; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, May 08, 2015

Funniest Monsters From The 1980's

By Brandon Engel - People have been blending genres for years, and during the 1980s, horror and comedy mash-up films became incredibly popular. The five monster movies mentioned below were fairly typical examples of the genre, and most of them were probably intended to be ridiculous. Sentient, homicidal trucks and extraterrestrial “klowns” are rather hard to take seriously.

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)

This film is one of the earlier movies made by Sam Raimi of Spider-Man fame, who combined gore with slapstick comedy of The Three Stooges variety. His brother, Ted Raimi, plays a possessed woman. In the movie, a group of people find a copy of the Book of the Dead in a conveniently isolated cottage. They somehow conjure up evil spirits that run amok and messily kill everybody they can, with one of them possessing one of the main character’s hand. Bruce Campbell's Ash is the hero with the unenviable task of taking these monsters down.

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Directed by Stephen King and based on one of King’s short stories as well, Maximum Overdrive became one of the most amazingly terrible movies. The central plot revolves around Earth passing through the tail of a comet, which somehow causes machinery to come to life. As always, the newly awakened machines aren't friendly. At first, they confine their ill-humor to vulgar insults but soon enough, the gadgets start killing people in gruesome ways. As the title suggests, the main "villains" are trucks.

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

In the small town of Tromaville, a nerdy, scrawny school janitor called Melvin gets picked on by some bullies and ends up falling into a vat of toxic waste that mutates him into a hideous monster. He then sets out to become the local superhero, in which his weapon of choice is his janitor's mop. The monster eventually falls in love with a blind woman and has to protect her and himself from evildoers, including the town's corrupt mayor and cops. The movie inspired three sequels and a cartoon series called Toxic Crusaders, which gave Toxie (as the monster was affectionately called) a bunch of similarly-mutated teammates.

C.H.U.D. (1984)

The title of this film is an acronym for "Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller" and is now currently being aired on the El Rey Network (check this resource for more information). It's set in New York and involves a policeman who gets curious about a rash of disappearances affecting homeless people. A friend of his, who runs a homeless shelter, suspects a government conspiracy of some kind. It turns out that he's right: The government has been secretly hiding nuclear waste underground—where a bunch of homeless people live. The waste has been mutating them into the titular hideous C.H.U.D. creatures which, of course, like to eat and kill people.

The Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

This film is indeed about alien clowns who arrive on Earth via a flying circus tent and it takes a group of teenagers to save the world. The alien Klowns want to make soda pop out of people and do so by wrapping them in cotton candy. The film apparently never met a clown-related joke or gag it didn't like. Instead of the traditional ray gun or light saber, the Klowns use weaponized popcorn. They also use animated balloon animals to track down their enemies. If it weren't for the fact that the Klowns actually do kill people, this movie would probably be classed as a straight-up comedy. Unless you're afraid of clowns, it's too ridiculous to be scary.

How to Survive a Horror Movie

The Horror Show Guide: The Ultimate Frightfest of Movies

Monsters in the Movies

Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy Stripe Nurses: Roger Corman: King of the B Movie

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