Magic Hour: Five Years Of Experimental Blockbusters, Part 2 (1980-1981) Magic Hour: Five Years Of Experimental Blockbusters, Part 2 (1980-1981)
Part 2 of this article about the birth of the "High Concept" -Blockbuster examines the "genre explosion" from 1980-81. Magic Hour: Five Years Of Experimental Blockbusters, Part 2 (1980-1981)

This is Part 2 of a trilogy of articles. Read Part 1 here.

Welcome back. In Part 2, I’ll briefly finish off 1980 and plunge headlong into 1981 as the new year takes the Magic Hour experiment up a notch…

The rest of Magic Hour for 1980 belongs to the Horror film. Stanley Kubrick brought his unique approach to the genre with what many consider to be one of the pinnacles of horror films with The Shining. Like most Kubrick films, one of its strengths is the fact that, as the story unfolds; you really can’t predict what is going to happen next. His unconventional style of filmmaking breaks from horror film conventions in many ways.

One of my favorites is his reworking of the “Boo! Moment”. In most horror films, there is the moment where the protagonist is not paying attention and literally backs into the antagonist who is only revealed in frame at the last second to jump-scare the audience but in Kubrick’s hands this gets turned around when Shelley Duvall discovers the mad, rambling typing of Jack Nicholson’s character. She’s too engrossed in her discovery to be paying attention to anything else. Another director would have had Nicholson suddenly appear over her shoulder, creating the “Boo! Moment”. Instead, Kubrick goes with an over the shoulder shot of Nicholson observing Duvall and slowly walking towards her, replacing a simple jump-scare with drawn out dread. This innovation hallmarked the entire film for one of the most effective and original horror films ever made even while it still uses familiar horror tropes like old Indian burial grounds, ghosts and an old haunted mansion (in this case a hotel).

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Remember how Disney was ready to step out of its comfort zone? Well that could be expressed by this next film and what my friend perfectly summarized with this statement: “Holy shit! Disney made a horror movie!” That’s right.

Nothing exemplifies the creative experiments of this time more than the family friendly studio trying its hands at this most unlikely of genres with The Watcher In The Woods. Shot by director John Hough who also directed The Legend of Hell House, this was to be Disney’s version of The Exorcist believe it or not. Even with significant studio tampering which toned down the intensity and an alternate ending released the following year, this still remains an incredibly atmospheric horror film with some intense and truly scary moments that include a mysterious disappearance, child possession, a séance, ghost-like images in mirrors and Bette Davis. It even has a science fiction twist which for me, actually works and the most surprising part? This is only the FIRST OF TWO horror films to be released by The House of Mouse, three years apart.

1981 took the experimentation of genre films to another level, bringing new sub-genres into the fold even expanding to animation. This was a creative explosion using big budgets. The horror genre brought us multiple werewolf tales in two of the finest uses of make up effects of the time. The Howling, another horror film; was directed by Joe Dante and would tread an interesting line between satire of horror films in general and werewolf films in particular and a true atmospheric horror tale. In my opinion, it succeeded. It’s hard to be tongue and cheek and genuinely scary at the same time but this film pulls it off. Genre staple Robert Picardo is effectively terrifying as a serial killer/lycanthrope who revels in his altered, primal state. Its greatest accomplishment to me however, is the design of the werewolves themselves. These are the best-designed and realized werewolves ever created. Rick Baker was the original make-up effects artist but left to work on another werewolf film, turning over duties to Rob Bottin which explains the similarity in the two films transformation scenes. This design was so iconic that Stephen King himself “borrowed” it for the illustrations in his novel, Cycle of the Werewolf.

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Remember that other film Baker left The Howling for? Well, that one came out pretty good as well.  An American Werewolf In London, like The Howling the year before; showcased the most famous monster transformation ever shown and is still imitated to this day even in an age of CGI. Rick Baker and John Landis took what Rob Bottin did on The Howling and ran with it, adding a more detailed and longer lycanthropic morphing with stronger psychological underpinnings. What’s great about this film as compared to modern films featuring werewolves is that it doesn’t shy away from the brutality of the werewolf myth (I’m looking at you, Underworld). More than any other monster, the werewolf truly mutilates its victims with a primal zeal.

This showcased beautifully in Griffin Dunne’s death scene as well as the chaos and death caused by the creature in the big Piccadilly Circus finale. The design of the creature is original and very different from what we saw in The Howling, yet just as effective and terrifying. Lastly, David Naughton gives a wonderfully empathetic performance in a story that is probably the best examination of ”The Werewolf Curse” we’ve seen yet. His nightmares are truly disturbing and the actor sells it with his reactions upon waking. John Landis deftly navigates the tone of the film between realism and a lighter comedic tone to make for one of the best horror films of the ‘80s. Remember, this was a director who was known for Animal House and The Blues Brothers.

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This year brought us a new genre that, over the previous history of film; audiences had barely glimpsed: the Fantasy Film or as it was called then Sword and Sorcery. Between Dragonslayer, Excalibur and Time Bandits, we can see the foundations laid for a genre that would explode in the 2000s. In these films lay the seeds of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.

In fact, John Boorman’s idea of a King Arthur- film was turned down by United Artists who offered him Lord of the Rings instead but when Boorman turned in a three hour, one film script; it was seen as too costly and Excalibur was made instead. Thusly, much of the design of Excalibur was originally intended for the Tolkien adaptation. Ponder that the next time you watch it and think of what could’ve been. In the end, this was Adult Fantasy.

Grim, brutal and epic all at the same time, Excalibur is a wonderful mix of the harsh reality of Medieval Europe and Epic Fantasy. The mud caked sword battles in the rain, the realistic armor and the overcast, dark countryside of Ireland all echo what we would see in the HBO/George R.R. Martin adaptation 30 years later. The magical elements are almost hallucinatory and beautifully designed.

Again, as was common practice in Magic Hour; the cast grounds the fantastic events with many new faces that we would become very familiar with in the years to come like Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren and Gabriel Byrne. This approach to fantasy films would be extended into the next year as well.

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Disney’s experimental streak would continue this year with Dragonslayer, a co-production with Paramount. Again, this would be seen as one of the experimental failures of the time but has since become a cult classic. Another realistic approach to fantasy, the production’s philosophy of rejecting the more romanticized conventions of medieval society can best be summed up by screenwriter Hal Barwood: “Our film has no knights in shining armor, no pennants streaming in the breeze, no delicate ladies with diaphanous veils waving from turreted castles, no courtly love, no holy grail. Instead, we set out to create a very strange world with a lot of weird values and customs, steeped in superstition, where the clothes and manners of the people were rough, their homes and villages primitive and their countryside almost primeval, so that the idea of magic would be a natural part of their existence.”

This design extends to one of the best and most realistic dragons ever designed for a film. Vermithrax Pejorative is both beautiful and scary. The scenes of him flying were an eye-opener of special effects innovation in 1981. This dragon went on to inspire George R.R. Martin himself and is even mentioned by name in the fourth episode of the HBO series. What sinks the film ultimately is the “Star Wars Narrative” again with Peter MacNicol playing basically a curly haired version of Luke Skywalker with Ralph Richardson doing a Fantasy- imitation of Obi Wan Kenobi right down to an early death scene. There are some original elements in the story with the lottery subplot highlighting the unfairness of the caste system but overall, the unoriginal story is in contrast to such an original design approach on all other levels.

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Time Bandits is the last fantasy film of this year and was a smash hit at the time. Today, it stands as a wonderfully inventive film with a primary cast made up of little people and a 10- year old boy. Something else I’m betting you couldn’t get away with today. Again, a director known for mostly comedy, Terry Gilliam in this case was given a larger budget to realize a fantastic world and bombards the viewer with the innovative set design and story elements that he had refined in his Monty Python days. One thing you can say about this film is that you really can’t tell where it’s going next which makes for a lot of fun intermixed with some pretty deep philosophical musings about the nature of reality and the relationship between good and evil. Even the ending is a darkly unexpected surprise.

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Science Fiction continued its adult theme with what I consider to be one of the most underrated films of the 80’s: Outland. Essentially “High Noon in space”, this film features a wonderful production design that is very reminiscent of Alien. This film introduced two elements that were very innovative for the time. In the midst of Star Wars and Alien, this is a film with no robots or aliens. Just people. In a way, it makes the movie more frightening knowing that the enemy isn’t a xenomorphic extraterrestrial but just another person that looks like you and me.

The other thing that struck me at the time is the use of traditional firearms as opposed to the high tech laser guns seen in everything since 1977. James Cameron (a close friend of the director Peter Hyams) would later use this to even greater effect in Aliens. These two choices in narrative greatly ground the film in its’ gritty “Dodge City” realism. The film is also heavy on gory death scenes that remind one of how dangerous the environment of space is to human beings. Unfortunately, audiences at the time didn’t appreciate it and the film made back just a little more than its production cost. Another Magic Hour experiment that failed.

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Science Fiction saw another dark western that year in the form of the Mad Max- sequel called The Road Warrior here in the states. Where Outland was High Noon, this was “The Man With No Name” transported to an apocalyptic future. Considered one of the greatest sequels and action films ever made, this has something in common with The Empire Strikes Back. Like that sequel, George Miller’s continuation of Mad Max is a great example of how you take a low budget film and expand upon it when given a larger budget without sanding down the rough edges that made the first film such a hit. Like Empire it embraces the world the first film created and shows us more of it in more detail. Add to that, more innovative concept design which by this point in film seems routine. The motorcycle gang with their punk look and football pads is still imitated today.

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In 1981, Magic Hour included two action films as well. Escape From New York was a low budget offering from John Carpenter featuring another dystopian future but unlike The Road Warrior, this future is a paranoid, oddball vision of our world turned upside down by corrupt politics. This is the science fiction equivalent of The Parallax View or All The Presidents’ Men.

Carpenter himself explains the subversive nature of the idea being inspired from watching the Watergate scandal unfold: “The whole feeling of the nation was one of real cynicism about the President. I wrote the screenplay and no studio wanted to make it. It was too violent, too scary, too weird.” This was in 1976, but just a few years after Star Wars, the same studios were feeling a little more daring in this altered climate of trying out new ideas. Magic Hour it seems, gave Escape a second chance. Kurt Russell gives us the second great anti-hero of this year along with Max Rockatansky and his name is Snake Plissken. In this character and in the tone of the film itself, we can see this new adult version of science fiction starting to have fun with its own concepts. This innovative future landscape is also one of the forerunners of “cyberpunk” along with some other films of this time. William Gibson himself sites this movie as one of the inspirations for his novel Neuromancer. Like Star Wars, this film reveled in experimentation on a small budget and proving to be a huge financial success in much the same way.

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The other action film of that time also introduced us to a new iconic character, not quite an antihero but another wonderful tweaking of past movie conventions. This time we get a riff on the James Bond series combined with a big budget updating of 30’s adventure serials with Raiders of the Lost Ark.

With this film, the combined forces of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford introduce us to Indiana Jones who’s essentially James Bond with bad luck. Of all the Indy Films, this one is the grittiest, most violent (not gory, that’s Temple of Doom) and most energetic of the series. It also happens to be the best action film ever made. As comic book- inspired as this world is, the production design and performance of Ford especially, ground us again to make it all feel tangible and possible. It’s the little moments Ford creates with the character that makes the audience identify with him and make him feel like a real person. Think of the moment when Indy has just knocked out the mechanic of the flying wing and is slowly sneaking up on the pilot when the huge German guard calls for him to step down and fight. First off, this would never happen to any of the suave spies of the 60’s films. Second, Indy’s reaction was something unexpected and wonderfully fresh as he wearily holds up his hand in a “yeah, yeah, just give me second” gesture. It’s a small moment but groundbreaking for action heroes and a style that would be endlessly imitated for decades to come in the likes of John McClain, Riggs and Murtaugh and countless others. As was common of this time, a fresh, innovative concept gave rise to a new sub genre that studios continue to mine to this day.

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There were two huge experimental films this year. One live-action and the other, animated. The live-action film was about as experimental as one could get. Remember the “Dawn of Man”- sequence in 2001? Imagine extending that into a feature film. That’s what we have with Quest For Fire. Like 2001, this film plays with traditional narrative to tell a very simple, straightforward story of a Cro-Magnon tribe from 80,000 years ago in crises when they lose there only source of fire. This is an amazing feat of visual storytelling from director Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Name Of The Rose, The Bear, Seven Years In Tibet). For its entire running time, not one word of any recognizable language is heard, only the language of the various tribes in the film, the main one being created by the author of A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess. The story is told entirely through performance, action and how the characters interact with one another.

Surprisingly, this film has many moments of humor, jeopardy and pathos. By the end, I found myself truly invested in these characters and found them pretty likeable. I loved the existential frame of mind it put me in when I realized that it doesn’t matter if it’s a caveman fighting to save his community or a man in the 20th century trying to escape his dead end job, human struggle is always there. It just changes form and in the end the most important thing is our relationships with each other.

You have to love a film that is so unique that its’ big event in the third act is man figuring out the missionary position. It seems simple but the film frames it as the evolutionary leap it may have been when you realize that ALL other animals on earth do not look at each others face during sex and how the human need for contact created this more intimate version of out of an act who’s sole purpose is procreation. The most amazing thing about this film though, is the Box Office. This was a hit in 1981. An anthropological study of early man with no discernible dialogue made a tidy profit and received rave reviews. That is something I’m almost certain, would not occur in 2015.

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The final Magic Hour Film of ’81 is what probably opened the American mind to the idea of animation being not just for children. This new, adult take on science fiction gave us Heavy Metal that year. Before North America raved over adult Anime like Akira and Ghost In The Shell, there was this interesting take on the French magazine “Metal Hurlant”. A kind of Graphic Novel, short story publication; this film brought some of the stories from the magazine alive along with some original ones written by Alien’s Dan O’ Bannon. Full of graphic violence, sex, nudity and a heavy metal soundtrack; this was new territory for the American movie going public and would signal the beginning of something new in animation, opening the genre beyond Disney and Looney Tunes. Despite being somewhat juvenile and sexist at times and having an uneven pace and narrative, the film was something new and a financial success.

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Oh yeah, there was also Heartbeeps. Andy Kaufman plays a robot. Great. So, anyway….

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That’s it for 1981 which left a lot of genre fans breathless but that’s nothing compared to the last year of Magic Hour so come back for Part 3 where I’ll close this out. In the meantime, please discuss the merits of these in the talkback and as usual, bring up any films you think I might have missed.

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Coupon The Movie

  • KilliK

    love those covers. they represent a special era long gone now.

  • Tarmac492.1

    hey Coup. im at a day xmas party, will read tomorrow when I am sober!!

  • Tarmac492.1

    relatively sober. ” You wanna talk to God? Lets go see Him together.,Ive got nothing better to do.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Cool man. Let me know what you think.

  • Stalkeye

    Fantastic article, Coup!

    I knew you couldn’t leave out EFNY as it is my personal favorite film of the 80’s and in general. JC’s dystopian classic resonates to me on various levels due to Carpenter’s ambition and a premise that has never been done on cinema not to mention how the film provided a quick look at the future; high crime rates, a “racist police state” and then there’s the scene in which a radical extremist crashes the air force one into a giant building. (Sounds chillingly familiar.)

    I am certainly aware that carp was inspired by the Watergate scandal as were a few directors, writers and so forth. I wanted to cover that particular topic but never really got around to it. Gibson calling EFNY a forerunner to cyberpunk? Well that’s a compliment of the highest order however, that honor really goes to Marvel’s Deathlok. (1974) Not only did it predate Escape, but there were some similarities between the film and the comic.

    Also the comic was the very first to feature this thing called “Virtual Reality” y’know, like the Lawnmower Man, Matrix to Assassins Creed? Plenty of elements you see from Scifi Movies and Videogames were practically borrowed by that very obscure comic.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/f/f8/AstonishingTales25.jpg/250px-AstonishingTales25.jpg

  • ErnestRister

    Prior to Heavy Metal were films like Yellow Submarine (NYCC winner), Bakshi’s Fritz the Cat, Coonskin, Watership Down, Pink Floyd the Wall…in my brain, I tend to lump those together with Heavy Metal.

  • Excellent work again, Mr. Coupon. Totally agree about the werewolves in “The Howling”. They look like I envision them. Other movie werewolves are often either too ape-like or just plain wolves, walking on four legs.
    I apparently love “Dragonslayer” much more than you though. The whole subplot about the arrival of Christianity is pretty clever. And while there is a some “Star Wars” narrative there, I also see a lot of influences from Tolkien, regarding the story of a little twerp who discovers he can be a hero too.

  • I LOOOOOOOOVE Dragonslayer.

  • I_am_better

    “The Watcher in the Woods” sounds interesting…

  • I_am_better

    “Outland” fucking rules. Might be one of my favorite scifi-flicks.

  • I_am_better

    “Quest for Fire” was the film that introduced us to the greatness that is Ron Perlman.

  • The_Troll_King

    Lol. Oh man. You left out the full review of Heartbreeps. I remember that movie for some reason even though I was about four years old at the time.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Yes, I remember that character although I’ve never read it. I think there were a few different influences for cyberpunk but you can’t beat film for reaching the biggest audience which is probably why Gibson name dropped the film although who knows? Maybe he’s read those too. Not only that but Escape feels very comic book inspired which makes me wonder if Carpenter could have come across this title. Perhaps Deathlok inspired the film itself. Either way, it certainly sounds interesting.
    Also, if you’re a big fan of Escape then I have to mention Jack Womack’s “Dryco series” which is heavily influenced by this film. The first book takes place in New York in 2033 and is a dystopian alternate future run by a mega corporation creating an ultra violent NY much like this film. The first book in the series is called Elvissey. Check them out.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Yeah, I was about 8 when it use to play on HBO constantly. Not too long ago, I found it in the DVD bin at Big Lots. Trust me. It’s best forgotten.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Mine too. One of the most underrated science fiction films ever made in my opinion.

  • I_am_better

    Hell yes. And If I hear anyone ever mention of remaking that, there will be hell to pay.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    The werewolves in The Howling look frightening and dangerous and there’s something about those huge pointed ears that gives them a kind of satanic presence which ups the creep factor for me.
    Oh, I love Dragonslayer. I watch it at least once a year despite the one story gripe I have with it. It’s just when you look at what Disney was trying to do, there’s just a little too much reliance on that narrative so I’m kind of looking at it here with a larger perspective. But I still love the film and the score by Alex North is amazing.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    I can definitely see why you would lump those together. I Love Yellow Submarine. Taken together, they represent the evolution of the animation genre I think so maybe that’s why you think of them that way. The fact that Heavy Metal came about has a lot to do with those films you mentioned that came before but I think HM took a further step in that those other films were subverting the genre tropes of talking animals and surreal environments but Heavy Metal left all that behind and went with a more direct approach with human characters and a story that could be filmed as live action if one so chose. It also didn’t hold back on the sex and violence like so many other live action R rated films of the time. I would say that’s what makes it the definite forerunner of anime in America.
    Oh man, Watership Down is a hauntingly awesome movie as well

  • Coupon: The Movie

    And Everett McGill. Big Ed is one of my favorite Twin Peaks characters.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    It is. An awesome experiment from Disney and I think it works.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    It’s hard not too. Fuckin dragon still looks awesome.

  • I_am_better

    Yup. And I love that he and Wendy Robie turned up in “People under the stairs” playing a very different couple. What a crazy pair that was.

  • I_am_better

    Cool. I like some of these movies from Disney’s weird phase, like “The Black Hole” and “Tron”

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Why not? They rape everything now. There will probably be a PG-13 Outland starring Channing Tatum probably.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Yeah. They’re both still around so I can’t wait to see what happened to those characters in the 2017 Twin Peaks.

  • I_am_better

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Yeah, they made some really interesting stuff. Even though it’s just outside my Magic Hour premise, I would throw Something Wicked This Way Comes in there as well.

  • Stalkeye

    This is why the 80’s Kicked all asses!

  • Finally read this one too. More awesome stuff.

    Strangely never heard of Quest for Fire. That’s going on the to watch list.

  • Did you noticed Palpatine in the movie?

  • Coupon: The Movie

    I hear they’re going to add that word to the Hollywood sign.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    I think you’ll like it. Very simple story with a unique approach.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Hard not too. The sacrificial lamb. He played that a lot in movies back then before Jedi. I remember in The Awakening (which was an early 80’s Mummy movie starring Charlton Heston) he played a psychologist who is murdered with his own syringe. Pretty gruesome.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Good list but I have to say that I half agree with you and half with Asimov. By that, I mean I like the first half of the 80’s but the second half looses me. Too slapsticky and too damn bright. Notice even on that list how the majority of those movies come from 1980 to 1984.

  • I_am_better

    See it, man!

  • ErnestRister

    The Hidden. Legend. Young Sherlock Holmes. Highlander. Aliens. Coccoon. Alien Nation. The Abyss.

  • Sagamanus

    I’ve never seen Quest for Fire. Not all the way through anyway. It has an imitator of which I cannot recall the name of now.

  • ErnestRister

    Clan of the Cave Bear?

  • Sagamanus

    Umh, I don’t think so. But maybe I’m thinking of that, I’m not sure.

  • ErnestRister

    Did it star Ringo, Dennis Quaid, and Shelley Long?

  • Sagamanus

    Most certainly not.

  • ErnestRister

    Iceman with Timothy Hutton?

  • Sagamanus

    Nope. I think this one is similar in arrangement. Meaning a group is involved.

  • I don’t think I ever saw The Awakening. Recommended?

  • Quest For Fire is awesome from beginning to end.
    This movie has no equivalent, no other cavemen movie has gone that far into creating a realistic depiction of the stone age.

  • The exceptions that proves the rule.

  • Right. Despite my overall despise for the decade of suck, I do have to admit and agree with you there was some really interesting cinematic experiences going on in Hollywood in the realm of entertainment cinema in the first half of the decade. It was at the time when the whole 80s mentality had not yet taken complete hold on Hollywood.

  • ErnestRister

    Back to the Future. Back to the Future Part III. Die Hard. Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Willow.

  • This list was made by somebody who only watched the big movies that had big advertizements and dominated the marquees. Where’s The Quiet Earth? Letters To A Dead Man? The Thing? The Brother From Another Planet? Brazil?

    And technically, 1980 is still the 70s, like 1970 is the last year of the 60s. Ops!

    The name of this list is incorrect. It should be called the “Top 10 Best POPULAR SF films of the 80s”. I think it’s sad that the 80s is constantly defined as if it’s some measure of quality by the popularity and easy minimum common denominator accessibility of those movies, not by quality or cinematic experimentalism.

  • As I said, the exceptions that proves the rule. And by the way, I stopped being enamorated by the two Back To The Future sequels since the early 2000s. They really are not that good as I remembered them back in the day.

    And Willow? Really? Willow?? Christ, even back then I realised it was a cheap knock off of Star Wars, and I was an easily impressionable teen back then.

  • I_am_better

    Imitator? Would that be “The Clan of the Cave Bear”?

  • I_am_better

    Never mind. Rister beat me to it, I see

  • ErnestRister

    Oh, trust me, Willow was the first shock to the gut, Back to the Future Part Two was the second, Last Crusade was the the third, Always was the fourth, Hook was the fifth….long pause…

  • Stalkeye

    Well, the way I see it, the 80’s was the defining decade of High concept SciFi and adventure films. Sure you had greats like Soylent green, Omega man, the POTA sequels and of course Star Wars, but the envelope was pushed with gems -Robocop, Terminator, Escape from New York, Blade Runner, Predator and so much more that they became instant franchises.

    Not to mention that said Films are so venerable and memorable that they are being rebooted very often. These Movies are POPULAR for a reason be it content, story, dialogue, soundtrack and cinematography, there is plenty to love about the aforementioned classics.

  • Yes, the honourable exceptions that proves the rule. But a time is not defined by the exceptions but by the majority, and that fucking sucked donkey’s balls! And that’s the truth and you know it.

  • Yeah, man, how I understand you. Shall we tell sad tales of our cinematic traumas?

  • ErnestRister

    Batman…

  • Sagamanus

    I was positive it was in the same vein as Quest for Fire, but I tried Wiki’ng it, Neanderthal films that is, and only that and Iceman came up. Maybe it was one of those or something else. I think it had a P in the title as the first letter. Again I can’t be sure.

  • MissyLT

    Really great stuff.

  • KilliK

    the “exception which proves the rules” is not what you think it is. it’s a fallacy you keep using without even realizing why it logically doesnt make any sense. And I have already told you a millions times before, LEARN.TO.USE.PROPER.ARGUMENTS.

  • KilliK

    fallacy. try again.

  • KilliK

    fallacy. try again..

  • KilliK

    This is hilarious. I wonder in how many “exceptions” the rule will start “breaking” than getting “proved”.

  • KilliK

    one of those:

    http://bit.ly/1Q2kWT8

  • Toruk_Makto

    Ignore Asimov regarding the 80’s.

    His bizarre crusade of disdain regarding this time period is comparable to Killik’s hate of the lovely Jennifer Lawrence. It’s a mental anomaly, all sentient beings have them (our bodies aren’t perfect why should our brains be). Just not all in the same place.

    It shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    The truth is the 80’s kicked all kinds of ass up and down the spectrum and that’s all we need to know.

  • Stalkeye

    Preach it!

  • Everything you do not like isa fallacy to you. You have to accept the fact some people don’t like the same things you do and they might have their own good reasons for it.
    Except fucking Abrams Trek, that crap is absolute irredeamably bad.

  • It«’s like a movie: there’s some things you liked, but the majority was bad and you hated about the movie. Therefore, you say, this movie is bad. Same thing for, say, decades. The majority of the stuff done them i loathed, therefore, i think the decade was bad. Simple argument, nothing too trasncendental about that.

    and your zealotry toward even the smallest criticism of that decade makes you look like a fanatic, the same thing that makes you dislike the fanboys of Abrams. Think about it. Take it easy and realise not everybody like the same things you do, no matter how much you disagree with.

  • The Tim Burton or the Schumaker one?

  • ErnestRister

    Since we’retalking about the 80’s, the Burton film (of which I am not a fan).

  • I liked the second much more. but the first… let me say, this, i rarely feel a desire to revisit if, if you know what i mean.

  • Abe

    Are you, of all people, calling for tolerance here? I know this will fall on deaf eyes but come on Asi. That’s not an approach you can ever ask for.

  • It’s the apporach i always ask for. just because you know me for the exceptions doesn’t mean that is the rule concerning me.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    No, Asimov. 1970 is NOT the last year of the sixties. That is a fact, not a matter of opinion, as I’ve told you before. You’re confusing decade labeling with the Gregorian calendar yet again.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    His opinions on the movies and the culture of the time are one thing and can be debated. What puzzles me is how he tries to shift time, in defiance of logic and common sense, in order to justify his views. It’s asking to claiming 2 + 2 = 5 because you don’t like the number 4.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Hell if I know. Though I suppose if one could bend time and space with their will they would win any argument.
    Guess I can’t blame em for trying.

  • 1970 IS the last year of the sixties. You need to read more about the matter. but just think about this: there are no Year Zero. Thew first year of the Common Era we live in is year one, isn’t it? One plus 10 years (a decade) makes year 11, and so forth. Just because it became common coloqualism to say a year ending in zero is the begining of the decade does not make it so. As in many things, common parleur is not entirely correct to the true definitions. Really, it doesn’t take much to realise why all decades, centuries and millenia stars with the year One.

    The labelling, which is mere common coloquialism, is incorrect. just calling on the popular use doesn’t make it correct and right. That’s how it is. Yoiu, who when you talk with the Abrams Trek fanboys and calls them on their insistence on perceived wisdom instead of hard fact, you should know about this. Vox Populi is not the best argument there is, is it?

    In fact, it’s even incorrect when we say a year as a number, when in fact a year date is a cardinal. This year, to be exaclt, is the 2015th year of the Common Era, (once called AD = Anno Domini).

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    “You need to read more about the matter”

    No, you do. I’m already well versed on the subject. It’s possible you could be ignorant, but I don’t believe you’re ignorant. You just have an inability to admit when you’re wrong, a kind of mental block on troubling matters.

    There is a distinct difference between the dating of the Gregorian calendar – starting from a year zero – and the labeling of decades by their common year. Too different systems. That is where you’re making your error.

    In my remarks, I’m not referring to the Gregorian calendar, the marking of centuries and decades based on it, and the common cultural misconceptions that arise thereof (such as the date of the Millennium), at all, so a lot of your post was completely redundant. I’m referring specifically to the grouping of decades and centuries by their shared year, which is an entirely different proposition. To wit:

    The 20th century is: 1901 – 2000
    The 1900s are: 1900 – 1999

    Similarly, the sixties are, by their very label’s definition, the years 1960-1969. Not 1961 – 70 – which makes absolutely no logical sense. The same goes for any other decade grouped together by number as a category. What you’re referring to would constitute the seventh decade of the 20th century – or the 197th decade BC if it pleases you, but not the sixties.

    Please don’t try to argue this point and insult my intelligence. It is an inarguable, logical, accepted FACT (and not a populist one, either), need I spell that out again. You don’t get to decide what it is, and nor do I. We can argue subjective, personal opinions on movies all day long, but not factual matters like this. An appeal toVox populi has nothing to with my claim.

    Also, there are specific reasons why cultural “misconceptions” arise around eras, due to the muddling of Western dating calendars and revisions over the centuries – and they are not entirely mathematically wrong, either. But I won’t muddy the waters by getting into that. Let’s see if you can accept the above point first.

  • Two dating systems make no sense. There is only one. If people chose to accept the wrong one just because it’s easier, just because it caters to the common love for round numbers it uses round numbers, that’s their problem. But things are as they are.
    And I have no patience to debate things that shouldn’t even be a issue to begin with. My live and of my family have made a turn and not for the better at all, and I no longer have the stomach for petty issues. If you disagree, whatever. I don’t care who wants to be using the dating system wrong, it’s their problem. From now on I’m only here to have pleasant talks because that’s what I need in this dark times of my life right now, and all else can fuck off.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    There aren’t two dating systems being discussed here. Clearly I didn’t explain it well enough, or you are simply unwilling to understand. One isn’t even a dating system at all, just a point of set logic.

    You’re the one applying the terminology erroneously in this case. There’s no dispute about it; it simply is. I didn’t make the rules. As for your personal troubles, that’s your business, and I wish you well in any difficulties that you’re currently facing. But that doesn’t excuse you from being wrong. I would say the same to anyone who posted an incorrect fact. Opinions on movies and other things are a different matter altogether, and everyone is entitled to their own.

  • KilliK

    but it is a fallacy you are using. is the water wet? well, yes it is. try to use proper arguments next time.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Great stuff. Cool list. Well written again. The Howling is great. I believe John Sayles was one of the screenwriters. The dude knows how to write. He also wrote Piranha. No mention of Alligato?. A JAWS rip-off for sure, but a damn entertaining one.EDIT–perhaps the rip off is why it is not Magic Hour?

  • Tarmac492.1

    I still think AWIL is the better of the two werewolf films. The scene when David phones his little sister to tell her he loves her is poignant. It also has great humour ad some good scares. Love the brutality of the deaths. I’ve said before, I like the second, in the dark transition better than the lengthy first one. I like it left to my imagination.

  • Abe

    You’ve got to know by now that the Asimovlives persona is someone that will never grant an inch to anyone he disagrees with. Not only do you not show tolerance you will openly mock and insult people that you disagree with and when you’re wrong or in danger of losing an argument you re-frame the debate. Look at what happened right here. Killik pointed out mistake in your phrasing of an argument. What did you do? You attempted to change the topic to try and put Killik on the defensive.

    I’ll grant you that you’ve gotten a lot better on the SN than you used to be, but don’t call it exceptions.

  • KilliK

    you are confused in your argument. it is YOU, who establish the rule that all 80s movies are bad. By providing myriad examples of good 80s movies, we BREAK that rule of yours, we showcase it doesnt have any merit. Your retort “but they are exceptions which prove the rule” is nonsensical, illogical, you dont even explain how they prove that, you are simply parroting an old adage which many people have misinterpreted and misused for years.

    I told you, learn to use proper arguments.

  • KilliK

    he is not using another dating system, he is talking about the commonly accepted grouping of the decades. Dont confuse the one with the other.

  • KilliK

    hey, I dont hate JLaw, I just find it hilarious to mock such a successful young actress who happens to be chubby, and witness the reactions of her fans. I mean, I have masturbated quite a few times with her fappening photos, how can I hate the Cow?

  • Tarmac492.1

    Vermithrax Pejorative is a waaaay better name for a villain than Kylo Ren.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Hmn, An enigma wrapped in a puzzle.

  • I saiod this to Turd and I say this to you: from now on, due to personal and family problems, I only want to have friendly chat in here, and I have no desire or patience to go on debating things that I have a firm opinion i’ll not change especially from arguments from zealotry. I now want to have just friendly talks to anybody, you, Turd, everybody. This type of debate i no longer want or care. There are too important things happening in my life now, dark bad things, I just want the talk of friends.

  • Ichanged th subject because since yesterday something bad happened in my life and I no longer have the patience nor the desire to go on useless debates like this that go nowhere. I just what to have fun here and for a while forgot the dark clod that hovers my life. Not too much to ask, is it?

  • Tarmac492.1

    sorry that you are going through some shit. Life has a tendency to do that. Hope everything works out. Art is a good way to temporarily escape the pains of our existence.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I remember the first time I saw Raiders in the theater. I was 9. Went with the rents. Man, the audience was so involved. What a joyous, thrilling movie. I dare say one of the best ever. To this day, there is not one second of it that bores me.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Karen Allen was quite lovely–albeit non-glamorous–in Raiders and Starman. A real woman!!

  • Art and the company, even online, of friends.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Love the Wrightson drawings in Cycle of the Werewolf.Boiney.

  • KilliK

    Virtual Reality was groundbreaking technology back in the 70s. Unfortunately, it has failed to be commercialized. let’s hope Oculus VR will change this.

  • KilliK

    and the nakedness of Rae Dawn Chong.

  • KilliK

    she is probably a WWE champion now.

  • KilliK

    ah, sorry to hear that. ok, mate, we ll leave it here, let’s talk about more important things like cinema. and I hope your personal troubles will quickly leave you.

  • Thank you, man, i really appreciate it.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    The Hidden is fucking awesome. Saw it again not too long ago and it totally holds up. Legend looks great but the story bores me to tears. The Star Wars Narrative was just played out by that point and the 80’s synth score by Tangerine Dream really dates it for me. It’s what my film instructor would call beautiful looking wallpaper. Casting Tim Curry as Darkness was brilliance though. Young Sherlock Holmes to me, is just an average film. Highlander is fun but it definitely suffers from the 80’s silliness especially in the modern day scenes and casting Connery to play a Spaniard. Aliens is a stone cold classic. Cocoon also doesn’t stand the test of time and comes off as one of the many ET clones of the time and is trying way too hard to be an audience pleaser. That breakdancing scene is painful to watch now. Alien Nation is a good premise but an average film. District 9 proved to me that the concept wasn’t mined to it’s full potential. The Abyss, another classic even though that “uplifting ending” still feels like it came out of nowhere.
    All said, I talk about this in Part 3 and how Magic Hour ends at 1982 but it’s not a clearly deleniated line. There’s some bleed through for years to come. I would even look at ’83 and ’84 as a transition period between Magic Hour and the rest of the decade. I’m not saying these films aren’t fun but they’re no longer taking the approach of “this is really happening” and invest all of there energy into that POV but everything becomes more comic booky and a little silly and that is slightly less interesting to me but it doesn’t mean that I won’t watch these films if they pop up on cable. I’m just split on the ’80’s and definitely prefer the more experimental, reality driven approach of the first half of the decade.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Willow. the poor mans Lord of the Rings.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Oh God, Always and Hook. The first chinks in the armor that is Spielberg.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    I kind of mention those in Part 3 with a great Starlog cover. Right there with you on that one.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Short Circuit, Howard the Duck, Batteries Not Included, Earthgirls Are Easy, Flashdance, Top Gun….

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Lol. Hopefully Ed ran off with Norma. Dude deserves to get that Mod Squad pie.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    He would also kick Ren’s ass.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Caveman! Still love that movie. Zug Zug?

  • Coupon: The Movie

    I’m pretty sure it’s Clan of the Cave Bear.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Yep.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Yeah, they were great. I was really disappointed with Sliver Bullet because they lacked the atmosphere of those illustrations.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Yeah. I still remember when he shoots the swordsman that it was the biggest laugh I’ve ever seen from a theater audience to this day. I mean. they ERUPTED with laughter.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Yeah, I would have to agree.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Partly, yeah. It’s also inspired by Jaws rather than Star Wars but an argument could be made that it got MADE because of Star Wars’ success so it could probably be included. However, it does feel a little more like a low budget AIP film from the 70’s like Food of the Gods or Empire of the Ants. I love John Sayles work in these films. He really has fun with all the genre conventions.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    It’s hard to say. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. It’s hard to find on DVD and doesn’t show on TV really. I remember it being pretty atmospheric and creepy though. It’s definitely the most “horror-like” of any Mummy movie I’ve seen including the Universal originals.

  • ErnestRister

    MACHA!!!

  • ErnestRister

    Empire of the Sun was a masterwork, the critics kicked Spielberg in the balls, Spielberg was lost in the wilderness for a few years.

  • ErnestRister

    I can’t find a place to rent The Hidden, gonna have to buy the thing. Terrific movie.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    It’s one of my favorite Spielberg films of all. It’s a genuine masterpiece.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    It’s worth the purchase. The chase scene in the beginning is amazing. The car stunts look real and dangerous. I still love when the alien comes into the jail cell with a rocket launcher and points it at the guy behind bars: “Bye, bye.”

  • ErnestRister

    That was the first time George Lucas kicked me in the balls. There would be more ball-kicking to come. But some people like Willow, so…

  • I dislike all of those movies, with Short Circuit and Batteries more like I liked it back in the day and now looking back and thinking what was I thinking?

  • Indeed. It also the movie that made me progressively more disenchanted with Ron Howard. His true masterpiece is his daughter Bryce Dallas.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    You’re a better man than me. I remember being disappointed by those movies when I saw them and my opinion hasn’t changed. Ok, I liked Top Gun when I first saw it but boy did I do a 180 on that one in the following years.

  • I have hated and loathed Top Gun since I first had the displeasure to watch it back in the day (fortunately not in the theatres but later on VHS). When I once compared Abrams Trek’s portrait of Kirk as if he was the protagonist from Top Gun, that was not a compliment at all, but a very harsh criticism on my part.

  • Sagamanus

    A lot covered here that I should rewatch as well. I’ve seen bits and pieces of Dragonslayer but was never really into it. There was only Conan at the time and of course Krull. Most fantasy on screen was unwatchable even to B-Movie consumers. Well Willow was an exception, but I never hear of anyone talk about that.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Well. it’s not horrible. Just mediocre which is a big letdown after the Indiana Jones films. But Willow was only the beginning because then this happened…

  • ErnestRister

    I might be remembering it wrong, but I though Howard came out the year after Back to the Future and Willow was just before Roger Rabbit in 1988.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    I don’t remember either. I could’ve sworn Howard was 1987 but you might be right. I remember Howard and Willow being released really close together.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    That’s a good comparison. I liked Top Gun only because I was a 14 year old boy in the south who loved jets. Some friends cornered me and had me watch it on VHS. It was only years later I would realize that Top Gun was the poor man’s The Right Stuff.

  • There’s no even compare. The Right Stuff IS the right stuff.

  • ErnestRister

    Howard was ’86, Willow was ’88.