Revisiting . . . Hellraiser (1987)

One of the most striking elements of Hellraiser is that the Cenobites are almost secondary characters.

When it comes to modern horror’s most iconic figures, Pinhead is up there with the likes of Fred Krueger and Michael Myers, and although a series of diminishing sequels expanded on the Cenobite legacy, it is that first movie which fans will invariably reference, in spite of the black-eyed antagonist’s relatively sparse screen time . . .

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Revisiting . . . Miracle Mile (1988)

Miracle Mile is a curious little movie, and I mean that in the most positive sense of the word.

It begins like a John Hughes romantic comedy as a couple of misfits experience a fated meeting overlooking a tar pit at a prehistoric museum. Their union is odd but comfortable, their personalities quirky and compassionate, and as we see the movie’s title appear on the back of a passing tram, we realise that we’re in for a somewhat idiosyncratic journey.

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Revisiting . . . Stephen King’s IT (1990)

In many ways, time has not been kind to Tommy Lee Wallace’s 1990 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, IT.

Judged in cinematic terms, it is a largely hackneyed portrayal with paper-thin characterisation, second rate acting and contrived storytelling, while the movie tends to gravitate towards melodrama on more than one occasion. Of course, there was no theatrical release for what was a two part TV mini-series, and when you take into account the period in which it was made, the budget it was allotted a the tools at its disposal, you can forgive many of those flaws . . .

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Revisiting . . . Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

The Final Chapter is something of a landmark in the ‘Friday’ series, but not for the reason most would have imagined.

Back in 1984, this was advertised as the final instalment in the franchise, one in which the irrepressible Jason Voorhees ‘finally met his match’ in a special effects whizzkid named Tommy Jarvis, but in reality this was only the beginning, or, more accurately, the dawning of a new era . . .

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Revisiting . . . The Dream Warriors (1987)

In hindsight, the third instalment of the ‘Elm Street’ series did as much good as it did bad.

First of all, it took a movie of great craft and imagination to salvage a franchise left moribund by 1985’s Freddy’s Revenge, a movie that was as brave in its intentions as it was stupid in its execution. You could write a volume on the deficiencies of that first sequel. For one thing, it was robbed of Charles Bernstein’s Krueger-defining score, a scathing lullaby which encapsulates the offbeat nature of nightmares in a way that was crucial to the series . . .

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Revisiting . . . Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

There is a memorable scene in The Sopranos in which Tony vents his frustrations about ‘The Happy Wanderer’.

Tony hates those people, the kind who refuse to see the world in a cynical light and instead walk around whistling with a clear conscience and a stupid smile on their face. John Candy’s irrepressible Del Griffith – the unlikely hero of John Hughes’ greatest movie – is the personification of ‘The Happy Wanderer’, a man who accepts the negativity of modern day America with impervious good cheer. Del is kind, helpful and sincere. With him, what you see is what you get . . .

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Revisiting . . .The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

We live in an age of instant gratification; the 21st century world waits for nothing.

If a sequel, tie in or teaser trailer isn’t released within a year of the original then you’ve missed the boat. Moviegoers had to wait three years before another visit to a galaxy far, far away with nothing in between but a bunch of plastic figures and your own imagination to continue the saga. But when the Empire recovered to rear its ugly head, it was well worth the wait and, just as A New Hope changed the cinematic landscape, The Empire Strikes Back changed the direction of sequel making…

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