Burning Hearts and Iron Curtains: Rocky IV and Cold War Propaganda

The appeal of Rocky Balboa is his status as a flawed everyman.

Back in 1976, director John G. Avildsen gave us the perfect underdog story. Backed up by an Oscar-winning screenplay by Stallone, Rocky was about community and togetherness, shining a sympathetic light on the poor and downtrodden and reminding us that, given the right attitude and determination, anything is possible. It also spoke of family values and the importance of perspective. Stallone was a revelation as the movie’s titular hero, a reluctant thug-for-high whose friendship with an insular store clerk set him on the path to self-discovery […]

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Seeing Red: Swords, Sorcery and Sexism in Red Sonja.

The eighties were awash with fantasy films.

Some were excellent (Conan The Barbarian, The Princess Bride), some were flawed but entertaining, (Krull, Willow), while others were just boring or just downright awful (Hawk The Slayer, Conan The Destroyer). It was a glorious time for swords and sorcery fans, and though the quality may have been wildly variable, as a budding Tolkien fan obsessed with anything with even a passing resemblance to the fantastical that featured weird creatures […]

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Approaching Adolescence: Or How Paperboy Spoke to my 12-Year-Old Self

Spring of 1985 was a dark time for video games.

The Nintendo Entertainment System was still 6 months from seeing the light of day in the United States. Atari mania and Pac-Man fever felt like ages ago thanks to the shift away from home console gaming towards computer gaming. But arcades were still active as THE place to play games that could still wow and astonish gamers hungry for the next big thing […]

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This Month In . . . 1985 (April)

April was a month packed with frat pack comedy, but the box office would throw up some memorable sleepers as we approached the busy summer season.

One of those was tongue-in-cheek horror compendium Cat’s Eye. Based on short stories by a red hot Stephen King, the film would throw up a mixed bag backed by a plethora of notable stars including E.T.’s Drew Barrymore as a cutesy infant confronting a troublesome demon in ‘The General’ […]

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Godzilla (1985)

In 1954, Toho Studios released Gojira.

Directed by Ishiro Honda, the film explores the dangers of nuclear weaponry through the unstoppable force that is Godzilla: a giant, prehistoric creature who rampaged across Tokyo before succumbing to a device as dangerous to humanity as he is. Two years later, the movie was released in America, re-edited and re-titled Godzilla: King of the Monsters, where it also proved a success. Godzilla was popular in America […]

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Any Time, Any Place: The Ageless Appeal of Back to the Future

Back to the Future is about change, about fate and destiny and the possibility of a second chance.

Those sentiments may smack of mawkish wish-fulfilment, and Robert Zemeckis’ cultural phenomenon is nothing if not idealistic, but there are ways to promote such romanticisms without descending into the sickly slush of blueprint Hollywood, and in December of 1985 Back to the Future showed us just how creative you can be […]

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This Month in . . .1985 (December)

The first week of December would see a limited theatrical release for Golan-Globus thriller Runaway Train. Based on a screenplay by innovative Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, the movie is also notable for the debuts of Heat’s Danny Trejo and Tommy “Tiny” Lister, who would become a professional wrestler for a brief time in the late 1980’s after starring alongside Hulk Hogan in infamous WWF stinker No Holds Barred (1989). So badly received was the World Wrestling Federation’s first foray into the movie business that CEO Vince McMahon . . .

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You’re So Cool, Brewster: Fright Night and the Death of the Slasher

The best stories are often the most simple. They just seem to flow, and are usually character driven.

“I started to kick around the idea about how hilarious it would be if a horror movie fan thought that a vampire was living next door to him,’ director Tom Holland said of cult vampire comedy Fright Night. It took Holland just three weeks to write the screenplay, and he admits to laughing the whole way through […]

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