Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1981 was an exciting year for films giving us a lot of films that would go on to be beloved favorites and cult classics. It was also the start to a major shift in cultural and societal norms, and some of those still reverberate to this day.
We’re going to pick and choose which movies we hit, but right now the list stands at nearly three dozen.
Yes, we’re insane, but 1981 was that great of a year for film.
The articles will come out – in most cases – on the same day the films hit theaters in 1981 so that it is their true 40th anniversary. All films are also watched again for the purposes of these reviews and are not being done from memory. In some cases, it truly will be the first time we’ve seen them.
This time around it’s Oct. 23, 1981, and we’re off to see Galaxy of Terror, Nightmare, and The Pit!
Quick side note: Since we launched this series this year, we’ve discovered that Vintage Video Podcast is doing the exact same project with two differences: First, it’s audio (naturally), and second, they are doing every major film. We’ve listened to numerous episodes and it’s fun checking off their thoughts against my own. Check them out over at Vintage Video Podcast.
Galaxy of Terror
When you see the name “Roger Corman,” it almost always fills you with fear of what you are about to watch. The good news is that Galaxy of Terror is genuinely entertaining if a bit derivative.
Very clearly taking heavy influence from Alien, the film sees a team head off to a planet to see what happened to the previous team. What they encounter are creatures that take on the forms of their worst fears.
The story is basic as it comes, but the suspense works with some decent effects. And, of course, one of the biggest claims to fame for this film is James Cameron worked on it before he headed off to work on Aliens, and you can clearly see his influence on it.
Galaxy of Terror won’t set your world on fire, but it’s a fun watch and worth your time to check out just from a historical perspective.
I have no idea what this movie was about.
Was it about a government program trying to turn a guy into a dangerous killer?
Was it about a man who killed his father during a BDSM session with a woman when he was a child for… reasons?
This movie was truly just utter nonsense with some really over-the-top blood effects that become comical in their lunacy.
The only real nightmare was suffering through this movie with its mixed messaging and total lack of a focus.
The Pit is not a good movie, but it manages to circle back around to being awesome in how bonkers it is.
You have to buy that this kid has not only found a pit full of pre-historic troglodytes somehow, but that his possessed teddy bear is also aware of this pit and tells him what to do. But here’s the thing, there is never an explanation to the bear. It just… is.
And sure, you could say it’s in his head, but nope. There is a scene where the bear very clearly turns its head to look at someone leaving the room when the kid isn’t even in the house. So clearly the bear truly is possessed, but you never learn how or why. You just have to roll with the idea this kid has both these things going on in his life.
But wait… “how does this movie end?!?” you ask… well, it ends with ANOTHER kid having a pit of troglodytes and that kid pushes the first kid into her pit!
Oh, and we can’t forget that this 12-year-old boy really has the hots for his nanny and constantly tries to convince her that he loves her. It’s a good thing Teddy keeps giving him advice on how to woo this human woman.
I am not kidding when I say I would gladly discuss this movie for the next three months. It reaches a level of insanity that I can’t even begin to describe and I love it for that.
The 1981 movie reviews will return on Oct. 30 with Looker and Halloween II!
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