I grew up watching Tremors on late night cable stations like USA and I pretty much know it word for word at this point. It’s silly, it’s cheesy, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward are charming as handymen Earl and Valentine and they play off of each other well. They’re not quite bumbling, but they’re not that far off either. The rest of the townspeople are quirky without being too stereotypical or obnoxious. I absolutely love rootin’ tootin’ Reba here too, hilarious. The kills are entertaining while the creature effects/gore are gooey and great, if a little dated. There are a lot of plot conveniences but those matter about as much as the logic involved in creating a perspective shot from a subterrenean beast with no eyes. This film also looks better than it has any right to on HD DVD, I had never noticed that Rhonda didn’t shave her legs, huh..
“Released in 1984, C.H.U.D. is a B-Horror flick that uses the urban paranoia of the early 80’s to fuel its story of strange happenings beneath the streets of New York City. The title stands for “cannibalistic humanoid underground dweller” and the title really says it all. After years of rumors of things like alligators in the sewers, I suppose strange underground creatures that feed off of humans isn’t too much of a stretch. Helped along by a surprisingly star-filled cast, what the film lacks in gore it definitely makes up in cheesy fun.
8. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
Peter Weller plays Dr. Buckaroo Banzai a rock star, neurosurgeon, physicist, samurai hero who teams up with his band mates to save the world from the Red Lectroids from Planet 10. John Lithgow is Italian physicist Dr. Emilio Lizardo who has been imprisoned in a mental institution for the last 50 years. He was one of the original creators of the overthruster, which makes it possible for Buckaroo Banzai to travel through solid matter into the 8th dimension, inadvertantly bringing an alien lifeform back with him. It seems a bit scatterbrained at times, but it’s actually a lot of fun. With loads of overacting, 80’s rock music, and ridiculous shootouts it’s hard to go wrong.
7. Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)
A race of aliens that look like messed up clowns land their circus spaceship in the small town of Crescent Cove. They make their way through town shooting the residents with a gun that makes cotton candy cocoons around the people so that the clowns can later drink their liquid remains. Young couple Mike and Debbie band together with Officer Hanson to fight off the freaky funnymen, whose only weakness seems to be their big read noses. Creative effects, a decent amount of gore, and some great humor make this one a riot.
6. Flash Gordon (1980)
Bad actors reading bad dialogue on bad sets in bad costumes but to a kick ass soundtrack. Of course the bad acting excludes the great Max von Sydow who is oddly perfect as the villain Emperor Ming. Flash Gordon is the star quarterback for the NY Jets and Earth’s only hope when it comes under attack from the evil Ming. Along with journalist Dale and scientist Dr. Zarkov they travel to the planet mongo to face off with Ming. It’s silly and it knows it so it works.
5. Critters (1986)
An alien species known as the Crites crash their ship outside of a rural Kansas town. These critters are mean little bastards with an insatiable appetite. They’re followed by two bounty hunters who molded their appearance to look like two rock stars. These guys along with teenager Brad try to destroy the angry furballs before they eat everything in their path. Clever humor, funny gore, and solid production values make this one of my favorite horror movies from the 80’s.
It’s fairly hard to criticize a film when it intends to be campy B-movie fun. Bad dialogue…check. Bad acting…check. Overdone costumes and cheesy effects…double check. There are two things that prevent this from slipping into nonsense territory: 1) the incredibly fun synth soundtrack from Queen and 2) the casting and performance of Max von Sydow as the evil Emperor Ming. Only in the ’80s can something like this be pulled off, of course it helps that the film has a good enough sense of humor about itself that it’s laughing along with the audience the whole way.
“Flash, I love you! But we’ve only got 14 hours to save the Earth!”