From a time long forgotten. A time when big hair and ripped jeans ruled the streets. When Michael Jackson was someone to look up to. A time when break dancing was rampant. This time was known as "The 80's". And from the 80's came some of the worst movies of all time.
I have compiled a list of the most awesomely bad movies of the 80's. These films were some of my favorites as a child growing up. I like to relate them to driving past a car pile-up, you don't want to see what you are seeing but you always slow down to look. This was going to be a Top Ten List but # 11 was to dear too my heart to let go.
so without further delay lets look at the top eleven awesomely bad movies of the 1980's. And remember, except for #2 I like these movies.
WARNING: SPOILERS ARE INCLUDED IN SOME OF THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FILMS. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN ANY OF THESE MASTERPIECES AND ARE INTERESTED IN VIEWING THEM DON'T READ ANY FURTHER!!!
#11 THE STUFF (1985)
Directed by Larry Cohen
A weird yummy goop erupts from the earth and is discovered by a couple of miners. They taste it and decide to market it because it tastes so good, and makes you feel good as well. The American public literally eats up the new dessert known as The Stuff but, unfortunately, it takes over the brains of those who eat it, turning them into zombie-like creatures. Also another side affect is that it can kill you! Yogurt! Either by eating you alive from the inside-out or by simply covering you(suffocating) you to death.
It is up to ex-FBI agent David Rutherford and a kid named Jason(of course) to stop the spread of the mind-devouring dessert. It seems to me that if a national trend is causing people to die that more than just one kid and an FBI agent would respond to this. I guess they didn't want to make it a dull movie (Mission not accomplished).
The rest of the movie consists of face meltings and some very poor acting. I will admit that the face meltings are pretty cool. I just have a hard time believing the FDA would allow a yogurt like substance that can control your body onto the market, at least not without testing it first.
#10 THE TOXIC AVENGER (1985)
God do I love this horrible film!!! I own three versions of this it. That doesn't save it from this list though. It's the first film from Troma(King of bad movies) on my list, and it is The Toxic Avenger. Young janitor Melvin, a 98 lb weakling, is tricked into wearing a tutu and falls into a open barrel of toxic waste that's in the back of a truck that was passing by(don't ask, just accept it). The waste turned Melvin into "The Toxic Avenger" the first super Hero from New Jersey. With his new super size and strength he brings to justice those that caused his mutation, falls in love with a blind babe, and kills the mayor of Tromaville. The first movie that I know of to feature a death by a mop(and boy are they numerous). Dan Snow should have won an Oscar for his portrayal of "Cigar Face",a name that makes me laugh even today, who also plays the most insane cop I've ever seen in Toxic Avenger 4: Citizen Toxie. This movie is terribly gruesome and completely lacking of good taste. That’s why I love it so much. This movie is a must own for those who either: Love 80's flicks or awesomely bad movies(or both).
#9 RAWHEAD REX (1986)
WOW, is this a strange one. Rawhead Rex would actually be a good movie , if the special effects of the monster were not so incredibly horrible looking. I mean these were just awful. There is one scene in the trailer park at night when Rawhead is killing a lot of people that his eyes are glowing red and chasing people….to their doom! Besides this scene the monster looks like a remote controlled mask on a weight lifters body. With the death of the main hero’s(David Dukes) young son at the hands of Rawhead, the movie shows it is a no-boundaries slasher 80’s flick. It seems that old Rawhead can't harm a woman for some reason but males are open game. The ending is a joke, Some stone held by a woman shoots out cheesy special effects that kill Rawhead. I might sound like a broken record on this one but holy crap are the special effects bad. I am embarrassed to say that this movie scared the crap out of me when I was eight years old. Definitely a prime example of “The book is better than the movie”.(Clive Barker wrote the novel).
#8 976-EVIL (1989)
Directed by Robert Englund
Basically put, if you call 976-evil on your phone, ext. 666, you gain supernatural powers that somehow cause your death. Let me say that again, you call a 976 number and you get demonic powers!!! More specifically a boy finds card containing a Satanic phone number, boy meets girl, boy’s cousin finds number and uses it to kill girl and lots of other folks, boy’s cousin then turns into a hell spawn, and boy must save the day. No, it isn’t particularly scary or even very startling and it certainly doesn't make any sense, but it is rather gross in spots. Calling a 976 number for demonic powers, who thinks this crap up anyway? Oh that’s right…Freddy Krueger.
#7 BASKET CASE (1982)
Now this movie is a treat. Duane and his mutant Siamese brother Bilyle kill a lot of people in this cheese fest For it's time though the special effects were pretty good. For it's time mind you.
the seemingly innocent Duane Bradley arrives in New York City's Times Square accompanied by a wicker basket within which is something both disgusting and destructive. You guessed it! he's carrying his mutant, telepathic twin brother in a big basket. actually they were Siamese twins, separated against their will and seeking no prisoners taking revenge on the doctors who surgically parted them!
Of course, it falls upon Duane to keep his brother well-fed, and the basket-dweller's appetite ranges from hotdogs to hookers, with plenty of lowlife, skid-row snacks to be found in the seedy motel they wash up in. Naturally enough an assortment of new yorkers find themselves sliced and diced and the mysterious resident of the wicker home is later revealed to have been rescued from the rubbish bin before their father was sent on his way to greet his maker...seriously he was thrown in the trash.
With the two horrible sequels that followed it this one EARNED it’s spot on this list. The other two are just running off the fumes of this OG of awful “Twin brother is a mutated head with arms that used to be attached to my side until some doctors separated us and now mutant brother is crazy” movies.
#6 DEATHSTALKER (1983)
Now why would I (in 1983) go see a good action movie like The Return of The Jedi, when I could see this agonizing barbarian movie that looks like it took place in northern California? The warrior Deathstalker is tasked by an old witch lady to obtain and unite the three powers of creation - a chalice, an amulet, and a sword - lest the evil magician Munkar get them and use them for nefarious purposes.
After obtaining the sword, Deathstalker joins with other travelers going to the Big Tournament to determine the strongest warrior. The false king takes hold of a kingdom and holds the true princess in captivity, and then plots to have Deathstalker killed, and Deathstalker must fight to free the princess, blah blah blah. But what the movie(and all of it’s sequels, I’m thinking 9 of them) is really about is women in little to no clothes. This actually is a movie that will make you laugh in parts, but definitely a rental not a purchase.
sorry honey but shielding your eyes will not help you
#5 APRIL FOOLS DAY (1986)
“Why don’t you tell us something about yourself?”
“Okay…I want to work with handicapped children. And my parents are my best friends. Oh, and I start convent school next semester. And I f—k on the first date.”
-actual quote from the film
a group of college students getting together for a spring break weekend. Muffy (Foreman, and no, I didn’t make that name up) invited them all to her luxurious island summer home for her birthday (which happens to fall on April 1st), for a couple of days of fun, friendship, and practical jokes.
Then in the ferry ride to the getaway one of the kids gets crushed between the boat and the dock. That’s not going to stop the partying though. And as the weekend goes on more and more kids die in typical horror movie style, until just one remains. Then to her surprise all of her friends were not dead, but in fact playing a April fools joke on her!!! Totally lame because some of the deaths in the movie could not be faked in real life. And to add to the confusion the last scene shows our Muffy getting what looks like her throat slashed by a stranger. Biff from Back to the Future plays a character in this flick but he is the only noticeable person in the cast.
#4 CLASS OF NUKEM’ HIGH (1986)
Another Classic from the good people at Troma. Tromaville high school is our setting here, and the story centers around several of its attendees. Tromaville high is complete with ridiculous stereotypes and students who appear to have a median age of 25 in real life. In other words, it's more or less your typical all-American high school of the 80's, except for the fact that it's right next to a nuclear power plant. I'm talking about across the street from a nuclear power plant. The plant's head honcho, Mr. Finley assures the citizens of Tromaville that the plant is completely safe, but some students of Tromaville high are starting to mutate. The school's honor society have transformed into a horde of gutter punks who call themselves "The Cretins" and unassuming scrawny little nerds are vomiting up green stuff and hurling themselves headfirst out of closed windows (A common accurance in Troma films.)
The Cretins start to sell "atomic pot" grown right on the plant's grounds and a student named Warren(I guess you could call him the hero) finds out the story behind the super powered weed, and tries to destroy the Cretins. The problem is that Warren is a dorky little nobody and the Cretins are some evil bastards. But due to nuclear radiation, Warren starts taking on a vindictive alter ego. Warren now has disposed of a couple of the Cretins' baddest dudes. But Chrissy, Warrens girlfriend is also experiencing some odd aftereffects from the pot as well, as she gets pregnant and then spits up a creepy little monster into the toilet. Of course, someone flushes it down the toilet. The Cretins get pissed at Warren for killing some of their boys, so they plan to lure him into certain doom using Chrissy as bait.
However, there are more intimidating things in the school at this point, including Chrissy's own mutant-spawn, which has reached full size and is now a gigantic radioactive killer monster living in the school's bowels. You can pretty much guess the rest of the plot from here. This is a horrible film, but funny in the fact that it doesn’t take it self seriously. In fact it makes fun of itself a lot.
#3 GARBAGE PAIL KIDS: THE MOVIE (1987)
I have an idea, lets take a series of disgusting trading cards and make them into a horrible movie. Good Idea!!
I loved garbage pail kids as a child so I liked this movie. I watched it a lot when I was young….until it disappeared. The story of the frighteningly bad movie is as follows: Dodger, a skinny dork, works for the "magical" Cap'n Mancini, an antique storeowner with a suspicious garbage pail in his basement. When Dodger accidentally overturns the pail, a greenish ooze oozes out which formulates itself into seven Garbage Pail Kids (actually little people in trashy costumes): Valerie Vomit, Ali Gator, Greaser Greg, Nat Nerd, Windy Winston, Messy Tessie and Foul Phil, all named after their various afflictions.
It seems that Dodger has a thing for Tangerine, a frizzy-haired hottie who makes and sells clothes for a living, but has NO interest in him; her boyfriend is a psycho who wears too much eye makeup and spends his days beating Dodger up. But when the Garbage Pail Kids design a Napoleon suit for Dodger to wear that's supposed to make him look cool (it doesn't), Tangerine suddenly sees Dodger in a different light. And in an typical eighties-style, she puts him into service making clothes for her by coming onto him, and he cracks the whip on his "friends" the Garbage Pail Kids to produce clothing. Basically a Garbage Pail Kids sweatshop.
It all comes down to a fashion show. In the meantime the Garbage Pail Kids escape from the confines of the Cap'n's basement, terrorize a bar and movie theater, and eventually get themselves locked in a cage at a zoo for ugly people, with the label "TOO GROSS" plastered across the bars. Not to worry, though, because Dodger has solicited the help of a gang of bikers who break them out, allowing the Garbage Pail Kids to crash the fashion show and deal with its corrupt patrons in various gross ways: Windy Winston farts into the crowd, Valerie Vomit pukes on one of them, etc. In the end you wonder why you just spent the last 90 min or so watching midgets and a kid doing weird and gross stuff.
Mackenzie Austin (then a regular on THE FACTS OF LIFE), was the star appeal of this movie
kinda looks like Gene Simmons. God these things freak me out
#2 BREAKIN AND BREAKIN 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO (1984)
Both released in 1984 and counted as a single film according to this list. Kinda like Kill Bill, only these are terrible. To explain the plots of these movies is like describing the plot of a porn film. I mean that the movie is just scenes leading up to another dance scene(just like porn is just scenes leading up to more love scenes). I think part 2 is about a community center that is getting torn down and the only way to save it is to dance up the walls to the ceiling and having a dancing drive for money.
Granted the dancing is cool but these movies are just plain awful. I mean just look at this guy. Shame on you if you Like either of these films. Try Krush Groove, now there is a good flick. These two are just the "you got served" of 1984. terrible. I do laugh every time it's on TV. so I guess it's not that bad. And who can forget the oversized boom box craze? Do people still do that? Or have iPod's totally taken over?
#1 SURF NAZIS MUST DIE (1987)
Here it is folks, the worst of the worst. Again another film from our friends at Troma, God bless them. This movie does NOT take itself seriously, please remember that when viewing this film. SURF NAZIS MUST DIE takes place in a post-earthquake near future, where the beaches have been overrun with gangs of surf punks.
Run by a guy named Adolf, the Surf Nazis recruit at a young age, and paint swastikas (often backward, but whatever) all over everything. They also don't like minorities (or for that matter, anyone.) And that’s the big draw back to the movie-the extreme racism but then again they are Nazis.
The Pipeliners ,a rival gang , try to eliminate them, but fail at this task. The Nazis just seem superior: they have better equipment (surfboards with switchblades built in!) and dirtier fighting techniques (they even beat trained samurai.)
For the most part, the Nazis have free reign. They drive around in their shark-mouthed van, steal purses from old ladies, and bash the heads of people they don't like(Another common accurance in Troma films). A man by the name of Leroy Washington tries to thwart the actions of the Nazis one day, and meets a gruesome fate as a result. But while Leroy may have just seemed like just another victim to the Surf Nazis, he winds up being the worst mistake they ever made.
You see, the Nazis weren't counting on Leroy to have a vindictive, bloodthirsty grandma(a middle-aged, obese black woman named Eleanor Washington), who breaks free from her nursing home to build up an arsenal to get revenge for the loss of her grandson. Before you know it, she's not only hauling around a HUGE gun, but a collection of explosives as well.
Hilarity ensues. And I mean that. Mama is worth watching this by her self. The climax comes in a scene in which we quickly learn what happens when you get run over by a speedboat. Ouch.
SURF NAZIS MUST DIE is a bad movie. But it's that special type of bad movie that should be witnessed by everyone.
Well that’s it folks! Hope you enjoyed my list and any other movies you think should be on the list let me know. Here are some Honorable Mentions that almost made the list:
Saturday the 14th (1981)- a spoof film sure but wow is it bad
Saturday the 14th II (1988)- it’s better than the first one but still worse than Gigli
Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)- need I say more?
Motel Hell (1980)- u check in but…well you know….get turned into chili????
Dead Poets Society (1989)- I hate whiney, the world sucks kind of people and this movie is their anthem
Dirty Dancing (1987)- wouldn’t hate it if I had to watch it only once, I like a good love story every now and again, but after the 534th time I want to punch Patrick Swayze in the face and throw Baby off of a cliff. Any boyfriend to a GIRL in America has to agree with me on this one.
Howard the Duck (1986)- I think Lea Thompson’s song “Howard the Duck” at the end put this one over the top
Yentl (1983)- did anyone actually think Barbara Streisand looked anything like a boy in this film, me either. Worse sexual conversion movie ever, including White Chicks
Hairspray (1988)- No words can express how bad this movie is
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)- part II was awesome so why does this one suck so bad
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)- whales can save the planet, what kind of hippy crap is this? Time travel by warping close to the sun?
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)- the rest were ok until insurrection
The Terror Within (1989)- Andrew Stevens at his finest, he fights a guy in a monster suit…. I mean a mutated monster. No I don’t mean George Kennedy either
Gymkata (1985)- some strange stuff here. A town of crazed Europeans attack the contestants of this race(?) to marry the king's daughter(?) or something. Reminds me of Resident Evil 4, maybe Capcom stole the idea for Resident Evil 4 from Gymkata( just kidding)
The Gate (1987)-only because a heavy metal record played backwards opened the gate to hell.
Night of the Demons (1988)- worst Halloween slasher ever made
CHUD II: Bud the CHUD (1989)- not that the first one with Daniel Stern and John Heard was any better.
The Re-Animator (1985) an immortal classic were Jeffery Combs acts up a storm as the Re-Animator. A Must see!!!
Bronx Warriors (1982)- post apocalyptic new York complete with desert biker gangs and shirtless savages
Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)- The Title explains it all.
Goulies (1985)- Little demons killing people, apparently no one knows how to "kick", cause I would punt one of those things 30 yards.
To purchase any of these films go to Amazon.com or IMDB.com
to rent try Netflix.com
Try Netflix anyway though, it is awesome and it has good movies from the 80's too!!!!
All dates referenced by Leonard Maltin’s 2004 Movie and Video guide. I trust him more than any web site or movie critic.
By Dr Science [email protected]