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Category Archives: 80’s movies

The Legend of the Lone Ranger

The Legend of the Lone Ranger

This is the third Lone Ranger movie that I’ve seen so far from this site. I went from the most recent one with Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in 2013 on back to the original feature film spun off from the TV show back in 1952. Out of the three, this is definitely the worst, and surprisingly it follows a few of the same beats as the 2013 movie as it covers the origin of the Lone Ranger since it was essentially supposed to be a reboot of the story from the 50’s. The big difference is that this film runs an hour shorter. It cast two unknowns in the roles of Tonto and John Reid as well as Christopher Lloyd as Butch Cavendish who was also a character in the 2013 film, likely because they both pull from the same sources. This film also ends with a train heist, though it’s much more truncated as the plan is more interested in kidnapping the president than anything else. But the film lacks action, acting, even much of a score, not to mention that it opened just a month before Raiders of the Lost Ark which was far and away a much better film than this one.
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When the Wind Blows

When the Wind Blows 1986

This post is doing double duty for me as it technically kicked off yet another animation month as well as being a part of A Timely Blogathon that’s being run by Film Grimoire and MovieRob all about films that are 90 minutes or less even though it will have posted over on their site before I decided to share it here as well. And since I saved it for their blogathon it also just about wraps up my own animation month aside from one final movie I hope to cover tomorrow. This film is ten minutes shy of the 90 minute limit for the blogathon which isn’t surprising since most animated films run shorter than live action due to the amount of work involved in each minute of animation versus each minute of live action. The film itself follows an elderly couple in the English countryside who had lived through the second World War and are now faced with the fallout of the first attack kicking off a third.
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Flash Gordon The Greatest Adventure of All

Flash Gordon The Greatest Adventure of All 1982

I only have one other animated movie to cover after this before I have watched every one that I’m aware of out there which gets me one step closer to my goal of watching every superhero and comic book movie ever made. This film was actually made a few years before it was ever shown. It was initially created as a TV movie by Filmation, the animation studio behind such 80’s staples as He-Man, and many of the DC shows that weren’t produced by Hanna-Barbera, but it was quickly retooled into a TV series. It wasn’t until after the show had been cancelled that they went back to the original footage and aired it as a TV movie as it was intended. It has yet to receive an official release, but it did get a home video release in Japan where it can currently be found online with Japanese subtitles. I was never a big connoisseur of Filmation shows aside from vague memories of He-Man, She-Ra, Bravestarr, and Fat Albert. Watching this I could see the appeal, and it actually felt much more adult than most of what they were known for. There were obvious cost-cutting techniques and rotoscoping, but there was a level of faithfulness that didn’t quite ever come across in the live-action movie. They were able to pull off more monstrous looking creatures within the world and overall more of a sci-fi vibe to it. For me, it didn’t quite come to the fun and campy level that the live-action movie did, it felt like it took the material more seriously, but the quality just wasn’t quite enough for it to be a truly great film.
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The Spirit

The Spirit 1987

To go along with the other cult movies that other bloggers have picked out for me, I thought I’d follow along with some cult films of my own choosing. I have no idea whether or not this really counts as much of a cult film, though I have heard from at least two people who have seen this and thought it was much better than the theatrical Frank Miller version. This was made in the mid-Eighties with Sam J. Jones as the lead, better known as Flash Gordon himself. It also had Nana Visitor as his love interest who I was familiar with as Major Kira on Star Trek: Deep Space 9. But most of all, this pilot movie was extremely 80’s. From the music to the cheap sets to the power suits and cassette walkmen, it was very much steeped in the 80’s and for that reason alone, I had a lot of fun watching this. Most of it is even set up to have much more of a comedy feel than an action/detective vibe. It was as close to Adam West’s Batman with a bit more 80’s sensibilities than you could ever get.
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Almost Super: Remo Williams

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins 1985

Lately, I’ve gone back and forth about what movies I include in the comic book and superhero category. Often times in the past, I have preferred to err on the side of inclusion, but lately I’ve started to go against that considering I decided to exclude the “superhero” movie The Adventures of Food Boy that really had nothing to do with superheroes. Remo Williams is one of those that falls closer to the lines of Buckaroo Bonzai, plus the fact that he has some extraordinary abilities learned through the martial art of Sinanju, and he has his identity changed from his previous life as a cop. But I decided that those for whatever reason just aren’t quite enough for me and this film falls a little bit more on the line of a martial arts/spy film rather than a superhero film. There were even comic books made based on this character, but they came out after this film. The film itself was a lot of fun mired behind a lack of focus and pacing, almost a parody of action/spy films while still taking itself mostly seriously.
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Graphic Horror: Creepshow

Creepshow 1982

One thing that I’ve been a big fan of for quite a while is the TV show Tales From the Crypt, and before that show existed it was a series of several different comic books from EC comics under titles like Shock Suspenstories, the Vault of Horror, and Weird Science. This film was made as an homage to those comics combined with the short stories of Stephen King. Last March during my first Graphic Horror Blogathon Jason Soto over at Your Face! reviewed this film and put it on my radar, but it’s taken me this long to finally get around to it. Another reason why I wanted to watch this is because Movie Reviews 101 and Movie Rob are holding a Stephen King-a-thon all this month so be sure and check out all of their Stephen King reviews while you’re at it. As far as the movie goes, it’s not quite on par with Tales From the Crypt for me, it’s much more on the comedic side of things than the horror side and that didn’t quite work for me though I could see the appeal of it.
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Graphic Horror: The Monster of Frankenstein

The Monster of Frankenstein aka Kyōfu Densetsu Kaiki! Frankenstein 1981

Another day, another obscure Marvel anime released by Toei in the early 80’s. This was produced just one year after their Tomb of Dracula adaptation, this time they adapted yet another Marvel adaptation of a classic horror icon with Frankenstein. There were a couple things that I noticed very early on when comparing the two films, first is that many of the American dub voice actors would later go on to lend their voices to the iconic original dub of Akira. And second, that this was a much better film overall than Dracula. It’s still a long ways away from being a good movie, but it’s not the hilariously bad mess that Dracula was. This was a very serious and somber look at the tale of Frankenstein with a combination of some unique ideas as well as some of the standard ones. For the most part, I did enjoy it even if I knew how it was going to end up.

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Graphic Horror: Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned

Yami no teiô kyuketsuki dorakyura aka Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned 1980

It’s October and I’m kicking it off with my first Graphic Horror post for the month. After Marvel had a string of failures in their TV movies in the late 70’s and their one success with the Incredible Hulk, they also sold the rights to some of their other comics including their Frankenstein series and the Tomb of Dracula which introduced Blade to Toei Animation. Toei is probably most well known for being the studio behind Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon, but before either of them came this cheaply animated made-for-TV film. It was later dubbed and released in the US in VHS and Beta but has since gone out of print and isn’t available on DVD, though copies have made their way online. I of course watched the English dub and found it hilariously awful. There is so much going on in this film and very little of it makes any sense that it’s amazing to watch. I found myself laughing uproariously through much of the run time even though I did have to split my viewing across two nights.
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Buckaroo Banzai

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension 1984

I don’t often spend a lot of time thinking about my criteria for what makes a superhero movie vs. some other category of film similar to a superhero movie. Like the difference between a superhero movie and a straight up sci-fi movie, or a cop vigilante film, or a martial arts film. I have thought about it in the past, enough to come up with a specific set of criteria that still allows for enough wiggle room for my personal preference to come into play. No matter what anyone tells me, I don’t think I’m ever going to be convinced that Baby Geniuses 2: Superbabies is actually a superhero movie because there’s no way I’m going to actually watch it. Looking specifically at this film based on my criteria: it wasn’t based on a comic book but it did have a comic book published to tie in with the film’s release. He doesn’t have any superpowers, but he is a neurosurgeon, particle physicist, rock star, action hero, and gains the ability to see camouflaged aliens and shock Penny back to life. He doesn’t have a secret identity, but his name is Buckaroo Banzai for goodness sake. And when you look at his supervillain for lack of a better word, he is very much over the top and highly theatrical in nature, and his defeat does in fact, save the world.
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Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal 1981

You may remember that one friend you had when you were younger, you know the one who had the hidden stash of Playboys and knew how to get alcohol and cigarettes. Or the one who had the cool dad who let him and his friends watch whatever they wanted from their VHS library or have the run of the TV which also happened to have HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax. Or maybe you were that kid and your friends would come over to your house. I don’t remember those friends very clearly anymore, but I do remember visiting one of those friends when I was somewhere around early middle school, maybe 5th grade and we watched Heavy Metal because we weren’t supposed to be watching it. I remember when I was younger I had a love of darker animation like Secret of N.I.H.M, the Last Unicorn, and The Mouse and his Child, but the days where I would discover Liquid Television, Vampire Hunter D, and Akira were still several years away, though Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards was also right around this time even if I don’t remember if it came first or not. So this was unlike anything I had ever seen before and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Over twenty years later I’ve finally gotten around to revisiting it and unfortunately it’s not everything that I remember back when I was 12 or so.
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