Elves (1989)


As is the tradition, the final movie of 2022 put through the Trash or Treasure group watching was the Christmas-themed low-budget shonk-fest with the craziest premise that could be found. This time we were promised monster elves, Nazis, and some chap called Dan Haggerty. There was also the prospect of impressive hairdos, because it’s from the late 80s and that Ozone Layer wasn’t going to massacre itself.
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Final Exam (1981) is a bad film with some genuinly amazing ideas.

In context, this still makes no sense


This can easily be dismissed as yet another slasher that turned up on the coattails of Halloween and Friday The 13th, as part of The Golden Age Of Slashers. And it has all the hallmarks of such a film; it’s cheap, follows the tropes, and has a lot of so-so acting and directing. However, for all it’s many failings, writer and director Jimmy Huston needs to be applauded for making a film that really tried to do something different with the genre in several interesting ways.
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Tuff Turf (1985)


Do you like 80s high school movies? Do you like 80’s comedies? Do you like 80s Romeo-and-Juliet stories? What about “rich kid gone bad”, vigilante, “fish-out-of-water” comedies, or 30s big-band-revivals? Well do we have a treat for you! Not only do we have James Spader and Robert Downey Jr showing that they were once young, but practically every mid 80s teen cinematic trope thrown into one two hour long mega-mix of double denim fashions and ozone-layer destroying hairstyles.
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Xtro (1982) is… well, just watch it

When the credits start and you see the same name, in this case, Harry Bromley-Davenport, for the producer, director, writer, and composer roles it is traditional in psychotronic circles to brace yourself for impact. In the case of this sci-fi horror fever dream, it won’t do you any good, as its wanton disregard for explaining itself to the likes of its audience means you are just not going to be ready for this face-thumper.
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Thrashin’ (1986)


Of the many things that Josh Brolin did between The Goonies and The MCU that no one knows about, this David Winters directed mishmash of skateboarding and Romeo & Juliet is absolutely one of them. Featuring a whole load of people that you’ll half recognise whilst going “oh my lord, they look so young!” and with a guest appearance from The Red Hot Chillie Peppers, it’s so 80s it [Insert Horrible Thing About The 80s That Everyone Forgets]. But on skateboards!
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Lieutenant Jangles (2018)

The inherent danger of making parodies of bad movies is that if you’re not careful, what you end up with is a bad movie. This 2019 released parody of Ozsplotation and general 80s renegade-cop action movies skirts dangerously close to that outcome, and then dives headfirst into it whilst literally pissing all over the place. This is a shame, as it had the potential to be really good.
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Grandmother’s House (1989)


It’s time for some more 80s horror, and this one is the directorial debut of Peter Rader! You know, the guy who then went on to be one of the people who wrote Waterworld. It stars no one I’ve ever heard of, is a title I’ve never seen mentioned anywhere, and seems to be one of those strange “aimed at teenagers, but just that bit too violent for them to see it” movies like The Gate. Still, it’s not a strong cover and is juxtaposing something nice with the promise of being terrifying so let’s crack this open!
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Bloodbath At The House Of Death (1984) is comedy horror, done in the best possible taste


Now calm yourselves, for I must give you a warning. This film is silly. Very, very silly. It’s very obviously being daft by making a mockery of a lot of what would have been popular movies at the start of the 80s, especially the so-called “video nasties”. Thankfully the cliches and styles that it rips into are still with us after 40 years, so you should be able to get the majority of the jokes. Especially those about boobs and willies, you filthy degenerates!
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Class of 1984 (1982) is amazingly vulgar propaganda


The modern Vigilante movie, kicked off by Dirty Harry and perfected by Death Wish, has always carried with them a right-wing political subtext about the nature of society and the need for the individual to step in when the system fails. Well Mark L Lester, writer, director, and producer of this particular American conservative propaganda piece, thinks subtext is a communist conspiracy. He also thinks coherent settings are cowardice and subtlety is for pinko liberals, and this film is all the better for it.
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The Gladiator (1986)


At some point in the production process of this Abel Ferrara movie, the decision was made to switch it from a theatrical release to a made-for-TV special. Whilst the details are sketchy, it appears to be how the wind got knocked out of the collective sails of all those involved, as what has moments of pure, befuddlingly creative genius manages to become drab and low-energy. Given that it’s a car-centric cross between Jaws and Death Wish, that’s quite the accomplishment.
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