Winters are always cold and snowy in the Midwest and February 1982 was no different. Over a foot of snow fell on Super Bowl weekend. I was outside sledding until I couldn’t feel my toes and then came in to watch the 49ers beat the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI.
I was hoping for a 49ers-Bengals rematch this year but that wasn’t meant to be.
The snow stuck around for February and March and April… Thankfully we had some good movies to watch when it was to cold to go outside.
Some cult classics, good action, an underrated Western and a couple of horror movies. One was banned in the UK and it’s not even the Wes Craven movie.
Movies from February 1982
Starring Jack Nicholson as a border patrol agent mixed up in a human smuggling ring, The Border was a box office flop. It also stars Harvey Keitel.
The Border featured some star actors of the time besides Nicholson and Keitel. Valerie Perrine played Nicholson’s wife and Warren Oates played the head smuggler.
Oates is best known to retro fans as Sgt. Hulka in Stripes, but his career goes back to the 1950’s. The Border was one of Oates’ final movies. He died of a heart attack at the age of 53 in April 1982. Two movies were released after his death, Blue Thunder and Tough Enough.
With a cast like that it it might be worth watching. It wasn’t up against other big films, I’ll have to watch it to see why it was a flop.
After World War II Germany was divided in to two countries, West and East Germany. West Germany was a free country. East Germany was a communist controlled country ruled with an iron fist. The city of Berlin was divided into four sectors, the American sector, French sector, British sector and the Soviet sector. THe Soviet sector is better know as East Berlin.
The Soviets built the Berlin Wall in 1961, calling it The Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart, an attempt to convince the population it needed protection from the West. In reality over 3.5 million people defected from East Berlin before the wall was built. The Soviets wanted to end the defections.
East Berlin guards posted on the wall were given ‘shot to kill’ orders and even awarded medals for killing would-be defectors. The wall was guarded with watch towers, roving guards, dog runs, barbed wire and land mine fields.
Even with all those defenses people still tried to escape, over 100,000 from 1961 to 1989. They tried all kinds of ways, climbing the wall, hiding in car trunks and digging under the wall. Most were unsuccessful. Anyone caught was killed or thrown in jail.
A small number, about 5,000, made it out of East Berlin. Which brings us back to the movie.
Night Crossing is based on a true story of two families trying to escape East Berlin in 1979. Two men, Peter (John Hurt) and Gunter (Beau Bridges), conceived an idea to construct a hot air balloon to fly their families over the wall to freedom.
Night Crossing is a fantastic movie about the lengths people will go and the risks they will take to escape oppression and live a free life.
You can rent Night Crossing on Amazon or AppleTV.
I didn’t see this one at the theater. I’m not real sure when I saw it. Either one of my sisters rented it or I saw it on HBO. I haven’t seen it since the 80s.
It’s a good movie about the life of an up-and-coming track star, played by Mariel Hemingway. Scott Glenn plays her coach. I don’t recall all the details of the movie but it involves her life and making the Olympic team, only to be caught up in the 1980 Olympic boycott.
Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars. He and Gene Siskel both put it on their Personal Best list of 1982.
Personal Best is streaming on HBO Max.
I don’t think this movie even made it to my home town theater. My dad rented this one. I couldn’t watch it with him, it’s rated R. Once the parents were in bed I popped this in the VCR, turned the TV volume down low and sat real close.
John Savage stars as a low level CIA analyst who’s wife is murdered. He pressures his boss to send him on a field assignment to Europe. His real motivation is to find and kill the men who killed his wife.
As he digs deeper into her death he uncovers a bigger conspiracy than he could ever imagine.
The Amateur is a good spy thriller. If you haven’t seen it, you won’t get the chance anytime soon. It’s not streaming anywhere.
The Beast Within
The 1980s were a great time for horror movies!
The Beast Within scared the hell out of me as a kid. The last part of the movie left a lasting impression that still gives me chills. As a young kid, watching in a cold, dark basement, I was terrified.
It all starts when a lady is raped by a man-beast and conceives a son nine months later. It goes downhill from there.
This movie stuck with me. I slept, alone, in that same cold, dark basement. After watching this movie I slept with a light on for weeks.
As much as this movie scared me, it’s not the scariest movie released this month.
This was another one my parents rented. I was able to watch it since it is rated PG.
I was in the room when it was on. I can’t say I watched it all the way through. I played with Star Wars and Hot Wheels while it was on.
It has to do with a man who goes missing in South America and his wife and father try to track him down.
The father and daughter-in-law don’t get along and the U.S. government isn’t very helpful in locating the man. Jack Lemmon plays the father and Sissy Spacek plays the wife.
I know my parents liked this movie. It was a bit over my head. It was nominated for over 20 awards including four Academy Awards. It must have been decent.
My dad watched all kinds of movies but his favorites were World War II and Westerns. When he brought Barbarosa home I sat down and watched it with him.
Barbarosa stars Willie Nelson as Barbarosa, an Old West Outlaw and Gary Busey as Karl, a young cowboy on the run. They end up working together and Barbarosa mentors Karl in the ways of an outlaw.
I was captivated by the is movie as a kid. It had it all, cowboys, old west shootouts, hiding out in old Mexico, what every Western should have.
Both Nelson and Busey turn in great performances. If you like Westerns you should give this one a try.
Barbarosa is streaming on Prime Video.
Swamp Thing! You are amazing! (If you know the reference you are a true Swamp Thing fan)
DC introduced Swamp Thing in 1971. He got his own series in 1972 which ran for 24 issues until 1976. In 1982 Wes Craven wrote and directed the first Swamp Thing movie. It is glorious.
Scientist Alec Holland is transformed into the Swamp Thing when the evil scientist Arcane sabotages his lab. Swamp Thing must save special agent Alice and defeat the evil Arcane!
This movie is marvelous and has earned cult classic status. I loved this movie back in 80’s and I love it today. It’s campy and goofy and totally awesome!
There was a sequel, The Return of Swamp Thing in 1989. In 1990 a Swamp Thing TV series ran for three seasons on the USA network. It was a great series, darker than the movies and not campy.
In 2019 DC Universe made a new Swamp Thing series. However it was canceled before the first episode aired…how does that happen??
Swamp Thing 2019 consists of 10 episodes. It’s a good series, no idea why DC didn’t give it a chance.
There was also a Swamp Thing Animated series, if you can call five episodes a series. And the first line above is from the animated series theme song, sung to the tune of Wild Thing.
Swamp Thing (1982) is streaming on Tubi. The Return of Swamp Thing and the 1990 TV series is also available on Tubi. Go have a Swamp Thing Marathon.
Death Wish II
Is Paul Kersey cursed?
In Death Wish Kersey’s wife is murdered and his daughter is sexually assaulted. Kersey turns into a vigilante and kills every mugger he comes across.
In Death Wish II Kersey has settled down in Los Angeles only to find himself in the same situation again.
This time his daughter, who is still traumatized by the events of the first movie is murdered by a gang of thugs.
Kersey returns to the life of a vigilante to bring his own justice to the men who killed his daughter.
Charles Bronson returns as Paul Kersey, the role that revitalized his career in the 70’s. Bronson would make three more Death Wish movies before calling it quits.
Death Wish II was produced by the Golan-Globus run Cannon Films. Director Michael Winner picked his neighbor to create the movie soundtrack. His neighbor was Led Zepplin guitarist Jimmy Page.
I like Death Wish II. It’s somewhat like the first one but still enjoyable. The franchise doesn’t go completely off the rails until Death Wish III. I’ve seen all five Death Wish movies and enjoy them all. Nothing will top the first one but Death Wish II is a close second.
Death Wish II is streaming on Max Go.
Let’s end this month with the scariest movie of the month, Evilspeak. It’s an evil version of Weird Science.
Clint Howard plays Stanley, an outcast at a military academy who is picked on by his fellow classmates.
One day Stanley finds a book of black magic that belonged to an evil medieval priest.
Stanley uses a computer in the basement of a church to perform the black magic rituals. Stanley successfully performs the ritual and conjures the evil Father Esteban. He then pledges his soul to Satan so he can get revenge on his classmates.
This movie freaked me out. The visuals of Stanley and Satan and the church burning to the ground. It was too much to handle. The final scenes are about as gory as they come.
Evilspeak caught the attention of more than horror fans. It is one of the original 72 movies know as the Video Nasties. What are the Video Nasties, you ask?
The Video Nasties are 72 movies said to violate the Obscene Publications Act of 1959. It was a list created in the early 1980’s by the National Viewers’ And Listeners’ Association (NVALA) in the United Kingdom.
In the UK there were 3-4 TV channels, all run by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). With the emergence of video cassettes the BBC lost control of what young kids were watching. That’s where the NVALA stepped in.
All 72 movies on the list were banned from England. In 1984, Parliament passed the Video Recordings Act of 1984 which added another 82 movies to the list.
Some of the original 72 Video Nasties include: The Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave, Faces of Death and Prisoner of the Cannibal God. The Evil Dead made the list after it was in UK theaters. It was allowed to stay but over two minutes were cut from the film. It didn’t get an uncut release in the UK until 2001.
It’s never good when a bunch of stuffed shirts try to dictate what you can or can’t watch…or listen too. Remember when Tipper Gore tried to ban our music?
Evilspeak is streaming on AMC+ and Shudder.
Other movies released in February 1982
Here’s the list of the movies I haven’t seen released in February 1982. Cannery Row looks good. Adapted from the John Steinbeck novel of the same name, starring Nick Nolte and Debra Winger. I might give it a try.
Butterfly is the first starring role for Pia Zadora. It looks…interesting.
If you saw any of these movies let me know in the comments.
There were some great movies this month, action, western and horror. If you like gory, nasty, horror movies you’ll like both of the ones from this month. If that’s not your thing, avoid them at all cost!
Next week we’ll look at February 1987.