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Category Archives: 80’s movies

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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Hero at Large

Hero at Large 1980

This was one of the first obscure movies that I wanted to watch during the first year of this site since it did have a theatrical release here in the United States even though I had never previously heard of it before. I wasn’t exactly sure what to think of it as the cover art featured John Ritter with his feet in a giant washbasin and his costume hung up in the background. What I got was a really heartwarming comedy about a struggling actor who wants to make a real difference. It’s rather far-fetched at times, but Ritter’s Three’s Company era charm really won me over even as he’s going after his across-the-hall neighbor with an almost stalker-level abandon. It also had an overwhelmingly late 70’s feel to it with some of the fashions and overall look to it, which makes sense as it did come out right at the beginning of the new decade in 1980. There was also one brief nod to Superman which had come out to great acclaim just two years prior.
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The Incredible Hulk Returns

The Incredible Hulk Returns 1988

It’s time to finally finish these Incredible Hulk movies as I end with the first one to come after the end of the TV series. I don’t see myself going all the way back to the original pilots for the show as they feel more like they should be considered pilots rather than TV movies, though I may visit them sometime down the line when I run out of other films to watch. But that’s beside the point, I’m here to talk about this film which was also intended to be a spinoff pilot for a potential Thor series, like the Trial of the Incredible Hulk was intended to be a spinoff pilor for a potential Daredevil series. So once again, this movie focused as much if not more on the origin of their version of Thor than they do on Banner and the Hulk. Though it’s interesting that this was the only TV movie that brought back the character of McGee, the reporter who was apparently a big part of the series and this is his only appearance in these TV films. In fact, this was his last major acting appearance. As far as the quality goes, I would say that it falls somewhere in between the other two, it has a lot of fun moments with Thor, but it also doesn’t really go anywhere by the end.
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The Trial of the Incredible Hulk

The Trial of the Incredible Hulk 1989

My first real exposure to the 1970’s Incredible Hulk series was the final film the Death of the Incredible Hulk, so I decided that I would go ahead and continue the trend by watching the three films that followed the series in the reverse order. This was the second of those films and was originally intended to introduce Daredevil as a possible series in its own right. I find it interesting how television was handled differently back then, there are many series that initially started out as a stand alone pilot movie, and if the movie was successful, then it would launch into production to air the next year give or take. It’s also worth noting that while I didn’t care for the Death of the Incredible Hulk at all, I generally enjoyed this film. There was a lot more done with its television budget in terms of sets and cinematography, and the characters felt more fleshed out. There were still plenty of gaping plot holes and sub par special effects, but they were integrated into the story much better.
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Weird Science

Weird Science 1985

As things continue to slow down here despite my repeated assurances of getting back on track I have managed to watch another comic book film. I had seen this film when I was younger alongside several of John Hughes’ 80’s classics, I also became a fan of the Tales From the Crypt series several years later, and I also realized that there were several different variations of the Tales From the Crypt comic book including “Weird Science”, but I never made the connection that this was inspired by one of those EC comics until recently. I even remember watching the spin-off TV series for a while with Vanessa Angel replacing Kelly LeBrock. I do remember it being one of those early 80’s movies where computers can basically do anything even though 30 years later they’re still mostly just used for looking at cat pictures and writing about movies. While it was a fun nostalgia trip, I can say that it didn’t really hold up as being that impressive of a movie outside of Kelly LeBrock’s 80’s hotness.
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Sheena: Queen of the Jungle

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle 1984

I often enjoy doing blogathons, especially when I am able to do them within the focus of this site, and so when my friend Todd over at Forgotten Films decided that he wanted to do a big 1984-a-thon in honor of the 30th anniversary of one of the greatest years in cinema history, I gladly jumped on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, 1984 wasn’t a huge year for superhero movies and the two that were made, Supergirl and the Toxic Avenger, I had already covered here. But there was one other film released that year that wasn’t quite a superhero movie, but it was a comic book adaptation of the first female to ever get her own comic book title four years before Wonder Woman. It began its way to the big screen in the 70’s and took over 10 years before it finally got its cast and went into production with Tanya Roberts who I knew as Donna’s mother Midge from that 70’s show and didn’t realize it until over halfway through the movie and not only that but love interest and journalist was played by Ted Wass who I best knew as the dad from Blossom. Anyway, when I chose this movie I knew it was going to be a campy movie right along the lines of Supergirl and Toxie and it really was. A silly plot, bad acting, and a lot more nudity than I was expecting for a PG-rated movie. But in the end, it was still quite a bit of 80’s fun.
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The Return of Swamp Thing

The Return of Swamp Thing 1989

I knew very little about the first Swamp Thing movie, and I knew even less about the sequel which came out 7 years later and the only connection between the two movies are the actor that plays Swamp Thing in the suit and the villain Arcane who supposedly died in the first movie. I would have thought that they would have used the Dick Durock’s voice once again for the Swamp Thing, but for some reason* they chose to hire a voice actor do ADR all of his lines. The tone of this movie is also much more light and comedic. Unfortunately this makes the campy comedy feel much more forced than in the first movie where everyone was taking things seriously. There’s still some cheesy fun to be had, but it’s not nearly as good of a movie overall than the first one.
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Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing 1982

It’s been a while since I watched the Swamp Thing mirror from Marvel Man-Thing, and while they came out in comic book form near the same time, in the movie world Swamp Thing beat it by quite a wide margin. Not only that, but it was directed by horror master Wes Craven best known for the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and yet this is a far cry from a horror movie aside from the creature makeup. It’s rated PG for one thing though it does get away with the brief boob shot that happened once in a while back in the 80’s days of the PG rating. It’s a bit of a monster movie where the creature is a sympathetic/tragic hero, but there’s also a strong villain that he’s pitted against all the while he spends his time trying to protect an instant love-interest. Filled with a bit of cheese, but still a fun movie.
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The Toxic Avenger Part III

The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie 1989

After the drop in entertainment quality between the first and second Toxie movie, I didn’t expect very much from The Last Temptation, and aside from a couple minor moments, it follows along the exact same path as Part II. There’s the childlike exposition narration, the usual over the top hammy acting, though another thing I noticed this time around was the horrible pacing. Even though the effects are nothing to write home about, they often linger on them as if they were a multi-million dollar set piece, complete with reaction shots of crowds gasping and screaming as if they’re watching something absolutely horrifying, and while a case could be made for that, they’re often watching something that they should be cheering for in an odd way, rather than screaming in terror over. I’m hoping that what I’ve heard holds true and the final installment brings it back up a notch, if not in actual movie quality, at least in entertainment value, which as fans of bad movies know are not always the same thing.
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The Toxic Avenger Part 2

The Toxic Avenger Part 2 1989

Since The Toxic Avenger was Troma’s first real hit, it’s no surprise that it became a sequel, and when that sequel originally ended up being over 4 hours long, it turned into 2 sequels. There are a large number of changes from the first movie to the second. Almost the entire cast was changed up, everyone from Toxie’s mother and girlfriend to Toxie himself, even being changed within the movie. The tone more or less remains the same gore-filled action comedy with hammy acting and cartoonish sound effects, though I didn’t have as much fun watching this one as I did the first one. I think they realized what they had and tried too hard to recreate it, giving it a much less charming feel to it. There’s also some odd choices in budget, while it feels like they spent more time or money on Toxie’s makeup, the fake eye moves occasionally, and there are some added effects used later in the movie. And yet there also seems to be less money spent on the other effects. A few people get shot, but there are no gunshot wounds or any blood at all, and the gory death scenes felt much tamer and sillier. If there wasn’t also a larger amount of nudity, I would almost think that they were considering to aim for a PG-13 rating. There are still some laughs to be had, but it’s far less entertaining on the bad movie scale.
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