Chinese year of the rabbit, the year construction began on the Chanel Tunnel, the last year until 2013 to have 4 different digits and also the year a lot of very good films were released.
As I turn 30 this year, so do a number of fantastic pieces of cinema. It’s a testament to how great 1987 was that films such as The Princess Bride, Raising Arizona, Good Morning Vietnam, Lethal Weapon, The Living Daylights, Predator, RoboCop, The Running Man, Bad Taste and Dirty Dancing didn’t make the cut. Even sequels such as A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and Police Academy 4 were thoroughly enjoyable.
It was a tricky list to knock up, and admittedly, I’ve gone on a bit of a horror tip, but the 1980’s was a seminal decade for horror cinema.
A British horror masterpiece that kick started one of the longest running franchises of all time. Based on the Clive Baker novella The Hellbound Heart, Baker was fully involved in the film production both writing the screenplay and directing the piece. After 30 years, 9 films (with another due for release this year), the Hellraiser series has had some glorious highs, some spectacular lows and has transformed Doug Bradley’s Pinhead into one of the most iconic horror characters in history. The original film is generally considered to be the best and it definitely feels a lot different to a lot of it’s horror counterparts of the time. A little weirder, a little darker and a little more depraved.
4. The Lost Boys
Joel Schumacher is generally referred to as the chap that killed the Batman franchise stone dead. After taking the reins from Tim Burton, Schumacher’s Batman Forever and Batman and Robin were widely panned by both fans and critics. Despite bat-nipples and ice related puns, I’ll always remember Joel Schumacher as a director who made really great films with Kiefer Sutherland. I’m a huge fan of Flatliners (1990), Phone Booth (2002) and indeed 1987’s The Lost Boys. This superb vampire horror/comedy is possibly the most 80’s film that’s ever been made.
3. Full Metal Jacket
Stanley Kubrick’s first release in 7 years since 1980’s The Shining was the Vietnam drama Full Metal Jacket. Essentially split into 2 halves, marine training and then live combat, the film is my favourite war picture to date. With great performances across the board, particularly Lee Ermey as Sgt. Hartman, FMJ has an incredible pop-oriented soundtrack and some masterful direction from Kubrick.
2. Withnail & I
The unbelievably quotable oddball comedy about 2 struggling actors leaving London to holiday in the country is one of my favourite comedy films of all time. Fueled by an excessive amount of drugs and alcohol, the 2 lead characters stumble into quirky situations involving a supporting cast of eccentrics. In terms of comedy writing and performance, I’ve never seen anything else like it, and it is genuinely one of the most laugh-out-loud pieces of cinema I’ve ever watched. It encapsulates the term ‘cult’ and it almost topped my list for my favourite picks of 1987.
1. Evil Dead 2
Sam Raimi’s seamless blending of slapstick and horror showcases Bruce Campbell’s finest performance to date. Redefining the comedy/horror genre, Evil Dead 2 took the formula established in the first Evil Dead and cranked it up to 11. One of the biggest pieces of cult cinema to ever be released, Evil 2 is not only one of my favourite films of 1987, but indeed of all time.