Howdy horrorphiles! Ratty here once again, to transport you back to a better time. A time of wonder, discovery and innocence. A time before the shiny dvd came slicing through the available selection of underrated gems and undiscovered masterpieces existing happily within the universe of the Video Home System, like some unwanted Phantasm ball.
It is some time in the late 80's, the end of an era, what I now like to call B.P.H,D.H'E - Before Please Hammer, Don't Hurt'em. (I was all set to make a joke referencing this album, and the fact that to me it spelled the end of the 80's, only to discover quite spookily that it was in fact first released on January 1st, 1990. CUE THEREMIN!)
On a handful of occasions throughout my school years, I got sick. Sometimes, to my absolute delight, I got really sick. Pale green, shivering hot and cold, spraying semi digested spaghetti from both ends sick. Sick enough to have a FEW DAYS off school. Call me Joe Hollywood, but let's cut to the chase. Sick young Ratty at home + parents at work + video store = 10 weeklies for $10.
The best deal around. Ten clamboxes, I could barely carry them home with me in my weakened condition. The wonderful by-product of dollar tapes was the development of my love for B-movies. I was willing to hire out ANYTHING, no matter how bad it looked, and also came to discover that these were the films that always made me feel better. Between watching, vomiting, and rounds of dry toast and flat lemonade, I would always think to myself "I hope I never get better...." Luckily I never did, my sickness for low budget classics and cheesy stinkers prevailed well into adulthood.
So take a stagger down memory alley with me folks, here's ten of the best, ten films I only would have discovered through the magic of serious illness and ten dollar deals. Ten films I still love today.
Food Of The Gods
Giant rats everywhere!!! Filled with wonderfully unconvincing effects and corny lines, this Bert I. Gordon classic had me wondering if I had torn something in my stomach from doubling over with laughter.
More giant creatures, this time the ever popular ant invasion theme. This was one of the first 50's alarmist sci fi films I ever watched, and after exploring the genre, I can safely say this is a top pick - sensational stuff, in every sense of the word.
Eat The Rich
This highly underrated black comedy is worth tracking down for so many reasons if you have not seen it - a ridiculous storyline, lots of amazing cameos, and of course Motorhead.
TOO RUDE! This is absolutely one of the greatest horror comedies of the 80's. Everything about this film is a win for me. I must have watched it at least 5 times the first time I got it out. That's 20c per viewing!
I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle
This incredible low budget British gem is campy, crazy and genuinely funny. Not enough people have seen this film. Go get it at all costs. The talking turd made me feel a bit more human at the time, too, as it looked a little worse than the ones I was pinching.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Take note: This is the greatest thing Disney ever did. They made a horror movie for kids, based on the work of one of the finest writers of all time, with an all star cast. This was a film I rented repeatedly, even after it stopped scaring me. Obviously not a B movie in any way, but needed to be included.
This still stands as one of my all time favourite Troma releases, and one of the first films I saw which was openly gory but in no way scary, nurturing my love for good splatter comedies.
Curse Of The Cannibal Confederates
Another classic Troma release, and the first hicksploitation zomedy I ever watched. This is B heaven. Terrible performances, butcher shop effects and safety scissors editing. Pure gold, a film which made me want to yick as much as the gastro did.
The Astounding She-Monster
Another 50's monsterpiece, well not so much a monster as a scary looking broad in a silvery jumpsuit. Ooooh, frightening! This movie is so lacking in everything, it must be seen. At the time I was not impressed. I'm still not. But I love it!
The Video Dead
If anyone remembers the fancy-as-hell hologram-embedded clambox cover for this movie, you may agree that it was one of the finest examples of cover art making the difference in anyone ever having watched this film. Now used generally as "poor example" of 80's zombie fare, this movie, with it's ridiculously hokey premise, comical cast of zombies and some really great gore effects is still a favourite with me!
There you have it folks, ten completely random films as I would have chosen them back in the day - I hope you can get your hands on the ones you have not seen, and relive the days of video magic!
Till next time