1987 was a hell of a year for horror movies. From campy to serious, silly to scary and everything in between, 1987 did not disappoint. First up, we have to talk about Evil Dead 2. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell took everything that worked from the first Evil Dead and turned it up a few notches. While not the scariest movie of all time, it has provided some of the most memorable moments and quotes in the genre. This is the flick where we got the chainsaw arm. This is the flick where we got an entire room of inanimate objects laughing in unison. I love this film full stop. 87 also saw the release of the first Hellraiser film. Hellraiser has always been, to me anyway, the scariest of the franchise flicks of the 80’s. Pinhead is an incredibly iconic character and this flick established his legacy. The seriousness of the subjects covered along with its truly disturbing imagery made for one hell of an experience.
It wasn’t all dark and serious in 87 though. We also got two films that have gone on to become staples in horror fan circles. Lost Boys, with its career making turn from Keifer Sutherland, and Monster Squad, a relatively safe for kids film, both released this year as well. Lost Boys in an interesting film in that it has some really cool moments and a decent enough story but is also filled with Corys. (and a shirtless saxophone solo…) The comic book shop running Frog Brothers, played by the Corys, were super cool back in the day. Over time though they have gotten harder to watch, for me anyway. Monster Squad on the other hand has remained one of my favorites. The gathering of mosnters, the classic Universal crew is represented, versus the group of kids dynamic has always, and will always work. Back then, kids could be in legit danger in movies and for those of us around a similar age to the heroes, we could identify. A great film that still holds up.
Finally, I want to talk about The Gate. While there are other films that deserve attention from 87, Predator or Nightmare on Elm Street 3 for example, no movie creeped me out more than The Gate. In this flick a bunch of kids unleash a bunch of demons from a hole in their backyard. Something as simple and innocent as playing in the backyard and digging holes turned into a literal hellscape. That is scary. That could happen to me. The visuals have by no means held up. The claymation, while cool, is cheesy as hell. The overall idea though was so relevant, so possible, that it has remained a favorite despite its imperfections. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Watch it with age appropriate kids and see it through their eyes. I’m willing to bet its still effective.