Celebrating 28 days of underrated 80s cinematic treasures.

The last underrated movie also became the most toxic film ever made, and affected the success (or lack thereof) for many of the films in this list. Heaven’s Gate did to the new wave era of cinema what the invention of television had done to the Hollywood studio system. But in a way, that’s the same as blaming the monitor for a crashing computer.

The film, Heaven’s Gate, is a decent, well crafted, grand scale movie that, if you watched on the whim without knowing anything about its history, could even be considered a worthy follow-up to Cimino’s The Dear…

Celebrating 28 days of underrated 80s cinematic treasures.

I would not have come in contact with this film had it not been for a podcast series I started called 31 Days of Horror, 2018 edition. In that podcast, Andy Lewin and myself gave up with reviewing the 80’s comedy, High Spirits and decided to put out a segment that we called “dream or film” in which we both tell a story, remembering something we believed we had seen from our childhood, but had not encountered it again, making us wonder if it was not a film, but imaginings of our subconscious. I know! …

Celebrating 28 days of underrated 80s cinematic treasures.

Yet again, I was amazed when I found this movie. Also known as Shoot to Kill, this marked the return of Sidney Poitier after a significant hiatus. It seemed the perfect time for him to return, just as action films were beginning to reach a revolutionary high. We were getting beyond the gritty street cop movies like Dirty Harry which were starting to look more like procedurals. Within the last three years of the 80s, we were struck where it hurts, with films like Lethal Weapon and Die Hard. We also started to see a few martial arts action films…

Celebrating 28 days of underrated 80s cinematic treasures.

I came to this film with an air of caution. One the one hand, I laughed a lot, unintentionally, at the way the characters talked to one another in the beginning and at first, I didn’t think this film was going to go anywhere. I was soon quickly surprised, and even though some of the characterisation comes across a little, enhanced , it all fits in. The plot eventually steam rolls over all of my preconceived notions in the beginning, and soon enough, I was hooked in the how’s, the whys and the who. It was a surprise to me…

Celebrating 28 days of underrated 80s cinematic treasures.

I hadn’t seen this version until a couple of years ago, but I was always aware of it because of it’s chilling sense of claustrophobia. The point of view that this film takes is extremely unconventional. It was a surprise, to think that the director would then remake this movie for the hollywood audience. Perhaps he thought it would make better takings. The 1993 remake could have been something amazing, but as with most remakes, comparisons are never far behind. Like many underrated films that come out of Europe, they often fail because of the language barrier that comes between…

Celebrating 28 days of underrated 80s cinematic treasures.

This is one of those films that either comes to you as home set by your English literature professors, or simply, caught by chance on its reruns on television. If you’re lucky, there is a third method which blends the best of both worlds: seeing it in the theatre first, and then seeking the movie almost immediately afterwards.

There’s a magic when it comes to how Willian Russell create dialogue. It’s not that it just flows, but that it makes you stare in anticipation for the next come-back. There’s nothing left behind in this. …

Celebrating 28 days of underrated 80s cinematic treasures.

As a writer, I’m very very aware of the “rule of three”. You introduce something. You then make it important by doing it again, but on the third, you either subvert expectations, or you use that as its breaking point. In writing, you really only need three events for the straw to break the camel's back. Movies that tell of events, or racing, or action pieces, almost always stick to this formula. The Boy Who Could Fly lines up with the code perfectly.

An easy example is as follows: The young boy Louis is introduced to bullies in a race…

Celebrating 28 days of underrated 80s cinematic treasures.

By the early 80s, you never expect to see Sean Connery doing anything other than James Bond. It wasn’t until after Outland that he really started to shed that suit, shirt and tie, and get recognised for a wider body of work. In the Name of the Rose was his big shake-out role and after that, The Hunt For Red October put him into the thriller, action genre which served him well in the 90s. But I like to think that Outland had a lot with his turn away from Bond. …

Celebrating 28 days of underrated 80s cinematic treasures.

In the year 2001, I was very aware that the year represented more than just a number. Symbolically, it was the year that projected us into the future. A future where space travel was a commercial reality. I think I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey three or more times that year. Any other year, and you would have thought it a tad overindulgent.

In 2010, I saw the sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, just once. I doubt that many fans of the genre marked the occasion with a viewing. It wasn’t the kind of film that needed to…

Celebrating 28 days of underrated 80s cinematic treasures.

This “Underrated 80s” challenge has seen only a couple of title changed during the process. I would come to the realisation that not all movies can be underrated based on Nostalgia alone, otherwise we would be talking about films like the overrated Explorers (the second half, not the first) and the product placement heavy Mac and Me. Judgment comes with a weird, unforgiving sense, that despite good intentions, or at least, a promising idea, some films get ruined enough that they cannot be redeemed.

I wanted to write about Dead Calm here, and for me, Dead Calm was a terrifying…

Stephen Radford ♫♪

Author, writer Editor, and Story Developer. Podcast, Radio, Film, Music, and Performance — workshop tutor and professional writing mentor.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store