It’s May 1987, the school year is winding down and it’s a bittersweet time. I was more than happy for school to end. It was the worst school year of my life! I don’t know what it was but 8th grade was horrible. I hated the school, I didn’t like most of the kids; it was a miserable experience.
As much as I wanted school to end. I didn’t want summer to arrive. I already knew once school was out my family would be moving and not across town, but across the country. I had to leave my friends and start High School in a new state. The situation was less than ideal.
With only a few weeks left there was a lot of socializing to do. Some of that time was spent in the theater watching movies.
Let’s take a look at the movies released in May 1987.
Movies from May 1987
I stopped watching horror movies years ago. They started getting boring and not scary in the 90s and through most of the 2000s. I’ll watch a modern horror movie occasionally but they are few and far between and rarely satisfying.
Horror movies in the 80s were great fun dominated by the slasher flick sub-genre. It was almost guaranteed that Jason, Freddy or Michael would appear in a movie every year. There were others in the mix too, Stephen King novels were adapted almost yearly, and non-franchise hits like Fright Night, An American Werewolf in London and Poltergeist were big hits.
The Gate is one of those no-franchise movies that is classic 80s horror. In the movie two boys discover a hole in their backyard which is actually a portal to hell and demons are finding their way out. They discover clues to the portal through the lyrics of a heavy metal album. That’s totally 80s!
The boys must find a way to push back the demons and close the gate forever.
On the TRN VIP Slack channel we’ve discussed The Gate extensively. It’s a favorite movie of a few VIPs. If you’re not a VIP become one now and we can talk more about The Gate. Or any movie.
The Gate debuted at #2 the week it opened, finishing behind Ishtar. (we’ll talk a little more about Ishtar later).
You can watch The Gate on Tubi.
Ernest Goes to Camp
In his first starring role Ernest Goes to Camp. Ernest P. Worrell, played by Jim Varney, started our as a pitchman for local and national products including Coca-Cola before getting his own movie and TV series.
In Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest is a maintenance man at a summer camp, trying to become a camp counselor. A group of delinquents end up at the camp and under the guidance of Ernest. There’s also an evil mining company owner trying to steal the camp from Chief St. Cloud in order to mine the land.
It’s up to Ernest to save the camp and set the delinquent boys straight.
Ernest was a cultural phenomenon in the late 80s and early 90s. He would make nine movies from 1987 to 1998 (the last four were direct-to-video) and one TV series in 1988. The TV show called Hey Vern, It’s Ernest! ran on Saturday mornings from September 1988 to December 1988.
Ernest Goes to Camp was a box office success. I saw it once in the theater and never again. My favorite Ernest movie is Ernest Saves Christmas.
You can watch Ernest Saves Christmas on Disney+. Ernest Goes to Camp is nowhere to be found in the digital world.
This one was a rental. The cover art was the selling point…Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles in a bikini. It’s directed by Tamar Hoffs, Susanna’s mother.
The movie is about a group of girls graduating college. They throw a beach party on the final night.
There’s really nothing that stands out about this movie. It’s not good.
There’s no point in looking for this movie, it’s not worth the time. Let’s move on to better movies that came out in May.
American Ninja 2: The Confrontation
As much as I love 80s horror movies, I love ninja movies even more. The ninja craze of the 80s was fantastic! I couldn’t get enough of it. I watch all the movies I could, in the theater, rentals or the Saturday Kung Fu cinema flicks. It’s what sparked my interest in martial arts.
My buddy BJ and I used to buy ninja stars and throw them at trees and sometimes walls. I had a massive collection, still do. My love of martial arts has never faded. I’ve been practicing martial arts for over half my life.
When American Ninja 2 hit the theater there was no doubt I’d be seeing it. Unfortunately it never came to my home town. I saw it later that year on VHS.
In American Ninja 2 Joe (Michael Dudikoff) and Curtis (Steve James) are sent to a Caribbean Island to help a group of Marines. During their investigation they discover a man called The Lion is kidnapping Marines and brainwashing them to join his army of ninja assassins.
It’s up to Joe and Curtis to stop The Lion, defeat his ninjas and save the Marines. They are up to the task and take on the ninja army. The fight scenes are great. The fight on the beach with Joe in his sweet Body Glove wet suit is hard to beat.
American Ninja 2 wasn’t successful at the box office. It is now considered a cult classic. That didn’t stop them from making more movies though. The American Ninja franchise includes five movies in total. I own them all!
Were you caught up in the 80s ninja craze? If so you should watch this to relive the glory days. If not you should watch to see what you were missing.
You can watch American Ninja 2: The Confrontation on Pluto TV.
Another horror movie. A follow-up to the highly popular 1982 hit Creepshow, simply called Creepshow 2.
The screenplay was written by George Romero but he didn’t direct this one. There are only three stories in Creepshow 2, unlike the five in Creepshow. All the stories were written by the King of Horror, Stephen King.
Creepshow 2 is an anomaly. I can tell you everything about the first movie, Creepshow, but Creepshow 2 is somewhat unremarkable.
I recall the story ‘The Raft’ but the other two are fuzzy. Overall the movie didn’t have the same impact as the first one.
You can watch Creepshow 2 on Amazon Prime. I know I’ll be re-watching it this year.
Beverly Hills Cop II
Axel Foley is back!
The first Beverly Hills Cop was a massive success and Beverly Hills Cop II was a highly anticipated movie. It was Eddie Murphy’s second movie after the original Beverly Hills Cop. He made The Golden Child in between. While The Golden Child wasn’t a flop it wasn’t great.
In Beverly Hills Cop II Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is back in California and teams up with Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and Taggart (John Ashton) to stop gun runners. But this is Beverly Hills, they are high class gun runners. Including Brigitte Nielsen who had starred in two successful movies, Rocky IV and Cobra.
It’s Eddie Murphy doing what he does best, having fun and making people laugh.
I saw this in the theater and on video more times than I can count. Any time I see it on TV I’ll stop and watch it. It is a great buddy cop comedy.
Beverly Hills Cop II was another massive success for Murphy. The movie made over $276 million, making it the third highest grossing movie of 1987. It debuted at #1 earning $33 million the first weekend, marking the highest opening weekend sales for 1987.
Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 and spent 26 weeks on the charts. One song from Beverly Hills Cop II was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar, “Shakedown” by Bob Seger. It lost both awards to Dirty Dancing‘s “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”.
There are rumors Beverly Hills Cop IV is in the works. Eddie Murphy is attached but no details on a screenplay.
You can watch Beverly Hills Cop II on Fubo.
Other movies released in May 1987
Here’s the rest of the movies released in May 1987. I mentioned Ishtar above, it debuted at #1 the weekend it came out. It didn’t stay there long. Ishtar holds the record for being one of the biggest box office bombs of all time and is widely considered one of the worst movies ever made.
There’s nothing on the list that catches my attention. If you’ve seen one of these let me know.
Not horrible this month. A good horror movie and one that just misses. A decent comedy with Ernest and a wonderful entry in the 80s ninja craze.
Beverly Hills Cop II is the one blockbuster setting up the summer movie season. 1987 is a great year for summer movies. The next three months are filled with fantastic movies.
What are your favorites from May1987?
Next week we’ll look at May 1992.