80s in August: 1989

Warlock

Year: 1989
Runtime: 1h 43m
Rated: R

Director: Steve Miner

Writer: David Twohy

Stars: Julian Sands, Lori Singer, Richard E. Grant

Streaming on: Tubi

Initial: I used to own this movie on VHS.

Production Notes: Apparently, this movie didn’t get a US release until 1991. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

What Did I Think:
First off, I want to talk about the gay side character in Warlock. On the plus side, hey! there’s a gay side character! Also, Kassandra defends Chas, her roommate, as just being a nice, normal guy. On the minus side, there is an odd distinction between gay and queer, Chas dies first, and, well, his name is Chas… So, mixed bag.

Otherwise, I find a lot to like in Warlock. Julian Sands plays evil without mustache twirling or scenery-chewing. Redferne, the witch-finder, shows the proper amount of unease with his 20th century surroundings, and Kassandra is kind of a proto-Buffy. She doesn’t want to be pulled into the plot, but when she has no choice, she’s the shrewdest character in the room.

The effects aren’t great, but I’ll over look that.


The Blood of Heroes

Year: 1989
Runtime: 1h 30m
Rated: R

Director: David Webb Peoples

Writer: David Webb Peoples

Stars: Rutger Hauer, Joan Chen, Delroy Lindo

Streaming on: Tubi

Initial: Like many Rutgar Hauer movies, I probably saw The Blood of Heroes some late night on syndicated TV.

Production Notes: So, there are actual rules to jugger, the sport in The Blood of Heroes. It, of course, isn’t as brutal, but it’s interesting that this film has had that much impact.

What Did I Think:
I hadn’t seen The Blood of Heroes in a number of years, but it was pretty much as good as I remembered it. I hadn’t realized it before but, while it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world, this is a sports film. I love sports films!

I’m also kind of impressed with the low-key treatment of gender politics. There’s not talk of whether Kidda or the veteran Big Cimber are lesser players because they’re women. They are also not assaulted because they are women nor are they used as prizes because they are women. (The only time there is much of a difference in how they are treated as juggers is when the men have women throwing themselves at them after a win while Kidda and Cimber are left with scrawny company for the evening.) In general, while the sport is brutal, its players have a certain code of honor. And if there is any politics to The Blood of Heroes, it’s class politics.

Annoyingly, the Tubi version of this film is in 4:3 ratio. It’s a very dark film, but I think that’s on purpose, and it works for the most part. The action scenes are chaotic, but not confusing. I also liked how there isn’t overheard dialog in several scenes, yet what is being talked about is obvious.


Parents

Year: 1989
Runtime: 1h 21m
Rated: R

Director: Bob Balaban

Writer: Christopher Hawthorne

Stars: Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt, Bryan Madorsky, Sandy Dennis

Streaming on: Tubi

Initial: Another fairly well-regarded horror movie that I hadn’t seen before.

Production Notes: Randy Quaid’s second appearance in August. He was the sheriff in The Wraith (1986).

What Did I Think:
What an odd movie. Since it ends up being very discomfiting, I guess it’s successful. Parents is very slow, though, and maybe a tad unfocused. Honestly, this movie weirdly reminds me of A Christmas Story (1983)—granted, a twisted horror version. Maybe it’s just that I find both a little bizarre and kind of dull. Both are told through the lens of childhood misunderstandings, which I don’t find that entertaining.


Other Movies from 1989: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Ghostbusters II, The Abyss, Back to the Future Part II, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Pet Sematary

1 thought on “80s in August: 1989

  1. Michelle Stockard Miller

    I loved Warlock back in the day. I had a big crush on Julian Sands. I haven’t watched it in a long time. May be time for a rewatch. I know I did not see The Blood of Heroes, despite being a Rutger Hauer fan, and I can’t remember if I saw Parents or not.

    Reply

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