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  • Raw Deal

    Raw Deal


    A proto-COMMANDO, though not as outlandishly violent (but comes close). Arnie fires big weapons at bad dudes and never misses; he’s never hit, either—surprise!

    Have always confused this one with RED HEAT, another Chicago-set Schwarzenegger joint (he plays a Russian in that one), which is probably why I’ve accidentally avoided this one for years. I blame the vague and unremarkable box art.

    The climax is so aggressive and abrupt that it’s almost stunning; Arnold mows down the bad guys indiscriminately…

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child

    A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child


    Thanks (or no thanks, rather) to some super baroque set pieces, this entry has always looked a little too Gothic for my tastes, which, to me, stands in contrast to the pop '80s vibe the prior four entries had established. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 1-4 is like one big Pepsi commercial; A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5 feels like a stage production of Shakespeare.

    I love Stephen Hopkins' dramatic, swooping camerawork (usually with a wide angle lens slapped on)…

  • Street Asylum

    Street Asylum


    A few select LA cops are unknowingly implanted with a device which turns them into crazed, violent shadows of their former selves who will stop at nothing to catch--and murder--criminals of varying levels of badness.

    It toes the line between 'totally insane' and 'totally typical' of the type of '80s crime fare (including some that had pseudo-futuristic flourishes) that was being put out during this period. It's not quite THE HIDDEN or ALIEN NATION, but it's also not as straight-forward…

  • Suffer, Little Children

    Suffer, Little Children



    This is possibly the classiest SOV offering, thanks only in part to its UK-bred cast. The bad audio mix, the gauzy blur of the tape, the poor white balancing in almost every shot--all of it easily forgotten once you hear those heavy English accents.

    Pretty straight-forward SOV fare here, aside from two stand-out parts: a dream sequence involving zombies (which I wish had been longer or happened more than once), and the movie's absolutely bananas ending. Warning: not intended to be viewed by those sensitive to strobe lights and/or the second coming of Jesus Christ.

  • Ski Patrol

    Ski Patrol


    Surprisingly wholesome (PG!) for a movie that clearly belongs in the 'slobs vs snobs' category alongside similar films such as ANIMAL HOUSE and CADDYSHACK. That's right: no sex, no drugs, and no violence (except for the most slapsticky variety) to be found here. Just a whole bunch of arbitrary musical numbers (I counted at least four) and skiing montages (I lost count of those.)

    There is no real movie to speak of: there's a beginning (the rich bad guys want…

  • White of the Eye

    White of the Eye


    A gorgeously lensed fever dream that's one part giallo film and one part domestic thriller. Feels like a stylistic precursor to U-TURN (and by proxy, NATURAL BORN KILLERS) due to its desert landscapes and kinetic editing style. Plus, the art direction looks like something from an '80s magazine, making the whole thing a visual feast.

    I rarely find new discoveries like this, where I'm instantly hooked and locked in for the whole ride. But this one had me from the…

  • The Dirt

    The Dirt


    I've never read Motley Crue's "The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band", but from what I've heard, it's an incredible, jaw-dropping read; the ultimate tell-all autobiography full of sex, drugs, and more sex written by the charming degenerates who lived it.

    So it's funny then that Netflix/Jeff Tremaine's take on the band's history is so painfully paint-by-numbers. This movie is almost identical to (the mostly fictional) ROCKSTAR ('01), so I'm not sure what that says about its…

  • Dudes



    Penelope Spheeris directed two of the most honest portrayals of the '80s punk scene, SUBURBIA ('83) and the documentary THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION ('81), so it's weird that she's also behind this film, which is a super fluffy, touristy take on punks that feels like it was directed by a narc. Jon Cryer is perhaps the most miscast punk committed to celluloid.

    The cowpunk thing was really big around this time, so the aesthetic makes sense. But the movie's…

  • Sorority House Massacre

    Sorority House Massacre


    Unabashed HALLOWEEN rip-off with a few dreamy flashbacks that give it a heavy Italo vibe. The front end is surprisingly solid once the ball gets rolling, and there's some fun stuff in the middle, but the climax just turns into a game of 'run upstairs, no wait downstairs, no wait upstairs'.

    More of a 2.85 than a 2.5, but whatever. Worth a watch if you've got an unseen '80s itch to scratch, especially if you're a "(insert location) MASSACRE" completist.

  • The Favourite

    The Favourite


    There is perhaps no better director than Yorgos Lanthimos to take on the stony-faced comedy and stomach-churning tragedy that goes hand-in-hand with period pieces, though it should be noted this is the least Lanthimos-y of his films to date. (The actors actually act in this one!) However, that's no slight on the final product, which is gorgeous, hilarious, devastating, and totally engaging. They managed to make a $15M movie look like $100M.

    Colman, Weisz, and Stone absolutely nail their roles.…

  • Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama

    Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama


    The perfect movie to catch on cable (when your folks didn't know) as an 11-year-old budding trash cinephile, but also the perfect movie to watch as a adult when you want to relive that tingle of what it felt like when you first discovered campy b- and z-movies (on cable, when your folks didn't know).

    Has all the hallmarks of the type of no-budget direct-to-video horror/exploitation fare that was being churned out around this era: drunken, rowdy youths, gratuitous t&a,…

  • Bone



    "Change is scary"

    An outrageous, jet-black satire about a dysfunctional Beverly Hills couple who are forced to reckon their respective realities with each other and the surrounding world when an intruder (the magnificent Yaphet Kotto) breaks into their home. BONE manages to tackle major issues like classism, race, war, grief and sexual trauma and does so with a jarring yet tender touch. It's like a magic trick, really; you don't think it's going to work, but suddenly somehow it does,…