Village Of The Damned – Get Rekt!

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Welcome back to another tantalizing edition of Get Rekt – the show all your friends are talking about! Today, I’m going to score my 10th favourite movie of 1960, the chilling horror classic Village Of The Damned! Adapted only a few years after John Wyndham’s novel, the excellently named Wolf Rilla introduced us to creepy kids and mind-walls. It’s my favourite screen version of the story, but I’ve always felt it could be updated with more potency.

Sales3: The film made a profit – not a tidy profit, but a profit nonetheless. I’m sure it has made more money over the years with video and DVD sales, but it wouldn’t be classed as any more than a cult hit from a financial perspective.

Chart: 3: Similar to the category above, the film performed well enough for a low budget film wherever it was released.

Critical Consensus5: By and large the film has been positively received since release. There have been sequels and remakes but this remains the definitive version. Nowadays it may not be as effective for modern audiences because so much time has passed – but show this to a younger audience today and it still works. New critics coming to the movie with fresh eyes tend to lavish plenty of praise upon it.

Director4: I’m tempted to just give high marks for Wolf Rilla’s name. Rilla’s background in Television perhaps adds to the low-fi documentary style approach, which in turns aids the murky, stroll through a graveyard at night aura, and his decision to make the film more grounded in English culture certainly helps add a touch of realism. Often mistaken for a Hammer production, it does have certain connotations with that School, but takes a less grandiose approach to its scares. It’s short, effective, punchy, and with enough paranoia and subtext for critics to break it down and analysis.

Performances4: An admirable British cast of lesser known familiar faces serve their purpose – from paranoid husbands to increasingly terrified mothers, and of course a range of creepy kids. Some of the performances seem a little hokey now but I enjoy the majority of the cast.

Music3: Ron Goodwin’s most famous works are of course for his War films, but the score for Village Of The Damned is suitably incessant and mysterious. It’s reminiscent to me of the music used in the original Twilight Zone series – sudden swells of strings, wavering bell and key sounds, and throbbing brass.

Cinematography4: While there isn’t anything obviously impressive going on, again its the holistic approach to the filming – the pastoral countryside and idyllic spaces becoming blocked up in the minds of the inhabitants, the suggestion of a perfect world hiding monsters in plain sight. The opening and closing sequences are the highlights – the sudden collapse of a village without explanation, and an explosion putting to bed the niceties of the 50s as the world topples into a new uncertain future.

Writing3: The dialogue serves the narrative but there’s precious little memorable dialogue here, and there are some concessions made for US audiences which takes the British viewer out of the story momentarily – language which wouldn’t be used in an English town. It’s the overall idea and execution where the screenplay’s strength lies, but the majority of the credit must go to the original text.

Wardrobe4: It’s all authentic, and the vision of the kids in their quaint, mature suits, when coupled with their hair and juxtaposed with the rural attire of their families which heightens their otherness.

Editing4: Gripping and effective, especially in the scenes of violence, action, and in the final encounter as David tried to break down his ‘father’s’ mental wall.

Make up and Hair4: Great work in these departments to make sure that the kids are some of the creepiest and most iconic ever seen on screen.

Effects4: From flashing eyes to crashing cars and explosions, there’s a fair amount of effects work for a small budget film which few expected to perform as well as it did. I could take a 3 on this, but I think the work is more than competent.

Art and Set3: Filmed in Studio but also on location, both give an accurate portrayal of quaint English life shaken by the big bad outside world.

Sound3: Nothing noteworthy.

Cultural Significance4: The film is maybe more well remembered now than the book. The film led to a sequel, a remake, a TV series, and any number of references in everything from The Simpsons to Silent Hill.

Accomplishment4: The film was made for chills and unnerving scares, and it succeeds. Again, it’s not as impactful now as it would have been then, but we can hardly discredit those involved for that.

Stunts3: The few main stunt sequences are handled well.

Originality4. The book was written in Sci-Fi’s modern Golden Age – the time of Nuclear and Alien fears, and both are discussed. The film is another straight enough adaptation and while it’s not the first movie with creepy kids or paranoia caused by creatures from outer space or Science gone rogue, it’s one of the most effective.

Miscellaneous: 3: Nothing much to add here – the trailer is standard for the time, and the posters are fun.

Personal5: I’ve always loved unnerving, atmospheric films where the main characters have zero clue what is happening. With this being one I saw many moons ago and having an impact, there’s a nostalgic bias on my behalf. Watching with well versed eyes it’s clear to see how potent and taut it remains given the constraints on budget and technology.

Total: 74/100

Kidz! Kidz!! This movie has scary kidz, fighting against authority! Why wouldn’t you want to watch it?!? Having seen the ‘low’ score which Les Enfants Terribles received, 74 seems accurate. It’s going to be difficult for any movie to get into the mid 80s I would say. Let us know in the commentz what your take on the movie is, and share your score breakdown! Get Rekt!

Best Art Direction – 1981

Official Nominations: Raiders Of The Lost Ark. The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Heaven’s Gate. Ragtime. Reds.

Heaven’s Gate would be a worthy winner, but as it’s a 1980 movie we can immediately dismiss it. Raiders got the win this year – it’s my winner too thanks to the variety and meticulous detail of its sets and overall production. The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Ragtime, and Reds are justified in their inclusion in a year when there were any number of costume, sci-fi, and history oriented pieces to choose from.

My Winner: Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

20 facts you might not know about 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' | Yardbarker

My Nominations: Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Mephisto. Das Boot. Clash Of The Titans. Escape From New York. For Your Eyes Only. Gallipoli. The Road Warrior. Quest For Fire. Time Bandits.

It’s a mystery and a shame that some of my entries were not official picks – perhaps the biggest disappointment being the absence of Time Bandits, a worthy nomination surely in anyone’s eyes. For me, that takes a place in the four horse race along with Raiders, the post-apocalyptic S&M wonder of The Road Warrior, and the future shock nightmare of Escape From New York. 

Elsewhere, Clash Of The Titans delivers the goods in being, to this day, one of the best Greek mythology/sword n sandals movies, while Quest For Fire places most of its importance on its visual appeal. Mephisto and Das Boot were nominated elsewhere, and should have been in with a shout in this category, while Gallipoli was just as noteworthy while being ignored entirely. Finally, For Your Eyes Only remains one of my personal favourite Bond movies from a look and feel perspective, while lacking the scale and scope of some other entries, it uses what it has in a more meaningful, less extravagant way to echo the more grounded, serious tone of the movie.

My Winner: Escape From New York.

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Nightman’s Updated Favourite Films Of 1987!

20: A Chinese Ghost Story (HK)

Regular Glancers will know I grew up with Bruce Lee movies, and as such I would hunt out anything which sounded like it would have people knocking seven Tibetan shades of shite out of each other. If it had a Horror element – even better! I didn’t know what to make of A Chinese Ghost Story when I first watched it – was it going to be a straight horror movie, was it going to feature zany kung fu masters tackling creatures from Chinese folklore I had zero experience of? It’s all of those things, none of those things, and more. It’s weird. It’s funny. It has a love story. It has trees. It features the gorgeous Joey Wong and the legendary Leslie Cheung in some of their most famous work. It’s one of Tsui Hark’s best movies. It stars Cheung as a nobody, a debt collector who happens to stumble into a rural temple to find somewhere to sleep, falls in love with a tortured ghost, and tried to rescue her soul from Hell. It’s not the first movie to start with in your Hong Kong Cinema journey, but it should be one of the first ten.

19: Withnail And I (UK)

You’ll have seen from my Least Favourite Movies posts, that I’m not a fan of British Comedies. TV shows – absolutely – we’re the best in the world in that regard, but when it comes to movies the reliance on self-titled quirky characters and romance leaves me cold. As with anything there are exceptions – Withnail And I being a prime example. There’s no attempt to hold a sign over a character’s head to scream ‘I’m the quirky one’, there’s no romance in the traditional sense. It’s just two blokes heading away for a weekend in the country so they can get drunk and moan about being actors. Japes occur. It’s all about the performances and the dialogue. It looks (purposefully) shit, the soundtrack is great, and it barely has an ending or a plot, but it’s brilliant.

18: City On Fire (HK)

There was a decided turn in the 1980s away from period action movies, costume and history oriented martial arts fare, towards contemporary, gun based action. Tarantino famously borrowed several scenes and pieces of dialogue from City On Fire, a Ringo Lam movie starring Chow Yun Fat as an undercover cop who infiltrates a gang of robbers and ends up in a Mexican Standoff in a warehouse, with police surrounding them outside. Sound familiar? It doesn’t have the quirks and cools and non-linear framing of Reservoir Dogs, but it has Chow Yun Fat and a tonne of action and energy. It was one of a series of the heroic bloodshed type movies which came out of HK in this era, and is one of the best.

17: Planes, Trains, And Automobiles (US)

Likely to be the only Steve Martin vehicle to grace any of my Favourites lists, this one succeeds because of John Hughes, John Candy, and in spite of Martin. Who, to his credit, is fine but plays the same plain white bread guy he always does. Thanksgiving doesn’t mean shit to anyone outside of the US, so I always viewed this as a Christmas movie. Chicago in November looks like Christmas anyway. As its John Candy you can expect lots of zany laughs, and as it’s Hughes you know you’re in for an offbeat heart-warming tale.

16: Good Morning, Vietnam (US)

Robin Williams, letting rip, completely off the leash.

15: The Princess Bride (US)

I always start any conversation about The Princess Bride by saying I’m not its biggest fan – mainly because there are those who worship the thing. I like it, it’s great, but there are better movies, and I have more favourites – many more this year alone. I love the story in a story nature of it, and it’s another in a line of excellent fantasy oriented kids movies which don’t feel like they are patronising its intended audience. While much of the humour also suits adults, it’s still not a movie for that age range. It’s strong enough, funny enough, well acted and written enough to be enjoyed by all ages, but at its heart it’s an escapist adventure movie for lonely kids.

14: The Living Daylights (UK)

A lesser loved Bond movie, Dalton led the series into its grittiest, darkest period, many years before Zack Snyder misinterpreted overlong running times and blue tints for emotion. Dalton’s Bond may have still quipped, may have still got the ladies, but he was doing a job for Queen and Country, his humour of the gallows, a defence mechanism of being exposed to death and mayhem in all its ugly forms. In The Living Daylights, Bond is embroiled in a Soviet Tug of War, and ends up faffing about in a Cargo plane in Afghanistan. It’s not the most exciting story in the series and it’s unlikely to be anyone’s favourite, but it sets the darker tone, re-establishes the formula, and gives Dalton a chance to shine.

13: Lethal Weapon (US)

A number of genres, in their own way, signify the 1980s. The Buddy Cop movie is one of those, and Lethal Weapon is probably the most famous of the genre, establishing and cementing cliches, the laughs, the action, and the ‘buddiness’. Gibson is the unhinged wildcard set alongside Glover’s close to retirement, by the book veteran. Together, they investigate the apparent suicide of one of Glover’s friend’s daughters. Initially wary of each other, their respect and relationship grows, and jokes and action, and a fair amount of introspection and darkness pours out. It’s one of those movies which epitomises the decade – over the top, big budget thrills, violent, fun, stylized, but it’s the script and the cast which make it memorable above the pretenders.

12: Full Metal Jacket (US/UK)

Stanley Kubrick takes on War again, and again crafts a seminal piece of Cinema. Similar to Westerns, I wasn’t into War movies in my youth, feeling too stilted and macho but lacking any flair or action. Full Metal Jacket was one of those movies, along with The Great Escape and Platoon, to wise me up. It would become the archetype of many movies to come – not merely in the War genre – dividing into two distinct parts with a bootcamp/training section, and a battle/War section. There’s more to it, but that’s one of the most famous aspects of the film which people continue to bring up. The Dirty Dozen had done something similar two decades earlier, but Kubrick uses both to show the horror of the institution over and above the horrors of war. Supremely acted, written, and directed, it’s one of the most must see movies of the decade.

11: Evil Dead 2 (US)

A sequel, remake, and one of those in-betweeny things, Raimi, Campbell, and fans return to up the ante and double down on the slapstick humour of the first movie. What it loses in scares, it makes up for gore effects, and Raimi continues with his inventive camera techniques and visceral insanity. One of the great ‘modern’ horror movies.

10: The Untouchables (US)

Somehow such an underrated film, especially when weighed up alongside the big boys like Goodfellas and The Godfather, which I have always felt deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those. De Niro is hamming it up and having the time of his life, Kevin Costner is melting hearts as a moral, upstanding husband, daddy, and good guy, Sssshean Connery is the grandad, and Andy Garcia is fucking awesome as always. Charles Martin Smith is at his best, Billy Drago is one of Cinema’s finest henchmen, the soundtrack is excellent, the suits are on point, but it’s DePalma’s movie; he cranks up the tension, controls the mood and tempo, and ensures that it’s a film about family as much as, but in a vastly different way from, The Godfather and Goodfellas are.

9: Hellraiser (UK)

Arguably the film which has come closest to showing us what a nightmare looks and feels like. Hellraiser, like much of Barker’s work, is about ideas; Barker’s worlds and words are brimming with ideas, invention, puzzles, and dubious morality – a constant ebb and flow between opposing, looping factions. Hellraiser concerns a family moving into a new home and resurrecting the bloody corpse of a murderous relative who wishes to continue from where he left off, exploring the darkest desires of humanity for his own enjoyment. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for us, there are others beyond our world who enjoy pleasure and pain more than he, and take great delight at dragging it out of his flesh. It’s such a grime and dirt ridden, low-budget film that it’s extraordinary just how extraordinary it looks. The cast look like they’ve survived a Tim Burton dream he was too scared to finish, the Cenobites are a fantastic inclusion to the Horror world, and it’s bloody, bleak, and beautiful in its own horrific way.

8: The Running Man (US)

One of Arnie’s more maligned movies – it’s neither the big action smash of Predator nor the family friendly fun of Twins, but it’s somewhere in between, a loose adaptation of Stephen King’s nihilistic tale of a broken society, interspersed by James Bond one-liners. An early Battle Royale. It’s a future where gameshows and TV are still the primary form of entertainment, but rather than winning a million quid by answering questions (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire), or gaining adoration for being a racist sex hungry asshole (Big Brother), society has regressed to a more bloodthirsty, gladiatorial time. Criminals (guilty or otherwise) are thrown into an expansive game arena and pitted against a variety of games and fan-favourite warriors in a literal game to the death.

It’s such a lot of fun – the one-liners, the costumes, the cast, the idea of all these muscle-bound boyos duking it out for freedom or the adoration of the baying crowd. There’s an epic head explosion in the early moments, there’s Richard Dawson hamming it up, and there’s such an ugly 80s coke-fuelled haze over it – wonderful stuff. You just know when they remake it, they’re going to take all of the fun out.

7: Dream Warriors (US)

Speaking of fun, Dream Warriors is the most entertaining film in the Elm Street franchise. We largely ignore the events of the second movie, and instead re-unite cast members from the original with a new breed of tormented kids. Freddy is back, and he’s stalking the kids of some kind of medical/psychiatric institution. Nancy learns of this and comes back to finish off Krueger once and for all. While the first movie introduced the idea of a killer attacking you in your sleep, Dream Warriors doubles down on the dream logic of fighting back – in your dreams you can be a super-powered version of yourself and therefore the kids each use their own strengths and character traits to go on the offensive. Patricia Arquette and Lawrence Fishbourne appear, Langenkamp and Saxon return, and of course Englund is on top form. It’s inventive in its look and effects, is peppered with one-liners and interesting ideas, and it moves it a rip-roaring pace. It’s not exactly haunting or scary in the same way as the first movie was, but what it lacks in scares it makes up for in action.

6: Citizens On Patrol (US)

I’m an unashamed Police Academy fan. As a Cinema fan, they’re not exactly high art, and outside of the first film they’re barely coherent entertainment. But I love them. COP is my favourite sequel, giving us more of the original bunch, the return of Harris, more Zed, and fun new characters. It’s ridiculously silly, but there are more laugh out loud moments here for me, than probably every comedy released in the last ten years. It’s a capsule to my childhood, it’s nostalgic outside of my own experiences, and it’s good old fashioned summery, carefree Hollywood escapism.

5: Prince Of Darkness (US)

It’s in my TTT John Carpenter’s post

4: Near Dark (US)

TT Of The Decade.

3: The Lost Boys (US)

TT Of The Decade.

2: Predator (Top Ten Of All Time) (US)

TT Of The Decade.

1: Robocop (Top Ten Of All Time) (US)

TT Of The Decade.

Let us know your favourites in the comments!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1988!

The Apt Guinness Book Of World Records Honor Rambo 3 Earned In 1990

Greetings, Glancers! Like a Manchester Utd fan/player, we’re back once again to wallow in a hovel of mediocrity and shit. Actually, there are not too many films this year I didn’t enjoy – those listed below each have their moments but I wouldn’t be keen to see any of them again. They’re either movies that were on a lot when I was young and therefore pissed me off, or were disappointing after I was hyped for them.

Buster

This is a movie which a family member had on VHS, and any time I was taken to their house for some sort of party and the kids were stuck in a room with a TV, this was the tape we were given. Luckily, they also had a VHS of The Running Man/Pumping Iron, so we would watch that instead if we could find it. If not, we were subjected to Phil Collins prancing about in a twee retelling of The Great Train Robbery.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

This felt like such an old man’s Comedy when I was young, I’ve never been a fan of Caine doing comedy, and I’ve never been a fan of Martin at all. It has…. some swimming pools.

A Fish Called Wanda

One I should enjoy, but outside of a couple of scenes it’s a chore for me to get through this. I put that down to not being a fan of Kevin Kline, it being British, and it not being the Python spin-off I hoped it would be. Has none of the anarchy I wanted, and precious few laughs.

Rambo III

I loved the poster for Rambo III when I was young, and there was an arcade machine of the movie permanently placed where I spent my summer holidays. It wasn’t until years later that I actually saw a Rambo movie, having grown up with more access to Arnie movies than Stallone. Rambo III was always the movie I was most hyped for – it seemed to have the biggest guns, the most bad guys, the best action – but sadly I’d imagined most of that. I loved the first two movies and by the time I got to part 3, my hype levels were off the charts. Part 3 ends up being bland and uneventful, even with it somehow being rated as ‘the most violent movie ever’ for a while. You wouldn’t guess it. It lacks the intensity of the first two parts, and dare I say it, the smarts. Plus there’s the whole working with The Taliban thing, but sure. I think I need to go back and watch it again and see if the action feels better in today’s CG world.

Working Girl

This year’s Rom Com – though most of the movies on my list are Rom Com-ish. At least this one has Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver which makes it tolerable, and it has more of a cynical edge than most. However, it also has Melanie Griffith and Joan Cusack who negate the qualities of the others. I’ve no idea how this was so successful or so well received by critics and Awards types, but it’s worth a one off watch.

That’s it, short list today. Do you enjoy any of these? Which films of 1988 would you class as your least favourites? Let us know in the comments!

Nightman’s Updated Favourite Films Of 1988!

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

10: They Live (US)

It’s the one John Carpenter movie which I feel gets more hype than it deserves. It’s still my tenth favourite film of the year, but it would be lower down my list of favourite Carpenter films, which says a lot for the quality of his work and my love for it. While still prescient today, and while stoutly anti-Reagan and anti-Republican, it’s one of those films whose message can be, and has been, twisted by individuals and organizations of any persuasion. Or you can simply view it as Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David knocking several shades of shite out of each other while keeping a shaded eye on Alien shenanigans.

9: Hellraiser 2 (US/UK)

It’s not as immediately arresting as the first movie, but it builds upon the mysterious world we only glimpsed in part 1, and remains one of the most visually inventive horror movies of the decade which pushed the boundary for what devilish delights could be realised on screen. It follows more or less directly from the first movie, with Kirsty committed to a psychiatric hospital and begging that the doctor’s destroy all evidence of what happened to prevent the Cenobites (and anyone else) from returning. Unfortunately, she happens to have been committed to the one hospital in the world, and be in the care of the one doctor in the world, who has awareness of The Lament Configuration and wants to experience its delights and torments for himself.

It’s best to not think about the plot too much and just follow it like you’re in the grip of a particularly vivid and violent nightmare. It’s great to see the old gang back together from Part 1, and it’s interesting just how much the film has in common with Dream Warriors. It’s another bizarre and bloody descent into Barker’ peculiar brand of Hell, but sadly the last film in the neverending Hellraiser series that’s worth watching.

8: Bloodsport (US)

One of JCVD’s breakout hits, and one of those movies I slipped into the basket when we were picking up VHSs to rent back in the day. Contentiously based on the real life events of Frank Dux it follows Van Damme (as Dux), a soldier with a Martial Arts background who goes AWOL so that he can join an underground, illegal Martial Arts tournament. He makes friends with a Yank, becomes entangled with a reporter, is followed by Forest Whitaker, and invites the rage of Bolo Yeung. The highlights are of course the fights – your typical 80s Western Martial Arts one to one fodder, but spiced up by the talent on display.

7: Akira (Japan)

Arguably still the greatest Japanese animated movie ever, and undoubtedly one of the most influential animated films of all time, Akira remains a jaw-dropping and mind-boggling experience. While bloody, violent, stylized, confusing, and sometimes overly kinetic, Akira is a film everyone should experience at least once. The plot isn’t easy to condense into a couple of lines, but it involves feuding biker gangs in the aftermath of World War 3, set in Neo-Tokyo after the original Tokyo was wiped out. When one of the gang members is arrested by shady Government types, his friends attempt to rescue him but uncover a world of extra-sensory science experiments which could not only claim their friend’s life, but also end all life on the planet as we know it. A hallucinatory trip, with pounding music and visuals speeding by like a bullet, Akira still feels like one of a kind four decades later.

6: Twins (US)

Putting the world’s biggest action star alongside one of America’s funniest men may have sounded strange at the time, but the charm of both stars feeding an endearing relationship, wrapped up inside a silly yet heart-warming story, mean that Twins is an easy, enjoyable watch for any generation. Arnie shows fine comedic chops while Devito brings the pizazz, the two starring as twins separated at birth – Arnie ‘getting all the good genes’ – the strength, the looks, the height, and intelligence, along with an exotic wealthy upbringing, while Devito got everything else. Arnie sets out to find his long lost street crook brother, and so kicks off a cross-country journey for their mutual past while outrunning a bunch of hapless criminals. It’s a lot of fun.

5: Young Guns (US)

The Western has never really been the young man’s genre. Sure, kids back in the early days of Cinema would have loved the sweeping vistas and tales of macho manliness, but once you hit adolescence you become jaded and horny and look for other forms of entertainment. Stagnant for at least a decade, the Western had fallen out of favour with general audience too, outside of the odd Clint Eastwood update – enter the Brat Pack with their Revisionist take on the Billy The Kid legend. Suddenly, Cowboys were cool again – young, human, but with a modern outlook of happy go lucky cynicism as exemplified by a spirited Emilio Estevez and his pals – Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips etc. It was the movie which got me into Westerns after avoiding them as boring old man fare, and it’s still one of a limited number of Westerns I return to over and over.

4: Heathers (US)

Another wonderful vehicle for Christian Slater and Winona Ryder, Heathers is one of the greatest anti-hero teen movies. While Ryder would go grom strength to strength, Slater’s stardom would burn out somewhat, although he has made various credible returns in recent years. Heathers remains some of their finest work, starring as a jaded, murderous young couple sick of the popular kids, sick of the grind, sick of life. At once a satire of popularity, cliques, and anti-heroes, Heathers is a delightful slice of non-PC cynicism, featuring performances from familiar faces such as Glenn Shadix, Penelope Milford, and Shannon Doherty.

3: Willow (US)

It’s always been a mystery why Willow has not remained as popular as it once was. Now we’re getting a Disney Plus reboot, so perhaps that will breathe some life back into a wonderful, almost Star Wars adjacent universe. Written by George Lucas and with some game-changing visuals for the time, Willow follows Warwick Davis as an aspiring Sorcerer who takes guardianship of a baby. Not just any baby, but a baby who’s life is in danger by the ruthless Warlord Queen Bavmorda due to a prophecy which states that the child will bring her rein to and end.

2: Die Hard (US)

Covered in my Favourite Films Of The 80s post

1: Beetlejuice. (US)

Covered in my Favourite Films Of The 80s post

Let us know in the comments what your favourite films of 1988 are!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1989!

Jean-Claude Van Damme battles cannibals in a post-apocalyptic future in  CYBORG on Blu-ray Apr. 24 | Confessions of a Cinephiliac

Greetings, Glancers! I’m back again to present another click-bait list sure to cause fits of rage in the weak. In other words, a list some films released in 1989 that I either didn’t like, was disappointed by, or which I actively hate. Here they are.

Cyborg

Van Damme was still hitting his stride and trying to branch out into the territory which had brought Arnie and others more success. So he jumps into this utterly bizarre, nonsensical thing. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched this now, hoping it will make sense, but it never does. It’s one of the finest examples of a film’s history and context being more interesting than the film itself – a film about Cyborg would be better than Cyborg itself. I can’t even describe the plot beyond something about Van Damme killing bad guys in a post apocalyptic wasteland, because those bad guys killed his family and have currently kidnapped some people on a quest for a computer cure to a virus? It looks like it was made for less money than I have currently in my pockets (in my pockets I currently only have a face mask resting snuggly against my nuts), but it’s the surrounding stuff that keeps me coming back. Why is everyone named after a guitar or guitar part/accessory? Why are there two separate, unrelated sequel series to this single film (Cyborg 2 and both have almost nothing to do with Cyborg or each other, and Knights and Omega Doom both made by Cyborg’s writer and director but again bearing no relation to each other, or the original, or the other sequels)? How was Cyborg almost a Masters Of The Universe sequel and almost a Spiderman movie? How do these things happen?

Driving Miss Daisy

Not my cop of tea; I don’t even like tea. Hits a lot of the no-nos – Oscar bait, period piece in a period I’m not interested in, but it’s fine. I don’t understand its success, but I can see why people liked it at the time. Watch it because of the cast and the success and the awards, yeah, but not for me.

Meet The Feebles

I could also have had this on my Favourites Of 1989 list. I still enjoy it, as much as one can enjoy a gross-out movie about puppets into porn and drugs and… other stuff. It’s incredibly inventive and funny if you’re in the right mood… but ultimately I put it here because it was a disappointment for me after falling head over heels for Jackson’s other early movies.

My Left Foot

Jim Sheridan might hold a record for having every single one of his movies appearing in my Least Favourite movies lists. That’s probably not true, and I don’t care enough to check, but it seems plausible. He makes decent movies but there’s such a TV movie of the week feel about them that I can’t take them seriously. I doubt anyone would take them, or this, seriously if it weren’t for Daniel Day Lewis. No doubt he gives a great performance, but I just can’t care about any of it when the subject matter is absolutely something I should easily be emotionally invested in.

Shirley Valentine

You know the score by now, right? English? Romantic Comedy? Quirky? Fuck off? Correct. This was consistently a movie watched and referenced by mums and aunts and the mums and aunts of my mates when I was young. It’s expectedly terrible.

Shocker

Even my favourite filmmakers can make duds. As much as I love Wes, he made his fair share of not very good films. Shocker isn’t great and it another case of a potentially much better film being buried under budget constraints and poor quality control. It’s not that it’s bad, but that it’s disappointing. It starts well and gets sillier as it goes on – Pileggi makes for an interesting villain and the setup is cool; a serial killer targets the family of the cop trying to bring him down, seems to have a weird physic connection to one of the cop’s sons, and when he is executed he returns as, wait for it, electricity. The effects are ropey now, and they could easily have just stretched the first half into a movie without all of the electricity stuff. It’s a fun party movie… but so is Elm Street and I’d much rather watch it for the hundredth time again.

A short list this year – there were a bunch of other films I could have added – Steel Magnolias, Wilt, When Harry Met Sally, but I don’t care about those enough to talk about them. Let us know your least favourite movies of 1989 in the comments!

Essential Films – 1963 – Alternative View

For my original post explaining my criteria – click here!

Rules: Ten films which, in some way, show our history and culture reflected in film and  film’s growth and change as a medium. It can’t simply be your ten personal favourites of the year. One of your ten choices must be in the top 10 grossing films of the given year. One of the films must have been nominated for a Best Film Oscar (Best Picture, Best Foreign Feature, or Best Animated Feature). One of the films needs to appear in a renowned critic or magazine or book’s best 10 films of the year. These choices can’t overlap. 

  1. Cleopatra (Top Grossing Film Choice)

2. The Haunting (Top Critical Choice)

3. 8 And A Half (Academy Award Winning Choice – Best Foreign Picture)

4. The Birds

5. The Great Escape

6. Jason And The Argonauts

7. From Russia With Love

8. Shock Corridor

9. The Pink Panther

10. The Sword In The Stone

Essential Movies – 1963

As promised/threatened in my spectacular viewer categorization post, I wanted to have a look at what truly classifies as essential. My main point in the post linked above is that ‘essential’ is subjective to the viewer, but if we can roughly classify viewers then we can perhaps distinguish between what is essential for each viewer type, and what is not. Now, this is not scholarly in the slightest, nor is it researched in any way aside from in my own head between 1 and 2 am when I can’t sleep. Take it with as many pinches of salt as you like, and perhaps some vinegar.

Greetings, Glancers! We’re back again to check which classic movies should be considered essential within each category of viewer. Check out my 1963 Oscars posts for more on some of these movies, otherwise lets go.

America, America

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Elia Kazan. The American Dream. Nominated for 4 Oscars, won one.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Three hours long. Old. Most would view it as foreign. Didn’t make a bunch of money so most would remember it.

What I Think: Essential only for critics and wannabees. Fans of Kazan will obviously see it, but there would be a few others to consider before this.

The Birds

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Hitchcock. Birds. You already know.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s actually pretty slow and anyone expecting all out constant bird attacks may be disappointed.

What I Think: It’s The Birds. Pick five or 10 Hitchcock movies everyone should see and this will be there.

Bye Bye Birdie

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Top 15 grossing. Nominated for 2 Oscars. One of the few musicals based on rock n roll.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Dated. Musical.

What I Think: I think you know what I think, at least the music isn’t as bad as most.

Cleopatra

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: One of the most famous movies ever, incredibly expensive, highest grossing film of the year. Liz Taylor. Richard Burton. Mankiewicz.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: 4 hours long.

What I Think: It’s Cleopatra. You don’t need to know the history, the stories, or have seen the movie, but when you hear the name you probably imagine Taylor, extravagantly adorned and reclining. Essential for everyone down to movies fans, but probably too long to convince anyone else.

8 And A Half

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Fellini. Almost always near the top of any Best Foreign Film Ever list. Top 30 grossing film. Iconic. Influential. Nominated for 5 Oscars, two wins.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Old. Weird. Black And White. Foreign. 

What I Think: I’m not sure whether we can consider foreign films essential for your typical fan or casual, not matter how important it is. Essential for Critics and Wannabees, most likely essential if you call yourself a worldly film fan.

From Russia With Love

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Bond. Generally considered one of the top five, if not the best Bond.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: If you have to pick one Bond film as essential, most people would go for Goldfinger. A bit tame on the action and tension maybe for modern viewers.

What I Think: It’s not my personal favourite, not even my favourite with Connery, but it’s still Bond and therefore everyone should see it.

The Great Escape

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: One of the best ‘escape’ movies, one of the best POW movies ever, Steve McQueen, Donald Pleasance, Richard Attenborough, James Garner, Charles Bronson, iconic scenes and soundtrack.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s pretty long?

What I Think: I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but everyone in GB sees this, usually as a kid. It’s one of my favourite movies ever and would recommend to everyone.

The Haunting

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: One of, if not the most highly regarded haunted house movie ever.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Old, black and white. Scares will be deemed tame by modern audiences.

What I Think: It doesn’t matter how old it is, the tension is still there, the sound work is brilliant, and if you’re going to see one haunted house movie it should be this one. Essential for the usual suspects and for horror fans. Film fans and casuals in general should give it a go.

High And Low

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Kurosawa. Mifune. How many times will I say that? No Samurai here though.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Old, BW, foreign. It’s not one most people will recommend in a top 5 or 10 list of Kurosawa movies.

What I Think: It’s still Kurosawa so essential for Critics and Wannabees. Kurosawa fans should see it. Film Nerds can probably skip it, and there isn’t enough to encourage anyone else.

Hud

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Paul Newman. Top 20 grossing. Nominated for 7 Oscars, won three.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: The usual (old, BW), even though others won for their performances, most won’t care about the cast outside of Newman.

What I Think: It has some great performances, but on the surface sounds boring and may be a hard sell. Outside of Critics, Wannabees will need to see it, I don’t think it’s essential enough for Film Nerds or fans, but Newman fans will want to see it.

Jason And The Argonauts

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Harryhausen. Skeletons. Talos. Harpies.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s dated.

What I Think: I love this movie – it’s one of those movies we all have where if you stumble across it on TV, you have to watch it. Critics, Wannabees, Film Nerds, Fans should all see it – I can’t see any category who wouldn’t get a kick out of it.

The Leopard

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Visconti. Burt Lancaster. Claudia Cardinale. Alain Delon. Now seen as one of the best foreign movies ever.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Old. Foreign. Long. Modern audiences won’t care about the actors or politics.

What I Think: Not a personal favourite but essential for Lancaster and Cardinale fans.

Pink Panther

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: One of the most famous comedies and comedic performances of all time. Blake Edwards. David Niven. Peters Sellers. The music. Top 15 grossing.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: The humour is heavily slapstick and many will find it dated.

What I Think: It’s The Sellers show and fans of comedy need to see it. Casuals should give it a chance.

Shock Corridor

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Sam Fuller. Cult classic.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Even among cult fans it’s not widely known.

What I Think: One for Fuller fans and those curious about cult films and interesting ideas. Horror fans should give it a go.

Tom Jones

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: 10 Oscar Nominations, 4 wins including Best Picture and Director. 4th grossing film of the year.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Its merging of styles and comedy may feel stilted and confusing to modern viewers, the cast will not appeal to those outside of specific fans, particularly in the UK.

What I Think: It’s not my sort of thing, but you can’t deny its success and pedigree. Therefore essential for Critics and Wannabees. Fans of British comedy or the source material should see it. Probably not essential for anyone else.

The Knife In The Water

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Polanski – his first. Nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscar. 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s not seen as one of Polanski’s best, despite the critical acclaim. Old. Foreign.

What I Think: You don’t get to be a movie fan without seeing a Polanski movie. However, this is likely one you’ll only get to if you see and enjoy his more famous works. Essential for Critics and Wannabees, Nerds should be aware of it, fans should give it a shot if they don’t find foreign cinema.

The Sword In The Stone

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Disney. Still the definitive version of the story?

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It came during a downturn in quality and success by the Company and it isn’t highly regarded outside of its hardcore fans.

What I Think: I’ve always considered it one of my favourites but there are much better Disney films. Still, almost all Disney movies are essential for all kids so by the time you care about films you’ve already probably seen it. If you get to adulthood without seeing it, it’s not you’ll likely seek out.

Let us know which movies of 1963 you would deem as Essential for a particular audience!

Nightman’s Updated Favourite Films Of 1989!

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

In reading through my list again, I realised there are a few movies I somehow missed including or mentioning before. Black Rain is in my Top Tony/Ridley Scott list, Blue Steel is an underrated thriller, Three Fugitives is an underrated comedy, Renegades is one of my favourite buddy cop movies.

10: The Killer (HK)

Maybe the first John Woo film I ever saw, like many it opened my eyes to a new world of Action cinema. Growing up I was mainly exposed to Hollywood’s muscle bound Action heroes and Asia’s Martial Arts masters, but John Woo came along and created a bridge between the two, offering sardonic, stylish, conflicted protagonists who were just as deadly with their fists as they were with a handgun. Action isn’t treated like a series of explosions, but like a choreographed dance for maximum emotional impact. Like many of Woo’s early movies, it pits one man against another in a sort of cat and mouse formula, and masculinity is dissected. Chow Yun Fat is an assassin trying to get out of the business, but he accidentally injures a singer in his last job and falls in love with her. Danny Lee is the detective on his trail and becomes obsessed with The Killer, while Shing Fui-on is the Triad boss pulling all of the strings and acting as the central big bad. It’s a more condensed and small scale experience than earlier works like A Better Tomorrow, and his balletic approach would be perfected in upcoming films such as Hard Boiled and Face/Off, but it’s still a smooth, stylish, bullet crazed watch.

9: Uncle Buck (US)

One of the seminal movies of the great John Candy, and probably the one I was most familiar with growing up. Candy stars as the titular Uncle who is tasked with looking after his nieces and nephew and has somewhat unorthodox measures. It has its madcap moments, but it’s still a John Hughes movie, meaning a lot of heart, modern family values, and plenty of guttural belly laughs.

8: Born On The Fourth Of July (US)

The movie which should have seen Tom Cruise win his Oscar, Born On The Fourth Of July is Oliver Stone dealing with the aftermath of Vietnam from a veteran’s perspective. It’s a gripping performance and watching it now we’re reminded that Cruise is capable of powerful dramatic performances when he’s not leaping out of airplanes as he trying to complete impossible missions. Based on the life of Ron Kovic, the film follows his life from childhood, to his horrific experiences in Vietnam, and to the months and years after as he became an activist. Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, and John C McGinley join Stone again after Platoon, albeit in much smaller parts, and the surrounding cast including Kyra Sedgwick, Frank Whaley, and Lili Taylor put in memorable performances.

7: Kiki’s Delivery Service (Japan)

I think this is my favourite Ghibli movie. Naturally, Miyazaki directs and writes, and Joe Hisashi brings another lovely score. It’s not the most riveting or outlandish or visually adventurous Ghibli movie, but it’s sweet, evokes a lot of feelings, and creates a charming world you would love to spend more time in. It’s also a film about growing up, about finding your place in the world, through the lens of a young girl who happens to be a Witch, heading off on her own for the first time and setting up a delivery service thanks to her flying ability. It does that Ghibli thing of perfectly capturing a specific mood and is as close to capturing the atmosphere of a Legend Of Zelda game as any movie I’ve seen, even though narratively the two have little in common. It’s simply a beautiful experience.

6: See No Evil, Hear No Evil (US)

One of the lesser known entries for both Pryor and Wilder, it’s nevertheless my favourite film by either performer… Brewster’s Millions and Willy Wonka maybe on another day. It’s utterly ludicrous, vaguely offensive, and our two stars are on fine form. I’ve said this many times over the decades – I’ve never been much of a Kevin Spacey fan (seems I was right all along) but this is his best performance. I’m willing to die on that hill. It’s the ridiculous story of a blind man (Pryor) and a deaf man (Wilder) who become friends and are embroiled in a murder case. Japes follow. Many, many japes. I know it’s not clever (except when it is) or sophisticated, but there’s just something about these two actors playing equally bemused characters getting into stupid situations and causing chaos for everyone they meet that I find endlessly hilarious and endearing.

5: Licence To Kill (US/UK)

It’s a shame Dalton didn’t get to squeeze in one more Bond film before Brosnan took over – he’s probably the best actor to ever wield the PPK, and he took the series in an interesting direction. This is a better film overall than The Living Daylights, and you feel Dalton was just hitting his stride. It was the most grisly and dark Bond film upon release, bolstered by two slimy performances by Benicio Del Toro and Robert Davi and has one of the series most exhilarating finales.

4: Pet Sematary (US)

Speaking of grisly, Mary Lambert brought Stephen King’s darkest and most upsetting novel to the big screen, not shying away from the horrors of death, grief, and resurrection. Interestingly, it’s the supporting cast who steal the limelight from the two leads – Fred Gwynne iconic as Jud, and Miko Hughes on Oscar worthy form as the ill fated Gage. In case you’re unaware of the story, it follows a family moving to rural Maine, their farmhouse on the side of a particularly busy road, and how they cope with first the loss of the family pet and then something far more devastating. It turns out that an ancient burial ground behind the house as the power of resurrection… but sometimes dead is better. It doesn’t match the sheer bleak emotional power of the novel, but it gets closer to the bone than most horror movies, and there isn’t a shred of light to be found anywhere.

3: Back To The Future Part II  (US)

It’s not as good as the first, but it’s damn close. It does that second act thing which annoys me in most films, of having the main character fall out with his friends/go down a darker path – this all takes place in the alternate boss Biff future, but aside from that minor personal thing it’s a wonderful adventure. The cast is back to together, the story and sets all blend seamlessly with Part 1, and every single performer is at the top of their game. I love all the hoverboard and 3D shark action, plenty of jokes and humour, and it’s all done in such a way that viewers of any age can enjoy it. They don’t make them like this anymore.

2: Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure (US)

There’s something more pure and original and fun about this first Bill & Ted movie which the second one lacks somewhat. I love them both, but this is the superior outing. Hell, it even has a sequence in a waterpark, what’s not to love. It’s quotable, the supporting cast and characters are fun Reeves and Winter and Carlin are most excellent, and the story is shamelessly silly – two aspiring musicians and otherwise no hopers are thrust back in time in order to learn about history so that they can pass history class. If they don’t, the very future of mankind is under threat. To Metal and Grunge fan younger me, this was my Gospel.

1: Batman (US)

It’s in my Top Movies Of The 80s post.

Let us know your favourite movies of 1989 in the comments!

Nightman’s Updated Top Twenty Movies Of 1990!

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

20: Boiling Point (Japan) Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano comes into his own with another unusual mixture of losers, comedy, and violence, a film where he begins to experiment with what it means to be a director and storyteller. It’s not the easiest gateway into Japanese cinema, but in Kitano you have an established star and unique voice.

19: La Femme Nikita (France) Luc Besson

Luc Besson had made waves in the 1980s with a number of experimental movies but with La Femme Nikita he became a name to be reckoned with. It’s the story of a teenage criminal who kills a cop after her friends are killed during a robbery gone wrong. Facing a life in prison, she is recruited by a shadowy organization and trained as an assassin. The film’s beats feel cliche now, but while they were not exactly new then, they are done with a speed and style and have been mimicked by Hollywood for decades – we watch Nikita train, become skilled, disciplined, distant, then meet a stranger and fall in love, then balance botched missions and dreaming of a normal life. It almost single-handedly rejuvenated interest in France as a Country capable of making genre films. Anne Parillaud, Jean Reno, Tcheky Karyo, and Jeanne Moreau are familiar faces helping the film succeed.

18: The Witches (UK/US) Nicholas Roeg

I loved Roald Dahl when I was growing up, and I loved anything horror related. Roald Dahl making a more or less straight (family friendly) horror story and film was the perfect storm for me. I had no idea who Nicholas Roeg was until much later, but he strikes me now as an interesting choice for the studio to make, and the film an interesting project for him to tackle. I remember the first time I watched this – in school – but it was turned off during the unmasking scene because a number of girls started crying. Good times. Hell, another childhood hero in Mr Bean shows up! I haven’t seen the remake at time of writing, but I imagine it will be tough to beat the fun and frights of this one.

17: Dances With Wolves (US) Kevin Costner

Costner knows how to make an epic. What a great debut film. It’s gorgeous, has a great score, may be somewhat overlong but remains engaging as all epics with the balls to have a three hour running time should be.

16: Awakenings (US) Penny Marshall

A still sadly underseen and undervalued film by everyone – Penny Marshall fans, Robin Williams fans, Robert De Niro fans, film fans in general, and those who don’t know any better. The film was extremely well reviewed at the time and got nominations for Best Picture and Best Actor, but has since fallen by the wayside. It’s a gripping, moving, true (ish) story of a doctor’s experiment treatment on patients in a comatose state, with Robins as the Doctor and De Niro as one of his patients who ‘wakes’ from an unresponsive state and tries to resume a normal life. It’s one of the best examples of Williams taking on a non-comedic role, and something different for De Niro too.

15: The Godfather Part 3 (US) Francis Ford Coppolla

We know it’s not as good as Part 1 or 2. Possibly if Part 3 had come shortly after Part 2, but then it would have been a very different story. The Godfather Part 3 is still a more enjoyable and more impressive experience than 90% of what you’ll watch this year. Andy Garcia is a strong addition, Sofia less so even if the amount of criticism directed at her is mostly unfounded, and Pacino is as wonderful as ever.

14: Ghost (US) Jerry Zucker

Ghost is a romance. But when I saw it as a kid, I viewed it as a horror movie. Sure it had kissing and jokes and uncomfortable pottery, but it’s the story of a dude who is brutally murdered and has to somehow prevent his wife from being killed or being touched by the slimy meatball who was responsible for his own death. It also features one of the most creepy death scenes in film history (or two given the same creatures claim two victims). You see, in this movie, when you die you might be trapped on Earth and forced to watch the world go by in a limbo state as you struggle to not fall through the floor… or, if you were a naughty boy, you get dragged to Hell by horrific, howling, shadowy nightmares. It’s a weird departure for a dude known for incredibly zany comedies. Everyone here is great, with Goldberg stealing the show. But it’s those shadows, their howls, those will stay with you until… well, until the moment they come for you.

13: Another 48 Hours (US) Walter Hill

A sequel that’s just as much fun as the original, mainly because Walter Hill, Nick Nolte, and Eddie Murphy all return. If you didn’t enjoy the original you won’t like this, if you like the original then this is more of the same. In fact, most of the (mostly) justified criticism of the film is because the film was chopped to pieces before release, with at least 30 minutes of material cut which would have reinstated characters from the first film, expanded on the motivation of others, and filled in many of the plot holes. None of that mattered to a younger me – all I wanted was more buddy cop violence and banter, and that’s what we’re left with.

12: Misery (US) Rob Reiner

Before Mike Flanagan there was Frank Darabont; before Darabont there was Garris; before Garris there was Reiner. Rob Reiner made two bona fide classic Stephen King classics before descending into romantic comedy debauchery. There’s no romance here, except in Annie’s head, and there are precious few laughs. Instead we have a King proxy tied to a bed, being subject to repeated mental and physical torture from a deranged fan. Cann and Bates are a fearsome partnership and Lauren Bacall and Richard Farnsworth appear. It holds a couple of important, yet depressing distinctions – it’s one of the few times a Horror film and Horror performance has been recognised by The Academy, and it’s the only film based on a Stephen King work to have ever won an Oscar.

11: Arachnophobia (US) Frank Marshall

I hate spiders, but I love spiders? I love how they terrify people, I love the job they perform, and I love how impossible they are, but I also hate that they exist and often exist in my house. I also love movies with spiders in them, either as a random appearance or as some kind of antagonist. These movies are almost always terrible… but spiders! Arachnophobia is like Jaws but with spiders, which is sort of similar to saying Jaws is like Die Hard, but with drunk fishermen. A new species of spider, highly venomous and aggressive, is found in Venezuela and hitches a ride back to the good old US of Hicktown. Jeff Daniels has just moved in with his family – he’s terrified of spiders, but luckily there’s only house spiders in this part of the world. That is, until the Queen gets her end away with one of the local homeboys and spurts out hundreds of murderous little fucks who begin picking off the town’s caricatures. Julian Sands has a ponytail. John Goodman has bug spray. It’s great. You’ll laugh your ass off, then shriek cos a bit of dust moved in the corner of your room.

10: Kindergarten Cop (US) Ivan Reitman

Covered in my TTT Arnie movies.

9: Young Guns II (US) Geoff Murphy

A sequel every bit as fun as the original, another terrific cast, soundtrack, and with the added bonus emotional beats. The main gang are still electric and while the whole ‘I’m Billy The Kid’ thing never sat well with me, for the longest time this and its predecessor were the only Westerns I could watch; they’re still up there with my favourites.

8: Mermaids (US) Richard Benjamin

You’ll know from my Least Favourite Movies lists that I’m not a Romantic Comedy guy. That’s not necessarily because I’m against the format, more that the results of said format are generally bad. They offer me nothing on a personal level. Mermaids, if it can truly be classed as a Romantic comedy, is an exception. I’d class it as a Coming Of Age movie, but at the heart of the story is the romance between Cher and Bob Hoskins, and the conflict it causes Cher’s family. Regardless of what it is, it’s delightful. Cher’s best film performance, Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci together in the same movie (both at their best), kick-ass soundtrack, and spoke to me as an alienated youngster.

7: Tremors (US) Ron Underwood

One of the most purely entertaining, fun monster movies ever made. It knows what it is and doubles down on the charm of the genre. It wouldn’t be so much fun if it weren’t for the writing and the chemistry between the cast members. If you’ve seen any of the Tremors sequels – they’re still fun, still silly, but the writing and chemistry are lacking. You know what it is, right? Man eating worms attack a middle of nowhere town, and it’s down to a couple of resourceful manual workers, a plucky seismologist, and a couple of gun totin’ firearms fans to save the day. It’s a throwback, a gateway horror movie, and somehow timeless even if some of the squishy effects aren’t as impressive as they were in 1990.

6: Wild At Heart (US) David Lynch

I talk about it more in my TTT David Lynch post, but this is an underrated, manic entry in the Lynch canon.

5: Total Recall (US) Paul Verhoeven

Discussed in TTT Arnie movies.

4: Home Alone (US) Chris Columbus

A massive hit, brought Culkin to the big time, and is a must watch every Christmas. The perfect movie for a boy like me when it was released, and that boy never really grew up even if he is old enough to watch it with his own kids now. Few more entertaining Christmas movies than this.

3: Goodfellas (US) Martin Scorsese

I don’t think I’ve done a TTT Scorsese post yet, but this would be at or near the top. In terms of Crime/Mafia movies I’d still rate The Godfather 1 and higher, but this is in with a shout as the best of that genre. Gripping stories, chilling violence, quotable script, excellent performances, and Scorsese at the top of his game.

2: Problem Child (US) Dennis Dugan

In my Top Movies Of Decade post.

1: Edward Scissorhands (US) Tim Burton

In my top movies of the decade post.

Let us know your favourite movies of 1991 in the comments!