Blood Rage (1987)

Blood Rage is a goofy little number which peddles horror the way Head and Shoulders peddles shampoo. 

Originally titled Shadow at Nightmare Woods, the movie’s 1983 theatrical release coincided with the censorship crusade of the early 1980s, and was therefore stripped of its gruesome embellishments until Prism Entertainment rescued it from the MPAA’s pitiless expurgation. By 1987—the year of its largely uncut home video release—the slasher genre had undergone the kind of metamorphosis that turned a cynical vacuum of vivisection into a sparkling wink of self-knowing […]

Read Article →

I’d Buy that for a Dollar: Robocop and the Pursuit of the American Dream

Robocop was something of a baptism of fire for filmmaker Paul Verhoeven.

Before making the switch to Hollywood in search of The American Dream, the Dutch director was known for arthouse projects that were very much grounded in reality, and in many ways his debut US production is the very antithesis of all that went before. That’s not surprising given the fact that the movie’s protagonist is a half man, half machine with a spectacularly gaudy 80s costume design, but the overtly comic tone was somewhat determined by outside forces […]

Read Article →

Tradition Evolved: Near Dark and The Vampire Revolution

Prior to the 1980s—with the exception of alternative vampire outings such as George Romero’s Martin and David Cronenberg’s sort-of vampire horror Rabid—there was very little in the way of genre deviation when it came to representing Western vampires onscreen.

Throughout the 60s and 70s, depictions of vampires tended toward the traditional, with Hammer Horror at the forefront of perpetuating the traditionally hammy genre template that favoured aristocratic, middle-aged evildoers comfortably ensconced in the Gothic revivalist period […]

Read Article →

The Gate (1987)

Back in the late 1980’s, the ‘kids in peril’ concept was the template for theatrical success.

Steven Spielberg would set the ball rolling with E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial, a movie whose impact would send a thematic tremor throughout the entire industry. E.T. saw a group of kids take matters into their own hands, championing the importance of family and togetherness as the best recourse for overcoming an oppressive evil. Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist would follow a year later, a film that possessed more than a dash of Spielberg’s DNA, while Joe Dante’s Gremlins and […]

Read Article →

Masters of the Universe: Star Wars and the Fall of Grayskull

During their B-movie pomp, Cannon Films were a modest distribution company who far exceeded expectations.

Originally formed by Dennis Friedland and Chris Dewey as a soft porn production company, the struggling duo were forced to sell to Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, an Israeli duo who would tap into the B-movie boom of the early 1980’s. Golan-Globus would achieve immediate success exploring the popular slasher and action genres, creating stars such as Michael Dudikoff (Avenging Force), and eventually attracting some of the industry’s top names thanks to a prolific output of low-budget movies that would turn a tidy profit […]

Read Article →

Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

Back in 1987, Fred Krueger took his first steps to becoming the horror genre’s first bona fide rock star.

With Wes Craven back on board to beef up the characterisation, Chuck Russel’s The Dream Warriors salvaged a waning franchise following the debacle of Freddy’s Revenge, catapulting Krueger to commercial superstardom. Still the scourge of nightmares, the character would shed his darker dispositions to become the ethereal circus master of a marketing campaign that exceeded all expectation, resulting in the kind of unlikely merchandising never before achieved […]

Read Article →