Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Horror of the 80s

Oh, the 80s, how I love you, with your shiny, shiny outfits and your big hair and your eyeshadow that, some might say, unnecessarily always matched the bulk of the colour in your shiny, shiny outfits. I wouldn’t say that, obviously, because I love you. I love your trash and your glitter. I love to watch you strutting about in your power suit and your naughty stilettos while a power ballad plays behind you. The only thing I don’t love about you is Thatcher, but that’s not your fault, you didn’t know what she was up to marching in your direction in her sensible shoes with her bouffant of evil clutching her handbag of lies and destruction. No, that wasn’t your fault. Mind you, 80s, I do still know all the words to the Wham! Rap, that is, kind of, a little bit, your fault. I get ridiculed a lot for that, it’s my only party piece for when I’ve had a few drinks and it strangely never elicits the kind of awe and wonder and undying respect you’d imagine it would. But never mind 80s, you rule, the world just wasn’t ready for camp white British boys rapping.

Sorry about that. What I was trying to say there was that I love the 80s. I did a significant amount of my growing up in the 80s and that minxy little decade and its various cultural influences, have, for better or for worse, been largely responsible for the well-rounded, well-balanced adult I pretend to be. Given this, it is probably unsurprising that I love, love, LOVE, 80s horror, and lately I have been indulging that love and so the House of Jinx has been staging its own little 80s film festival. As this little enterprise has been, and continues to be (the current obsession shows no signs of abating any time soon, I’m a child of the 80s, I’m prone to fads, what can I say?), so much fun, I thought I’d share a small portion of my recent viewing treats with all of you, because you’re gorgeous, even though some of you weren’t even born in the 80s ( you know who you are), but that’s ok because the 80s forgive you and love you anyway, the 80s are good like that.

Return to Horror High (1987)

In 1982 Crippen High School was the scene of a series of brutal murders. And the killer was never caught. Several years later a film crew pitches up at the school intent on making a trashy movie about the murders. But when members of the crew begin disappearing, it seems the killer has returned.

I must have seen Return to Horror High at least three times and still find myself unbelievably confused by quite a lot of it. I ultimately understand what happens I’m just not at any point terribly sure of how we got there. I’m fairly sure I’m not an idiot, I’m fairly sure it is just actually confusing. But, confusing or not, it’s a hell of a lot trashy, blood soaked fun for a Saturday night and we all know that trashy and blood soaked is the best kind of fun. Highlights include the most 80s, soft focus, music video sex scene ever and a lady cop who appears to find dismembered corpses incredibly arousing. Oh, and there’s a five minute cameo from a baby George Clooney, but I’m one of those odd women who don’t really care about that, I’ve nothing against the man, I’m sure he’s a lovely gent, I’m just not really fussed.

Saturday the 14th (1981)

A family inherit an old house that turns out to be infested with monsters and chaos and ‘hilarity’ ensue.

I’d completely forgotten about this horror ‘comedy’ until Matthew reminded me of it. Has to be seen to be believed. Really it does.


Slaughter High (1986)


Eight people are invited to attend their 10-year high school reunion at their now-dilapidated high school only to find that a former classmate, whom they disfigured ten years ago in a prank gone wrong, has returned to seek revenge.

By God I love this film! I don’t know if I love it so because it’s so 80s it hurts or because of British people affecting bad American accents or simply because Caroline Munro is a goddess, but I would quite happily roll around naked with it if the opportunity presented itself.

The Return of the Living Dead (1985)



Bumbling medical supply warehouse workers Frank and Freddy accidentally release a noxious gas into the air while messing about in the basement. It soon becomes apparent that the vapours of this gas cause the dead to re-animate and soon Louisville, Kentucky is besieged by hungry zombies seeking their favourite food, brains.

I have to love The Return of the Living Dead even its only because I apparently subconsciously adopted Linnea Quigley’s character Trash as my style icon during my late teens and quite a lot of my twenties if I’m honest. (Feel obliged to point out that by that statement I don’t mean I wandered around starkers for a good ten years, this would be silly, especially given the British weather). But, even if that hadn’t been the case, and frankly I probably would have been included in a lot more family photos if it wasn’t, I still love The Return of the Living Dead because it’s just generally awesome. It’s deliciously 80s, terrifically funny, has some fantastic gore and is just plainly and simply all out, unabashed fun. It’s impossible to watch it without grinning constantly, it makes your face hurt but it’s worth it.

I've had so much fun this week, thanks, 80s, we must do this again. Soon.

10 comments:

  1. All those movies look so good, I must have them!! :D

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  2. I miss the cool poster art of 80s horror flicks....
    Looking through the Horror section of a video store back in those days was always so entertaining.

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  3. The '80s were the best time for horror. Enough said. :-)

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  4. I miss the smell of Blockbuster and the big box Vestron horror VHS tapes. Ah, nostalgia. :)

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  5. Coincidentally, Saturday the 14th is Margaret Thatcher's favourite film.
    Arthur Scargill writes in his memoirs that it was the only thing they had in common. ("Time and again," he recalls, "the most acrimonious meetings between us dissolved into happy laughter as we shared memories of the bit where the moster comes out of the fridge.")

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  6. Jenny, you should definately have a watch of most these. I think you'll love them. Hell, watch Saturday the 14th too.

    Oh, Andrew, me too. Good call. They were just the best.

    Hell yeah! You speak the truth, Morgan, and you sure know your 80s.

    That was the smell that dreams were made of, Doc. Mmmmmmm. I kind of want to know what other British smells you miss now. I remember missing Sunday dinner smells. Mind you I also missed drizzle and eventually decided to come back the ruddy North of England so I'm clearly not normal. It's so cold here today.

    Matthew, you are, in very simple terms, a damn genius. My face actually hurts from laughing. It actually HURTS!

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  7. My local Blockbuster used to smell of urine for some reason. It was originally a Ritz Video that got taken over but they never changed anything in there apart from the sign outside the shop so all the VHS tapes were still labelled as "Property of Ritz Video". I'm pretty sure that they never cleaned anything in there ever. They even had a "horror room" at the back where all the real nasties were hidden and, unlike the rest of the store, it always smelled like car air fresheners and B.O. in there.

    Other British smells I miss are fish & chip shops, secondhand book shops, the musty smell of my old Dansette record player which I used to play my "Adam and the Ants" singles on, and, yes, Sunday roast dinners.

    Everything in America smells of wet bread. I have no idea whatsoever why that is.

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  8. Brilliant! Love it! I never noticed the wet bread smell during my tour of duty in the good ole US of A, but somehow I'm not surprised it. It does smell different though. Fish and chip shops was definitely a big miss, so British, and I don't even like fish, or chips.
    I've still got a Ritz video card. Have never had the heart to get rid of it. As I recall our local branch also had the distinct aroma of urine and B.O. thinly masked by air fresheners too. Ah, fond memories.

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  9. I love the 80s, especially the slasher flicks. And I love your characterization of Margaret Thatcher ("in her sensible shoes with her bouffant of evil clutching her handbag of lies and destruction"). Actually, "Bouffant Of Evil" would be a great name for a band!

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