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Happy Birthday, You're 30! An American Werewolf in London, Hell Night

30 years ago this month a few noteworthy genre offerings saw theatrical release; one would eventually garner an astronomical following and rake in major dollar gns at the box office, one would change the landscape of animated features, two would go on to eventually be condered cult clasc slashers, and the fifth film I’ll be acknowledging today was crafted by future master of horror, Wes Craven.

Continuing on in my practice of honoring films celebrating their 30th birthday this year, allow me to make some noise for a few personal favorites. Happy birthday to Student Bodies, Hell Night, Heavy Metal, An American Werewolf in London, and Deadly Blesng: you’re all damn near old as dirt… welcome to the club! Bodies (released August 7, 1981)

Domestic Earnings: $1,582,148

This goofy slasher satire pits promiscuous teenagers at Lamab High School against a quite humorous, psychopathic murderer known as “The Breather”. The film boldly destroys the fourth wall and takes so many jabs at slasher film’s you’re all but ensured a series of grand laughs.

Long before the Scary Movie franchise was launched in 2000, the world was treated to a handful of outlandish spoofs. Amongst the bunch lies this (sadly) forgotten offering, which really is good for legit laughs. If you’re going to invest time in exploring any of these wild pictures, I have to recommend this 30 year old beauty; it’s perfect for all the wrong reasons, resulting in an absolute bad ass picture!

Heavy Metal (released August 7, 1981)

Domestic Earnings: $19,571,091

Heavy Metal shook up the world of animated features and fused so many genres it’s difficult to actually clasfy this amalgamation of madness. Between the obvious fantasy elements lie dominant bits of horror, action and a little comedy, depending on how many beers you’ve consumed (the more you consume, the funnier the film gets).

It’s hard to even swallow the fact that this flick is 30 years old! The nostalgia attached to this picture is as epic as the film itself, and to ignore this diamond is to deprive yourself a highly entertaining viewing experience. If outrageous animated films aren’t typically for you, conder the superb voice cast that includes John Candy, Eugene Levy, Harold Ramis and Joe Flaherty. Also conder the fact that Heavy Metal was an impresve enough picture to pull down a zable chunk of change at the box office; not too shabby for an adult themed animated feature, if you ask me!

Happy birthday you wild piece of wonder!

Hell Night (released August 7, 1981)

Domestic Earnings: $2,300,000If you dig more conventional slasherfare (as opposed to Student Bodies), you’ve more than likely already seen the oft-underrated, Hell Night. The flick boasts a competent cast top-lined by Linda Blair (of The Exorcist fame), and an extremely generic plot that somehow works like a damn charm.

College pledges stuck in a big spooky abandoned manon are systematically stalked and slaughtered. I know how dull and redundant it sounds, but believe me when I say there are some very enjoyable sequences in store for viewers. When compared to your typical 1980’s flick of milar nature, this one actually holds up better than plenty of other frequently recognized films.

Happy birthday, Hell Night… and for the record, Linda, if by some strange chance you ever stumble upon our lovely te and spot this article, I’ve still got an obscenely large crush on you!

An American Werewolf in London (released August 21, 1981)

Domestic Earnings: $31,973,249

I don’t believe I need to dive into too much depth for this particular breakdown; the film’s unbelievably large following and sustained popularity speak to its ncere greatness. 30 years after release, genre fans still conder this one of the greatest horror efforts ever filmed, and many (myself included) are quick to label it the finest werewolf feature on the market.

Writer/director John Landis struck gold when he blended laughs, gore, amazing atmosphere and a perfectly controlled visual restraint that lent serious stock to the impresve special effects work. The story isn’t insanely unique, but in 1981, the premise wasn’t exactly a dead horse.

David Naughton puts his best foot forward (as lead David Kessler) and creates one of the most endearing onscreen beasts in the history of terror filled cinema. His lighthearted, upbeat attitude is wonderful, and the affliction he’s been condemned to leaves viewers sympathetic to David Kessler’s plight. Even when transformed into full-blown monstroty, you’re pulling for his character, and that’s an amazing accomplishment.

This flick won big in ticket sales, earning nearly $32 million during its impresve cinematic run. But more importantly, it launched a renewed interest in lycanthropic features, and cemented a firm foothold in history.

Happy birthday you old monster, find pleasure in the fact that we’ll still be talking about you in another three decades!

Deadly Blesng (released August 14, 1981)

Domestic Earnings: $2,800,000

What can I say about this film?

Not much, as this is one of the extremely few Wes Craven films I haven’t had the chance to check out. I’ve read plenty of potive film reviews, however I can’t justify echoing those sentiments having missed this one. All the same, Deadly Blesng turns 30 years old this month, and I’m not leaving the film out of this equation!
Matt_Molgaard Thursday 8/04/2011 at 02:09 AM | 79915
Great editorial as usual Matt! All hail AWIL!
Shakelford, J. Rusty Thursday 8/04/2011 at 02:45 AM | 79917