So how many of you can remember that crazy time in American history when we didn’t have Netflix, Red Box, or Amazon instant streaming? If you can recall those Dark Ages, then let me date you even further by asking if you remember when VHS tapes were king and the only place you could get your fix of those was at a local video store? I grew up in Homewood, Illinois and was about twelve years old when the phenomena of home video first began. I can still remember the excitement of us watching my dad attach our first VHS player to the family television set. The idea of being able to watch a movie when you felt like it, or taping shows off your favorite channel so you could catch them later, seemed just too good to be true.
A few years ago I had the honor of covering THING-FEST at Days of the Dead Indianapolis where Canadian super-fan, Joe Hart, brought his immense assortment of props and collectibles associated with John Carpenter’s The Thing. Joe has a heart of gold and his enthusiasm for the movie, coupled with his enviable collection, made for one unforgettable weekend! Many of the actors from the film were on hand as well and one of my favorite moments was getting a photo with Thomas G. Waites (“Windows”) along with the actual microphone prop he’d used in the movie. I’ll always be grateful to Days of the Dead for hosting Mr. Hart as it was the magnetic pull of his collection that inspired me to cross state lines and attend!
The Daves would like to once again welcome guest blogger Brandon Engel to this site, expressing his opinions on the best monster movies of the 1980’s!
An argument can be made the 1980s was the true golden age of the monster movie — a time when no theme was deemed too ridiculous and just about any inanimate object could become consumed by evil. Here are some of the “best” monster movies from the decade that gave us Pac-Man and Madonna:
If you think its hard tracking down some of your favorite vintage horror movies, try finding their lesser known sequels! Sure we’re all familiar with the numerous Halloween and Friday the 13th films but the original Prom Night, House, Amityville Horror, and Silent Night Deadly Night (to name but a few) also spawned numerous follow ups that often got lost on the old video store shelves. Horror collectors are left in a quandary as these films are hard to come by or, in the rare event that they are re-released on DVD, are usually bland transfers often sold as double features. Thanks to the folks at Blue Underground, this is not an issue for fans of the Maniac Cop sequels. They’ve not only re-released BOTH on blu ray but with noticeable improvements!
Horror aficionados will unanimously agree that the 1980’s were the Golden Age of slasher films. As I’ve discussed before in a retrospective on the original My Bloody Valentine (which you can relive HERE), the holidays were a particularly dangerous time for horny teenagers looking to celebrate these special dates in their own lascivious ways.
Once again John Landis has proven why he is the master of mixing horror with comedy. He did it first in 1981 with AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and he was back at it eleven years later with INNOCENT BLOOD. Things that worked in his werewolf film…things like a recognizable cast, amazing effects, fun cameos and just the right mixture of horror and comedy…work just as well when he takes on vampires. Why he isn’t making more films I will never know.
Back in July I had the privilege of seeing super collector, Joe Hart’s, THING-FEST (covered HERE) at the Indianapolis Days of the Dead convention. This event featured a massive collection of props and memorabilia from one of my all-time favorite films, John Carpenter’s THE THING. During the course of the weekend, I had an opportunity to meet Hart and soon discovered that he was much more than a mere collector. Rather, I began to see him as the ultimate facilitator of sorts; bringing his fellow fans closer to the films they loved. As this is something he does without monetary gain, I feel he deserves our applause and our sincere gratitude. Trust me, folks, I’ve attended quite a few horror events since THING-FEST and would absolutely consider that one to be the most satisfying. THE THING, however, is not the only 1982 classic that Hart is devoted to…