Tag Archives: A Nightmare on Elm Street

June on Shudder: An Elm Street Doc; Tons of Original and Classic Content

The streaming service is having its biggest June yet with three original Shudder series as well as a slew of new films and documentaries that will crave any good gore hound.

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13 Real-World Inspirations For These Horror and Mystery Films

There’s something a little more unsettling when a horror film is inspired by real events. Whether it starts out by spouting its based on a true story or recounts the lives of those caught in the cross-fire of crime or terror, we’ve collected a series of films that draw ever so slightly from the real world.

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Homemade Horror: Prelude To Halloween

With Halloween fast approaching, Grizzly Bomb has dusted off the keyboard and delved deep into the crypts of the world-wide web to dig out some really unique, fun and creepy horror creations made by independent artists with a very unique style.

This collection of artistic creation is all neatly bundled together for you, giving you a visual guided tour of some of the web’s coolest creations.

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Halloween Special: YouTube’s Horrific Halloween Shorts!

For me Halloween is not a time for gallivanting about, looking for parties and candy. No, for me Halloween is just another in the long line of excuses I use to sit on my behind watching horror movies. But what to watch? With a full day of Halloween styled movies at my disposal, sometimes it’s nice to have some filler in-between the big movies, to get some much-needed food and drink into the system before moving onto the next flick. Lucky for me YouTube has a ton of horror shorts ready for consumption. This is a short selection of some of the more interesting ones I found during my on-line travels.

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Halloween Movie Tunes To Freak Out To!

Halloween represents many things to many people and, for whatever reason you choose to celebrate you can be sure others will be doing the same in their own way. If your chosen form of celebration happens to be a party, then the dressing up and horrific elements of the season take on a whole new meaning. However with every great party, you need great tunes to keep it going. Now last year I compiled a collection of some of my favourite Halloween related tunes to give you all a frightfully good night. This year I have turned to film for my inspiration. So without further ado here is a selection of some of the catchy horror tunes perfect for a good night in.

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The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 25 “80s Horror Flicks”

This is the latest of a whole series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films produced within a specific decade. These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific, we used Excel.

Not much says horror like 80’s horror. A genre defining decade if ever there was one, the 80’s brought us some of the classics as well as those cult favorites that most love to hate. We saw the start of never-ending franchises and one-offs that lasted longer in our nightmares than they did in the theater. Remember that short period of time when horror movies were scary? I do. It was the 80’s.

This list was populated by 14 Grizzly Bomb staffers and 2 additional guest voters. It resulted in a whopping 63 different movies being listed, which we scientifically put together into a list of the top 25.

*Our Guest Voters this time around are friends of the site Stephen Scarlata, who is currently finishing up some work on the Documentary ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune‘, and David E. Williams who is an Executive Producer on Femme Fatales.

25. Christine (1983)
24. The Beyond (1981)
23. Stephen King’s Silver Bullet (1985)
22. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

21. Bad Taste (1987)
20. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)
19. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
18. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
17. Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
16. Halloween II (1981)
15. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
14. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
13. Day of the Dead (1985)
12. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
11. The Lost Boys (1987)

And the TOP 10….

10. Hellraiser

Horror

SCOOT: Hellraiser comes to us from horror visionary Clive Barker, and was adapted from his novella The Hellbound Heart . It was wide renowned for its shocking gore and out of this world storyline, with state of the art special effects (for its time, of course). It tells the story of a man seeking the ultimate in pleasure, and finding the ultimate in pain. The movie chronicles his return from Hell after he uses the mystical Puzzle Box, and the brave heroine who sends him back to dwell with the keepers of this particular Hell, the Cenobites. Hellraiser spawned a ton of horrible and doomed to be straight-to-video sequels, but no one can deny the kind of effect Hellraiser had on them during their first viewing. An original story, and a new face of horror with Pinhead and the Cenobites. The Puzzle Box has floated through a few other Clive Barker stories, as well as cameos in other movies. A lasting tradition of horror that carries on today, as plans for a remake of the popular franchise is underway.

US Release:  September 18, 1987
Director: 
Clive Barker
Notable Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, and Ashley Laurence.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/Adjust. for Inflation: $14,564,027/$29,165,302

Best Quote: “Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others.”

Trivia: The concept of a cube being used as a portal to hell has basis in the urban legend of The Devil’s Toy Box, which concerns a six-sided cube constructed of inward facing mirrors. According to stories, individuals who enter the structure and then close it will undergo surreal, disturbing phenomenon that will simultaneously grant them a revelatory experience and permanently warp their mind.

9. The Fly

Horror

SCOOT: A remake of the classic 1958 horror with one of the most memorable scenes in cinematic history (“Help me…. Help me…”) this movie truly elevated the original. It tells the story of the brilliant yet eccentric Dr. Seth Brundle (played masterfully by Jeff Goldblum), who is experimenting with matter teleportation. Of course the test takes a drastic turn when he discovers that a house fly shared the pod with him when he transported himself, mixing their genetics. What follows is a frightening and disgusting transformation as Dr. Brundle mutates into a freaky human/fly hybrid.

With Jeff Goldblum at his finest, and directed by master of horror David Cronenberg, The Fly presented one of the best remakes to date. It established the horror of the first one while engaging the audience with a  compelling story and nerve-wracking journey as Dr. Brundle teaches us a golden rule in life. Never try stuff on yourself… hire an assistant.

US Release: August 15, 1986
Director: 
David Cronenberg
Notable Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, and John Getz
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 1/1 (Best Makeup)
US Box Office/AFI: $40,456,565/$85,384,071

Best Quote:  How does Brundlefly eat? Well, he found out the hard and painful way that he eats very much the way a fly eats. His teeth are now useless, because although he can chew up solid food, he can’t digest them. Solid food hurts. So like a fly, Brundlefly breaks down solids with a corrosive enzyme, playfully called “vomit drop”. He regurgitates on his food, it liquifies, and then he sucks it back up. Ready for a demonstration, kids? Here goes…

Trivia: The line, “I’m saying I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it, but now that dream is over and the insect is awake,” is a reference to author Franz Kafka’s 1912 story “The Metamorphosis,” in which a man wakes from a nightmare to find himself transformed into a giant insect.

8. Child’s Play

HorrorKRONNER: Charles Lee Ray – serial killer, Voodoo enthusiast, and doll. While fleeing the authorities, Mr. Ray, wounded and desperate, transferred his soul into the body of a ‘Good Guys’ doll, but a good guy, he is not. Before long the possessed doll becomes the center of a back alley deal directed at making the Christmas of a young boy named Andy.

Andy is thrilled with his new friend, cause he’s a bit of a loser, and he has no real friends. Chuck (Charles Lee Ray – Named for Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray) is willing to play along with the charade for a bit while he tries to find his way out of his plastic prison. Eventually, he learns that his only way out of the doll is to inhabit the body of Andy, which means bad news for Andy. And everyone else involved.

Chucky has become an icon of 80s horror spawning 4 sequels and talk of a reboot. That little bastard just won’t die…

US Release: November 9, 1988
Director: 
Tom Holland
Notable Cast: Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Ed Gale, and Brad Dourif
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $32,842,703/$62,568,945

Best Quote: “Hi, I’m Chucky, and I’m your friend till the end. Hidey-ho!” 

Trivia: To help get into the right mood for Chucky, Brad Dourif would run around the recording studio, work himself up into a real frenzy and then deliver his lines. This would often leave Brad feeling drained after each take. In fact he nearly fainted after recording Chucky’s scream when he gets burned alive.

7. Evil Dead II

Horror

SCOOT: Ash Williams, hero of The Evil Dead returns possessed by the evil of the Necronomicon. Taking place moments after the end of the first film (sort of), Ash is slowly turning into a Deadite until he does the unthinkable. He cuts off his possessed hand, and we are given our look at one of the most badass anti-heroes in Hollywood, complete with a chainsaw for a hand and a sawed off shotgun. Not much gets better than that, and fans across the world will be quoting “Groovy” for years to come.

The opening of the movie retconned a lot of the first movie, but it really took a look at what it could be and ran with it. Not only was Ash’s battle against the evil forces of the Necronomicon better than ever, his battle with himself was a great moment in film. Raimi took the unintended humor from the first and intensified it, breaking genre boundaries and setting up a nerd love fest with Bruce Campbell and all things Deadite.

US Release: March 13, 1987
Director: 
Sam Raimi
Notable Cast: Bruce Campbell, Kassie Wesley DePaiva, and Ted Raimi.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $5,923,044/$11,861,236

Best Quote: “Workshed.”

Trivia: One of the books on the can that traps Ash’s possessed hand is Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms”.

6. Poltergeist

Horror

KRONNER: Poltergeist was the first movie that ever scared me. The clown under the bed at the end – terrible. I was traumatized. And to this day, maybe no quote from any horror movie in history resounds louder with me than when Carol Anne announces the arrival of their unwanted house guests.

This is about as scary as it gets short of an R rating and with Spielberg producing and Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Tobe Hooper directing. It’s your classic tale of “We built this Subdivision on top of an Indian Burial Grounds and now they are haunting the shit out of us.” You know, just everyday sort of stuff.

This movie still stands up today as one of the best ghost movies ever made and has had me counting seconds between thunder and lightning for years…

US Release: June 4, 1982
Director: 
Tobe Hooper
Notable Cast: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, James Karen, Zelda Rubinstein, and Heather O’Rourke.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/3 (Visual Effects, Score, Sound Editing)
US Box Office/AFI: $76,606,280/$204,022,848

Best Quote: “They’re here.” 

Trivia: Heather O’Rourke, who played the little girl Carol-Anne, and Dominique Dunne, who played the teenage daughter, are buried in the same cemetery: Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Dunne was strangled into brain-death by her boyfriend in 1982, the year of the film’s release. Six years later, O’Rourke died of intestinal stenosis.

5. Friday the 13th

Horror

SCOOT: The decade started with a ‘slasher film’ that continued the trend of awesome from 1978’s Halloween. Gruesome murders plague Crystal Lake, a camp full of fornicators and generally expendable counselors. The mystery of the killer carries through the whole movie, and creates a legend that won’t even be fully realized until the second chapter.The terrifying reveal teaches kids around the world to be nice to other people, especially if their mom is a homicidal maniac.

Horror at its finest, full of gore, spooky music, awesome kills and boobs. Friday the 13th made a ton of money, spawned a ton of sequels and a remake, and featured Kevin Bacon in one of his first roles. And then he got violently murdered, it was great. While Jason doesn’t actually appear until the end and in full killing form until the second film, his shadow looms large in this start of a decades long franchise.  No surprise here that it makes the Top 5.

US Release: May 9, 1980
Director: 
Sean S. Cunningham
Notable Cast: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Tom Savini, and Kevin Bacon.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $39,754,601/$115,716,924

Best Quote: “Did you know a young boy drowned the year before those two others were killed? The counselors weren’t paying any attention… They were making love while that young boy drowned. His name was Jason. I was working the day that it happened. Preparing meals… here. I was the cook. Jason should’ve been watched. Every minute. He was… He wasn’t a very good swimmer. We can go now… dear.”

Trivia: Betsy Palmer said that if it were not for the fact that she was in desperate need of a new car, she would never have taken the part of Pamela Voorhees. In fact, after she read the script she called the film “a piece of shit”.

4. The Evil Dead

Horror

SCOOT: Five friends drive out to a secluded cabin in the woods for some sexy party times. Unfortunately, they get snoopy and prove that they’ve never ever seen a horror movie when they play a recording of someone reading from the Necronomicon, the book of the dead. Classic horror erupts with awesomely bad but still impressive special effects. The character of Ash is played perfectly by Bruce Campbell and stands out as one of his best performances ever, as well as pretty much his first.

The Evil Dead is the definition of a cult classic. Produced on a low-budget and over a year spent filming, it wowed and repulsed audiences simultaneously. With Sam Raimi’s stylized filmmaking at its rawest and a movie that is sure of its genre The Evil Dead gave us something different. A movie that was okay to laugh at while being frightened, and a movie you needed to share with all your friends.

US Release:  January 1, 1983
Director: 
Sam Raimi
Notable Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly, and Ellen Sandweiss.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $2,400,000/$5,965,714

Best Quote:  “We’re going to get you. We’re going to get you. Not another peep. Time to go to sleep.”

Trivia:  Bruce Campbell twisted his ankle on a root while running down a steep hill, and Sam Raimi and Robert G. Tapert decided to tease him by poking his injury with sticks, thus causing Campbell to have an obvious limp in some scenes.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Horror

SCOOT: Another proud parent of the ‘slasher film’ with a twist. A vicious killer haunts a group of teens on Elm Street. Seems simple enough, but when dead child murderer Freddy Krueger comes after these teens in their nightmares, things get decidedly more interesting. Krueger is a terrifying, burnt and evil man with a bladed glove and tons of lethal imagination. But why this group of teens? Everything changes as they discover that Freddy Krueger is out for revenge against the people who killed him… their parents.

Nightmare on Elm Street managed to blur the line between reality and our imagination perfectly. Robert Englund created one of the most vocal and frightening slashers ever. This also has Johnny Depp in his first feature film. And then he got violently murdered, it was great. This movie has caused a few nightmares of its own and spawned a decades-long franchise that promises to keep scaring.

US Release: November 9, 1984
Director: 
Wes Craven
Notable Cast: Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Lin Shaye, Robert Englund, and Johnny Depp.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $25,504,513/$59,434,624

Best Quote: “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. / Three, four, better lock your door. / Five, six, grab your crucifix. / Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. / Nine, ten, never sleep again.” 

Trivia: Johnny Depp accompanied his friend Jackie Earle Haley to auditions for the film. Instead of Haley being chosen for a role, it was Depp who was spotted by director Wes Craven, who asked him if he would like to read for a part. Depp got a part in the film, Haley didn’t, but Haley would go on to play Freddy in the remake 26 years later.

2. The Shining (1980)

Horror

SCOOT: Jack Torrance (brought to life perfectly by Jack Nicholson) accepts the job as Caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, an ominous hotel with a tragic history plagued by troubled spirits. Locked down for the winter with his family, Jack is eventually driven insane by the evil within the hotel, and the only one who can save the day might be his son Danny, who is blessed with a rare gift known as The Shining.

Even if you haven’t seen The Shiningyou’ve seen The Shining in some form or another. Whether its being parodied on The Simpsons or pretty much everything else, this movie has carried on as a true gem of horror cinema. One of Stanley Kubrick’s most loved movies, and easily one of the few great Stephen King adaptations, The Shining is a testament to true psychological horror. Whether its being swept away in a river of blood, or slowly losing your grip on reality, prepare to be afraid.

US Release: May 23, 1980
Director: 
Stanley Kubrick
Notable Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Scatman Crothers.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office: $44,017,374/$128,124,922

Best Quote: “Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.  Gonna bash ’em right the f–k in! ha ha ha”

Trivia: Every time Jack talks to a “ghost”, there’s a mirror in the scene, except in the food locker scene. This is because in the food locker scene he only talks to Grady through the door. We never see Grady in this scene.

1. The Thing (1982)

HorrorKRONNER: This is one of those movies that seems to get better every time I see it. It’s also one of the few remakes that I feel really surpassed it’s predecessor. The cast was awesome and the real effects are to me, much preferable to the more modern CGI tactics.

The story takes place in the desolate tundras or Antarctica, which provides the perfect setting to feel utterly trapped. The hopelessness bred by the situation, stalked in close proximity by a shape shifting killer alien, draws on the mystery of who is what they say they are, and who isn’t.  That is something from the original story and was left out of the 1950s film version. The mystery is what makes the movie so memorable.

Arguably Kurt Russell’s greatest performance, the sight of MacReady, beard iced over, clutching the dynamite, unsure who he can trust – classic. The paranoia and acting, combined with the ground breaking practical effects make this the best horror movie of a decade known for horror movies.

US Release: June 25, 1982
Director: 
John Carpenter
Notable Cast: Kurt Russell, Keith David, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat, T.K. Carter, and Wilford Brimley.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $19,629,760/$52,279,258

Best Quote: “I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I’d rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS F–KING COUCH!”

Trivia: The opening title exactly duplicates the original Howard Hawks film. To create the effect of the title, an animation cell with “The Thing” written on it was placed behind a fish tank filled with smoke that was covered with a plastic garbage bag. The garbage bag was ignited, creating the effect of the title burning onto the screen.

Fade Out: 25 of Hollywood’s Greatest ‘Closing Lines’ – THE SEQUEL

I have always found it fascinating how the last line in a movie usually helps me decide how I felt about it. For example, on my last list of the top 25 closing lines, Casablanca: “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”. After a sad moment in the movie, that line gave me a chuckle, and I took the DVD out of my player with a smile on my face. How a movie ends can either ruin the entire film, or make it ten times better. Since July 6th of 2011 when our last closing lines list was published, many readers have left comments about movies that were not mentioned, so we’ve decided to expand a bit. This is part deux of the list. Enjoy!

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

“Look, you fools. You’re in danger. Can’t you see? They’re after you. They’re after all of us. Our wives, our children, everyone. They’re here already. YOU’RE NEXT!”

Army of Darkness

“Hail to the King baby!”

Inglorious Basterds

“You know somethin’, Utivich? I think this just might be my masterpiece.”

A Clockwork Orange

“I was cured all right.”

Apocalypse Now

“The horror. The horror.”

King Kong (1933)

“Oh no. It wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.”

Some Like it Hot

“Nobody’s Perfect.”

Chinatown

OH… WAIT…

“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

What Dreams May Come

“When I was young, I met this beautiful girl by a lake.”

Gangs of New York

“My father once told me we was all born of blood and tribulation; so then, too, was our great city. But for those of us who had lived and died in them furious days… it was like everything we knew was mightily swept away. And no matter what they did to build this city back up again — for the rest of time — it would be like nobody even knew we was ever here.”

Black Swan

“I was perfect.”

Of Mice and Men

“And I get to tend the rabbits.”

American Beauty

“You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry: you will someday.”

The Big Lebowski

“Say, friend – you got any more of that good sarsaparilla?”

Gandhi

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it. Always.”

The Lost Boys

One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires.”

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

“Oh my God. You were his mother.”

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

“Why was I not made of stone like thee?”

Red Dragon

“What is her name?”

Sunset Boulevard

“All right Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup.”

Magnum Force

“A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Soylent Green

“You’ve got to tell them soylent green is people. We’ve got to stop them somehow.”

Alien / Alien 3

“This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.”

Caddyshack

“Hey, everybody, we’re all gonna get laid.”

Full Metal Jacket

“I’m in a world of shit, yes. But I am alive. And I am not afraid.”

The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 25 80’s Comedies

This is to be the 2nd piece of a new series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films produced within a specific decade, like, for example – the 25 Best Action Movies of the 90s! These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific. We use Excel. So here it is…

25. Throw Mama From the Train (1987)Comedies
24. The Great Outdoors (1988)
23. Sixteen Candles (1984)
22. A Christmas Story (1983)
21. Family Vacation (1983)
20. Big (1988)
19. Spaceballs (1987)
18. Trading Places (1983)
17. Coming to America (1988)
16. The Goonies (1985)
15. The Breakfast Club (1985)
14. Stripes (1981)
13. Three Amigos! (1986)
12. The Naked Gun (1988)
11. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

10. Caddyshack

Comedies

I expect that we’ll get at least one email complaining this wasn’t number 1 on the list, but such is the interweb. That being said though, Caddyshack’s inclusion was obviously a no brainer to be on this list. This is a movie that really helped kick off the whole decade, and produced some of the most oft-impersonated quotes in film history.  From Chevy Chase to Rodney Dangerfield to Ted Knight, this movie was a classic the minute it came out. It also features what is arguably Bill Murray’s most memorable role ever as he engages in guerrilla warfare with a gopher. Here we are over 30 years later and still, everyone remembers that gopher dancing to Kenny Loggins…

US Release: July 25, 1980
Director: 
Harold Ramis
Notable Cast: Chevy ChaseRodney DangerfieldTed KnightMichael O’Keefe,
Brian Doyle-Murray, and Bill Murray.
Oscar Wins/Nominations0/0
US Box Office: $39,846,344
Best Quote: “Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac… It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! ”
Trivia: The noise the Gopher makes are actually vocalized by a dolphin, and the dolphin sound effects used are the same ones that were used for Flipper.

9. Better Off Dead…

ComediesThis is probably the least watched movie on the list, and one of the big reasons for that was the fact it opened against Teen Wolf, and Michael J. Fox was unstoppable. So the first lead role for the then mostly unknown John Cusack bombed, and was for years relegated to late night showings on Comedy Central. That is where I first discovered it and it didn’t take long for me to get sucked in. The Howard Cosell races are my favorite parts, but Roy Stalin was as good an 80’s High School villain as you could ask for. Plus, find me another movie with this many attempted suicides, that turned out this funny. For the 80’s factor, they had a claymation hamburger come to live and sing Van Halen. Check and mate.

US Release: August 23, 1985
Director: Savage Steve Holland
Notable Cast: John Cusack, Curtis Armstrong, Diane FranklinKim Darby, Amanda WyssSteven Williams, and David Ogden Stiers.
Oscar Wins/Nominations0/0
US Box Office: $10,297,601
Best Quote: “Truly a sight to behold. A man beaten. The once great champ, now, a study in moppishness. No longer the victory hungry stallion we’ve raced so many times before, but a pathetic, washed up, aged ex-champion.”
Trivia: When Beth (Amanda Wyss) shows up at the high school dance, the person standing behind her is wearing Freddy Krueger’s sweater. Wyss played Krueger’s first victim in A Nightmare on Elm Street.

8. Planes, Trains & Automobiles 

ComediesOpening against strong box office competition in 3 Men and a Baby, this movie still managed to become a hit, pairing 2 of comedies biggest names at the time – Steve Martin and John Candy. This movie is a Holiday staple at my house – Best. Thanksgiving. Movie. Ever. Not only was it hilarious, but actually heart warming at the same time without being to cheesy. Martin is great as the straight man to Candy’s over the top, outwardly friendly shower curtain ring salesman who soaks his underwear in the sink. The pair seemed to gel so well on-screen that one can only assume had Candy not passed, they would’ve done another film together eventually. And no, before you ask, those are not pillows.

US Release: November 25, 1987
Director: John Hughes
Notable Cast: Steve MartinJohn CandyMichael McKeanMatthew LawrenceDylan BakerEdie McClurg and Kevin Bacon.
Oscar Wins/Nominations 0/0
US Box Office: $49,530,280
Best Quote: “You know everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things that are funny or mildly amusing or interesting. You’re a miracle! Your stories have NONE of that. They’re not even amusing ACCIDENTALLY! ‘Honey, I’d like you to meet Del Griffith, he’s got some amusing anecdotes for you. Oh and here’s a gun so you can blow your brains out. You’ll thank me for it.’ I could tolerate any insurance seminar. For days I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. They’d say, ‘How can you stand it?’ I’d say, ‘Cause I’ve been with Del Griffith. I can take ANYTHING.’ You know what they’d say? They’d say, ‘I know what you mean. The shower curtain ring guy. Woah.’ It’s like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll. I expect you have a little string on your chest, you know, that I pull out and have to snap back. Except I wouldn’t pull it out and snap it back – you would. Agh! Agh! Agh! Agh! And by the way, you know, when you’re telling these little stories? Here’s a good idea – have a POINT. It makes it SO much more interesting for the listener! ”
Triva: At the beginning of the movie when Steve Martin races Kevin Bacon, is a direct reference to the scene in the movie Quicksilver in which the character played by Bacon is racing someone on a bicycle. Later, Neal phones his wife to tell her that he has been delayed (again), in the background, you can hear the fight from She’s Having a Baby (also directed by John Hughes) between Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern, when she screams that she doesn’t like his friend’s girlfriend.

7.  Christmas Vacation

I can’t think of a more ultimate Christmas movie (Shut Christmas Story fans.) than this Chevy Chase classic. Even aside from that I can still watch this movie any time of the year as a comedy too. The story follows Clark Griswold, a guy struggling to be the ultimate family man but usually failing throughout the movie until the end. This is the same Clark Griswold from the movies Vacation, European Vacation and if you have the stomach to remember it – Vegas Vacation.

Anyways Clark and his wife decide to have their parents over at their home for the holidays which both are dreading yet they feel obligated to do. Things really get interesting when Clark’s red neck, RV driving cousin Eddie and his rambunctious family show up at the Griswold house. Eddie was played to perfection in this film by Randy Quaid by the way. This movie embraces the Christmas spirit in a big way and also shows us why we hate having over extended family for the holidays too.

US Release: December 1, 1989
Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Notable Cast: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’AngeloJuliette LewisJohnny GaleckiE.G. MarshallDoris RobertsRandy QuaidWilliam HickeyJohn RandolphDiane Ladd, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office:  $71,319,526
Best Quote: Hey, if any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here, tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people, and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head. And, I want to look him straight in the eye and tell him: what a cheap, lying, no good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, bloodsucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-assed, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?”

Triva: The Griswold’s neighbor’s house is the same house Murtaugh and his family lived in all the Lethal Weapon movies. The houses on this street are on the Warner Brothers Studios back lot. Also, this was the final screen appearance of Mae Questel, whose film career began in 1930 as the voice of Betty Boop.

6. The Blues Brothers

Comedies

With a musical cast that includes Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Cab Calloway, and some of the best musicians to play on those artists’ albums, The Blues Brothers was an homage to all that was Rhythm and Blues through-out the 50s and 60s. Of course, it had an odd way of getting there: two white boys (Jake and Elwood Blues) are getting their band back together in order to raise money for the orphanage in which they grew up. They are on a mission from God. Hard to argue with that.

Along the way, the boys reassemble their band (an all-star cast of great studio musicians and Saturday Night Live Band members), are shot at repeatedly by a “mystery woman” (Carrie Fisher), piss off a country band called “Good Ol’ Boys” – AND Illinois Nazis are the catalysts to a record-breaking car chase into and through downtown Chicago.

What makes this a great comedy is a combination of the delivery of lines, the innuendo, and the simple ridiculousness of the plot. The mixture of audacity, satire, and love of music makes this John Landis film one of the best of the 1980s.  If you want to hear more of what Dan Aykroyd had to say about the incarnation of the film to the Chicago Tribune for the 30th anniversary of the film, click here.

Woman: Are you the police?
Elwood: No Maam, we’re musicians.

US Release: June 20, 1980
Director: John Landis
Notable Cast: John BelushiDan AykroydJames BrownCab CallowayRay CharlesAretha Franklin, Henry Gibson, John Candy, TwiggyFrank OzChaka KhanPaul ReubensSteven Spielberg, Steven Williams, Joe WalshJames AveryMr. T, and Carrie Fisher.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $57,229,890/$115,229,890
Best Quote: “It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.”
Trivia: At time of release, this film held the world record for the number of cars crashed. Also, Carrie Fisher guest-hosted the SNL episode the Blues Brothers debuted in.

5. Airplane!

ComediesIn modern times where so much of our comedies rely on alcohol, drugs, and grotesque imagery to achieve notoriety, it’s refreshing to re-watch Airplane! This is another of our top ten 80s comedies to have a simply brilliant and accomplished cast, but the humor it uses is much more sophist—er—high minded—no, wait—downright silly.

The basic premise of Airplane! is that a commercial jet’s crew becomes ill mid-flight. Typically, this would end in disaster, and would then be included on Grizzly Bomb’s “Holy-Jeez-that-was-a-Depressing Movie of the 80s list”. Thank goodness that a hero-in-waiting is aboard: former military pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays)! While he has a drinking problem, and an emotionally unstable relationship with stewardess Elaine Dickinson (Julie Haggerty), he might have what it takes to land the doomed plane safely. That is, if he can deal with control tower supervisor Steve McCroskey (Lloyd Bridges), Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen), and Striker’s former commander, Rex Kramer (Robert Stack). Oh, and by the way, the plane is filled with eccentrics and goofs. Good luck Striker!

What makes this flick deserving of the venerable five-spot on this list is its ability to satirize many of the conventions of proper social behavior. One way this shows itself is through simple puns (“Surely you can’t be serious.” “I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley). Another is by breaking down social barriers:

Young Boy with Coffee: Excuse me, I happened to be passing, and I thought you might like some coffee.
Little Girl: Oh, that’s very nice of you, thank you.
[takes coffee]
Little Girl: Oh, won’t you sit down?
Young Boy with Coffee: Cream?
Little Girl: No, thank you, I take it black, like my men.

And finally, you can’t beat a good old ridiculous moment:

Controller: Bad news. The fog’s getting thicker.
Johnny: [jumps to an overweight controller] And Leon is getting laaaaarrrrrger!

Take some time to acquaint (or re-acquaint) yourself with this classic 80s comedy.

US Release: June 27, 1980
Director: Jim AbrahamsDavid Zucker, & Jerry Zucker
Notable Cast: Leslie NielsenLloyd BridgesRobert StackRobert HaysKareem Abdul-JabbarBarbara BillingsleyPeter GravesOttoJonathan Banks, and Jimmie Walker.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office: $83,453,539
Best Quote: “There’s no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you’ll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?”
Triva: Lloyd Bridges spoofs his role as an airport manager  in the TV series San Francisco International Airport. Also, Robert Stack appeared as an airline pilot whose nerve fails him during an in-flight disaster in The High and the Mighty. Peter Graves appeared in a similar “airplane disaster” TV movie, SST: Death Flight.

4. The ‘burbs

Comedies

Perhaps one of the most under-rated movies of all time, this is truly Tom Hanks at his peak. Ignore the Academy, all those Oscars he later won were simply makeup calls for blowing it here. The ‘burbs, for those not in the know is a heroing story about 3 neighbors who ban together in an attempt to battle the evil that’s invaded their neighborhood, like Batman protects Gotham City, and Daredevil watches over Hell’s Kitchen – Ray, Art, and Rumsfield – they own their block. Well either it’s about that or it’s just a bunch of paranoid suburbanites who harass the new family on the block. The movie also features Corey Feldman at his best – in a Batman T-Shirt and Princess Leia maybe a few years past her prime…

US Release: February 17, 1989
Director: Joe Dante
Notable Cast: Tom HanksBruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Rick DucommunCorey Feldman, Henry Gibson, Courtney GainsDick MillerRobert Picardo, and Nicky Katt.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $36,601,993/$49,101,993
Best Quote: “I’ve never seen that. I’ve never seen anybody drive their garbage down to the street and bang the hell out of it with a stick. I-I’ve never seen that.”
Triva: The Klopeks named the dog “Landru”, probably after Henri Landru, a notorious French serial killer. Also, At the very beginning of the movie, when the camera starts to pan down the street, a street sign appears, “Mayfield Place.” Mayfield was the town where the Cleavers lived in Leave It to Beaver. The movie was filmed on the same lot.

3. Uncle Buck

ComediesWhen Bob’s family has a medical emergency he and his wife desperately call around for someone to watch their kids while they are away. When all options fail the duty is passed from them (reluctantly) to Bob’s brother…Buck.

Buck is a real stand up guy. He’s a bachelor (sorta) with a lovely apartment, loves to smoke fine cigars and place wagers on various horse races. Buck is unable to say no to his brother and soon finds himself as a caretaker to three children, one of whom is ever moody teenager who relishes in making his life hell. From making stove sized pancakes, threatening an elementary school principal and knocking out a drunken birthday clown this movie has it all. Thank you John Candy for bringing us Uncle Buck.

US Release: August 18, 1989
Director: John Hughes
Notable Cast: John Candy, Macaulay CulkinAmy MadiganGaby HoffmannLaurie MetcalfPatricia Arquette, and Anna Chlumsky.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $66,758,538/$79,258,538
Best Quote: “Take this quarter, go downtown, and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face! Good day to you, madam.”
Triva: Danny DeVito was considered for the role of Uncle Buck.

Haha. Just kidding. That was terrible. Couldn’t get a decent copy of the real trailer, so instead here is my favorite part…

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Comedies

Who didn’t want to be Ferris Bueller in the 80s? Little did we know he’d grow up to marry that horse from Footloose, but in his youth, he was as cool as they come. I mean come on, hot girlfriend, his best friend has Gordie Howe jersey, and he can hack into the school’s computer from a mid 80s home pc. That’s impressive for a guy who doesn’t even have a car. Ferris inspired those around him. Women wanted him, men wanted to be him. And around every turn he is able to outwit his nemesis Principal Pederast. Plus, he could talk to the camera years before Zack Morris found the ability. He was a trailblazer, Abe Froman would be so proud.

US Release: June 13, 1986
Directors: John Hughes
Notable Cast: Matthew BroderickAlan RuckMia SaraJeffrey JonesJennifer Grey, Edie McClurg, Charlie SheenBen Stein, Louie Anderson, and Kristy Swanson.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US/Total Box Office: $70,136,369
Best Quote: “Cameron has never been in love – at least, nobody’s ever been in love with him. If things don’t change for him, he’s gonna marry the first girl he lays, and she’s gonna treat him like shit, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won’t respect him, ’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.”
Trvia: Anthony Michael HallEmilio EstevezRob LoweJohn CusackJim CarreyJohnny DeppTom CruiseRobert Downey Jr. and Michael J. Fox were all considered for the role of Ferris Bueller.

1. Ghostbusters

Comedies

So if you haven’t seen this great piece of Americana, be ashamed of yourself. There are no excuses.

Basic plot: Three doctors of psychology and parapsychology start their own business capturing ghosts around the New York City area. There has been a spike in paranormal activity, and the Ghost Busters are there to investigate. When they find that Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) has found herself in the center of all the activity, hell breaks loose…almost literally.

With a screenplay written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, two Second City alumni, you know that this film had no chance BUT to be funny. Add to that director Ivan Reitman (who had done Meatballs and Stripes just before), a stellar cast (with the incourageable Bill Murray), and special effects that can still hold up today: the result is the top of the proverbial 1980s comedy mountain.

This has to be one of the most quoted movies of all time, and its re-watch value is through the roof. Here’s your challenge: Try walking up to someone and saying, “He slimed me.” Ask them what it’s from. If they don’t know, educate them by giving them a copy of the movie. If they do know, you just made a friend. Go watch the movie together.

US Release: June 8, 1984
Director: Ivan Reitman
Notable Cast: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie HudsonSigourney WeaverHarold RamisRick MoranisAnnie PottsWilliam Atherton, and Reginald VelJohnson.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/2 (Visual Effects, Original Song)
US/Total Box Office: $238,632,124/$291,632,124
Best Quote: “Yes it is. This man has no dick.”
Triva: The role of Winston was originally written for Eddie Murphy., the role of Peter Venkman was originally written for John Belushi, and the role of Louis Tully was originally written for John Candy.

So that is our list, I hope you enjoyed it.

Here are a few fun facts about the results…

MOST APPEARANCES IN THE TOP 25
1. John Candy (7 Movies)
2. Chevy Chase/Dan Aykroyd/Brian Doyle-Murray (4 Movies Each)
3. Bill Murray/Eddie Murphy/Michael Anthony Hall/Harold Ramis (3 Movies Each)

MOST FREQUENT DIRECTOR
1. John Hughes (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Uncle Buck)
2. John Landis (Coming to America, ¡Three Amigos!, Trading Places, The Blues Brothers)
3. Harold Ramis/Ivan Reitman/David Zucker (2 Each)

MOST POPULAR YEAR
1. 1988 (4 Movies)
2. 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1989 (3 Movies Each)
3. 1986 (2 Movies)
4. 1981 (1 Movie)
5. 1982 (0 Movies)

Now, just take a minute and vote in the poll below. Thanks dude!

Also check out our other Best of the Genre (By Decade)