy actually, but unfortunately, the one time we see it attack a man, the man is also claymation. Seriously, it’s like watching Mr. Bill get attacked by a cave creature. Oh noooooooo!

I’m kind of convinced that’s a Han Solo Star Wars figure…

BEAKS (1987)

This one escaped me and my video store in the 1980s and couldn’t even get recognized as The Birds II, a title some other movie claimed in 1994.

This mess not only steals numerous scenes from The Birds, but it is like a touring company of birds on a plane, on a train, in a house, and even on a parasailing woman.

The lead girl from Waxwork is a reporter covering in-your-face stories of nature striking back in the way of bird attacks. This movie doesn’t even try being subtle about its message. The reporter travels all over to interview people who have suffered from bird attacks, like having their eyes plucked out.

Christopher Atkins is her cameraman and somehow he looks more like a boy than he did five years before in The Pirate Movie and seven years before in The Blue Lagoon.

That’s basically it. They travel around interviewing bird attack victims and “doves” keep attacking people. Most of it looks like stock footage of pigeons being dicks in Central Park in New York City, but I have to admit the close-up attack scenes are vicious and gory.

DREAM DEMON (1988)

While not shying away from gore, Dream Demon is one of the more heavy-handed horror flicks of the 1980s.

Initially it feels like an episode of Freddy’s Nightmares—virtually every moment of horror in the film is a trippy dream sequence the main character is having.

She’s about to marry a handsome, prestigious military man. She is hounded by two reporters—total pricks who are absolutely awful to her. She’s just moved into a new home. And she drags her cool friend into her nightmares, which are riddled with violent and bloody situations that all point to repressed memories and distrust of men.

It’s not exactly the most subtle presentation of female issues, but it does add dimension beyond the Freddy nightmare concept of a main girl believing that anytime someone dies in her dreams, it happens in real life.

There are plenty of religious themes, including symbols of heaven and hell, but by the time she’s running around trying to protect a little blonde girl in her dreams at the end, I once again felt like I was watching A Nightmare on Elm Street sequel, and was just waiting for the little girl to start jumping rope and singing the Freddy’s coming for you song.

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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