Monday, March 21, 2011


Buckle up as this relentless 80s odyssey continues.

Happy Birthday To Me, 1981 (****)
it was a stroke of genius to cast Mary from A Little House On The Prairie as the main protagonist in this uncommonly (for its time) intelligent and memorable slasher; the weird narrative will have you guessing right till its satisfyingly macabre setpiece ending, convoluted though it may be; Syreeta's HBTM theme song in the closing credits is painfully exquisite

Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, 1982 (*****)
forget about all the other oft-cited nonsense, this is hands down the best punk/music/anti-music movie ever, one which, along the way, takes all kinds of subversive swipes at the path the burgeoning MTV-led music industry would lead us to today; it succeeds where others fail principally because it's not trying to sell or mythologise some shit band; morons Steve Cook, Paul Jones, and Paul Simenon seem like the only ones not in on the joke, unlike Fee Waybill, who is both knowing and amazing as Lou Corpse of The Metal Corpses; not to mention the special treat of seeing jailbait Diane Lane (who I loved in Unfaithful) in a compelling nuanced role as the band's lead singer, Corinne '3rd Degree' Burns

Avenging Angel, 1985 (***)
although much of the original Angel cast is the same, out goes Donna Wilkes and in comes Betsy Russell as Molly the (now ex-) teen hooker; there are still flashes of the brilliance of the first: the Strip documentary style, the bedroom abduction scene, and odd bits of random pervery

Sleepaway Camp, 1983 (*****)
camp slasher extraordinaire that, by lulling you into expecting the genre's predictable tropes, continually manages to catch you off guard: deliciously twisted script, sleaze galore, nasty gory kill-scenes, and how it brilliantly manages to recreate the raw hyperactive sexual interactions and tension typical of large groups of adolescents together better than any other film that I can remember, to the extent it often made me shudder to recall how scary it often is to be a teenager

Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers, 1988 (***)
despite a budget of zero and the absence of the glorious original's Felissa Rose, this is still well worth seeing

Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland, 1989 (***)
sadly, although considerably more money was spent on this second sequel and the prize of its accordingly higher body count, the sleaze and gore factor is greatly diminished; that all being said, if you, like me, love the values of the original then you also need to see this



_Black_Acrylic said...

keep 'em coming, I hope it never stops! Loved The Unseen, Junior will haunt my dreams :D

MondoHeather said...

Excellent list and comments. I was beyond happy when LADIES & GENTLEMEN... finally came out on DVD. Waybill was indeed amazing and appropriately sad. He should have gotten more acting jobs after that.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP is a classic and usually my answer to anyone who thinks all "slasher" films are stupid and uninspired.