May kicks off the summer blockbuster season! We’ll see some great movies over the next four weeks. In May 1982 there was one movie theater in my home town. The big movies listed below made it to my theater but the rest were rentals.
There are good movies to choose from this month. Boxers, swordsman, musicals, comedies and horror. Something for everyone.
For the last three days we’ve been socked in with cloudy weather and rain storms. But you know what they say… The sun’ll come out tomorrow.
While I wait for the sun to shine let’s look at the movies from May 1982.
Movies from May 1982
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
In past articles I’ve mentioned I wasn’t allowed to watch Richard Pryor movies growing up. Well, I wasn’t allowed to watch Steve Martin movies either. I don’t know what it was about the late 70s, early 80s comedians but my mom didn’t like them.
I watched this movie a few years after it was in theaters. It’s a strange movie. Strange might be the wrong word. It’s interesting.
Martin plays private investigator Rigby Reardon who is hired by Juliet Forrest to investigate the death of her father. Forrest is played by the lovely Rachel Ward.
The movie is a tribute to the old noir murder mysteries from the 40s and 50s. Movies like The Killers or The Big Sleep. The interesting twist in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid is Martin interacts with those old movies.
While Reardon is trying to solve the murder he is showing up in those old movies. He has a conversation with Bogart’s character in The Big Sleep. He’s in a scene with Cary Grant from Suspicion. The entire movie is Martin placed in clips from other movies.
It’s not a bad concept and works OK. It gets a little old toward the end but the movie is only 90 minutes so it doesn’t drag it out.
This isn’t one of Steve Martin’s best movies but it’s not too bad. It’s certainly worth 90 minutes of your day. If you get a chance check it out.
The House Where Evil Dwells
I am a big fan of 80s horror movies. I enjoy all of them on some level, unless they have haunted dolls! I’m not a fan and steer clear of doll movies. Chucky is the one exception to that rule and I don’t know why.
As good as American horror movies are Japanese horror movies are on a whole nother level. I don’t know if it’s the imagery, the music or maybe the thousands of years of creepy folklore but Japanese horror movies are terrifying.
Japanese horror hit big in America in the early 2000s when Ringu (1998) was remade for America as The Ring. If you want a gateway into Japanese horror movies check out Battle Royale from 2000. It’s a masterpiece and should be required viewing for all horror fans and film students.
Before there was Battle Royale or even The Ring there was The House Where Evil Dwells. It is a horror movie where an American family moves into a haunted house in Japan.
The movie begins with a violent murder in the house about 200 years before the story takes place. As the couple moves in a monk tells them the story and tells them to leave. They, of course, stay and weird things happen. The wife becomes consumed by evil spirits, ghosts posses members of the family and giant spider crabs attack everyone.
If you like horror movies or haunted house movies this one is for you. Add it to you Halloween list this year.
You can watch The House Where Evil Dwells on Amazon Prime.
When movie buffs hear the name Roger Corman they either cringe or rejoice. His work is polarizing. I’m in the ‘rejoice’ camp. He’s probably best known for B-movies and he has a lot of them. Corman has over 400 movie credits to his name.
Movies like Machine Gun Kelly, Death Race 2000, Screw Balls and Deathstalker. In the 60s he directed and produced eight adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe stories. The first, House of Usher was a huge success. I split my favorites between The Pit and the Pendulum and The Masque of the Red Death, both are excellent.
In 1982 Corman produced Forbidden World, the poster alone is enough to make me watch the movie. Forbidden World takes a lot of hits from critics as being a clone of Ridley Scott’s Alien. It’s what happens in Hollywood. There always seem to be movie clones; Volcano/Dante’s Peak, Tombstone/Wyatt Earp, the list is long.
Forbidden World offers it’s own take on the Science Fiction-Horror genre. It also includes Corman’s take on most movies, lots of nudity, sex and special effects. Even though Forbidden World was made on a shoestring budget it is a good SciFi-Horror movie.
On a planet somewhere far off in the galaxy a team of scientist create a new life form to fight a galaxy food shortage. The new life form mutates, kills all the other lab animals and then creates a cocoon.
When the cocoon hatches all hell breaks loose. What can stop the creature? Will it kill everyone? There’s only one way to find out. Watch the movie. It clocks in at 80 minutes, that’s a long lunch break.
Forbidden World was nominated for three Saturn Awards, which is the Oscars for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror movies.
Forbidden World was nominated for Best Low Budget Film (lost to The Evil Dead), Best Make-up (lost to Poltergeist) and Best Special Effects (lost to E.T. The Extra Terrestrial).
This is another one to add to your Halloween watch list.
You can watch Forbidden World on Tubi TV and Pluto TV.
Conan the Barbarian
Now we get into the blockbuster type movies for the month. Conan The Barbarian is a fantastic movie starring 3-time Mr. Universe and 7-Time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger. The man other men want to be like and women wanted to be with.
Schwarzenegger’s acting debut was in 1970’s Hercules in New York, he played Hercules. He then had minor roles in a few movies. He was featured heavily in 1977’s bodybuilding movie Pumping Iron. The movie focused on bodybuilder’s preparation for the 1975 Mr. Olympia competition and on the rivalry between Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.
It’s a good moive, more docudrama than movie, but good nonetheless.
Schwarzenegger’s next starring role and his breakout role was Conan the Barbarian. Conan is the creation of Robert E. Howard a pulp fiction author in the 1920s and 30s. Howard is considered the father of the Sword and Sorcery genre writing hundreds of short stories for the publication Weird Tales and dozens of novels.
Howard created Conan in 1932 for a series of short stories for Weird Tales. He published seventeen Conan stories in Weird Tales and left eight unfinished Conan stories at the time of his death.
It’s believed Howard struggled with mental health issues; he committed suicide in 1936 at the age of 30. In his youth Howard was a bodybuilder; it’s fitting the greatest bodybuilder of all time played the role of Conan.
Conan the Barbarian was written by John Milius and Oliver Stone. Yes, that Oliver Stone.
The movie is based on the Conan character written by Howard but the story isn’t based on any of his published (or unpublished) works.
Conan’s parents are murdered by the evil Thulsa Doom and Conan is placed into slavery. Conan survives his time as a slave on the Wheel of Pain and is eventually trained as a gladiator. When he is freed from servitude he sets out on his quest to avenge the death of his parents.
From start to finish Conan the Barbarian is a fantastic movie. The sword fights, the special effects, the music, the final battle, everything is engrossing.
Conan debuted at #1 the weekend it came out grossing over $9.5 million. Technically it isn’t considered a “blockbuster” movie but it’s close. By all accounts Conan the Barbarian was a successful movie and it ranks as the 13th highest grossing movie of 1982.
Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars saying it’s “a perfect fantasy for the alienated preadolescent.”
If you haven’t seen Conan the Barbarian you are missing out! Don’t bother with the 2011 remake, it’s not good.
You can watch Conan the Barbarian on Starz.
If you read the intro you knew this movie was going to show up in the list.
Annie is a fun musical comedy movie. My mom took us to see it at the theater on Saturday afternoon. I enjoyed it then and I enjoy it now. The original, not the remakes, they are missing something that made the 1982 version so good.
Annie is the story of a little orphan girl set in the Depression Era. Annie is based on a comic strip called Little Orphan Annie originally published in the 1920s.
In the movie Annie lives in an orphanage run by a mean alcoholic played marvelously by Carol Burnett. All Annie wants is her family to return for her. Annie is invited to stay with billionaire Oliver ‘Daddy’ Warbucks to help improve his image.
Of course Warbucks doesn’t like her at first but then she grows on him. In the end Annie doesn’t find her real family but she finds something better.
I enjoyed the songs, the dancing and the laughs throughout the movie. This was the first musical I’d seen and it was good.
Annie debuted at #5 when it hit theaters. It would go one to earn over $57 million making it the 10th highest grossing movie of the year.
I came across a ‘where are they now’ type article for the actors in Annie. It’s interesting to see them forty years after the movie.
You can watch Annie on Netflix.
It seems strange in 1982 there are already three Rocky movies. I always associate Rocky with the 80s but the first two movies are from the 70s. Maybe it’s the awesomeness of Rocky IV that makes me think 80s when I think of Rocky.
In the third installment Rocky isn’t fighting Apollo Creed, he’s thinking of retiring. As the city is unveiling a statue for Rocky, up and comer Clubber Lang challenges Rocky to a fight. I pity the fool who says no. That’s right, Clubber Lane is played by none other then Mr. T.
We also get to see Hulk Hogan in this movie. Hogan plays Thunderlips (what a great name) a pro wrestler who fights Rocky in a charity event.
It’s not all good times, this is the final movie for Mickey. Is he killed by Lang? During a locker room altercation Mickey is shoved by Lang and has a heart attack.
Can Rocky overcome his grief and beat Lang. With the help of long time rival turned friend Apollo Creed he can. Rocky’s got the Eye of the Tiger!
Like all Rocky movies it’s filled with action, heart and a great training montage!
Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” is arguable the best song of the year and the most widely known song even to this day. My kids play the song to get pumped up.
“Eye of the Tiger” earned an Academy Award nomination for the Best Original Song. It lost to “Up Where We Belong” from An Officer and a Gentlemen. No way, that’s a travesty!
I hope you’ve seen Rocky III, if not you need to watch it now.
You can watch Rocky III on Max GO.
Other movies released in May 1982
Here are the rest of the movies released in May 1982.
Visiting Hours looks interesting. I’ll have to find it. Speaking of copycat movies….Paradise looks like a copy of Blue Lagoon.
If you’ve seen any of them let me know in the comments below.
That ends are look at movies from May 1982. The summer season is kicking off in style! Rocky III was fantastic and Conan the Barbarian is an all-time favorite.
June1982 picks up where May leaves off with some of the best movies of the year. Don’t forget to phone home when you get a chance.
Next week we’ll look at May 1987.