Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '88 - Michele Eggen ""

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Underrated '88 - Michele Eggen

Michele Eggen started writing about horror films in 2010 on her blog, The Girl Who Loves Horror. She now contributes her writing to the sites Wicked Horror and Ghastly Grinning in between trying to cram as many movies into her brain as she can. Twitter: @micheleneggen Letterboxd:

I’m a sucker for buddy-cop action films and Walter Hill. Red Heat delivers on both accounts, and while it’s not my favorite Hill, or his best, this is still a wicked fun movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger is maybe not all that believable as a Soviet but you won’t really care about that while he is delivering deadpan one-liners and trying to deal with Jim Belushi. I’d say the movie is worth it alone for the scene involving a chase with two Greyhound buses, and you’ll still get some of Hill’s trademarks of slick city streets and great action pieces, with a great dose of comedy.
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I’m including this in the list mostly because we all need more Meg Tilly in our lives. Masquerade is one of those fun, twisty thrillers with a great cast playing absolutely horrible characters. Tilly is the only good person in the Hamptons in this story, and this and her massive fortune make her the target of her vile stepfather and his accomplices. There’s sex, murder, deceit, and enough surprising character turns to keep things interesting. Rob Lowe, Kim Cattrall, and Doug Savant round out the cast and all give great performances.
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Pin has honestly one of the weirdest setups I’ve ever seen in a movie. Brother and sister Leon and Ursula are a little too close to both each other and their doctor father’s medical dummy, Pin, who they treat as human. Ursula grows up and gets over it, but Leon doesn’t. Things get all kinds of uncomfortable, weird, and deadly from there. What’s great about Pin is that it’s hard to tell where the story is going. There’s one great scare at the beginning that has amazing payoff at the end, and it keeps you invested because you have to find out how the story gets there. You’re never really sure just what kind of movie you are watching, whether there is something supernatural going on, or if you’re dealing with a character’s mental illness. Terry O’Quinn has a sadly smaller role as the children’s father, but David Hewlett is the true standout as Leon, as he is so committed and wonderful to watch on screen.
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This was a movie that my best friend and I stumbled upon in the 90s and it became an instant favorite of ours. For years I never saw any of the other Sleepaway Camp films, because Unhappy Campers was all I needed. Though it has become embraced by horror fans over the years, and has gotten the coveted Scream Factory blu-ray treatment, I still say it’s a bit underrated. Most people probably love it because it is so campy, fun, and has several memorable kills. But what is so underrated about this film to me is that it is far smarter than it is given credit for. The dialogue, jokes, and even visual sight gags are almost so casually self-aware that you might not notice them at first. It’s a movie that knows what it is and what it’s doing, and completely embraces that.
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For a great double bill of hilarious meta horror-comedy, follow up Sleepaway Camp 2 with Return of the Killer Tomatoes. Anthony Starke, George Clooney, John Astin, and the rest of the cast roll with the crazy punches of the movie extremely well, and make it such a fun ride from start to finish. Return of the Killer Tomatoes really takes “self-aware” as far as it can possibly go. The fourth wall is broken several times by both the actors and the film’s crew when they announce that the production has run out of money and have to resort to product placement. I find this kind of stuff absolutely brilliant and it has never been done better than here. Arrow Video put out an amazing blu-ray release of the film that all fans should own.
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