All posts by qwipster

The Delta Force (1986)



Cannon Films and Golan-Globus productions push out this ultra-patriotic film in the middle of the 1980s whereby American elite commandos kick major butt when trying to secure the freedom of a plane full of hostages hijacked by a group of Lebanese terrorists. Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin head the super-soldiers to action on the hope of saving not only as many lives as they can, but their own reputation after a botched mission sees them go down in disgrace, they feel, due to bureaucratic missteps. Menahem Golan directs this quintessentially jingoistic but gloriously unabashed entry in the Chuck Norris filmography.


Commando (1985) | Mark L. Lester



In this onscreen persona-defining movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Col. John Matrix, a highly-trained military special-ops expert whose unit was disbanded and now live under secret identities in retirement.  Matrix spends his days as a single father taking care of his spirited young daughter, Jenny (Alyssa Milano), to whom he has promised not to go out on any more special missions.  However, John’s hand is forced when Jenny is abducted by a displaced South American dictator (Dan Hedaya) of a banana republic named Val Verde who wants his old gig back, planning to use her for ransom as John puts out an assassination on the current leader.  Thinking that Jenny will be killed even if he fulfills the demands, Matrix sets about dismantling the small army the dictator has around him, with the help of an airline attendant named Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong), in the hope that he can rescue his daughter before she is offed. Mark L. Lester directs this humorously over-the-top actioner from a Steven E. de Souza script.


Predator (1987) | John McTiernan



Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Major “Dutch” Schaeffer, who, along with his crew of elite special ops commandos, is sent to the jungle of a hostile Latin American country on a covert hostage rescue mission.  However, he soon finds out there’s more to the mission than he had originally been told by his old friend, Major George Dillon (Weathers), leaving them in a firefight with other military factions in a country they aren’t supposed to be in.  Worse, they discover that some of the soldiers in the area have been killed in a most disturbing manner, skinned, disemboweled, and left for vultures to feast on.  And worst of all, Dutch’s crew appear to be the next on the prey list. John McTiernan direct this classic action/adventure/sci-fi/horror/war hybrid.


Aliens (1986) | James Cameron



Aliens starts where the first one leaves off, with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in hypersleep drifting in the escape shuttle. What Ripley doesn’t know until after she is rescued is that she has been that way for 57 years.  When she gets back, the company that owned her ship is very interested in why she decided to blow it to smithereens, and are not too impressed with her implausible “alien on board” story, since they have recently inhabited the newly terraformed world Ripley claims to have encountered the alien on, and have found nothing to indicate there is any danger there.  That is, until the company loses all signal from the far-off settlement, and offers Ripley full reinstatement if she will act as an advisor to a squad of Marines sent to investigate the affair. Features Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Lance Henriksen, and Bill Paxton in support. Written and directed by James Cameron.


Alien (1979) | Ridley Scott



The story begins in the year 2122, onboard the commercial towing vessel, the Nostromo. Its mostly blue-collar crew, five men and two women, are awakened prematurely while still in deep space from their cryogenic slumber en route back to Earth.  The reason for their early disturbance has to do with the company’s policy to investigate potential alien life forms, so when what appears to be an SOS signal is being transmitted from a moon in their relative vicinity, their overriding primary mission is changed to checking out the situation.  Upon landing on the desolate planet, the scientists discover what appears to be eggs containing another form of life, one of which hatches and latches itself to one of the crew.  Unable to remove the creature, it is brought back on board the Nostromo, where it grows at a rapid pace to become one of the deadliest killing machines humankind has ever faced. Alien would make a star out of Sigourney Weaver, and Ridley Scott one f the most sought-after directors in Hollywood.


Lifeforce (1985) | Tobe Hooper



In Cannon Films’ Lifeforce, we find a space shuttle mission co-funded by American and British space agencies traveling to explore Halley’s Comet up close. They soon make a discovery of an alien ship hiding in the comet’s coma, so they go on board to investigate, only to find desiccated bat-like creatures and three naked humanoid beings, a woman and two men, seemingly in a perpetual state of sleep in their individual glass sarcophagus-like pods. They bring the pods aboard to bring to study, but things go awry in ways that we don’t quite learn about until the pods are brought down to the European Space Research Centre in London. The shuttle mission’s sole human survivor, Colonel Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback) also makes his way to Earth to spin a crazy tale, and to help with the mission to track down the space vampires trying to make their escape and wreak havoc on an unsuspecting planet. Tobe Hooper directs this big-budget oddity from 1985.


Fright Night Part 2 (1989) | Tommy Lee Wallace



Fright Night Part 2 is a follow-up to the 1985 cult hit, Fright Night (naturally), where we find the same protagonist, Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale), as a college student no longer believing in the existence of vampires after three years of therapy. Also helping him overcome his supposed fantasies is his new girlfriend and fellow student at the college, Alex (Traci Lind). However, things get dicey in their relationship when Charley gets seduced through his dreams by a sexy vampire posing as a performance artist named Regine Dandridge (Julie Carmen), the sister of the vampire that Jerry defeated in the first film. Regine wants revenge in the form of turning Charley into her wicked vampire servant until the end of time. Knowing he’s in trouble if he doesn’t get help, he again goes to the only source who will believe him, b-movie horror host and vampire slayer, Peter Vincent. However, Regine is cunning and powerful, and she’s brought along a gang of fellow vampires to protect her. Tommy Lee Wallace directs this lesser-known and seen sequel that has garnered a minor cult following of its own.


Fright Night (1985) | Tom Holland



Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is a typical suburban teenager with a special interest in old-time horror b-movies, the kind seen on the local creep-fest TV showcase, “Fright Night”, hosted by the self-proclaimed king of vampire hunting films, Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall).  It’s all fantasy to Charley until he spies on his new neighbors in the house next door to discover that there is a man there that is, in fact, a vampire himself (Chris Sarandon).  As bodies end up dead throughout the town, no one will listen to Charley’s assertions. 

Trouble brews when his tenaciousness draws the ire of Jerry, the vampire himself, who threatens that he’s going to take down Charley and everyone he loves before Charley can take him down first.  Knowing he needs help, Charley turns to the only man he knows known to kill vampires, Peter Vincent himself, though he’s no killer — he just plays one on TV.  When Jerry has his sights set on Charley’s girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse), the war is on between the men for love and continued life.

Tom Holland writes and directs this beloved 80s horror-comedy.


The Lost Boys (1987) | Joel Schumacher



Lucy Emerson (Dianne Wiest) is a divorced mother of two teenage sons, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Coey Haim), who relocates to the strange oceanside California town of Santa Carla, which is filled with a mix of punk and hippie cultures.  The residents of Santa Carla have taken to calling it the “murder capital of the world”, with deaths and disappearances occurring on an increasingly frequent basis.  Kiefer Sutherland plays David, the leader of a motorcycle gang that has been terrorizing the community, and one of the members, a sexy female named Star (Jami Gertz), has taken a mutual liking to Michael.  Michael wants to get closer to Star, but this proves to be a risk, as David makes him a member of the gang through a blood ritual that ends up turning Michael into a half-vampire (not full until he makes his first kill).   With Star’s help, along with his brother Sam and a couple of comic book geeks with vampire knowledge named Edgar and Allen, aka the Frog Brothers, Michael has to find a way to reverse the curse. Joel Schumacher directs this 80s horror-comedy vampire favorite.


Near Dark (1987) | Kathryn Bigelow



Adrian Pasdar stars as Caleb Colton, a young and somewhat passive small-town guy in Oklahoma who has his eye set on a visiting mysterious boyish beauty named Mae (Jenny Wright).  Caleb and Mae spend the night talking and flirting, but Mae has to make it home before the sun comes up, for reasons that aren’t too clear for Caleb.  Before the end of the evening, Mae bites Caleb on the neck, although she doesn’t really drink his blood, setting forth a reaction in his body that makes him very strong and agile, fry up in direct sunlight, and crave human blood himself.  Before Caleb can get home, he is “adopted” by his new family, a clan of immortals with the same condition he is in, although they aren’t taking too kindly to Mae’s decision to “turn” Caleb into one of them, especially since she must feed him from her own blood.  Caleb doesn’t want to kill other humans like the others, but to be part of them, he finds he must, because he can’t survive on his own.  Tensions flare in the group, as well as within Caleb himself, as to what the proper thing to do is. Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, and Tim Thomerson, and Bill Paxton get supporting roles. Kathryn Bigelow’s debut as a solo director.


The Hitcher (1986) | Robert Harmon



C. Thomas Howell stars as Jim Halsey, a young Chicago native driving a car cross-country to California. The Texas road he’s currently on is lonely and Jim is tired, but he spies a way he might stay awake in the form of hitchhiker John Ryder (Rutger Hauer). It doesn’t take long before Jim becomes unnerved by his new passenger, as Ryder claims he’s decapitated viciously the last person to give him a ride and that he will do the same to Jim. Jim finds a way to kick Ryder out of the vehicle, but he keeps showing up again, killing more victims along the way. Things go from horrific to maddening once the grisly body count rises and Jim becomes implicated in the murders, as all signs seem to point to him.  Jennifer Jason Leigh gets a supporting role in this stylish and twisted cult thriller.


Road Games (1981) | Richard Franklin



Road Games (aka Roadgames) is a Hitchcockian suspense-thriller set primarily out on the open roads running through the Australian outback. Jamie Lee Curtis is Pamela, who, along with independent truck driver Pat Quid (Stacy Keach) and his pet dingo Boswell, tries to get to the bottom of a story which might connect a series of killings which have surfaced around Australia to a mysterious driver of a creepy looking van that’s on the road with them, as Quid attempts to deliver a rig full of pork to Perth, which is undergoing a meat shortage at the time due to butchers going on strike. As the trucker drives on toward his destination, he gets into greater danger, including stirring up the locals into thinking the serial killer they’ve been hearing about on the radio might be Quid himself. A self-described student of Hitchcock, Richard Franklin, directs, from a script by Everett De Roche. Quentin Tarantino claims it is one of his all-time favorite Australian films.


Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985) | George Miller & George Ogilvie



In this entry of the Mad Max series, set a few years after the events of The Road WarriorMax’s nomadic travels lead him to Bartertown, which, as the name implies, is the methane-fueled hub where anyone can go to exchange something they have for something they need.  The town is overseen by Aunty (Tina Turner), though it is really run by a dwarf named Master (Angelo Rossito), who gets into a scuffle with Max, where the only resolution anyone will abide by is to battle to the death in a caged arena called ‘Thunderdome’.  Following his ordeal, Max manages to make his way to a desert oasis full of children awaiting the return of adults, and who see Max as a messianic figure named Captain Walker, foretold to come back to them and take them to the fabled Tomorrow-morrow Land with his magic. Mel Gibson returns in his last portrayal of the titular anti-hero. George Miller directs the action sequences with his friend George Ogilvie making his feature film debut directing the scenes of dialogue and drama.


Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) | George Miller



Max’s wanderings through the now lawless Wasteland formerly known as Australia take him to a fortified oil refinery where there’s plenty of precious fuel, but a vicious gang of murdering marauders, led by a hockey-masked and muscle-bound leader named Lord Humungus, wants to get their hands on it, giving the residents an ultimatum of imminent death should they not comply with their demands.  The colony living there needs to escape in a hurry but wants their fuel. Max strikes a bargain — he’ll secure an abandoned big rig for them to haul their fuel in exchange for as much gas as he can carry away in his car.  The problem is that the Marauders aren’t going to let anyone escape without a fight. Mel Gibson stars in this phenomenal action-packed follow-up to Mad Max.  George Miller returns to direct this iconic entry in the series.


Mad Max (1979) | George Miller



Set in the near future, Mel Gibson stars as the titular Max, one of the best police officers working for the MFP fighting against the increasingly hostile lands, full of marauding car and biker gangs who have no regard for life, or for laws, and especially not for law officers.  One such gang of bikers, led by a psychopath named Toecutter, is on the rampage and is targeting MFP officers who’ve messed with their way of doing things, putting them all in potential harm’s way.  A family man, Max doesn’t know if he’s really cut out to put his neck on the line in a losing battle against anarchy.  He soon discovers there is not much escape from the criminal element that has permeated everywhere, and it’s kill or be killed in the lawless and bloodthirsty territories.  George Miller directs in this wildly successful action vehicle that propelled Mel Gibson, and Australian cinema itself, to even greater success.