1985

October 31, 2018

Lifeforce

Lifeforce is a feast of a good time. Vampires from space, check! Space Girl completely naked for pretty much the entire film, check! Awesome FX, check! Sure, the film could use some trimming and has a few goofy moments but Lifeforce is very entertaining. Check it out! 
August 3, 2017

(Ep. 89): Gymkata – Movie Commentary: August 2017

Gymkata
1985 ‧ R Action/Action/Adventure ‧ 1h 30m

It’s that time of the year again, August. The month we all hated as it was the end of our summer vacation and the beginning of back to school. So a little treat is needed and what could be better then Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas, who combines his gymnastic ability with martial arts to enter a deadly competition? I’m going to guess NOTHING!. Thomas has a few awards under his leotards. In 1985 he earned the big nomination for a Razzie Award as Worst New Star. Wow nothing but the best for you here at Simplistic Reviews. 

“Watching Gymkata is a roundhouse kick of pure American action!” – Justin

So are you ready? Cue up your copy, sit back and be in awe over how a movie like this could even exist. Thank you movie gods!

October 2, 2015

The Horror Time Capsule – 1985: Return of the Living Dead

WHIMSICAL

Return of the Living Dead: Whimsical

Moving along to 1985 I’m picking one of my horror guilty pleasures. While I’m a little “zombified” by zombies and the undead in general, one film really holds a special place in my heart, and while I do love the Romero Trilogy of Night, Dawn, and Dead, there is nothing like the fun and all out insanity of “Return of the Living Dead.”

It’s weird to talk about “Return of the Living Dead” when I could have easily picked “Dawn of the Dead” for 1985, but who really wants to hear about the message George Romero was trying to make about the evil of capitalism, that’s all been done before. What I want to talk about are goofy government conspiracies, graveyard stripping, a mortician who might be a Nazi, and of course talking zombies.

“Return” is the tale of government foul-ups and cover-ups. When a toxin is release by two bumbling chemical warehouse workers it awakens the dead from a nearby cemetery which ruins the time of a group of punk rockers who are partying in said cemetery. That’s pretty much all you need to know about this film, that, and it’s tons of fun.

While “Night” and “Dawn” relied on practical horror and a message of social change, “Return” is the Id of those films. There is blood, boobs, and more blood. There is also the first concept and idea that zombies enjoy to not just munch on flesh, but also “brains.” This plot point is revealed by a talking zombie.

There should be so many things that bother me about this film. One, the zombies talk. Two, the characters are goofy and whiny. And three, my cardinal sin, the zombies RUN. This, to my knowledge, is the first example of running zombies, but I’ll give it a pass considering the goofy nature of this film.

 Here are some other oldies but goodies from ’85:

Cat’s Eye
Day of the Dead
Fright Night
Friday the 13th Pt 5
Ghoulies
Lifeforce
Nightmare of Elm Street 2
Silver Bullet

May 25, 2015

SR Podcast (Ep. 48): Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment – Movie Commentary – May 2015

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
It’s Monday 
Movie Night
Movie Commentary!
Police Academy 2: 
Their First Assignment
1985 / Comedy / 87 mins
We already watched the classic Police Academy. 
So now we continue this marathon with its sequel Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment.
Many movie franchises have had equality or superior sequels. Movie franchises like The Godfather, The Dark Knight, Star Wars. Police Academy 2 is not one of them. In fact its the complete opposite and is a pretty bad film with only one good take away, Zed.
So sit back with the popcorn as we try to get though by having a few laughs at the expense of this weak sequel.

Check us out on FacebookTwitterYouTubeLetterboxd, and Pinterest
April 20, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Commando

QUINTESSENTIAL

I’ve covered quite a few obscure and strange action films here with the “Action Movie Time Machine”, but I feel that I’ve neglected the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sure I reviewed Jingle All the Way for Christmas, but the name “Arnold” is synonymous with the Action genre. So, over the next few reviews we will be celebrating the films of Arnold. 
The year is 1985. The Nintendo Entertainment System was released in North America and changed home gaming forever. The first Blockbuster Video opened in Dallas Texas. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T took center stage at the very first WrestleMania and Jefferson Starship “…built this city on Rock and Roll”.

THE SKINNY
Commando” begins with John Matrix, Arnold Schwarzenegger, yep that’s his real name. John is a former elite Black Ops Commando who has settled down in the Californian mountain tops where he is raising his twelve year old daughter Jenny, who is played by Alyssa Milano. This is long before Alyssa grew up and chose to show her bewbs in “Embrace of the Vampire”. But I digress.

One day John Matrix is visited by his former commanding officer, Major General Franklin Kirby, who informs him that the men from his old unit are being systematically killed off by someone who they can’t identify. Soon after this warning, the Matrix family are ambushed by a para-military group and Jenny is kidnapped before John save her.

As it turns out, this group knows about John and his combat record. John is one of the most accomplished tactical fighters in the world, and after eliminating the only men who could help John, his team, they kidnap his daughter to force John into working for them. The plan is for John to assassinate some South American president so Arius, Dan Hedaya, can take over in his place. Arius has given John a deadline of only so many hours to fly to South America, assassinate the president and return or else his daughter will be killed.

Arius is a ruthless dictator and would torture and kill his own people in order to keep his power and John knows that he will have to think outside of the box if he is going to keep the peace in South America and get his daughter back.
Working for Arius are four main bad guys. We have Jackson, Sully, Cook & Bennett. Sully escorts John and Jackson to the airport. Once on the plane John manages to snap the neck of Jackson. He then covers him with a blanket and tells the flight attendant not to disturb his friend, “he’s dead tired”.
John then escapes the plane just as it’s wheels leave the ground. He follows Sully to learn where his daughter is being held. The film takes a detour when Sully goes to a near by shopping mall where a shootout occurs which evolves into a ten man brawl between John and mall security. John follows an escaping Sully and soon after, catches up with him and drops him off the face of a cliff. This is, of course, not before he gets info that leads him to Cook.
John has a run-in with Cook at Sully’s hotel room. Soon Cook has been murdered and John learns that Arius is living on an island off the South American coast and this must be where Jenny is being held captive. John, recruiting the help of Cindy, a helpful stranger, breaks into a local gun store and loads up on some heavy duty military weaponry including claymore mines and a rocket-launcher. Why does this small business owner have all these dangerous weapons you ask? Well he’s a gun nut and the Second Amendment gives him the right to do whatever the hell he wants. God Bless America!
John & Cindy then steal a plane and fly to this coastal island where the film goes from 0 to 60 in no time. Left and right, John is blowing soldiers away and after an incalculable number of bullets have been fired, all are dead, even Arius, except Bennett, Vernon Wells.

 

This hand to hand battle is personal between the two men and proves to be one of the more interesting fights, not only for it’s action but for it’s dialogue. There is a whole lotta strange goin’ on here. Bennett threatens to shoot John between the balls before John wallops Bennett an incredible 15 times with his massive hammer fists before impaling him with a pipe. This allows steam to escape from some sort of boiler, through the pile and also through Bennett’s body. “Why don’t you let off some steam Bennett?” is the final one-liner delivered by John Matrix before he, Jenny and Cindy fly home from the tropical island to go on living their normal lives. The End.
THE VERDICT
What makes “Commando” work is, first and foremost, it’s machismo. This is something that a lot of other action films try to emulate but fail hard in their attempt. Arnold portrays a man so well trained that he can’t be seen as helpless and when his training fails, he has his sweet Arnold Muscles. Who needs training when you can rip bucket seat out of a car with your bare hands? He is bad-ass!
The next thing that “Commando” has going for it is “one-liners”. Sometimes when I offer up a “Memorable One Liner” in these reviews, and they aren’t even one-liners. They might just be a funny piece of dialogue that stands out to me because they’re aren’t any one-liners in the whole damn film. “Commando” has SO many one-liners, I had to do some serious soul searching to pick the one I felt was the most ”Memorable”.
And last, but not least, “Commando” has gay overtones. Something every great action film must have. Why? I don’t know, because that’s how they did it in the ’80s, so that’s how it should always be done. It’s kinda like the Bible. When you hear someone say “turn water into wine”, you might be reminded of the Bible. And when I see a big pile of gay in my action movies, I’m reminded of the ’80s and that’s a beautiful thing.
Where is “the gay” to be found in this film? Between John and Bennett. John kicked Bennett out of his team because he liked killing too much and now Bennett will have his revenge by killing Jenny and watching John suffer. The way this is portrayed comes off like some strange steroid fueled romance gone awry. With lines like; “Come on, let the girl go, just between you and me, don’t deprive yourself of some pleasure, come on Bennett, let’s party! ”, that just add gasoline to the sadomasochist gay fire.
While the story takes some detours, it remains simple enough to be believable. The same goes for the acting. There aren’t any award winning performances here, but the subject matter doesn’t  offer many opportunities for emotion. Let’s face it, there is no room for emotion when there is a shirtless Arnold holding a rocket launcher. One more thing, the soundtrack. It sports a recurring steel drum theme that is pretty catchy.
 


“Commando” is a blood dripping, bullet ridden, explosion filled blast that will leave you fist pumping for victory. They don’t make ’em like this anymore and that is just the reason “Commando” is the quintessential ’80s action flick.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi Punk!
For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!
February 17, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Malibu Express

FLAT – but not flat chested

February has a lot going on. There is Valentines Day, Black History Month, Women In Horror Month, American Hearth Month, as well as about two-dozen other days devoted to nonsense like eating ice cream for breakfast. Also during this minimal month of made-up celebrations is the birthday of notable filmmaker Andy Sidaris. Every February 20th we at Slaughter Film try to sit down and watch a few of his films, Malibu Express being his fist independent feature. Before that Sidaris worked in television mostly, and since, he has developed quite the reputation of making films that showcase some of America’s finest “Bullets, Bombs & Babes”.

The year is 1985. Dairy Queen invents the “Blizzard”, Nintendo give birth to the Mario Brothers, Dr. Herbert West re-animates the dead in “Re-Animator” and Rock Hudson dies of AIDS.

THE SKINNY
Things kick off with Cody Abilene, Darby Hinton, a private investigator who lives on a boat, drives a red DeLorean and carries a .44 Magnum, even though he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with it. Cody is a native Texan who has moved to Malibu for work and along the way he has made friends of some pretty colorful characters. Some of which include his boat neighbors May and Faye, a big breasted stock car driver June Khnockers, all three of which are Playboy Playmates and Sexy Sally, a phone sex operator among others. Are you starting to notice a theme here?

 

As Cody investigates, he discovers that Lady Chamerlain’s nephew Stuart is secretly a cross dresser who has been sleeping with Sean the butler. Stuart’s wife, Anita, is also sleeping with Sean and so is Stuart’s sister Liza. Sean is an ex-con who owes a loan shark thirty thousand dollars and he also has a nasty habit of secretly recording and photographing the sex he is having with this family. Soon Sean winds up dead and the rest of the film becomes a “who-done-it?” with Sean being the keeper of everyone’s dirty laundry.
While Cody is trying to piece together the murder he manages to sleep with Contessa, his two hot boat neighbors, a local lady officer who Cody brings in for help, some random girl he borrows a car from, and, maybe a few others that I forgot about. I kinda lost count. There is also a sub-plot about a family a backwoods bumpkins who keep challenging Cody to a street race.
Cody finally gets close to the computer smuggling ring when he learns that Liza is good friends with Johnathan Harper, a computer salesman and exporter, and she plans to invest in his business. Cody apprehends Liza and Harper, but not before Harper’s men – Peter, Paul & Luke – try to rub out Cody.
With some quick help from June Khnockers, the stock car driver, she and Cody manage to lose the hired muscle in the desert.

The film ends with Cody throwing a party on his boat – named the “Malibu Express” by the way — to celebrate a job well done. He is accompanied by all the other major players, the various women he plowed and even Liza. Cody then tells them that Contessa wrote him a letter explaining to him that Sean was the person selling the computers to the smugglers and that she was the one who murdered him. She then planted evidence to frame Liza and even wore a mask to look like Liza when she did it. While Cody was perusing Sean’s killer, Contessa would be able to freely escape the country and no one would be the wiser that his death was an assassination.
The problem with this explanation is that Cody just told everyone, so all the cloak and dagger was for nothing. I assume what happens next is that the party turns into a giant boat orgy. The End.
THE VERDICT
“Malibu Express” isn’t one of Andy’s best. I attribute this to it being the first he both wrote and directed. It seems like he didn’t know if he wanted to make a spy movie, a murder mystery, a sex comedy or rip off “Smokey & the Bandit”. The action falls flat, as does the comedy and most of the plot. There are so many characters involved that it’s easy to forget who is doing what or why I should even care. The film starts with the notion that Soviet Russians are stealing computer secrets and by the end of the film the Russians have been brought up once, maybe. Not to mention the terrible ending where everything literally needs to be explained to the audience. In the medium of cinema, you mustn’t tell the audience what happened. You have to show them.
There is also a strange amount of jokes made at the expense of homosexuals. And not just characters in the film, but homosexuals in general. Not sure why these jokes were an important to the film but they stood out like a sore thumb.
The only thing that works in this movie, I’m sorry to say, are the topless women. Who am I kidding, I’m not sorry. These women are amazing!
The Playmates and the porn-stars in “Malibu Express” were all filmed during a time when breast implants weren’t yet popular, like they became in the ’90s, and before the terrible fashion sense of the later ’80s had taken hold. To compare these women to those of  the “Friday the 13th” franchise, they most resemble the women from the first four films. Happy-go-lucky, naturally cute, girl next good types. Where in the later “Friday” films the women were all big hair, terrible fashion and became generic unlikeable character types.
These women all had a great attitude and were not only fun to watch, but they seemed like they were having fun during the making of the film. Especially Lynda Wiesmeier, aka June Khnockers.
So in the end, we all learned that Andy Sidaris likes to make action movies that are teeming with titties and I learned, that I like that… If you’re interested in other boobie-action movies, check out my review of “The Lost Empire” by Jim Wynorski.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi Punk!
For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!
October 31, 2014

Yet Another 31 Nights of Halloween: The Stuff

The Stuff: Tasty
87mins – Comedy/Horror – 1985

Looking for a unique film for Halloween?
Here you go! Ladies and Gentlemen, The Stuff!

One of the best satires that’s really a horror film at heart. Michael Moriarty leads this delicious film of mysterious goo that is pouring out of the earth. For some odd reason an old man takes a taste right away to see what it is. This white thing pouring from the earth taste amazing. Corporate America takes a taste as well and what we get is this new craze sweeping the nation.
America buys it by the ton, replacing all other foods with this new food called… The Stuff!

“It’s smooth and creamy. It’s low calorie and delicious. And it kills. It’s The Stuff!”

Everyone becomes addicted to The Stuff that turns them all into zombie like creatures. Everyone must eat The Stuff! If you don’t soon they will make sure you do!


One night, a kid named Jason notices the new food, The Stuff moving in his fridge.  He tells his parents and they don’t believe him. They have already been taken over by The Stuff. He runs to the grocery store to warn the people but no one believes him. This creates a story that runs in the paper, which an ex-FBI agent, David Rutherford notices. Rutherford is played by the amazing and extremely tall (6’4”) Michael Moriarty.  Rutherford during this time is investigating The Stuff when the news about the boy comes his way. Along with Nicole (Mad Men like promoter), these three are the world’s last hope to pull them from this controlling goo.

Will they stop it or is the nation over as we know it?!

The story works and it works well. It feels like the body snatchers, the blob and a comedy about America’s consumerism all rolled up into one. It’s a very unique film that is just a flat out great film. Yes acting is rough and the effects are of their time. But there is so much more here then a horror film, but a satire about this country and its need to consume the latest greatest fad. It feels like it could happen and honestly isn’t that far fetched of an idea, even thou it might seem extremely absurd. I could see this working today maybe with food or medication. An evil corporation finds something that they want to make a ton of money on, so they bribe the FDA and get their product into everyone’s hands even if it has deadly side effects. As I watch this I see a commercial for a pill that can kill you. The side effects out weigh the job of the pill, so why is this available then?

See it’s not too far out!

The look of The Stuff is great. I love the design of package in this film. Strips of pink, light purple and brown circle the pint container creates an iconic movie prop.

Please watch this film. It’s an intriguing film that balances comedy in the right way. Yes its funny that a food could take people over but I find it even more funny that the need for consumerism is sadly the realest part of the film.

Side Notes:

On Netflix as of now, no reason to not watch this!

Garrett Morris (SNL) pops up and he is fantastic onscreen. Originally Arsenio Hall was considered.  
To create The Stuff, a lot of Häagen Däzs ice-cream and yogurt was used.

Yummmmy

October 7, 2014

Yet Another 31 Nights of Halloween: Re-Animator

HEAD

Re-Animator – Head

One of the oldest, and most cliched tropes in horror are zombies. Zombies, zombies, and zombies. You simply can’t get away from zombies. Well, to be fair, vampires took the lead a little bit, but with “The Walking Dead” and numerous video games, you can’t get away from zombies. But, there was a time when zombies were cool, not running jokes (double pun). This brings me to the 1985 cult classic from Stuart Gordon, “Re-Animator.” While it’s not a zombie movie per say, maybe more of a modern day take on Frankenstein, there is still plenty of zombie-like behavior throughout the film.

Our tale starts at the University of Zurich, where Dr. Herbert West is found with his “dead” professor, Hans Gruber, and after the incident, West flees the University to come to Miskatonic University in Massachusetts to continue his studies. He meets Dan Cain after answering an ad for a room to rent in Cain’s home. Dan is engaged to be married to the Dean of the University’s daughter, Megan, which is being kept a secret.

After an altercation with the University’s head brain researcher, Dr. Carl Hill, West continues his research and brings Dan’s dead cat, Rufus, back to life. While Dan is horrified, he is also intrigued by West’s research and helps him sneak into the University’s morgue to continue testing his “reagent” on fresh corpses. This is met with mixed results as the test corpse is re-animted, but uncontrollably, killing Megan’s father, Alan Halsey. West, after dispatching his creation, seizes the opportunity with an even fresher corpse, and injects Alan with his reagent. While not a wild as the previous experiment, Alan is merely a zombie of his former self.

After contacting the authorities, Dr. Hill remands Halsey in his private padded room and lobotomizes him with his latest creation, a laser knife, to make him more docile. Hill goes to visit West after the procedure and plans to blackmail him if West does not turn over his research for his serum. Distracting Hill, West is able to dispatch the doctor with a shovel, removing his head from his body. Sensing a breakthrough with an even fresher specimen, West injects Hill’s head and body with his serum, resurrecting both. However, while not paying attention, Hill’s body knocks out West, stealing his notes, research, and serum, and returns to the morgue at Miskatonic’s Hospital to begin his own research with the reagent.

Meanwhile, Dan and Megan find West in his research basement, discovering that all of his research has been stolen, but before they can react, Megan’s father, Alan, attacks, knocking out Dan and taking Megan back to Hill. Needless to say, Hill’s plan is to use his laser knife and West’s serum to resurrect the dead and lobotomize them to create an undead army under his command and it’s up to West and Cain to stop him and save Megan.

“Re-Animator” is a classic in the splatter/body horror genre, and I could only imagine what it would have looked like if it was directed by David Cronenberg, even though Stuart Gordon does an admirable job directing. The film takes classic tropes of zombies, Frankenstein, and other elements of the horror genre, and marries it in a perfectly cheesy 80s way. While the plot is ridiculous, and some of the gore effects over-the-top, that doesn’t take away from the truly sleazy masterpiece this film is.

Now let’s get down to it, “Re-Animator” is what it is today with the help of one key set-piece; it’s the ironically hilarious, albeit extremely exploitative, “head” scene. Upon seeing this scene again, and remember it from when I first saw this film, while the scene is graphic, there really isn’t much there. This scene has popped up on so many lists of the most memorable horror scene, or sickest scenes in cinema, but it’s more the insinuation than anything and the way the shot is composed is simply a sick pun (head giving head). I’m sure some people see this as misogynistic, sick, twisted, and plain gross, but you could get away with stuff like this in the 1980s.

There are also a few nice odes in the film as well, including the opening title score, performed by Richard Band, which is an obvious ode to Bernard Herrmann’s “Psycho” theme. And the Talking Heads poster that is above Daniel’s bed, which would allude to Dr. Hill’s “talking head” later in the film. While not the most subtle or ingenious ode, it’s still very fun to see.

All in all, “Re-Animator” is still a lot of a fun, and holds up very well nearly 30 years later. The gore effects and the animatronics rival anything practical being done today, if you can still find reasonable effective practical gore, and it’s just cheesy and exploitative enough to be a lot of fun. Also, unlike other Lovecraft fare, this story is actually reasonably easy to follow. Most of his Cthulhu Mythos can get a little confusing and in depth, but “Re-Animator” is an easy to follow story about a man trying to play God, and wrestle with naked corpses.

Fun Fact: “Herbert West-Reanimator” was first published in October 1921 in the magazine, Home Brew.

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