Archive for the '80's movies' Category

May

Almost every B-movie and horror movie fan out there has a story of how they were introduced to movies–like a cool uncle who let them watch “Porky’s” where they saw their very first set of boobies. For me, I became hooked on B-movies and horror movies after my first visit to Video Unlimited, a video store near where I lived. As a young boy many a weekend and summer were spent watching videos that I rented from both stores; they had two locations. I was very fortunate to have a really cool Mom who would let me watch any kind of movie, regardless of the genre (except porn). Hey, even the coolest Moms have to draw the line somewhere. My Mom became even cooler when I found out she was a big horror movie buff. On her days off from managing the drive-in (Rosen’s), she would usually be watching horror movies with me. Now how many kids can honestly say their Mom likes horror movies?

So, let me get back to my Video Unlimited memories. The one thing that always amazed me about both stores was that even though they weren’t very big, the staff magically found a way to somehow store and showcase thousands of titles. I always wondered if they had access to some kind of interdimensional portal with a limitless supply of videos. Video Unlimited’s selection was a lot like Video Vault in that whatever movie you were looking for, they usually had it or something similar to it.

Videos

And while I’m on the subject of selection, I have to mention the size of the movie rental catalog that was sitting on the front counter of the Laplata location. This thing was HUGE. Think a of a triple-decker club sandwich that is made of phone books, without the ham, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and mayonnaise. To me this catalog was my B-movie bible. I’m pretty sure that whenever I went near it the book was enshrined in a golden light and I heard celestial music coming from up above. Seriously, this catalog contained so many movies from every possible genre and sub-genre that if I live several lifetimes like the Highlander, Duncan MacLeod, I still wouldn’t see all of the movies listed in it. And when I had watched all of the current releases, or I just wanted to focus on a particular genre, this became my go-to book. The selection of the so-called “big boys” of movie rental back then and today–Blockbuster and Hollywood Video–could never compare to the impressive selection of the small Mom-and-Pop video stores. Try calling Blockbuster to find out if they carry “Wood Chipper Massacre”, and the people working there won’t have a clue as to what you’re talking about.

When I moved out of the area I began going exclusively to Video Unlimited’s Waldorf location, their second store. After about a year of renting several movies on a weekly basis and talking about movies with the staff, I was asked for my imput on what B-movies and horror movies the should carry at the store. So I began making movie recommendations based on previews I had seen, articles that I read in ‘Fangoria’ (when ‘Fangoria’ was still a horror magazine), and movie screeners that I had viewed. Yes, I was given movie screeners to watch, which was one of the coolest things to me. In case you don’t know, a movie screener is an advance copy of a movie that is shown to critics and distributors. I saw a lot of screeners, but the one that comes to mind was for the movie “Seed People.” It’s basically Full Moon Entertainment’s version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” I remember it being an enjoyable little movie, when Full Moon actually made movies worth watching, unlike the Z-grade trash that Charles Band pimps today for a quick buck. Now if helping to select movies and viewing advance copies wasn’t awesome enough, another perk of being a loyal customer was that I had my pick of all the cool posters they had from movies, like “Silent Night, Deadly Night”, “The Fly” (Cronenberg’s version), and “Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood.” In addition, I also got nifty movie promos like trading cards from another Full Moon release, “Subspecies”, which I still have packed in a box somewhere today. This was way before eBay. Back then nobody really thought of this stuff as being collectible or having any real value. To the owners all it was doing at the time was taking up valuable space that could be used to store copies of movies. Now I’m sure that they probably wished they had kept a lot of these posters after seeing how popular and valuable they’ve become over the years.

Soon I got a job at Rosen’s Drive-in, and I didn’t just didn’t have as much time as I used to to watch movies, but I would still visit Video Unlimited at least once a week to say “hi” and to see if there were any new releases that caught my eye. Sure, I saw plenty of movies while working the projection booth at Rosen’s, but I could never get my fill of movies. Similar to Kirstie Alley’s relationship with food. Have you seen her lately? Yikes! She looks like she swallowed a water buffalo.

Movies

Anyway, when I started a professional haunted house attraction a short time later, I found myself with even less time. Things were so crazy that everything quickly became a blur. And before I knew it, one week, two weeks had passed by in a flash, so I decided to stop by my favorite video store to see how things were going. Well, as soon as I walked across the parking lot towards the front door I had a sinking feeling–something wasn’t right. And my feeling was confirmed when I stepped inside and saw the shelves with only a few movies scattered on each of them. All around me there was a feeding frenzy similar to Piranhas attacking a helpless swimmer at a lake resort. People were quickly grabbing and buying VHS cassettes and everything else in the store, except for the floor tiles. I didn’t ask many questions even though I was shocked and upset, because whatever I was feeling was probably nothing compared to what everybody who worked there was going through. This was their business, their livelihood. From what I was told later on the video store had been struggling for a few months. And things only got worse when their rent was raised and Blockbuster (the Walmart of video stores, which isn’t a compliment) moved into town about 300 or so feet away. The competition was simply too strong and they just couldn’t survive any longer.

To this day I don’t understand why someone didn’t tell me what was happening sooner. Maybe I could have done something to help. Though in all honesty, it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference anyway, because the profit-driven, soulless, corporate video rental chains like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video were gaining momentum in the video rental market, and it was only a matter of time before the small Mom-and-Pop video stores like Video Unlimited would soon disappear. However, the Laplata store was able to say in business for several more years until sadly, in 2002, it was destroyed by a devastating tornado that hit the strip mall where it was located. Last I had heard the owner decided not to rebuild the business.

I hadn’t been to the Laplata location in many years, but hearing the bad news was still a real bummer. It was like loosing contact with a close friend, and then years later finding out that they had passed away. For most of my childhood these two stores had been a very important part of my life. I know it’s just a couple of video stores to most people, but the movies that I was exposed to made me, Drive-in Dan, the B-movie fan that I am today. The movies that I rented from these stores led to other interests that have carried over into adulthood, like my passion for special effects makeup after seeing Tom Savini’s masterful work in films such as “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”, “Dawn of the Dead”, and “The Burning.” Watching films such as “Halloween” and Dario Argento’s “Phenomena”exposed me to the unique musical styles of John Carpenter and the Italian Prog Rock band, Goblin, which I still enjoy to this day. After seeing “The Road Warrior” I was inspired to make vehicles and various contraptions using parts from miscellaneous model kits, and today I continue to create things from found objects.

I will always have fond memories of the two Video Unlimited stores. I’m glad that I grew up in the 80’s and was able to be a part of something truly awesome. Hopefully, other B-movie fans out there had their own Video Unlimited while growing up.

May

rest stop reviews

We’d like to introduce you to a new format for this and some future movie reviews. We call them Rest Stop reviews. They still have that same great snarky taste but with 50% less filling. That’s right it’s environmentally friendly blogging, and you’ll still feel like you’ve gotten a chance to stretch your legs, and empty your bladder. We’ll have more in the upcoming months but in the meantime enjoy our first Rest Stop Review of the 80’s Australian cult-film “Dead End Drive-in.” Let us know what you think, and be sure to grab yourself a snack in the vending machine on your way out.

Is that the lead singer from the Cure?

In “Dead End Drive-in” Australia shows us their continuing obsession with the  apocalypse even without Mel Gibson to save the day. The world is in economic ruin, the only lucrative business is fender bender scavenging, and everyone eats Hormel chili out of cans. A weasely little man named Crabs “cause’ that’s what his momma caught” and his dimwitted girlfriend Carmen, steal his brother’s 56 Chevy for a night out at the drive-in. Turns out the drive-in is just a disguised concentration camp for vagrants, the unemployed and new wave punks… sorta like Denny’s but with electric fencing.

Carmen shows off her fruit baskets to Crabs and pretty soon they’re doing the backseat rumba like horny koalas while the cops are stealing their tires. The next day they find themselves trapped in the drive-in with 100’s of renaissance festival rejects and all the snackshop food you could ever eat. Crab doesn’t see much of a future in professional loitering so he makes an escape plan even though Carmen would rather sit around eating banana fritters and look like a homeless Pat Benatar. She’s got a few Kangaroos loose in the top paddock if ya know what I mean. Crab steals a truck during a Klan rally and  goes postal shooting up the place and driving over homeless shanties right before he does an evil Knievel off the top of a truck ramp. Multiple car crashes with explosion, red underwear of terror, drive-in hit and runs, snackshop shoot out, tow truck stunt spectacular, Cricket bat head bashing, and extreme red Speedos. The only thing missing was Olivia Newton in leg warmers and maybe a Crocodile Hunter or two. Now there’s an 80’s Australian film I’d like to see. Retroman says take this movie for a walkabout but be sure to bring a spare tire.

trailers

dripper
May

posted by retroman | May 8, 2010 | 80's movies, B-movies, Holiday films, Trailer park

Sure she gave birth to you, changed your diapers, kept you from running in the streets with scissors, but how much can you really trust that strange lady in your home often referred to as “mom” or “mother?”
She made you sit up straight, eat your vegetables, always asked if you wanted a second helping of gravey dipped cheese sticks, but could it be a plot to fatten us up and eat us while we sleep? The proof is in the pudding…delicious chocolatey pudding.

trailers

dripper
May

posted by retroman | May 1, 2010 | 80's movies, Horror movies, Made for TV, Review by Barry Goodall

Burnt Offerings

What is the appeal of Disneyland? Is it that giant squeaky voiced rodent that doesn’t wear a shirt or the duck with the speech impediment that wears no pants? Personally, I find the whole thing a bit too “greasy guy in a van with candy” creepy. I blame Epcot Center. It’s Disney’s 1984 version of our supposed current future world where everyone owns a jet pack, and has a time share on a space station. Well, I still haven’t gotten my jet pack or personal robot assistant but now I can shop from the comfort of my underwear, and watch re-runs of Frasier anytime on my computer. That is technological progress! They also have multiple countries crammed together just begging to break out into wars over boundary disputes. I also vaguely remember there was also a Dinosaur exhibit ride sponsored by Exxon which screams irony. At any  moment you’d expect one of the dinosaurs to start talking about how it’s decaying corpse is what fuels your Honda Civic for late night Hot Pocket runs. That gives me hope someday Barney will be liquefied and used to power my weedwacker. Long lines, hot and sticky Floridian weather and expensive bad food sum up the Disney magical experience. But count yourself lucky, at least your not the guy in the giant goofy costume getting kneed in the groin by a disgruntled dwarf. Well, unless you’re into that sorta thing.

Speaking of bad vacation spots, Oliver Reed, and Karen Black play the perfect odd couple who decide to rent a mansion in the deep south, and this time there’s no slave traders or people breaking out into old man river song. They bring along their whiny son, and geriatric aunt played by Betty Davis, apparently she was still alive and acting…or at least one of the two from what I could tell.

Burnt Offerings

The eccentric owners played by Burgess Meredith, and Eileen Heckart like the couple’s lack of common sense, and give them a great deal on the rental fee, only $900 for the entire summer. That includes water, electricity, and free demonic possession with the rental deposit. The only stipulation is they have to babysit their old mother who lives in the attic, and occasionally toss her some table scraps. After a few weeks of living the plantation lifestyle Karen Black’s character, Marian starts dressing in prop costumes from the 1800’s. She has bouts of crying over broken punch bowls, and in general gets creepier, and creepier as the movie progresses. She’s sorta got that sexy “just stuck your cat in the microwave” look going on.

Ben (Oliver Reed) tries best to contain his inner Shatner but instead takes his frustration out on his son Davie with a good old game of dunk the kid in the dirty pool water. The kid narrowly escapes when he smacks him in the nose with some scuba gear, and flees to his room to cry in his big Davey Jones pillow.

Marian’s OCD kicks into high gear with her obsessive house cleaning, and picture frame arranging, and her son nearly asphyxiates in his bedroom from a leaky gas heater. Ben busts in the door just in time, and dangles Davie out the window for a little breather. Poor Betty Davis she gets blamed for the whole thing, as if they didn’t see “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” Pretty soon everyone is beginning to go a bit looney tunes. Ben starts hallucinating about leering chauffeurs doing drive by grinnings, and Betty Davis becomes a bed ridden invalid moaning like a stuck pig. Thankfully she gets put out of her misery when she gets offed by a freak coffin hit and run in her room. After a quick funeral, and some finger food Marian gets back to house cleaning. She doesn’t seem to be to at all bothered by the whole death by a demon chauffeur thing. Ben is just upset because she won’t give him any late night nookie down by the pool, and nobody can brood about sexual frustration like Oliver Reed can.

Ben wakes up the next morning to find the house giving itself a extreme home makeover. Roof tilings starts falling off in the rain revealing fresh new tiles, and old house siding gets ripped away for brand new paint. It’s the sorta thing that would make Ty Pennington all weepy eyed. “When your house is possessed always go with Sears brand vinyl siding.” While the house is under demonic renovation, Ben tries to escape with his son in their 70’s station wagon leaving Marian all alone upstairs with her creepiness.
Burnt OfferingsUnfortunately, the getaway is stopped short by some  possessed shrubbery at the end of the driveway which just goes to prove even Satan has malevolent landscapers. Marian catches up, and drives them back to the house since Ben has somehow got catatonic from the shock of the plant attack. They put him out by the pool in a lawn chair to drool, and watch Davie swim…badly.  Evil forces start making waves, and turn the pool into a death jacuzzi from hell but Marian dives in just in time to rescue her son from another potential drowning. With his dumb luck a chimney would probably end up falling on him too….uh…Oh wait that did happen.

As far as ghost stories go, this one isn’t too bad even if it was made for TV horror. You can see how this movie influenced “The Shining” with Oliver Reed as the poor man’s Jack Nicholson. The house itself is pretty much the star of the show. There’s a few other twists, and turns to enjoy…. like whose been eating the old lady’s TV dinners, What’s up with the evil grinning chauffeur or why does Karen Black have to be so gall-darn creepy? Is she cross eyed or somethin’? Retroman says check it out, and be sure to hire only licensed contractors for your chimney repair.

roadside attractions

  • 3 dead bodies
  • Dysfunctional family summer homes
  • Wave-pool-surfing
  • Chimney crushing
  • Poolside wrestlin’
  • Creepy chaufers
  • Bush-whacking
  • Betty Davis bloating
  • Extreme home makeover
  • Roof jumping with car belly flop
totals

6

blood
BLOOD

1 good roof dive with splatter

7

beast
BEASTS

the house and Betty Davis

3

blood
BREASTS

nothin’ nadda…not even creepy girl

7.3 OVERALL
dripper

Check out the trailer for Burnt Offerings

trailers

dripper
Apr

When I was 9 years old I went to a overnight birthday party at my buddy Dave’s house. We had the typical birthday activities during the sunlight hours, tag, kick the can, and army. We also consumed large amounts of sugar and caffeine… ya know to “keep us frosty if Charlie ambushed us.” At night we settled down in the basement for watching a movie on his vintage big screen TV.  His older brother had his girlfriend over and they decided we were all going to watch a horror film. Keep in mind the most scary thing I had seen up to this point were some old Gumby and Pokey episodes, so imagine my excitement, and fear when I heard it was “R” rated. It’s like being told you were being allowed to play with the big kids but they’re going out to play chicken with a train. So they slapped the VHS tape into that vintage  top loading VCR deck we began to watch “Halloween III: Season of the Witch.” Unfortunately I watched most of the movie while covering my face with the sleeping bag, but what I did see was forever etched in my psyche. To this day I still don’t wear a Halloween mask, and I always check the back for a Silver Shamrock badge…you know, just in case.

I decided recently to watch it again for the first time since then. I can’t imagine any parent letting a bunch of 9 year old kids watch this film but hey it was the 80’s. We drove giant cars with no seat belts, nobody wore helmets, and everyone ate steak with butter for dinner. So in honor of our website relaunch I bring you my review of my very first horror film. Also a big thank you to Davey’s big brother for helping turn me into the big twisted weirdo that I am today. Don’t worry Joey, I’m sure the recent charges won’t stick, and you’ll be making bale soon.

“Halloween III: Season of the Witch” decides to forgo any box office logic, and kick Michael Myers to the curb for this round of terror. After raking in the money with the first 2 films they decided on no Jamie Lee Curtis, no Donald Pleasence and no escaped psycho from the mental ward on vengeful killing spree. Nope, now you’ve got to worry about Halloween masks that turn your skull into jello mush ( just when I was getting over my fear of the rubber band masks snapping me in the eye.)

Halloween III: Season of the WitchTom “It’s my Diet Plan” Atkins plays Dan Challis a divorced doctor who likes impressing the ladies with his well formed mustache and plaid shirts. Late one night a stranger clutching a Halloween mask is brought into the ER shortly after nearly getting crushed by a K-car. He’s spouting gibberish about how everyone is going to do die, it’s the end of the world, about how Oprah foretold it. Unfortunately nobody listens and he gets his eyes gouged out by a Mormon in a rental suit… an apparent victim of poor health insurance. Dan chases the killer back down to his parked car where the guy drenches himself with gasoline and lights his polyester suit on fire. The cops later blame it as a drug induced suicide but is more likely from his deep shame of owning a Chrysler. Dan finds it all a bit too coincidental…a Halloween mask, Mormons, Chryslers.. it’s all obviously apart of an evil mass murder conspiracy that must be investigated. Dan’s investigative skill mostly involves him sitting at the bar watching TV and drinking beer at least until Ellie, the daughter of the recently eye gouged shows up. Remembering her from the hospital, he invites her to go check out the mask makers hometown. That’s a sorta creepy first date.

They drive out to “Santa Mira”  home of Silver Shamrock masks, where the leprechauns run free and  the shamrock milkshakes flow like wine.  The town folk are your typical Midwesterners… creepy, cold to the touch, and don’t take kindly to strangers. Ellie and Dan suspect there might be some shady dealings going on when a lady at their hotel gets her face burnt off by one of the mask’s electronic badges, a victim of botched home laser hair removal. The body is then whisked away in a corporate van by a gang of lab coats faster than you can say corporate lawsuit. Dan, and Ellie decide to visit the heavily guarded main factory outside of town where she was supposedly taken. Inside they meet the Bossman Mr. Cochran, a charming Irish grandpa type who surprisingly isn’t drunk but does have an insatiable thirst for death and pagan sacrifices. He takes them on a quick tour of the mask assembly line along with a family of annoying Corn Chuckers who eventually get locked up in a sound proof test room. The  mask the kid is wearing inevitably goes Chernobyl causing snakes and other icky things to crawl out of the kids noggin and kill the parents. It’s a Pepsi taste challenge gone horribly wrong.

Halloween III: Season of the WitchEllie is kidnapped later that night while back at the hotel and Dan gets the smack down by some robot thugs when he tries to save her. Mr. Cochran. In typical bad guy fashion explains his evil plans to Dan blabbering on about how they’re pagan druids chipping out demon pet rocks from a wedge of Stonehenge and they’re putting a little piece of that evil in each mask to sell to millions of kids. “We’re slashing prices on possessed mask and passing the killings onto you.”

Dan must escape the evil clutches of the corporate Cult so he can warn the rest of the world before a commercial plays that night triggering the masks kill switch. This would cause millions of kids heads everywhere to blow up like  pans of Jiffy Pop and who wants that cleaning bill.  Dan gets dragged, punched, kicked and covered in robot goo and eventually ends up tied to a chair and forced to watch horror movie marathons all night long…as if that’s some sort of bad thing. Nevermind about a few rugrats getting their heads liquefied, there’s a zombie marathon on!!

Having been a good 27 years since I seen this film it’s doesn’t really hold up on the scare meter as much as I remember but it’s still an impressive horror flick. Yeah, I know I’m in the minority on this one as a lot of horror buffs pan it as the worse in the Halloween series. Seriously? Did you see the one with Busta Rhymes? Also you’ll dig the amazing soundtrack from John Carpenter and Alan Howarth. Retroman Steve  says check it out and always store your druids in a cool dark place.

Who knew hospital crime scenes were such great places to meet chicks.

roadside attractions

  • 1 eye gouging
  • 1 ear drilling
  • Short circuiting kill-bots
  • Disembodied attacking hands
  • Snake cricket combo kill
  • Whine-o-neck snapping with blood gysers
  • Combustible robot Mormons
  • Extreme laser oral surgery
  • Druid Cultist Inc.
  • Vaporizing old guys
  • Robot grandmas
  • Bionic goo
  • Stonehenge rock carving
totals

7

blood
BLOOD

mask kills and robot goo.

6

beast
BEASTS

kill-bot Mormons in rental suits

7

blood
BREASTS

minus a point for Tom Atkin’s butt

8.3 OVERALL
dripper

Check out the trailer for Halloween 3: Season of the Witch

trailers

dripper

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About the Highway

Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>