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By James Whittington, Saturday 2nd February 2019
The Best of 80s Scream Queens 88 Films Certificate 18
For those of us of a certain age, the 1980s was a time of the video cassettes and computer games and whilst our adoration of pixels may have diminished our love for 80s horror/thrillers remains. This triple-bill from the good folks at 88 Films is a reminder of the golden age of direct-to-video releases and the scantly clad ladies who helped make them such a rental hit as well as the notorious director behind them all, David DeCoteau.
Now, DeCoteau was behind the classics Creepozoids, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge but these three contained in The Best of 80s Scream Queens are far less well known to some of us in the UK.
First in the set is Nightmare Sisters from 1988 which stars Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer and Brinke Stevens as three, nerdy young ladies dabble in the occult and become sex-starved creatures! That's all there really is to it. What follows is a lot of cheap effects and even cheaper dialogue with some blatant nudity thrown in for good measure. But it is lots of fun in a retro way and still manages to produce some laughs.
Next up is Deadly Embrace (1989) where Quigley and Bauer star alongside Airwolf hunk Jan-Michael Vincent, who chews the scenery in every shot he's in. This thriller concerns a hunky Beverly Hills husband who has babes to spare (can't get more 80s than that turn of phrase). However, before long he is being stalked by a heartbroken high heeled pin-up and the result is both creepy and creatively nasty.
The final movie is Murder Weapon (1989) which is a gangster style affair where mob daughters hold a part for their ex-boyfriends, but they begin to disappear one by one. DeCoteau directed this one under the name Ellen Cabot and is a by the book "girls out for revenge movie" with added perm haircuts, an almost illegal use of lip-gloss and plenty of mullets!
Each movie has its moments and Nightmare Sisters is probably the strongest of the trio thanks to its overuse of a bath (you have to see it to know what I mean) and some real cheesy effects. Both Murder Weapon and Nightmare Sisters suffer from long periods of dialogue scenes that are clunky to say the least, badly edited and seem to be included to get the running time to the required duration.
All the transfers are very impressive and contain bold, solid colours with no smudging around the edges. There is slight grain, but this is to be expected considering the age of the films and the stock they were probably shot on. The mono soundtracks are clear of any hiss or clicks and help the 80s electric score shine through.
The lack of extras on this release is forgivable as you'd be hard pressed to see these forgotten gems in better shape. 88 Films have done a grand job to release such easily forgotten pieces that will plug the gaps of any serious collector of 80s titles.
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