PCR past banners Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #209  (Vol. 5, No. 13)  This edition is for the week of March 22--28, 2004.

A special commentary on The Passion of the Christ
 by Mike Smith
"Dawn of the Dead"  by ED Tucker
There and Back Again: The Pivotal Year of 1987
 by Andy Lalino
The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien's Legacy
 by Nick King
Dawn of the Dead....The Passion of the Christ....Comics  by John Lewis
What In The Name Of God...?
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Passion Of The Python....I Love Rock And Roll....Andy Says....Check Your Calendars....Me And The Lord (with book excerpt)....Meet The Beatles, Part 10
 by Mike Smith
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

There and Back Again:
The pivotal year of 1987

A topic that really interests me, as N'sPCR readers no doubt realize, is the decline of the genre film in the late 1980's; why it happened and what Crazed Fanboys need to do in order to put it back on top.

The fall of the sci-fi/horror film happened nearly overnight, in the year 1987. Previous to 1987, horror/genre films were still immensely popular, with both A & B-movies maintaining a level of quality and aesthetics that were pleasing to the fans and mainstream audiences alike. Here are a few fan-favorite titles from 1986 (the year before the fall) as examples: "April Fool's Day", "Killer Party", and "Aliens".

1987-1989 saw an unwelcome turn away from esthetically-pleasing B-movie fare. B-movies were becoming overtly silly ("CHUD II: Bud the CHUD", "Return of the Living Dead 2", etc.). At the same time the horror A-movie was becoming scarce, with pop culture now tipping toward comedies and dramas, such as "Home Alone" and "Three Men and a Baby".

This time period is exemplified best by Oddserving the quality of franchise sequels. Take, for example, the "Amityville Horror" series. Most fans would agree that the original, released in 1979, was a great horror film; an A movie with evident B-movie qualities. It was followed by two interesting early '80s sequels "Amityville II: The Possession" (1982) and Amityville 3-D (1983). Then, in the dreaded '90s, some geniuses decided to cash in on the franchise and continue sequeling the series, which led to such non-classics as: "The Amityville Curse" (1990), "Amityville 1992: It's About Time" (1992), "Amityville: A New Generation" (1993), and lastly "Amityville: Dollhouse" (1997).

If a Crazed Fanboy were to sit down and watch the entire series, they would no doubt conclude that the first three films in the series were worth watching, but the others could easily have been shoved in the shredder. This same phenomenon can be applied to nearly any horror 'franchise' (sounds like a burger joint): "Sleepaway Camp", "The Omen", "Fright Night", "Return of the Living Dead". It seems like anything produced after 1986 was cursed to be non-appealing to the true Horror Fanboy. The interesting question is: why?

Before I start analyzing this puzzler, I must state there are exceptions. The "Friday the 13th" series had at least a few nuggets of quality amidst the sequel process, as did the "Halloween" ("H20") and "Hellraiser" ("Hellraiser 2") series.

Here are some conclusions:

All you have to do is ask yourselves these simple questions:

    -- Is "Empire of the Ants" better than "Megalodon 2"?
    -- "The Phantom Menace" better than "The Empire Strikes Back"?
    -- "Carnosaur" better than "The Land that Time Forgot"?

I think I know the answers.

These and countless other examples prove that the '70s and early/mid '80s were infinitely better than now, the late '80s, and the dull '90s. I just saw a message board topic about "Best Horror Films of the '90s", and fans had a hard time trying to pick 10. In 1981, it would be a challenge to pick 10 great horror films from that year alone!

Maybe if we close our eyes, hold hands, and hum, we'll wake up to find the '90s never happened.

Music News:
The St. Petersburg Times reported that Spandau Ballet is reuniting with all original members.

"Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics (unless otherwise noted, like the small poster of Satana) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.