Going Back To 1981 With Tonight’s “Watching Movies With My Cats”

Well, it was a fine night of food, whiskey, couch, and watching a pair of flicks with my cats from the old videostore. In fairness my furbabies just slept, begged for food, played with their toys, and pretty much ignored the films entirely but it’s a work in progress with my boys. I figured by naming them Siskel and Ebert 11 years ago they would be in the zone when a movie hits our TV screen but I sadly was mistaken. Oh well…moving on.

To start the evening I went with the new beautiful SCREAM FACTORY release of the 1981 film FEAR NO EVIL directed by Frank LaLoggia and starring Stefan Arngrim who plays “Andrew”, an 18 year old who on his birthday realizes that he is the latest embodiment of old Lucifer himself.

Now I could not honestly remember if I actually watched this entire movie in the past or not. I knew I had seen moments from the film as a young kid but the plot was a lot more layered and hazy than I could recall. To be perfectly honest I felt the 1981 charm winning me over for most of the film.

Now what happens when you take the Omen, Carrie, Evilspeak, and The Exorcist and somehow mix them with a movie soundtrack that has songs by the Ramones, Talking Heads, Sex Pistols, Richard Hell, and The Clash? A movie that must have spent more money on the soundtrack than the film itself. Actually I’m sure back then they got the movie quite cheap. Anyways, I digress. So basically three archangels have tried time and time again to take the form of living humans through the centuries to track down the living human Lucifer before he can complete his second coming because he feels God owes him a shit. This is the basic plot.

The movie opens with a version of Satan managing to kill himself before the angels can so basically they blew it and now have to wait for many years to see which body he will return as and try again and not fuck it up.

Us as an audience learn pretty quick the evil one has been reborn as his parents try to baptise him and, sweet baby jesus, shit gets messy really fast. Everyone at the ceromony starts bleeding out insanely and pretty much dies and goes mad. Way to grab my attention movie..well played.

When we meet 18 year old Satan, I mean Andrew, his parents have been at odds since his birth. His mother devoted a little much to him and his dad basically accepts the fact that his son is devil and he’s never getting laid by his crazy wife again. Seriously, that’s all I got of their relationship. So moving on to Andrew’s high school life it’s the Class of 81 and as we know movies in 1981 taking place in high school basically made the “students” look like your late 20s/ early 30s friends drinking at the bar. God, I love this era of casting.

Now even though Andrew is strange for obvious reasons he’s not quite a geek or nerd like Carrie or Clint Howard from Evilspeak. No, he’s a perfect student with perfect marks who can go to any college of his choosing. Now that does not mean he’s popular and nor does he care. He has bigger things to worry about. But speaking of Carrie the thing that surprised me was a few momemts of homoerotic scenes. Keep in mind, this was a 1981 horror film and there is a shower scene, hence the Carrie moment, where all the guys are naked and Andrew is minding his own business. Surprisingly the badass character starts picking on him by calling him pretty and asking him jokingly on a date and then corners him to “prank” kiss him I guess? Still confused by this it was original. Anyways Andrew will not let go of the mouth to mouth kiss sending his evil satanic powers through that kiss and knocking the badass to the ground with that kiss infront of all his buddies. Honestly it was an odd scene but good on them for bringing something very different for that era and 4 yeaars before Nightmare On Elm Street 2. Infact their is more male nudity in this film than female. A rarity for early 80s horror to sure.

Moving on. There is a girl in Andrew’s class named Julie. Now Julie has these strange dreams about Andrew seducing her and calling to her even though she has a guy and really has no interest in Andrew that way. And yet he always creeps in her dreams or nightmares even leaving marks on her when she wakes up. Now enter Margaret Buchanan, an elder woman that lives off the grid that kids in the area call a witch behind her back. Well, the truth is she is one the human forms walking on the planet that is actually, get ready for it, arch angel Mikhail! Bam! And even crazier she basically tells Julie the reason she’s been seeing Andrew in her dreams is because she is actually arch angel Gabrielle in human form and just does not know it yet! Crazy I know. Anyways, after very little convincing they must team up, use the magic religious spear item and take out Andrew/ Satan before he can have his second coming.

Now that is the basic story with sprinkles of other random things happening including more people having blood pour out of their hairlines, getting hit with lightning, and dying in brutal ways. Also a very impressive dog corpse that Andrew kills with an axe because…he needs to drink animal blood I guess? Anyways, pet lovers will not like that scene. But the one random scene I loved was Andrew getting punished in gym class with push ups while the rest of the class is playing a game of dodgeball. Old Andy lets his temper get the best of him and someone turns the coach into a complete lunatic which makes him grab a dodgeball, a freaking rubber dodgeball, and kill a kid with it. Brilliant.

Final thoughts overall on FEAR NO EVIL are it was a product of it’s time using many tropes that had worked before it. Maybe it wanted to be another Omen or Exorcist or even Carrie but sadly no dice. But was I entertained? Damn rights I was. The middle section lags a bit, the final climax is kind of a bizarre mess of many lighting FX of it’s time but overall it is worth a watch if you a fan of the era. Give it a go if for nothing else to hear one hell of a great soundtrack and watching people that look like they graduated 10 years ealier play high school kids.

Well holy crap…this brings me to the second half of tonight’s cats ignoring amazing cinema on my TV. Norman J. Warren’s 1981 cult classic INSEMINOID. Wow. Just Wow. Where the hell do I start with slice of insanity. The one common thing these two films tonight have, aside being both released in 1981, is they borrowed from so many other movies to see if would work. In both cases it a bit of sure why not, not really, and simply huh..interesting.

So coming off the heels of Alien it is a no brainer that aside from from creators like Roger Corman others desperately wante to get in on the ripoff movie game. This production from my eyes witnessing it was no exception. A group of scientists/explorers/ miners have set up base on a mystery planet to some drilling and discovering. Oddly enough during an early scene in the mines one member of crew comes across ancient sandscript carved in the walls showing symbols and markings and they are trying to decipher it. Sound familiar? Anyways while deep in the shafts of this mysterious landscape a couple of the crew in deeper than the others which breaks their radio communication so no one else knows what the hell is going on.

While the rest of the crew wait in their headquarters not knowing what’s happening these members come across some funky glowing stones that burn right through one member’s suit. I believe his name was Ricky. Now as Ricky is dealing with a burnt hand (no biggie, right?) the other sees something in a wall formation which suddenly explodes causing a flaming accident out of no where.

Now we meet everyback in headquaters as the exploding member is basically a comatoast corpse and Ricky’s hand is really bothering him. He’s getting sweaty and not looking so good but, hey, he figures he just needs some rest and he’ll be right as rain. One thing about about this crew is there are more female than male which is sweet for 1981. Like maybe trying to give us 6-7 Ripleys and we have to figure out who will be the final girl out of them. So we move to Ricky losing his shit and having a freak out that makes him need to leave the safe headquarters and get back out into the non-breathing mineshafts in his suit. No one can seem to calm or fight him down. He’s completely lost it and has crazy strength now throwing around male and female co-workers alike!

So people die. Some get their masks removed and freeze up. But finally in a moment of life or death one of the female memebers blasts Ricky with a bizarre harpoon/ drilling gun killing him before we can get any answers what made him go nuts. Oh wait, it was probably those magic stones that burnt ino his hand.

Anyways, once that’s all dealt with for someone reason a couple of the smart types decide they need to go back out there for more research to get to bottom of all this. WTF? Call your flight out of there and call it a day. But then the movie would end. So this time going back to the explosion location a mystery creature lurks and literally tears apart the male member and takes the female on a journey that will give us the meaning of the title INSEMINOID. You guessed it…Alien getting it on with human.

Now seen through the eyes of a dazed and possibly alien drugged Sandy we are witness to bizarre flashes of her naked body laying on some UFO abduction table and in a tastefully done manner, well as tastelful as a scene like this could be done, the creature appears to have it’s way with her. For some reason though we see Sandy waking up all in shock and disorientated back in headquarters. Maybe it was all just a dream and everything will be fine? Probably not. Claiming she does not remember much but for some reason she is feeling sick in the stomach area (hmmm?) they let her rest up to try and shake it off because it worked out well for Ricky before.

Here’s where the movie turns from a Sci-Fi horror ripping on Alien to a basic 1981 slasher flick set on another planet. I would say it borrows from John Carpenter’s The Thing but that film came out a year later so maybe Mr. Carpenter was watching this flick for inspiration. Not bloody likely. Anyways, something is calling Sandy like Ricky before and aside from her being two months pregnant out of the blue her stregth and anger goes into over drive. One by one she assaults, rips open, smashes, and straight up murders her former friends and co-workers. It’s a game of cat and mouse in the headquarters with her winning all the way. She can even breath in the planet’s atmosphere without a suit. Crazy!

Everything the remaining crew try to take her down fails time and time again. And one by one they are getting picked off. Ofcourse Sandy’s stomach keeps growing leading the moment we have all been waiting for. As she hunkers down in a quiet place within the headquaters she does the age old tradition of giving birth to not one but two alien babies. Freaking twins which apparently was for told from the carvings in the walls at the beginning of the film.

Now as a last desperate effort to stop this psycho mother one of the members, her boyfriend from before she cheated on him with the alien, steals the babies putting her into a panic. Those two have there final moment and fight with him strangling her to death. Simple as that. Now all he needs to do is go back and collect the one other injured survivor who was guarding the babies and they can get off this rock of a planet.

Ah bummer. Well still it was a good plan. Listen, is INSEMINOID a great piece of art? God no. Will you be recommending it to all your friends after you watch it? That depends what kind of friends you hang out with. But I will say this. If you enjoy my shop and the silly ass movies that I deal with you would be doing a disservice not to watch it. And even though it looks like I gave away the ending of the flick I actually did not. I’ll leave that for you.

So from myself and lazy ass cats I wanna thank you for reading my experience of the fine cinema viewing we had. In all seriousness it was nice to write about something not connected to the realities of the current world situation and I hope if you read this far it gave you some insight, a smile, and brief distraction. That should be the beauty of film no matter what is happening. And as of now the videostore still remains open. So take care of yourself and please wash your hands and no hugging for a couple months tops we can hope. Cheers!

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