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. 30, 1981, and we’re off to see Halloween II and Looker! (Yes, we accidentally reversed the weekends)
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.
At the time, Halloween II seemed like a good follow-up to the original film, but little did we know how many attempts there would be over the years to ignore it.
Set the same night as the 1978 original, Michael continues his killing spree as Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) tries to recover in the hospital. And while it’s still an engaging story, it fails to capture the tenseness of the first film.
While we try to review these films as were originally presented, it’s impossible to ignore how this film suffers from some of the same issues as Halloween Kills that came out a few weeks ago. You had a bit of a mob mentality going on as the residents of Haddonfield tried to go after him. You had issues at the hospital… and you had the same blasted issue of making Michael just too overpowered.
It seems that when this series gets to a certain point it just feels too easy to make Michael unstoppable. Yes, he finally is ‘killed’ off in this 1981 film, but it took burning him to cinders. Up until then, he was just looking as though he would be an unstoppable force.
I still enjoy Halloween II, but it’s clear this film has been dumped to the graveyards of time at this point. It’s worth it to go back and give it a watch however and see how we thought the series was going to go.
Michael Crichton definitely had some viewpoints on the future, and it’s a bit frightening how close he came with Looker.
Best known for his works like Jurassic Park and Westworld, Looker takes us into a world where advertising companies are trying to come up with the perfect way to promote products. From deciding where in an image the product should be placed to, to how to make the perfect woman and digitally recreate her, it feels a little too close to what’s happening today with influencers and companies.
Beyond the interesting commentary on how we as consumers are manipulated, the film is some pretty entertaining sci-fi nonsense. The Light Ocular-Oriented Kinetic Emotive Responses (L.O.O.K.E.R.) gun is just so much science mumbo jumbo it’s hilarious.
And then there is Crichton’s neverending problem with a satisfying third act. If a fairly engaging film, we are left with the worlds longest, silliest, game of hide-and-go-seek as the doctor who is set to expose the evil corporation is being chased through their ad studios by a guard, and, oh yeah, the CEO of the company. Because that would totally happen.
Looker is a lot of Crichton nonsense, but it’s still a fun watch just for who accurately he hit what would happen with advertising in the future, which is now.
1981 Movie Reviews will return on Nov. 13 with Porky’s and The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper!
Fun Jug Media, LLC (operating TheNerdy.com) has affiliate partnerships with various companies. These do not at any time have any influence on the editorial content of The Nerdy. Fun Jug Media LLC may earn a commission from these links.