Tag Archives: 1981

Tonkei shinjû – Pig Chicken Suicide (1981)

Director: Yoshihiko Matsui
Starring: Naomi Hagio, Takahiro Hattori, Toshihiko Hino .Japan. 1h 31m

Like a rare and obscure borja wine, the history of Yoshihiko Matsui’s film making is sporadic but filled with really unusual gems, with themes of suicide, the understanding of love blended with cannibalism and genuine strange behavior you’ll always know who you”re watching and often question why you’re still watching. For me this unreal expression is one of the blessings of cinema, seeing something genuinely new that is al altered, heightened sense of the world around you. At times you’ll almost be able to feel Matsui’s message through the combination of imagery, a feeling of an idea that doesn’t need language for expression, or you might be left scratching your head wondering what the hell is going on.

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Burial Ground : The Nights of Terror (1981)

Director: Andrea Bianchi.
Starring. Karin Well, Cianluigi Chirizzi, Simone Mattoli,Antonella Antinori, Pietro Barzocchini. Italy. 1h 25m.

AKA Nights of Terror, Zombi Horror, The Zombie Dead, Zombie 3

This seems to be one of the long-lost zombie films of the 80’s, but there’s a reason why this isn’t talked about that much in the same circles as Fulci, Argento and D’Amato.

During the 70’s and early 80’s Italian cinema became saturated with dark tales of zombies and ghouls coming back from the dead to feast on the living. While Burial Grounds seems to follow all the popular trends of the golden age it somehow does this without much of a narrative. but still remains a fan favourite and is admittedly a very unexpected thrilling viewing experience. Continue reading Burial Ground : The Nights of Terror (1981)

Excalibur (1981)

Director: John Boorman.
Starring.Nigel Terry (RIP) , Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Nicol Williamson (RIP) , Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart. Ireland/USA/UK. 2h 20m.

Based on:15th-century Arthurian romance Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory

There aren’t too many movies that I can mention from my childhood that have such an epic reaction of admiration as this definition of epic fantasy. Albeit a guilty pleasure, I generally hang around heavy alternative scenes where this has become a fashion guide as well as cult classic pieces of cinema, but there’s a wealth of shiny aesthetics and magical storytelling which has never really been mimicked again making this truly unique stand alone opulent piece. Continue reading Excalibur (1981)

Evilspeak (1981)

Director: Eric Weston.
Starring. Clint Howard, Joseph Cortese, R G Armstrong, Don Stark, Claude Earl Jones, Haywood Nelson. USA. 1h 37m.

Part teen revenge part occult horror, Eric Weston’s Evilspeak is a venture into the unknown by a downtrodden young man looking for revenge and biting off more than he can chew. but this well worn revenge story has a much needed transfusion by stripping out the detailed build up to a justified revenge scene and instead opens it up for wild violence with a Satanic edge, showing enough gore for it to be banned in the UK in the 1980’s.

Opening with a Dark Ages sun setting on a Satanic mass on the beach, the group are approached by a church official telling them, they will be banished from Spain and denied the glory of a christian god, the naked group don’t pay much attention and the opening credits roll. Continue reading Evilspeak (1981)

Roar (1981)

Director: Noel Marshall.
Starring.Tippi Hedren, Noel Marshall, Melanie Grifith, Zakes Mokae, Will Hitchins, Jerry Marshall. USA. 1h 42m.

I have so many issues with this “movie” and I can’t say it’s something I settle down with and watch with glee, I fully understand the allure in making something like this, anyone who lives with big cats will appreciate the love and danger of any situation, Tippi Hedren herself did live with many large cats in her home and for her this was a “natural” environment, but even she admitted in interviews after the movie that what started out as a great idea eventually became the worst decision of her life after watching the end result.

The most dangerous movie ever made.

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Knightriders (1981)

Director: George A Romero

Starring: Ed Harris, Tom Savini, Patricia Tallman, Stephen King, Christine Forrest, Gary Lahti, Warner Shook . USA . 2h 25m

While Romero is well known for his ground-breaking horror movies, it is his change of pace movies like Monkey Shines (1988) or Knightriders that really spark the imagination and allowed him some personal exploration, this drama about a travelling renaissance fair troupe is not only deeply personal for him and it’s cult followers but a chance to express some of his moral code into an imaginative story.

Seemly inspired by age old tales from Medieval Europe and a man dealing with his own strict moral code, there’s an amazing battle between good and evil temptations in this action drama and it all starts with Billy (Harris), who leads a travelling troupe of motorcycle jousts. Billy styles himself according to King William’s ideals, and is constantly balancing these internally within the ruins of the modern world. His battle, financial pressures and the strains from the group becoming so popular start to fracture the group apart. Continue reading Knightriders (1981)

Black Cat (1981)

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Director : Lucio Fulci
Starring: Patrick Magee, Mimsy Farmer, David Warbeck, Al Cliver. Italy.1h 32m

A giallo tribute to the brilliance of Edgar Allen Poe, but as Fulci was the king of gore it pulls away from the gothic nature of the original stories and lathers it in slasherific fun.  

In a small English village there is something macabre going on, a man notices a cat on the backseat of his car that appears to  hypnotise him which results in him crashing his car and his death, the car cheerfully scampers off home to the cottage is shares with Robert Miles (Patrick Magee), a retired; hateful professor who doubles up a psychic or medium and spends most of his time recording in at the tombs or graves of the recently deceased.  Meanwhile an American tourist Jill Travers (Mimsy Farmer) wanders into a tomb to take photos and finds a microphone, she’s eventually warned off b a local bobby Sergeant Wilson (Al Cliver). A young couple sneak into an airtight room in a boat house to make out, when a black cat appears suddenly the key goes missing and the two are seen dying from an unfortunate lack of oxygen. Continue reading Black Cat (1981)

Scanners (1981)

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Day 23 of 31

Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Jennifer O’Neill, Steven Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane, Michael Ironside. Canada. 1h 43m

For me early Cronenberg films shine very brightly with imagination and unique fleshy charm. He is certainly one of those directors who can sell a dark concept with a mysterious shroud that gives his audience layers of fear to think through, these concepts were never all that solid but are strong with so many possibilities.

From his early body shocker films like Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977) he slowly evolved his work to include more science and the emphasis on social interactions gave way to internal chemistry, and in this thriller the mind is the central focus more than the whole body.scanners

Starting out strong, ConSec a private security firm attempts to showcase the abilities of one of their scanners,and boasts a fine tuned collection of mind powers including, telepathy such as mind reading, mind-control, and telekinesis. When the Scanner attempts to interact with a member of the audience, it turns out this individual is a much powerful scanner and the brain battle that ensues leads to one of the most brilliant head explosions ever, i assume Cronenberg couldn’t resist the flesh. The security staff attempt to capture the man but he uses his immense skills to kill the guards and escape. Continue reading Scanners (1981)

Howling (1981)

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Day 2 of 31

 

Director/Writer: Joe Dante
Novel: Gary Brandner.
Starring: Patrick Macnee, Dee Wallace, Robert Picardo, Christopher Stone, Dennis Dugan, Slim Pickens, Elizabeth Brooks, Don McLeod. USA. 1h 31m.

A long running all time favourite of mine that displays one of the more memorable transformation scenes in Werewolf Cinema, Howling was certainly a pleasant horror to fall for especially in a year that also saw the amazing cult classic, American Werewolf in London (1981) the stakes were high and this terror filled movie manages to conjure up a less messy but equally thrilling horror transformation in a unique tale.howling-transformation

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