Horror movies from 1987 and Blog Post #200.
While a lot of garbage came out in 1987 in the horror genre, some heavyweights that arrived looking to take over 1987 and beyond. I had a terrible time putting these in any kind of structured order. There's a very good chance the top 3 would change depending on the day and my mood. But today, 11-22-19, this is the direction I went.
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn is one of my favorite all-time horror movies. While it's not a Steven King project, he is the primary reason it got made. He was such a fan of the first one (check out the 1981 list) that he went around telling everyone in the movie business that they needed to fund this project.
Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell return as director and star to give us an amped-up sequel to part 1. Since they couldn't obtain the rights to use any footage from The Evil Dead, they had to shoot the introduction to get viewers up to speed. This led to many people believing it was a remake and not a true sequel.
This movie is Evil Dead on speed. The kills are bloodier, the possessions more horrifying, and Bruce is more groovy in this movie. They tried to use tricks to avoid an X rating but they failed. Author's note - even though I discussed last week how Henry the Portrait of a Serial Killer was one of the movies to help the ratings board create NC-17 for movies this over the top, it wasn't around yet. So they ended up releasing it NR(not rated), which you might remember from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 limits just who is willing to show it in theaters.
So while it wasn't a massive box office success, it did make back its money and then killed in on home video. Evil Dead 2 was and is an instant cult classic. Stream it on HBOMax.
Blurb - The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.
So 12-year-old me is putting his foot down for #2. I watched A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors as much, if not more, than Friday the 13th Part 6. They probably were on the same VHS tape. I think this is my favorite Freddy movie, nudging past part 1 by a razor.
There are a lot of firsts with this movie, but an important one is the return of Wes Craven. He avoided the first sequel, not convinced there was a franchise there, but after it made more money than the original, he came back to pitch in with the overall story. It's the acting debut of both Patricia Arquette and Jennifer Rubin. And while they both do a good job and go on to be long-time Hollywood players, maybe the biggest first is the creative team of Chuck Russell & Frank Darabont.
They sold the script with the condition that Russell would get to direct. This movie really showed Hollywood just how talented these 2 up-and-coming talents were and both went on to success. Russell on The Blob, The Mask, & The Scorpion King and Darabont on The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and the creative mind behind AMC's The Walking Dead.
This movie has some of my favorite Freddy kills, and one-liners, which Englund often adlibbed. It continued to support New Line Cinema and made more money than its predecessor once again. Freddy Kruger was a household name. Stream it on HBOMax.
Blurb - A psychiatrist familiar with knife-wielding dream demon Freddy Krueger helps teens at a mental hospital battle the killer who is invading their dreams.
I don't remember being in love with this John Carpenter film when it first came out. Prince of Darkness is one of my favorite horror movies now. Maybe I needed to get older to appreciate all the nuances of the film and the subject matter. Or maybe my fear of homeless people taking you to their underground layer(thanks Hill Street Blues) was magnified by Alice Cooper and his army of possessed homeless. Who knows what was going through my pre-teen mind?
John Carpenter returns to his horror roots after Big Trouble in Little China bombs at the box office. He also takes a break from the controlling madhouse that is the Studio system. This is his first independent picture since Escape from New York. It combines his fascination of religion with his love of science and gives us a look at how the 2 just might lead to the end of the world. Add in Jameson Parker's amazing mustache and you have a must-watch movie that you can stream on Peacock.
Blurb - A group of graduate students and scientists uncover an ancient canister in an abandoned church, but when they open the container, they inadvertently unleash a strange liquid and an evil force on all humanity.
Honestly, I would have Hellraiser lower if it wasn't such a defining film in horror cinema. I've enjoyed some of the films but I've never seen any of them more than once after the first 2. I think I've seen this one a handful of times, and the sequel 2 times. I do remember thinking during the 2nd one, "Man that is a lot of blood," but we'll talk about that when we get to 1988. I'm not a big torture horror fan, and that's what I think of when I think of Hellraiser. I promise to revisit it in 2022 and see if maybe I've been wrong all these years.
So let's take a quick peek into this movie and franchise. It's based on Clive Barker's novella The Hell-bound Heart, and taking a page from Stephen King's book, he worked out a deal to write and direct the movie. He was disappointed with previous attempts to film his work and decided he needed to have full control.
Funny enough, this is another film where the MPAA found the movie too over the top and demanded a number of scenes to be removed or Hellraiser would get an X rating. Barker and the studio agreed to it to avoid the impossible rating or releasing the movie Not Rated. It went on to make almost $13 million over its $1 million budget. Stream it on Prime, amc+, tubi, and Shudder.
Blurb - A woman discovers the newly resurrected, partially formed, body of her brother-in-law. She starts killing for him to revitalize his body so he can escape the demonic beings that are pursuing him after he escaped their sadistic underworld.
Before Joel Schumacher nearly destroyed Batman in movie theaters, he made my 2nd favorite vampire film is The Lost Boys. At the time, many of the cast were no names or up-and-comers, but when you look back you see a who's-who of the late 80s and 90s: Corey Feldman, Corey Haim, Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Jamie Gertz, Edward Herrmann, Dianne Wiest, and Alex Winter. The film hits all the right notes with scares and laughs. You have to rent/buy to enjoy this one but I've seen it on Prime and HULU so it may be back.
Blurb - After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires.
With an outline provided by Stephen King and a script written by Creep Show director George Romero, Creep Show cinematographer Michael Gornick directs his only feature film Creep Show 2. It follows the same formula, but with only 3 segments instead of 5. I loved it as a kid, and while it pales to the original, it's still a good anthology film. Stream it on Prime, AMC+, tubi, & Shudder.
Blurb - Three more bone-chilling tales that include a vengeful wooden Native American, a monstrous blob in a lake, and a hitchhiker who wants revenge and will not die.
Let's be honest the unknown is scary, and the idea of Voodoo is both. The Believers feeds off that fear and gives us a creepy and at times frightful experience. The movie has a great director and cast - although I did find Sheen's constant yelling a bit off-putting. The coolest thing though is the writer of one of my favorite novels did the screenplay.
Mark Frost also worked on Twin peaks, but I love his book The List of 7. It's like a Sherlock Holmes mash-up with The Mummy. So much fun, and part of the reason I wanted to try my hand with the Ephraim Godwin series.
Back to The Believers. It's really a police procedural with Voodoo undertones at first, but then it just keeps building up and soon you have a really frightening face-off between a father and a cult. Stream it on Prime.
Blurb - A New York psychiatrist finds that a brujería-inspired cult, which believes in child sacrifice, has a keen interest in his own son.
The Monster Squad is a fun and entertaining creature feature with an old-school horror movie feel. Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein's monster, and the mummy all show up in a small town where a young group of horror enthusiasts lives. Written by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon & Iron Man 3) and Fred Dekker (House & Night of the Creeps), it's a movie for horror fans of all ages. Stream it on Paramount Plus.
Blurb - A young group of monster fanatics attempt to save their hometown from Count Dracula and his monsters.
These next 2, I've never thought of as horror but they show up under the genre. First up is Predator. I can't believe there's anyone who doesn't at least know what Predator is, but just in case, Alien hunter shows up and kills everything it can. Arnold gets in the way. This movie is a fun and gory action film. A top 3 film in Arnold's lengthy filmography. You can stream it with IMDBTv through Amazon.
Blurb - A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior.
I loved this movie as a kid/teen. I never thought of it as a horror movie, but it has some elements and I don't want to miss a chance to share it. Nightmare on Elm Street 2 director, Jack Sholder returns behind the camera with The Hidden. Part alien abduction movie and part buddy cop movie, the film does a perfect job of balancing the two in a way that helps the viewer to believe all the fantastical parts and staying grounded at the same time. Kyle MacLachlan is perfect as the FBI agent. You'll have to rent/buy to stream.
Interesting side note - Michael Nouri was considered for the role of Riggs in Lethal Weapon but turned it down to play a cop in this film. He's great in the movie, but movie fans dodged a bullet there.
Blurb - A cop and an FBI agent race for answers after law abiding people suddenly become violent criminals.
Italian horror master, Dario Argento (Suspira) is at it again with Opera. Filmed in his classic style, the film is beautifully shot but suffered a number of issues and tragedies and led Argento to believe the movie was suffering from the Macbeth curse. Stream it on VUDU and tubi.
Blurb - A young opera singer is stalked by a deranged fan bent on killing the people associated with her to claim her for himself.
Stuart Gordon (Re-animator & From Beyond) directed Dolls at the same time as From Beyond. The post-production work carried the movie over to 1987 while From Beyond came out in 1986. It's tamer in gore and violence, and many Gordon fans were put off by the film initially but it's a cult classic now.
Trivia time - It's the film debut of the girl(Bunty Bailey) from the A-HA video "Take on Me".
Stream it on tubi and Prime.
Blurb - A dysfunctional family of three stop by a mansion during a storm -- father, stepmother, and child. The child discovers that the elderly owners are magical toy makers and have a haunted collection of dolls.
Honestly, this movie is on here for 1 reason only, Peter Jackson. That's right the genius behind the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies cut his teeth on this work of art. It took 4 years to film as he primarily worked on it during the weekends. He paid for everything until the end when he gained some notice from New Zealand's Film Commission and they provided him with the needed funds to complete the picture. He's going to pop up later in these lists, but this is where he got his start. Stream it on tubi.
Blurb - The population of a small town disappears and is replaced by aliens that chase human flesh for their intergalactic fast-food chain.
This is one of those movies that I somehow missed out on. I've never seen Near Dark or worst I've seen it and totally forgotten it. Directed by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow(Hurt Locker), and starring quite a few actors from Aliens(her husband was James Cameron at the time), Near Dark is a vampire movie that actually never says the word vampire. In fact, she wanted to make a western, but the genre was not popular at the time so she added the horror element to sell it.
The only way to see it is with Directv I guess. The DVD & Blu-ray are all at collector's pricing and no one seems to have it for streaming except Directv. That said, I've never been able to find a movie on their service when it was this hard to find normally.
Blurb - A small-town farmer's son reluctantly joins a traveling group of vampires after he is bitten by a beautiful drifter.
Last up is a movie Vincent Price hated. From a Whisper To A Scream. He later said he was sold a false premise but couldn't back out of the picture. The movie is another anthology film, with Price acting as the historian. I love Price and unfortunately, we are nearing the end of his filmography.
Blurb - In a small Tennessee town, a historian relates four horror stories to a reporter.
FYI - Trailer is NSFW
I was doing a last-minute check and found Angel Heart came out in 1987. It needs to be on the list. DeNiro and & Rourke are fantastic in this creepy supernatural mystery. The film didn't do well at the box office but gained cult status once it came out on VHS.
Blurb - A private investigator is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer named Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn.
I only picked 6 "other" movies, focusing on the ones most important to me.
I guess The Running Man could be horror, but I always thought of it as Science Fiction. It also continues Stephen King's run alive as he wrote it under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman.
Full Metal Jacket was the last movie I remember seeing in the theater with my dad before my parents got divorced. Amazing movie.
Robocop is the over-the-top action/fantasy/science fiction movie I love to look for.
Summer School has a pre-Gibbs Mark Harmon teaching a bunch of kids English over the summer. 2 of them are horror movie freaks, very funny movie.
Dragnet was right before Tom Hanks started getting all serious.
And Spaceballs is another great Brooks spoof movie that's very funny.
My records indicate this is blog post #200. It may actually be higher as I've deleted or turned off some posts to appease Amazon's Kindle Unlimited requirements. That said we know at least 200 posts are up and I wanted to let you know I appreciate everyone who checks them out. Means the world to me.