For a long time, August was considered “down time” by the Hollywood studios. After exhausting everyone on big budgets, big effects and big names from May-July, Hollywood would quietly burn off their B-movies and/or poorly screened movies in August.
In the last few years, that’s philosophy has seemed to change a bit. Some of the recent August releases may not be viewed as summer blockbusters, but at least they aren’t on the level of say… The Master of Disguise. August 2009 is looking especially good because a number of cool-looking movies are coming out like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, A Perfect Getaway, District 9, Inglourious Basterds and Halloween 2.
So to honor this month at the movies, here’s a handful of notable movies (notable to me for one reason or another) that were released 1980-1984 (I gotta keep it retro). Of course, you realize this is an obvious set up for a sequel.
How many have YOU seen?
Yes, this is a Chuck Norris movie and also an early entry into the ninja genre as well. So it has two thumbs up already, even if the movie is the usual silly, poorly scripted/acted Norris fare. Along with Good Guys Wear Black and A Force of One, The Octagon helped propel Chuck Norris to action movie legend status.
Jamie Lee Curtis was cementing her status as a “scream queen” with this movie, which followed the groundbreaking Halloween and kinda boring The Fog (both directed/co-written by John Carpenter). Unfortunately, this was not a Carpenter project and film is very cheesy & low budget and is smack dab in the middle of the disco era. Still weird to see Leslie Nielson as the jerk dad and not the bumbling Lt. Frank Drebin we all know and love.
An American Werewolf in London
It took me and incredibly long time to actually see this film. It was only about 5 years ago when I finally sat down and watched it. I always heard how great it was, but I kept putting it off, mainly because I’ve never really seen a werewolf movie that I thought as anything special. The movie is pretty weird, and featured much more horror than I thought this horror/comedy would. I haven’t seen a werewolf movie that turned out to be “anything special”. Special effects were great though.
Friday the 13th Part III
Historically, August seems to be a popular month to release horror movies and Friday the 13th Part III is one of the better films from that franchise and it cashed in on the early 80s 3-D craze to boot (which is becoming big business again). There’s FINALLY a 3-D version on DVD now, so despite owning the bare bones box set that came out a few years ago, I feel compelled to go pick it up someday.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Another movie I came in late on as it wasn’t until 2002 that I saw it. It was one of the first free movies I rented once I got my job at a video store and it definitely is a teen & 80s classic flick. Whenever I think of this movie, I think of oven-cooked french fires and honey mustard sauce because that’s what I was eating when I came home from at 12AM and stayed up late to watch this. Now why can’t Sean Penn do comedies anymore?
Writer/director Don Cascarelli followed up his horror classic Phantasm with this release starring Marc Singer as Dar, the Beastmaster. This was one of the earliest movies in the 80s sword & sorcery genre. I remember this movie being aired a lot on cable during the 80s, though I didn’t remember much about it. It wasn’t until about 7 years ago that I bought a DVD copy and was able to sit down and take it all in again.
The Star Chamber
Sure, I could talk Risky Business, except for the fact that I’m not a Tom Cruise, I’ve never seen the movie and I never intend to see it either. The Star Chamber, on the other hand, features one of my favorite actors Michael Douglas. It’s a decent little thriller featuring Douglas as a frustrated Supreme Court judge who joins and then later rebels against “The Star Chamber”, a shady group of judges that hires assassins when criminals slip through the justice system.
Lean, green and on the screen everywhere. Oops, wrong movie poster! C.H.U.D. has a pretty solid following, but I think it’s pretty overrated. I was pretty hyped to see this movie and when I did I was letdown. Hey, at least it has future Home Alone castmates John Heard and Daniel Stern!