Something rather wonderful happened in the 1980s regarding the horror genre, among the slew of slashers which boomed in the first four years of the decade, horrors also became self-referential and were laced with comedy.
They quickly became known as a sub-genre within the horror community named as the cheesy movie. The rules were pretty simple, group a bunch of likable teenagers together, load the script with funny one liner’s, have a free flowing story, load on the gore and keep everyone happy. Okay, there was one element missing: these movies were NEVER scary and were never taken seriously. But amongst some of the other serious horrors, these films were a sweet comedown; they were in short F for fun.
The cheesy horror movie of course has been with us for decades, one only has to watch Vincent Price in The Raven or go further back to the classic Abbott and Costello and the Universal monsters mash ups.
But the 80s was the decade that served the cheese heavy handed on a plate and melting hot. One could easily make a top 100 list and still be titles short- so making a top 10 list has been near impossible. But like the movies, it’s been a fun assignment, so ladies and gentlemen and ghouls, here are the top 10 cheesiest movies from that unique decade the 1980s.
10. Revenge of the Radioactive Reporter
I’m sorry but you are obliged to love this title, and it should set you up for a fun night even before the movie’s opening credits roll. Plot here sees a reporter about to expose a company for wrong doing, so what does the CEO do? He kills the reporter by throwing him down a shaft into toxic waste. Cue said reporter now being transferred into a radioactive one and he’s hell-bent on revenge.
Sure, this movie is a just a cheap rip off of a cheap movie in Troma’s classic The Toxic Avenger, but it still oddly has something going for it. Lots of parody here probably help the content and there are even a good few gore scenes. Sadly this movie is still unavailable on either DVD or Blu ray, so you’re going to have to go a hunting if you want to own this one.
9. The Outing
Also known as The Lamp in Europe, this is a really fun movie where teenagers hiding out in a museum overnight (because 80s teenagers loved doing this type of things) rub an ancient lamp and awake a really rather bad genie. Screw wishes, this monster is after their souls and despatching the kids in any way possible.
The acting is borderline bad but you knew that, it is surprising that there is at least some character development. Although in truth were here for cheese and there is plenty of that. The type of movie you can return to again and again if you love your 80s cheese.
8. Death Spa
If you really want a taste of the 80s cheese, there is no other movie that comes close to this one. You can literally smell the cologne coming off the screen. Everything is bright pink fluorescent as regulars at a gym are killed by possessed machines from the spirit of the dead co-owner. Yes you did read that last line correctly.
To get your abs pumping, we have as the star of the movie the one and only Ken Foree- yes the same Ken Foree who killed zombies right left and center in the classic Dawn of the Dead. He plays it all for fun here. Highlight has to be a character getting attacked by a dead fish at a party.
7. Cheerleader Camp
Students are dying at a cheerleader camp hence the title and that’s the plot for you, but don’t let that put you off because this is another cheesy winner from the 80s.
So what’s to like? Well, there’s beautiful women and guys for the women viewers, plenty of kills and most are very bloody and even have the much missed and lovable Buck Flower- (Bread from Back to the Future). Originally titled Bloody Pom Poms, this film came out toward the end of the 80s and is a nice slice of that time. Plenty of in jokes to boot.
6. Chopping Mall
What’s the best thing a bunch of teenagers who work in shopping mall all day can think of to do at night? That’s righ,t you guessed it, to stay right there and have a party. The group get the drink together and do just that, but there’s just one problem. Now don’t worry Jason, Michael, Freddy and the local lunatic have a night off here, so the killer instead or we should say killers are robots.
Yep, you couldn’t make it up. At Park Plaza mall, a new security system is in place to catch those thieves. Robots that look like Dalek rejects from Dr. Who and tonight they go a little hay wire despatching the kids. Best shot is a super cool head explosion. Watch out for the legend that is Dick Miller as the janitor playing Walter Paisley, the same character from Roger Corman’s 50’s classic A Bucket of Blood. This one is Z grade but so much fun.