Poltergeist III (1988) | Gary Sherman



Heather O’Rourke and Zelda Rubinstein are the only players from the first two films to cross over into the light of Poltergeist III.  Here, O’Rourke’s character, Carol Anne, seemingly dumped by her parents for reasons unknown, is taken care of by her Aunt Patricia (Nancy Allen), Uncle Bruce (Tom Skerritt), and teenage step-cousin, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle), living in a high-rise building in Chicago.  Carol Anne has been enrolled in a school for gifted but troubled kids, as her therapist, Dr. Seaton (Richard Fire), thinks that the young girl has the ability to hypnotize people into believing her delusions about seeing ghosts.  Seaton forces Carol Anne to speak about her experiences, which brings to light her involvement with the dreaded Reverend Kane (Nate Davis), and this talk has caused the late Reverend to cross over into trying to get in contact with the girl again.  For some reason, the entire building is chock full of mirrors at every turn, which is convenient to the haunting that emerges, as most of its haunting involved scaring the bejeesus out of the family and their cohorts through reflections in whatever mirrors they happen to be looking at.


Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) | Brian Gibson



Poltergeist II: The Other Side seeks to give more back story to the events of the first film, why the youngest child in the Freeling family had been wanted by the spirits, and the nature of the cult from which the spirits culminated, headed by Reverend Henry Kane (Julian Beck).  Kane manifests himself in human form in this sequel, tenacious in his pursuit of young Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke), now moved away with her family in the hope they could start a new life for themselves.  Tangina Barron (Zelda Rubinstein), the paranormal investigator from Poltergeist, sends out a Native American shaman (Will Sampson) to help protect the family once she discovers the hidden cave buried in the ground where Kane and his followers died, knowing that the family will not be able to escape Kane’s interest no matter where they might go.  Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, and Oliver Robins return.


Poltergeist (1982) | Tobe Hooper



In the film, a family of five known as the Freelings lives in idyllic suburbia – or so they think.  Strange things begin to occur in the house shortly after their cherubic 5-year-old daughter (Heather O’Rourke) begins receiving communication from someone she refers to as the “TV people” through the static on their television set.  Their pet bird dies, furniture begins to move on its own, and other such oddities, but things take a turn for the deadly for the family when the tree outside their home seemingly becomes animated and threatens to engulf the middle child (Oliver Robins) into its wooden maw.  The boy is saved, but their young daughter ends up missing, ostensibly stolen into another dimension by forces unknown, although she is able to still communicate through the television. The family enlists the services of a group of parapsychologists to investigate the strange phenomena, and hopefully get back their beloved daughter, but the forces that currently dominate the house prove to be much stronger than anything they’ve ever seen before. Tobe Hooper directs this Steven Spielberg production.


Beetlejuice (1988) | Tim Burton



Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) love the little home in the country they’ve built for themselves, but after they are killed in a freak accident and come back as ghosts, they are appalled to find that their house has been sold to a tasteless and unpleasant family, who plan one tearing down all they’ve built to redo the house in the tackiest way possible. Now they are determined to do what they can to scare away the family and serve out their 125-year term as apparitions before moving on to the next phase, but a wrench stops up the works when the new owners are pleased with the financial possibilities of the attraction of a haunted house, and it seems the more they scare these new inhabitants, the more amused they get. The Maitlands call on the services of Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), a crazy and psychotic ghoul who seems to do more harm than good for the Maitland’s tastes. Tim Burton directs.


Ghostbusters II (1989) | Ivan Reitman



Five years after the events of Ghostbusters,  the heroes are zeroes again, bankrupt after getting sued by the city for the destructive aftermath of clearing out the city of spooks. There’s also a Federal restraining order prohibiting them from continued ghostbusting. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) is now the host of a cheesy local cable talk show called, “World of the Psychic.”  Occult bookstore owner Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) gets side work with Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), cosplaying as Ghostbusters for childrens’ birthday parties. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) is back at Columbia University, investigating how human emotions affect psycho-magnetic energy.  Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) is a single mother after leaving Venkman for his inability to commit, having a baby, now eight months old, with another man.  Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) applies his knack for accounting to become a tax lawyer.

They reunite after being approached by Peter’s ex, Dana, who reports a strange occurrence involving her baby’s carriage traveling on its own. They discover rivers of mood slime running beneath the city, converging on the Manhattan Museum of Art, where Dana works as an art restorer, including a life-size portrait of Medieval sorcerer warlord, Vigo the Carpathian. Vigo’s spirit lives within his portrait, and to enter into the realm of the living, he needs a baby to be his vessel to come to the mortal realm and continue his reign of terror. He makes a deal with Dana’s boss, Dr. Janosz Poha (Peter MacNicol), to secure her baby, Oscar, in exchange for a date with her.


Ghostbusters (1984) | Ivan Reitman



Ghostbusters centers on three university researchers (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis) of paranormal activity who go into business of their own once they get into trouble for their uncouth antics, and their grant money runs out.  They emerge on the scene as the “Ghostbusters”, a trio of exterminators (of sorts), willing to investigate phenomena from anyone in New York City willing to call their number and pay their fees.  Though the public is initially skeptical, these men soon become heroes, then celebrities, for their success rate, drawing the attention of the media, as well as the EPA (who are curious about their containment system), as the amount of ghostly appearances seems to be on a major upswing.

Sigourney Weaver co-stars as a cellist named Dana Barrett, who is one of the first in her old building to begin seeing strange things in her refrigerator, causing her to make the call she never thought she’d have to make.  Along with her neighbor, Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), she becomes the conduit for the rise of the malevolent Babylonian spirit, whose aims are to bring darkness onto the world. Directed by Ivan Reitman.

 

Erratum: The artist friend Aykroyd used for conceptual art on Ghost Smashers was John “The Viking” Deveikis, not the cited Thom Enriquez, who made additional conceptual art once Reitman was on board.


Prince of Darkness (1987) | John Carpenter



The diary of a reclusive priest named Father Carlton reveals a centuries-old secret sect in the Church called the Brotherhood of Sleep.  Carlton was on the verge of revealing their existence to the Archbishop that Brotherhood is guarding an ancient cylinder filled green fluid hidden in the basement of an abandoned 16th Century-built chapel in Los Angeles. The dormant entity inside the cylinder has been awakened by the force of a distant supernova that exploded long ago, a chaotic chain reaction disrupting order on Earth.

Another priest discovers the diary and key to the basement, encountering the cylinder and a mysterious book written in ancient languages containing mathematical and physics references. The priest contacts his former TV debate sparring partner, advanced physics professor Howard Birack, to decipher what it all means. Birack brings a research team of graduate students to investigate, who collectively experience tachyon transmissions in their dreams from the future warning about the re-emergence of an ancient evil.

The book reveals the truth: Jesus was a descendant of a human-like extraterrestrial race killed for delivering scientific warnings that no one understood. His disciples hid these warnings until such a time when science could catch up and decode the truth. The church lied publicly, telling followers that evil lies within them and could be controlled through faith.

Meanwhile, the Prince of Darkness, aka the Devil, has remained dormant in the cylinder there for two-thousand years, placed there by his father, the Anti-God. The anti-God once roamed the Earth before humankind’s existence but now resides within subatomic antimatter awaiting a time for his son to reemerge to help him cross from the mirror dimension into the material world.

Something’s growing in the prebiotic fluid, leaking up toward the ceiling, squirting into the mouths of the students, using psychokinetic energy to turn them evil. Satan’s searching for a host to bring himself into the world to help the father escape.

John Carpenter writes and directs.


The Stuff (1985) | Larry Cohen



Larry Cohen concocts this comedic horror-thriller involving an ex-FBI agent turned industrial spy hired by a desperate ice cream industry, trying to steal the secret formula from a corporation pushing a newly marketed yogurt-like food substance called The Stuff. He discovers the substance, which is found bubbling up from seemingly unlimited deposits underground, is deadly and humanity hangs in the balance. The Stuff is a delicious, no-calorie dessert that is highly addictive to all who eat it. So addictive that all people want to do it continue eating it, while the living parasite inside controls their minds as it eats them from the inside until it reproduces and the human host expires. Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Scott Bloom, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Danny Aiello appear.


The Blob (1988) | Chuck Russell



The Blob suddenly appears after crashlanding in a rural area outside of the fictional ski resort town of Arborville, CA. It attaches itself to the hand of a vagrant, Star high school wide receiver Paul Taylor (Donovan Leitch) and his cheerleader crush Meg Penny (Shawnee Smith) are out on their first date when they come across the man, taking him to the hospital, along with the town’s juvenile delinquent, Brian Flagg (Kevin Dillon), who they think is responsible. They soon discover that the blob has eaten the man alive, and is growing larger. As it heads to town to feed the Blob is revealed to be a runaway bio-weapon experiment invented by the US military. Secret government operatives quarantine the town. They want the Blob back alive; the town’s residents are expendable. It’s up to the teens to save the day. Chuck Russell directs from a script written by Russell and Frank Darabont.


The Thing (1982) | John Carpenter



The story starts out in Antarctica, where a group of scientists is bunkered until one day they are disturbed by the sounds of gunshots coming from a Norwegian helicopter, apparently trying to kill a runaway dog.  They miss their quarry, and the Norwegians end up getting offed, with no explanation as to what their problem is.  Fearing more violence, the American crew travels to the Norwegian camp, only to find some very odd occurrences, including a mangled humanoid body that has normal internal organs.  Then, the dog reveals that it is not really a dog, but some sort of alien organism with the power to mimic other life-forms and dominate until it takes over everything around it.  The men of the camp are its next intended victims, and soon, no one can trust the others. Kurt Russell, Keith David, and Wilford Brimley appear. Directed by John Carpenter.


The Hidden (1987) | Jack Sholder



Michael Nouri stars as LAPD detective Tom Beck, who takes down a bank robber gone berserk in one of the bloodiest shootouts in department history.  What Beck doesn’t know is that the culprit is actually being controlled by a parasite within his body that loves danger, money, speeding, and good ol’ rock-n-roll, and it can’t be killed by normal means, and moves from host to host whenever the body it is in is about to expire.  Enter FBI agent Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlan), on assignment from Seattle to help apprehend the perpetrator(s) on a killing spree the likes of which have the LA cops stymied.  Gallagher seems to hold the key as to why normally good people are going bad all of a sudden, but he’s not letting on why. Jack Sholder directs.


Night of the Creeps (1986) | Fred Dekker



Jason Lively and Steve Marshall are the primary stars as Chris and J.C., a couple of nerdy college freshmen fraternity pledges who must steal a corpse as part of their initiation. They accidentally end up releasing a small army of leeches, jettisoned from an alien spacecraft, dormant in the cryogenic cadaver they find in the university’s research facility. These leeches jump into the mouths of any humans they can and proceed to consume their minds, controlling their bodies like zombies with only one mission: to kill and infest the bodies of others they can find. Also starring is Tom Atkins as the town’s hard-nosed but slightly cracked disgruntled cop, Detective Ray Cameron, who has seen these events before, nearly three decades in the past, when his ex-girlfriend had been viciously murdered with an ax-wielding psycho. Fred Dekker writes and directs.


Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (1987)



Revenge of the Nerds II begins with the nerds who formed Lambda Lambda Lambda at Adams College, leaders from an inclusive fraternity that overcame prejudice to become heroes, as witnessed in the first film. Now they must take their mission national at the United Fraternity Conference in Fort Lauderdale. There, they hope to increase the bonds of brotherhood, set new and less discriminatory guidelines, and to get laid. Once in Florida, however, they find that the Alpha Betas have once again taken their rooms. No other hotels in town will take “nerds” except for the dumpiest. Try as the nerds might to bring unity to all fraternal brothers, the Alpha Betas determine to shut them out through conniving acts that result in shutting out the Tri-Lambs for good. It’s up to the nerds to get revenge yet again. Directed by Joe Roth.


Revenge of the Nerds (1984) | Jeff Kanew



Best friends Louis (Robert Carradine and Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) head off to Adams College together only to find that the jocks that belong to the fraternity called Alpha Beta have taken over the dorms after they burn down their own frat house.  In order to stop having to live in the gym, the former dorm residents must try to get into a fraternity or sorority of their own, but Lewis and Gilbert, along with several other misfits, are all shunned away — because they are nerds.  Since no one will take them, they decide to start their own fraternity.  However, this still makes them the target for many pranks initiated by the Alphas, and now the nerds are pissed — they vow revenge! Directed by Jeff Kanew.


Real Genius (1985) | Martha Coolidge



Real Genius centers on several students at Pac Tech, an institution esteemed for its technological breakthroughs. They’re currently working on a project to build a high-powered laser. The project is led by an egotistical professor and TV science show host named Jerry Hathaway (William Atherton), who has been employed by a clandestine group within the Pentagon for Operation Crossbow, whereby the military will use the laser to vaporize targets from space with sniper-like precision.

Enter 15-year-old genius Mitch Taylor (Gabe Jarrett), recruited by Hathaway to start college early at Pacific Tech. He rooms with the school’s prior hot prodigy, a rebellious and smart-alecky senior named Chris Knight (Val Kilmer), who has decided there’s more value in being a slacker than to continue showing everyone he’s the smartest person on campus. Knight’s shenanigans have Hathaway, who must produce the results in an accelerated four months instead of the originally intended eighteen, threatening to kick him out of school if he doesn’t assist in completing the laser in the allotted time. Martha Coolidge directs.