Rorschach’s Journal, October 12, 1985. Tonight, a comedian died in New York.
“Like it or not, the 80s are still what made us who we are today… Could it be that there were some things that the 80s did much better than we do them now?” – Toby Litt.
Forgive me while hurtling headlong into what could arguably be the most indulgent Post you will ever find on this site. For those of a certain age, the ’80s were a bubbly and exuberant time to live in, especially if you were crazy about SF.
Often cited as “the decade that just won’t die,” amid the big hair, garish leotards, deely-boppers and curly-wurlies, there was a surprisingly good amount of stuff released during these years. The movies were fun, the comics unputdownable and the novels still had a cool and distinctive edge with their (traditionally hand-painted) cover art.
And all these could be enjoyed with the accompaniment of top class ’80s synthesised pop. In order to illustrate this, a relevant vid is in order, but – oh good gravy! – which one should it be? There were so many ace gems that have stood the test of time. After much head-scratching and gnashing of teeth, this is one of my faves with a sci-fi flave: the visuals, the synths, the cyberpunk gear and that ha-ha-ha-hair! After 3:25, the goosebumps always kick in…
“Then tell me, future boy, who’s President of the United States in 1985? …Ronald Reagan?! The actor?! Then who’s Vice President? Jerry Lewis?!” – Doc Emmett Brown.
In retrospect, 80s sci-fi grew basically from the phenomenon that Star Wars had created. From big movies like Aliens (1986) and Predator (1987) down to the low-budget shockers that overflowed from the local video rental store, came a veritable burst of creativity. They don’t make them like that anymore – so why not?
Although the movies will never be the same again, at least now there are – oh yes! – a few artists active who recreate the sounds of the 80s. Possibly the best of this retro-synthwave crop is Lazerhawk. Fortunately, one of his catchiest tunes has been set to the opening frenetic scene from the cult sci-fi action outing: The Hidden (1987).
This may look like a typical cop thriller prevalent throughout that decade, but trust me, it belongs to our genre – there’s an alien parasite residing within that driver, which explains why “he” can smash into innocent bystanders with reckless abandon (you have been warned!)
Oh goody-gumdrops! Got so much awesomeness here on offer! (If you go to my Facebook page, you will find a whole lot more assorted goodies!)
It was too darned difficult to decide which of these two astounding vids to use, so – what the heck, with still plenty of MB Space to go – here they both are.
The following montage of clips hails from not only one of the finest movies that the 80s had to offer, but one of the great SF cinematic masterpieces. Ever. Enjoy!
“Well, erm… Ronald Reagan says he’s going to be running for President in ’88 – we could, er, run a piece on that…” – Seymour.
“Seymour, we don’t dignify absurdities with coverage. This is still America, damn it! Who wants a cowboy in the White House?!” – Editor, New Frontiersman.
One quick and easy reason why the 80s instill such unconditional fondness is that, back in the day, none of us had to fret over work, rent and bills… but then, for me, those worries were still a long way off even during the ’90s; apart from monumental classics such as Terminator II: Judgment Day (1991) or Jurassic Park (1993) the ’90s did not offer any buzz special enough to compel me to embrace that era. Guess it’s a generational thing, right?
Just recently, an absurd list – no naming and (shaming) of that website here! – featured the Top 10 80s SF movies that deserve(!) the wretched remake treatment. Honestly…
Sure, the decade reeked with an overabundance of cheesy sci-fi duds, but because those much-maligned Mad Max knockoffs were concocted with severely limited budgets and production values, they were more likely to exude a (care-free?) abundance of originality, creativity and energy, qualities noticeably lacking in movies these days.
More than anything else, needlessly humongous budgets now dictate that our cinema choices have become riddled with unadventurous remakes and reboots, not to mention sequels (usually of diminishing quality.) Are you satisfied with the recycled versions of Robocop and Clash of the Titans? No, didn’t think so…
Major studios are simply not willing to fork out fanciful fortunes to dare offer anything original. Business is business, alas…
Just to make this Post a tad sweeter, here is a gallery of some of the highlights from that irrepressible decade:
Brad’s Blasts From The Past
“Think of some of the things that only kids who grew up in that era know about. Do you notice how some things seem to be magically reappearing again? That is good – no, it’s great!” – eightiesonline.com
Finally, to all you wonderful 90s kids looking perplexed at all this gushing over big hair and big flair before your time, it would be very interesting to hear about your perspective of 80’s sci-fi!
In another dimension, Brad is stuck in a twist in the fabric of space where the 80s become a loop. That would suit me… just fine, thanks.
And so, as we come to the end of this Post, obviously it’s time to roll the credits, and there’s never been a finer sequence than this: