So,today I have the honour of hosting a guest post by Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör and new release, My Best Friend's Exorcism, which I've read and very much enjoyed, I think you will too (review published earlier on this blog)
So, without further ado.......Heeeeeeeeere's Grady!!
FORGOTTEN HORROR MOVIES OF THE EIGHTIES THAT YOU NEED TO SEE, LIKE, NOW
Chances are good that you’re a normal person who doesn’t remember much about any horror movies from the Eighties, and in that case there are some great films out there just waiting for you to discover like Lifeforce, Near Dark, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and The Evil Dead II. But just in case those are all old hat to you, here are some neglected classics that pack in more fun and scares per second than many more modern, more expensive, and more well-known films.
The Stepfather (1987) - one of those movies from the Eighties that scarred everyone who saw it, Terry O’Quinn (Lost) plays a real-life serial husband who got married and lived the all-American life until some minor setback sent him into a rage, at which point he murdered his entire family, and moved on to the next one, where everything started all over again. Featuring one of the sickest narrative fake-outs ever put on film, even in an era when women-in-peril movies dominate cable television, this flick still stings.
Trick or Treat (1986) - there might be something better than a heavy metal horror movie about a record that summons a demonic rock star when it’s played backwards, that features cameos by Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons as well as music by Fastway and an electric guitar that kills people, but I can’t think of it right now.
Boxer’s Omen (1983) - Hong Kong horror has always been gunky and crunky, but its grandest achievement is this movie about...well, who cares? What matters are the endless battles between wizards in which live chickens are eaten, animated alligator skulls give birth to bats, flying fetuses rise up out of piles of vomit and strangle Buddhist monks with their entrails, and dead girls are sewn into the bellies of crocodiles.
The Entity (1982) - Barbara Hershey plays a single mom who’s just holding on, trying to make a life for her kids, so she really doesn’t have time to cope with a ghost haunting her modest middle class house. Jaws drop and eyes pop as viewers realize that this ghost wants a new girlfriend and it’s selected Barbara as its main squeeze. How do you stop a phantom lover that won’t take “no” for an answer? Featuring some of the creepiest setpieces ever put on film, this is the kind of movie that sears itself onto your brain forever.
Night of the Comet (1984) - it’s the end of the world and the only survivors are two Valley Girls and a bunch of mutated sleazebags. Like, Oh My God! Gag me with a spoon! By turns adorable and awesome, it’s a movie that teaches us that the least of us (airhead mall rats) will rise to the occasion when the pressure’s on and the call comes to pick up machine guns and ventilate mutant skulls in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It also happens to be a fantastic movie about female friendship.
Special Bulletin (1983) - it’s hard to describe to people who are too young to have lived through it, but those of us who grew up in the Eighties were firmly convinced that we’d probably die in a nuclear holocaust. Not helping the problem were made-for-TV movies like Special Bulletin, a found footage film that purported to be a newscast breaking into regular programming to detail the tense stand-off in Charleston Harbor between the military and terrorists who had a nuclear device. The movie ends with a failed raid on the terrorists and the device going off, resulting in scenes of charred, radioactive bodies being buried by bulldozer. It didn’t help that I lived in Charleston. Both times this film aired on television the state telephone system melted down as it got overloaded with calls from frightened relatives who wanted to make sure we were still alive. We were alive, but totally traumatized.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is out now in hardback from Quirk Books, £14.99.
Grady Hendrix lives in New York. He is the author of Horrorstör, a novel about a haunted IKEA store, which is being turned into a series by Gail Berman (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), and Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl). Previously a journalist, he is also a co-founder of the New York Asian Film Festival. Visit his website www.gradyhendrix.com or follow him on Twitter @grady_hendrix.