18 Films From 1988 Still Worth Talking About Vol 1

They live (1988)

Everything about this movie is just absolutely awesome, John Carpenter has made his reputation as one of the best loved and prolifically imaginative horror directors of all time but with so much energy he branched further into the world of sci fi with the addition of tried and tested actor Keith David and the bombastic Roddy Piper in the lead of a very psychotropic cult classic. Loosely based on the short story “Eight O’clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson, this film follows a drifter who stumbles on some glasses which reveal that the planet slowly being populated by technicolour aliens who hide behind a level of science based glamour, but through these amazing glasses Piper can see the truth and the world they have crafted is a George Orwell Nightmare, but never fear the Rowdy Canadian Wrestler is here to save us with some of the best one liners in any film and much ass kicking. It’s really one of those films that comes by only once in a blue moon, a perfect combination of imagination, cool effects, wonderful actors and a director who isn’t driven by his ego but by what he’s learnt that fans want to see and that’s a movie without bubble-gum.

Akira (1988)

The ground-breaking Anime movie from the illustrious Manga label that woke a lot of people up to the potential of Japanese animated cinema. Even a loner like myself who had seen a fair deal of similar movies and shows, was floored by the precision of movement and effects in this slightly hacked up version of the comic Saga. Akira actually follows a group of the ?? gang, mostly Tetsuo and Kaneda (although Yamagata is my home slice) as a slightly naive Tetsuo gets caught up in a top secret government project where he starts to experience superhuman powers, around him the social and economic breakdown of Japan is on the line but what will the downtrodden orphan do with his powers and what are their limits?
It’s a crucial film, not only for sci fi and cyberpunk and Japanese animation but for the whole of the futurist genre and is a long time cult movie that keeps reappearing and influencing all of the arts. 10/10

Alien Nation (1988)

While it’s not one of the best sci fi films out there, I find there’s a lot of character in Alien Nation. Coming at a time where time when human/alien relationships were either Star Trek adventure or full on Predator/Alien war, there was a pleasant side step into the spirit of what if? What if a group of aliens landed on earth, unable to phone home and must mingle? It probably wouldn’t go down as light hearted as this but for all its faults I still enjoy the grisly James Caan and his rude introduction to a long line of Alien Nation fun. James plays the typical hardened street cop and after his stereotypical black partner gets shot he gets the new token, an Alien named Sam Francisco, the two are very chalk and cheese but the odd couple manage to get entangled with the ultimate drug conspiracy but with devastating monster bad guy played by the legendary Terence Stamp. The film toys with deep philosophical ideas while being a comedy action film at the same time, the aliens prove to be a constant source of entertainment drinking soured milk as booze and only able to process raw meat, their unique language, head patterns and bodies prove to keep the film interesting.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

This film helped contribute to many people developing a fear of clowns, and to be honest I have to say if you were caught up in this situation you’d have good reason to fear the brightly colours monstrous killers. A small American down is slowly overrun by killer aliens disguised as clowns and follows a group of survivors trying to survive the night. The humour is dark, but the film is so brilliant, it’s achieved a Kilt status and is adored for its mischievous visitors with a very sinister hunger that only humans can satisfy.

The Blob (1988)

Remakes suck! well most of them, luckily this one doesn’t! I believe there was enough time between the revolutionary 1958 Steve McQueen movie and this slightly psychotronic thriller remake seeing Kevin Dillon attempt to save himself and his loved ones from an alien pink jelly mass intent on absorbing all life on earth. The concept is very retro, but it was successful updated with more advanced effects and lashings on body horror. It certainly made a new generation afraid of slime, maybe it’s something we need to reinvent as it’s seems to be a popular kids toy again!! bwhaa haaaah aa

Child’s Play (1988)

A grand opening for the cutest villain, Chucky! Every kid wanted a Chucky Doll for Christmas including the adorable little Andy, but his mother could only afford a rejected doll, one that was salvaged from a vicious shoot out and unknowingly possessed by a Serial Killer. The film has a healthy number of sequels and now a reboot, showing that this charismatic 80’s horror is nothing but awesome. With ground breaking combinations of animatronics and puppetry, the real effects really lend to the film’s success and well-paced horror. Rightfully respected as a cult classic feature a true horror icon.

Pumpkinhead (1988)

Lance Herinksson leads in this slightly cheesy 80’s horror, after a tragic reckless accident a young boy is killed by some idiot teens pranking about on dirt bikes, his grief-stricken father (Henrikson) takes the boy to a modern day old hag for help and she claims that the fabled Pumpkinhead can help the situation, so he preforms the ritual and the beast is unleashed and starts tracking down the youngsters for a driven bloody revenge. It’s a gory take on folklore monster horror, a modern day American Golem with nasty consequences and a catchy nursery rhyme.

Night of the Demons (1988)

This supernatural horror directed by Kevin S Tenney see’s a group of bad girls performing a seance in an abandoned funeral parlour for Halloween kicks, things go a little but strange when they release a demon locked in the crematorium which starts to play sick games by possessing people and slaughtering the rest of the party goers. The film stars Linnea Quigley who’s best know for being a B Movie Scream Queen and helped boost this movie into the realm of Cult status, a touch of comedy helps the massacre along and proved to hit the right notes with various sequels and tributes.

Waxworks (1988)

A long time favourite of mine, this quintessential adventure is just so much horror fun when a mysterious Waxworks appears and a few teens decide to attend for a night of fun, unbeknownst to them this is an enchanted exhibition and if you get too close to a display you can be transported into that scene. It wouldn’t be so bad if i was an average display but each one is based on a terrible criminal or monster and each must find their own escape or succumb to a terrible misfortune but all the more fun for the viewers! Director, Anthony Hickox appears as a sidekick to the Marque De Sade in one steamy scenes. Sadly the sequel was fairly inventive but somewhat lacking in style and horror.

Maniac Cop (1988)

The ultimate battle of the chins! Robert Z’Dar and Bruce Campbell star side by side in this terrific thriller, Z’Dar is returned to the streets that marred him. As a once diligent cop, he finds himself on the other side of the law, he returns to the streets in his police uniform but mentally, he’s a deformed madman!! Meanwhile Campbells perfect life is in tatters but he soon realises that he is connected with a spate of violent murders and has to try and clear his name and stay alive. A brilliant cat and mouse rages between the two men and everyone who gets in their way is pretty much cannon fodder.

The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

Wes Cravens really insightful glimpse into African tribal religions in this fearful tale of deceit, magic and control is possibly one of his best thrillers. Based on the best seller from Wade Davis (1985) he wasted no time getting his screen adaption ready by 1988. Bill Pullman stars as an anthropologist who’s discovered a rumor about a drug that turns people into zombies is real, while searching for the truth he digs himself into the deep dark side of Haitian voodoo, it’s a really vibrant trip into something not usually seen by many audiences.

Monkey Shines (1988)

George A Romero’s non zombie films still remain some of the finest horrors and most moving dramas in cinematic history. This tragic tale of the beast of man is quite sentimental as it is adventitious and chilling. A man becomes a quadriplegic after an horrific traffic accident, he’s paired up with an adorable assistant monkey called Ella in a wild experiments where they are connected via each other’s brains, Ella can sense her new masters emotions and eventually he begins to pick up on hers, causing deep bond between the two and strange deadly effects on them both. The film is deeper than it appears, there’s an inviting atmosphere but once the connection is struck Ella really does become the girlfriend from hell, as much as this thriller straddles horror and sci fi, there’s a lot theological questions raised but ultimately its one of Romero’s often forgotten gems.

My Neighbour Totoro (1988)

Studio Ghibli returned after Grave of the Fireflies with My Neighbour Totoro, which took the studio to new heights and whose title character became the company’s logo. The delightful animation follows two sisters who move to the country with their father to be closer to their mother’s hospital, while adapting their new home and life they become accustomed with logo t Japanese folklore creature, including wandering soot, Totoro and a strange cat bus. It’s a charming adventure with a simple narrative compared to some of the more outlandish stories which Ghibli can sometimes produce. It’s never really answered if it’s all in the girls imaginations or not, either way it’s a chance to step back into a vivid childhood fantasy realm which will always remain young at heart.

Guinea Pig: Mermaid in a Manhole (1988)

Another entry into the Guinea Pig series, the Mermaid in a Manhole is a further drop into the sickest rabbit hole in 80’s Japanese cinema from gore manga icon Hideshi Hino. Like all the titles in this series it’s sick and gross and delightfully disturbing. It concerns an artist to rekindles his friendship with a long lost friend who happens to be a mermaid. After separating from his wife he stumbles on her down a drain covered in vile boils, he takes her to his home and begins to use her diseased leakage as art materials. It’s

Men behind the sun (1988)

One of the top contenders on any “Disturbing Movie List” comes from pioneering director T F Moue in his historical exploitation horror, originally titled Black Sun 731, as it graphically illustrated the cruel Japanese medical experiments in Unit 731 inflicted upon Chinese and Siberian prisoners towards the end of the war. The main purpose of the experiments is to find a highly contagious strain of the bubonic plague to use against China, the facility has free reign to do whatever they want to the prisoners and it all is quite out of hand, people are frozen and boiled alive, exposed to high pressures and constantly tortured in perverse and deranged ways, the film is cited as using real autopsy shots and it’s debatable if all the animals made it through filming alive. The graphic content is depicted as being historically accurate however this is highly coitized but has resulted in this gorefest being banned, shunned and heavily cut worldwide on top of that Mou has received several death threats. Not something you’ll forget easily.

Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1988)

Possibly my most cherished black and white surreal movie to date. Canadian director Guy Madden’s mindful adventure really feels like the “weird part of YouTube” as two men fight for the attention of nurses while sharing a room in the 1900 chickenpox outbreak, there’s a strange hidden episode of SpongeBob feeling to it, but between the stockinged legs, drinking milk that drips from the ceiling there is somehow weird and wonderful. Heavily with symbolism and thick with a sour sense of humour, the story is told by a nurse explaining the details of the pox to two children in the hospital in the present day, the efforts the men go through while never make a shred of sense but their sheer determination to outdo each other is marvellous if not a bit questionable.

Slugs (1988)

One of those cheese horror movies that seems to centre on something so harmless. slugs, like how terrifying can a slug be? Are they giant? nope… Are they zombies? Nope… they are just killer slugs but omg can they induce grand fucking nosebleeds!! These harmless garden critters now mutated and malevolent are on the prowl for human flesh, but instead of being like Frogs (1972) they seem more devious like Critters!! There’s one health inspector who is convinced the slugs are to blame and no one takes him seriously in this blood splattered horror that’s not too hard to laugh at from time to time but remains one of my favourites.


The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
(1988)

Terry Gilliam’s highly evocative thrilling nonsense adventure follows a short line of creative movies all based on a Baron who’s attempting to save a small town literally take him to the moon and back, into Hades and through a whale just to name a few locations. Baron Munchausen is a classic story written in 1785 and debuted on the screen in 1911 as part of Georges Melies short, Baron Munchhausen’s Dream and all this frivolity is based on a real Baron born in Hanover. The stories have become fanciful and more illustrious over the years and Gillian has polished all surfaces and created a true homage to high fantasy in a star studded (yea including most if not all the Monty Python crew) and other top stars in a highly amusing quirky adventure.

 

Which movies do you think should make Volume 2?

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