Category Archives: Films Released in 1980
Directed by Peter Medak
Story by Russell Hunter
Screenplay by William Gray and Diana Maddox
The Changeling is a suspenseful, intelligent ghost story and that is really all I know to say about it. It was released in 1980 and of course it has become somewhat dated. When was the last time you saw a fully enclosed phone booth? But that’s nitpicking of the smallest order. The film is actually quite good and while watching I kept asking myself why I avoided it for so many years.
The plot of the film revolves around George C. Scott’s character and of the ghost of a child who is, in Scott’s own words, “trying desperately to communicate with me.” The film has all the things that a good ghost story should have; a haunted house, a séance, ghostly visions and mysterious whisperings; and of course it has a ghost. Scott and his co-star Trish Van Devere mesh very well in their time together on screen. But of course this may be due to the fact that the two had been happily married since 1972.
All in all, The Changeling is an entertaining way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon curled up on the couch with your significant other. Pop some popcorn and enjoy. Oh, and don’t forget to turn off the lights.
The movie is based on events which supposedly took place at a house in Denver, Colorado, in the 1960s. The Chessman Park neighborhood in the movie is a reference to Cheesman Park in Denver, where the original haunting transpired.
- “We’ll tell scary ghost stories and … Oh, let’s just tell scary ghost stories!” (moviemorlocks.com)
- Susan Hill on The Woman in Black/Writing a Ghost Story (Saturday Guardian) (barnsleywriters.wordpress.com)
THE SEARCH TEAM
Directed by Ruggero Deodato
Written by Gianfranco Clarici (story)
A group of filmmakers set out to make a documentary and are never seen or heard from again. Six months later their footage is found. Sound familiar? In his interview with Written in Blood, The Blair Witch Project co-writer/director Eduardo Sanchez stated that if Daniel Myrick and he had been shown this film before doing Blair Witch they would have never made their film. The film he’s referring to is Ruggero Deodato‘s Cannibal Holocaust and it just may very well be the prototype to the modern-day ‘found footage’ film. But that’s where the accolades come to a screeching halt. Normally I’m in favor of the original over the copy. For instance, Tom Waits’ original version of ‘Downtown Train’ is a better version than the Rod Stewart cover. For those of you who have no idea who I’m talking about allow me to direct your attention to either tomwaits.com or rodstewart.com . That of course is for the benefit of the younger readers. Now, back to the CH-BWP debate; Blair Witch may not be the first found footage film, but it’s definitely the better. Cannibal Holocaust seems more interested in the shock value of its images rather than in maintaining an interesting storyline. What made the film famous was the controversy surrounding it. Deodato and his film crew were arrested on the charges that they had made a genuine snuff film and that some of the actors had actually been killed on camera during shooting. I have a feeling that if this hadn’t happened that Cannibal Holocaust wouldn’t be enjoying the notoriety that it has for the past 30 years. Simply put, the film is just not that good. I’ll take Team Blair Witch over Team Cannibal Holocaust any day of the week. *
*That is NOT a Twilight reference! Put that out of your minds.
- Cannibal Holocaust Assaults UK Blu-ray in New Director’s Edit w/Less Animal Death! (dreadcentral.com)
- ‘Blair Witch’ actress Heather Donahue quit acting to grow pot (cnn.com)
- An Interview With Eduardo Sanchez (jmountswritteninblood.com)
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
Written by Victor Miller
What can I say about “Friday the 13th” that hasn’t already been said? I mean, unless you’ve been living in an alternate universe that only shows “The Care Bears Movie” you have heard of “Friday the 13th”. So what the hell could I possibly say that will shed new light on this film? Well, I will tell you. Absolutely nothing. “Friday the 13th” is a classic horror movie that has been imitated, ridiculed and just about every word ending in ‘ed’ in between. It is the film that set the ground rules for the slasher film that are still in effect thirty-one years after it’s release in 1980. I am and will always be a fan of this film and every sequel that followed after it. So, you’ll just have to forgive me if this review is a little bit on the biased side.
I was a young man of 18 when the very first “Friday the 13th’ was released to theaters. As I have said before my cousin Ritchie and I were a couple of movie-going mf’ers. After hearing about this film and seeing the trailer I can guarantee you we broke the land speed record to get in line to buy a ticket. For a little over 90 minutes we watched the killer slash, chop and impale their way through a group of the rowdiest, horniest teenagers and young adults in recorded history. Even if you were a future star of the screen you were not spared by this maniac.
Now we all know that Mrs. Voorhees is the killer in this film, not Jason. Her dear baby boy wouldn’t make his first kill until part 2. Mrs. Voorhees is on a rampage after them there camp counselors let her boy drown while they were getting horizontal with each other. Norman Bates had no idea how prophetic his words would be when he said a boy’s best friend is his mother. Well, Norm may have been the original mama’s boy, but Jason and his sweet mommy are the definitive BFF’s. This woman would kill for and die for her child. It didn’t matter if he was a deformed, retarded idiot of a child. Wait that’s not politicially correct. It made no difference if he was a special, mentally challenged factually unencumbered child. She loved that boy. Those horny little teenagers wasn’t going to get away with let her boy drown while they was a-fornicatin’. But we all know it doesn’t stop with just them. Mrs. Voorhees would return to wreak havoc on anyone that set foot on the grounds of Camp Crystal Lake. Even Kevin Bacon wasn’t safe from her mad onslaught. This woman was on a roll.
N0w, “Friday the 13th” has of course been ridiculed for it’s bad acting over the years and I don’t think this is at all in fairness. This is a low-budget slasher film in which the plot of the film is carried from one kill to the next. We are not looking for Oscar nominated performances from this cast. The performances they turn in are credible and capable performances. Adrienne King is especially good as Alice. She’s the final girl of the story and therefore has to have the widest range of emotions and she pulls each one off beautifully. Then of course there’s Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees. Before this movie was released her main claim to fame was as a panelist on “I’ve Got A Secret”. Her killing ways in “Friday the 13th” are akin to the homecoming queen having a gun. Palmer steals each and every scene she appears in and is an absolute joy to watch.
Then, there’s the scene. You know the one I mean. Alice is out on a boat on the lake, cop cars are on the shore, beautiful peaceful music is playing. Then the scene happens and after it happens we are all waiting a long time to use the restroom because everybody in the theater had just had the living shit scared out of them. Not since “Carrie” has one scene scared so many people so effectively.
So, who would have known that a little low-budget film would spawn one of the greatest and most succesful movie franchises in history? Who knew that a machete-wielding maniac named Jason Voorhees would become a household name and an icon of the horror film industry? Who cares who knew? It’s a classic.
See you soon with “Friday the 13th Part 2″.
Sally Field auditioned for the role of Alice Hardy.
Sean S. Cunningham has been quoted as saying that the type of actors that he sought for the film were “good-looking kids who you might see in a Pepsi commercial.”