Tag Archives: Retro horror

Top 10 Horror Movies Of 1983!

Well, here we are again nostalgic nuggets! Another year has passed and that means another round of classic horror masterpieces turn a healthy 40. The year is 1983. A little game called Super Mario Bros first appeared in Japan. The first Cabbage Patch Kids dolls are sold in stores and nearly got people killed. And the very first cell phones were introduced to the public via Motorola.

It’s also the year where we got to see a little Felissa Rose sport a mighty prosthetic dong to horror audiences everywhere.

What a year, eh?! So let’s pop right into it. As per usual, these are just my personal opinions and only an official ranking if you see my dumb opinion as some sort of value. So take it as you will and let’s talk some 1983 horror!

10. Twilight Zone: The Movie

I initially struggled with the concept of even including the Twilight Zone Movie here; obviously because of the tragedy that befell on the set that involved the death of three people-two of them children. For that reason alone I can’t ever watch the movie anymore without getting upset. But, before that knowledge as a child, I did enjoy it and it is rather decent-not at the expense of three lives but I’d feel like shit as to not at least give this a mention because it shouldn’t be forgotten. So trying to insert some professionalism here with this movie landing at #10.

The film is constructed by modern filmmakers into an anthology borrowing from the brilliant mind of Rod Serling in recreating segments from the original program. Scatman Crothers is phenomenal. Lord Farquaad having a panic attack on a plane is probably my favorite entry- and those two reasons alone are why it’s ranked this high. But in all seriousness, fuck John Landis.

9. House On Sorority Row

A classic tale of a prank gone wrong and sorority sisters who don’t know how to use a bra! I remember seeing the “head in the toilet” on the back of the VHS box as a kid and being sold based on that alone. The power of VHS art fellas.  Sorority Row takes place around a sorority house at a Maryland university. A group of sister seniors are fed up with their mistreatment via house mother Mrs. Slater. So they throw a party at the house, and the girls come up with an initially harmless-sounding prank on their house mother that later turns deadly.

It’s got everything for that classic 80s horror slasher flick. Blood. Gore. Nudity. AND a creepy Jester! Just a little something different that I admire.

8. Deadly Spawn

Deadly Spawn is a horror movie barely even mentioned by the big boys so let’s give this passion project and underrated gem a little love.

This movie is horror-fan service at some of its finest and has a genuine charm that ANY fan of the genre would love and embrace. A band of worm-like mutant aliens with thousands of teeth comes to play on Earth and hilarity ensues with horrendous acting and the kind of practical effects that one truly appreciates in the genre. For low-budget, the effects are something that every fan craves from an 80s genre film such as this, and honestly, I don’t know how anyone could hate this movie. If you do, I don’t think we can be friends, man.

7. The Keep

Michael Mann comes in balls swinging with the mind-fuck that is THE KEEP. Taking place during the Nazi regime, this supernatural fantasy of fairy-tale horror where bitch nazis get their asses kicked by Satan is almost impossible to keep up with coherently as the studios really butchered this one down. It’s a shame really. But, the Tangerine Dream score is sweetly undeniable and the effort put forth is there for us to take in all its solid yet weird glory. Somewhere in Paramount Studios lies an untainted director’s cut containing an extra hour and 30 minutes of this film, and by Goddess release already you cowards!

6. The Dead Zone

The first of several Stephen King adaptations here comes courtesy of Johnny Smith and his visions of death via The Dead Zone. King and Cronenberg is like a match made in movie heaven as King’s literary verbiage can be complex to adapt to the screen. Cronenberg is clearly the master of visual terror so taking the raw emotions and political climate of The Dead Zone and turning it into something even more horrifying than his signature body-horror films, is truly something to take in and resonate on. Nothing is scarier than politics people- yesterday and today.

5. Videodrome

Another Cronenberg classic, Videodrome is basically the body-horror master taking notes from David Lynch by dropping some acid and not giving one fresh fuck about anything other than doing what he does best here- and that’s freaking us the fuck out. This movie feels like it’s going to try and say something to you about the nature of consumption and the act of viewing it, but instead of doing the 1983 equivalent of saying “time to take out our phones” it just looks like you dead in the eye and says “long live the new flesh (bitch).” Fantastic. Plus it has a dude with a gun hiding in his stomach-vagina. Bonus points for that visual that will never escape my brain.

4. Sleepaway Camp

I know a lot of you might think I’m on drugs for putting this cheese-fest in front of visual Cronenberg stunners- but this is the 80s and crackers-on-cheese side dishes like Sleepaway Camp made the slasher decade what it was. So I believe I’m justified in sticking Felissa Rose and her prosthetic peen in this well-deserved slot. Besides, there’s so much to love about this film from the Camp Melodrama to the fact that literally no one besides Reverand Henry Kane, has made me feel quite as uneasy as Aunt Martha. A film like Sleepaway Camp can’t be made anymore. It is completely bonkers, with a hint of self-awareness and it actually pushes the boat out a bit further than most of its genre contemporaries. I got your back, Angela.

3. Psycho II

It’s pretty difficult to follow up on something as sacred as Psycho (1960) and is risky as hell considering the movie is near perfection and really no further context is needed. However, we were proved wrong in 1983 when Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates returns home and serves as basically The Godfather II of horror movie sequels. I realize that’s a bold statement but the continuation that no one knew we needed is a prime example of taking an excellent film and expanding on it with us really understanding Norman’s psyche, allowing us to really have some empathy. It’s a great taboo piece on mental health and a damn fine movie that more often than not, gets swept under the rug in favor of snooty fan politics.

I’m the trash critic that will watch Motel Hell maybe twice a day over something of real substance so what do I know anyway.

2. Cujo

The horror version of Old Yeller forever traumatized the shit out of me worse than that Disney classic. Stephen King’s cocaine-fueled and drunk-driven literary genius of a novel about a rabid dog got adapted to the screen in 1983 and I’ve never looked at a St. Bernard the same way since. Feeling both sympathy and terror, this movie is just a roller coaster of either you crying or feeling anxious as fuck for both the dog and little Danny Pintauro. You feel exhausted from just ONE viewing so this is one I haven’t seen too many times because I need my energy but boy, did it stay with me; and that’s how a horror movie is successful guys.

1. Christine

Stephen King’s malicious tale of toxic masculinity and its effects on everyone and everything is well, the cherry 1958 Plymouth Fury on top of a delicious 1983 sundae. Arnie did about everything as wrong as you could do as a guy fed up with his minuscule lifestyle with the exception of fucking this car that he should have never bought in the first place, but hey, that’s rebellion for you. The superficial pleasures of life paraded as a killer and terribly jealous car named Christine pairs Carpenter at his best with his metaphors for the horrors of reality, so giving him the project to direct was nothing short of pure brilliance. It’s also a real spit in the face to those 1950’s Greaser guys that became a nostalgic obsession in the 80s thanks to films such as American Graffiti and Grease. And I appreciate the hell out of that.

Also, paired with what is Carpenter’s finest score for a film (next to Season of the Witch that is), that scene of Christine just rolling out of that gas station after the explosion on fire is worth every damn penny you paid to see the film.

The Art Of Horror: Celebrating The Best Horror VHS Cover Art- Part II!

Movie Box Art is an all-but-dead form of advertising for movies these days. A while back, I wrote up a piece on VHS Horror Cover Box Art and the films that had some of the most intriguing rental art boxes that served to pique our curiosity when strolling down the horror movie aisle at your local Mom And Pop Video Store on a Saturday afternoon. You went to rent Nightmare On Elm Street 4 and left with films like Cheerleader Camp and Frankenhooker. Case in point, the cover art was the main selling point for these movies back then along with word of mouth; and when mom or pop gave you the precious video rental card to go get what you wanted when you were old enough, that my friends, was goddamn better than a credit card itself. The freeing feeling of being able to rent whatever your little heart desired, well just not shit behind the curtain anyway, without an adult hovering over your back as you’re staring intensely at a copy of Class Of Nuke ‘Em High. Then walking like a gangster to the counter while grabbing a box of Sugar Daddies, a Cherry Coke, and presenting your rental punch card to the clerk. The only thing that made that moment even more glorious was if you were due for a free rental.

So let’s take another walk down the horror aisle of the corner video shop where some of the greatest horror movie cover art existed. That being said, there are way too many to put into one article, so I’ve decided to put together another piece championing VHS art with Parts 3 and 4 likely to come in the following weeks/months.

These are just some that really stood out to me at that age. Oh, and for the record and refresher from my last entry, I popped that solo video rental store cherry visit with Return of the Living Dead and The Blob.

What are some of your favorite VHS covers? Get crackin’ on those comments Nostalgic Nuggets and come back for parts 3 and 4 of wild and wonderous VHS Horror Box Art!

10 Side Characters From the “Friday The 13th” Films That Deserve More Praise

With horror fans, the Friday the 13th franchise is a necessary essential and rite of passage for all of us burrowing our way through the genre. Whether you’re new to the fandom or a long-standing, card-carrying member, you’ve at the very least seen ONE of the original 10 films that made Jason Voorhees a household name. Everyone has their favorite entry, their favorite final girl, and their favorite Jason. It’s always a hot-button topic with the horror community and a fun debate at that. And I’ll even indulge that very query with my own personal favorites of said topics:

Favorite Entry: Friday the 13th: Jason Lives

Favorite Final Girl: Ginny (Amy Steel)

Favorite Jason: CJ Graham ( I know shocker it’s not Kane, right)

But what about the hundreds of side characters that didn’t quite make it to the end and served as either one of the film’s kill-count casualties along the way, or were merely placed there for pacing purposes? There are NOT enough conversations about side characters like Ethyl and Junor and I’m here to remedy this bullshit. So let’s give some credit and praise where it’s rightfully due and champion these performances that made the films that much more enjoyable.

10. Harold Hockett

Nobody says a word about the animal-loving Harold but let’s get one thing straight here- While Jason obtained his iconic hockey mask from Shelly Finkelstein, he stole his new shirt and pants from Harold’s wardrobe, which he wore for many years and was even buried in. He does not appear to get a new outfit until Jason Goes to Hell, due to the fact these dubs were likely destroyed during his battle with toxic waste in the sewers of Manhattan.

Harold helped set the pace and opening for Part III and seemed like a genuinely nice dude who didn’t deserve the wrath of Voorhees. So, let’s honor the guy and remember that that legacy of his pants lives on in at least 5 movies after this one.

9. Joey and Vic

Joey and Vic are a package deal here because without their fateful interaction, all brought on by a chocolate bar, Part V would have never happened. Kinda gives that old saying, “Death By Chocolate” some weight, eh? So we really have to tip our hats to this odd couple of unstable teenagers for one of the most gruesome and memorable scenes from the entire franchise of films. Also, who in their right mind gives a mentally unstable person a fucking ax?! This is just bonkers and welp, I’m here for it.

8. Demon

Demon’s appearance in The New Beginning was brief but impactful- also probably the most quoted with “Them Damn Enchiladas“. I can’t be the only one who simply can NOT just say enchiladas when they’re around. They are specifically referred to as THEM DAMN ENCHILADAS. Also, I’ve never seen a movie where enchiladas were the cause of death-well indirectly but if it weren’t for them damn enchiladas, Demon would still be alive singing sweet tunes with Anita. Another damn fine memorable scene from the films that deserves all the recognition. Plus, that run to the shitter had me laughing my ASS off. No pun intended.

7. Julius

Out of all the “side characters” on this list, Julius from Jason Takes Manhattan had the strongest supporting role for our heroes and final girls/guys- along with hands-down, one of the most amusing scenes and deaths from the entire bracket of Friday movies.

Julius was a cocky dude, but I think his heart was in the right place. However, that cockiness got him killed thinking he could take on a Zombie Jason with nothing but his fists. Damn, I wish I had that sort of confidence. Whether you’re a fan of Part VIII or not, you gotta admit this aside from the Time Square scene with the stereo is the absolute highlight of the movie. Thanks Julius for not using and losing your head on this one.

6. Shelly Finklestein

A lot of people surprisingly shit on Shelly and I don’t understand why. He’s such a delightful dork and for me personally, it’s hard to dislike his lighthearted demeanor, even if some of his pranks are annoying to his friends. Love him or hate him, we have Sheldon to thank for Jason’s iconic Hockey Mask look and without his character, the Friday films would have gone on with Voorhees with a paper bag over his dome. Also, I don’t think a lot of fans are taking Shelly’s character into consideration when the movie was attempting to fan service the horror fans with his character. Maybe it’s not spot on, but I can’t hate on a fellow horror nerd. So let’s here’s one for Sheldon and the bullied fans of the genre.

5. Violet

Violet would be seen by most as sort of a bitch, but I didn’t see her that way at all. She was just a misunderstood, troubled teenager that seemed lost- leading to some attitude issues and distancing herself from others to avoid interaction and disappointment. That’s the psychology side of my brain talking, or rather, my inner Hannibal Lecter as I like to refer to it as.

She was also seen as inclusive to those suffering from anxiety and depression or bipolar disorders because her types of “lash-outs” are very similar to those who suffer. There’s no harm in it, but it can be seen as rude as hell. And then, there’s the infamous room dance. If you weren’t trying to imitate that robot dance in the 80s, what the hell were you even doing? And on a personal note, Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday doesn’t hold a candle to Tiffany Helm’s moves. Here’s to our little Violet, whose original death was much more brutal but axed from the theatrical cut.

4. Sissy

Sissy, played by Elizabeth Baker in Jason Lives is just so goddamn likable and in rare form really when it comes to the Friday films when a “side character” is more personable than the final girl herself. Not ragging on Megan by any means, but Sissy here was robbed as SHE should have been our final girl in Part VI. She didn’t deserve to die at all, and if you were gonna kill her off at the very least give her death some meaning. Totally snubbed in all directions. I’ll die on this hill as Sissy being the best Final Girl we SHOULD have had if she had lived to the end. Ah well, at least we have a genuinely nice character in the franchise we collectively all rooted for.

3. Jimmy and Ted

Just like with Vic and Joey, the odd couple of Ted and Jimmy are a package deal as they play off one another to make this dynamic work. Ted(dy Bear) is at peak toxic male masculinity while Jimmy is trying to find love at the stakes of being labeled a “Dead Fuck.” Neither one of these characters work or would even have the impact they had had they had not been coupled together for most of the scenes. The Final Chapter wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining without them and because of that, let’s go wild with a little LION.

2. Ethyl and Junior

As far as comedic duos go in the Friday franchise, there are none greater than Ethyl and Junior. A lot of people give a LOT of shit towards A New Beginning, but facts are facts: Part V gave us some of the best memorable side characters in the entire franchise and this pair of mother-and-son local yokels dish out some of the most hilarious scenes of all the Friday films here. If Ethyl’s not hitting kids with heavy doses of blind hatred with her sharp tongue, she’s in the kitchen cookin’ “slop” or calling her son a fucking dildo”, which, to be fair to her, he absolutely is. Also worth noting, as a grown woman myself with my own house, I’d be pretty pissed too if I found some teenagers fuckin like rabbits in my yard.

They just put this bonkers movie over the top and we gotta respect them for it.

Now eat yer fuckin’ stew dildo.

1. Crazy Ralph Neeley

The entire franchise of Friday films owes a debt of gratitude to the prophet of doom “Crazy” Ralph Neeley. He warned those damned kids. He warned everyone. But alas, no one listened. And perhaps that’s a good thing because had they heeded his warning, we wouldn’t have much of a movie now would we? But, the theater-trained Walt Gorney started a chain cliche in following Friday movies. Ralph was the original “red herring” and inspired a reincarnation of this character in sorts; like Abel in Part III , the Cemetary Groundskeeper Martin in Jason Lives!, and the deck hand in Jason Takes Manhattan. Ralph serves as a pioneer in the series for his role and his lines remain the most quoted in the films to date. He even survived the first film altogether, but alas, succumbed to his own prophecy in the direct 1981 sequel.

He wasn’t so crazy after all.

Happy Friday the 13th Nostalgic Nuggets! Let’s chat in the comments below. What’s your favorite side character from the series?