Editor’s Note: JC aka John Cangelosi is a tremendous friend and has a unique perspective on horror from all eras. He will be contributing to a revival of the column It Came From 1980x originating on The Liberal Dead and now coming to HorrorSexy. John and Doc Terror will be bringing you pieces about the 80’s horror you love with some regularity. If you want us to cover something drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now on to JC’s introduction already in progress…
Let me preface this article by getting right to the fucking point here. I love the horror genre- Love everything about it. If I could rewind my life, I’d make a career in it for sure. Doing something, anything really. Who the fuck cares, as long as I was waking up every day and basking in that horror glow.
I look to find a few moments each day to get on the iPad and just consume the horror movie news made available from sites throughout the internet. Love to keep up on what is current and what little gems remain on the horizon. Ah, those little gems. True horror aficionados know them when they find them. Unfortunately, these days they are so few and far between. Sure, there are some that raise the goose bumps a bit (I’m talking to you Paranormal Activity, The Conjuring and Insidious) Rewind a bit further and you find The Blair Witch Project and The Ring.
For me though, I want to rewind just a little further back to where it all began for me. The love I feel for horror was founded in what I believe was the best decade for horror. That’s it my fellow horror brethren, wait for it….. I speak of that great decade we called the 80’s. A simpler time where horror ruled both the movie screens and more so, the mom and pop video shops that popped up on every town corner.
Let me hear you out there fellow 80’s horror fanatics. I’m talking directly to those fiendish fans that ran to the corner video store to get their hands on that copy of Re-Animator (Please god let it be the unrated version). How about walking in and seeing that gorgeous life size Pinhead cardboard cutout from the awesome Hellraiser movies? How many of us pleaded with the owner to let us take that work of art home with us and plop it right in the corner of our bedroom?
When I think back to yesteryear, you know what always pissed me off, the fact that my dad got us a Betamax for our first family VCR. C’mon Dad? Really? A fucking Betamax??? How many of those fucking horror movies on the shelves had that dreaded red dot which meant VHS while I shopped directly in the blue dot Betamax special section. Oh the cursing I would do as a youngster under my breath as I stood there gazing the walls of the horror section. 4 VHS movies to 1 Betamax movie. Of course all the titles I wanted, I could not touch. Back then, you did not need to really understand what the movie was about. We rented those fuckers strictly on which box was the coolest and or the goriest. I remember waiting a long time to get my hands on that unrated Re-Animator copy. I forget what arrived first- the upgrade of our VCR or the release of the Betamax copy. Renting this gore drenched, chunk blowing 1985 classic would represent a second go round for me here. I was lucky to have a buddy who worked at our neighborhood movie theater; he proceeded to sneak me in to see this unrated classic when it was released. That’s right folks, back in the 80’s, we were lucky to see unrated horror find their way into theaters. The catch though of course was that you needed to be over 17 to enjoy. I sat there mesmerized as a 12 year old rooting on Dr West and his green serum of life. Did I just see a chest explode and unleash a massive intestine to strangle the life out of our hero? Fuck yeah! Quick, save the damn serum. Was that decapitated head getting into position to go down town on our lovely heroine? Holy Shit!!! There was a “What the Fuck” moment for sure. I was in my fucking glory. This 12 year old was hooked!!!
A year later in 86, I was unlucky 13 when Texas Chainsaw 2 was released unrated to the world. My buddy since got fired and I ended up getting turned away on both attempts made. Did I really think a little shit like me was going to pass for 17? No matter how large the group my older brother brought with us to help conceal me, it did not work and my fall back option was to go right next door and see Cronenberg’s The Fly for the 3rd time (Both released within a weeks’ time of one another) At the end of the day though, not too shabby an option if I say so myself.
80’s horror had it all, didn’t it? A time…
- Where slashers ruled.
- Where demons would attack trapped moviegoers to the soundtrack of Billy Idol and Motley Crüe.
- Where heads exploded via telekinetic powers.
- Where scream queens were all the rage.
- And last but certainly not least, where mother fucking practical effects ruled the screens as opposed to the CGI shit we deal with today – God I fucking miss those days.
How about watching a whino buy a bottle of Vipor for a buck, drink it and melt into a puddle of steaming, colored goo? I could go on and on but there will be time to reminisce about those movies and more down the road.
The only think that truly sucked back them was that you had to work for your horror movie information. Today we are a click away from all the news we would ever need. Back then you had a monthly update and it was called Fangoria (and later their sister mag Gorezone) I remember standing in line at the nearest magazine shop waiting to get my evil clutches on the next copy. I would read those articles over and over. I would buy two copies so I can remove the awesome fucking posters that resided in both mags too. (I believe I still have my Beast Within and Motel Hell posters lurking around somewhere in my house) Wonder if the wife would mind if I hung up a poster of a farmer dude wearing a pigs head while wielding a chainsaw? Speaking of articles, who didn’t love getting horror schooled in every issue of Gorezone by the late great Chas Balun (RIP) He even had a way to get you excited about some of the shit sandwiches out there too.
So… What was the goriest? The scariest? The wildest? The trendsetters? Best transformation scene? Best sequel? I love to discuss and critique this wonderful genre and I look forward to diving into some of that old school 80s horror.
Big shout out and thanks to my horror fiend buddy James “DOCTERROR” Harris for giving me the opportunity to put my thoughts out there by way of this awesome new site. Appreciate the ability to jump on in and talk with the horror world about my love for 80’s horror.
So until next time, go ahead and hook up that old dusty VCR, break out that grainy VHS copy of Rawhead Rex and sit back and enjoy!!!