The 1980s are a unique and magical time when it comes to movie making. Arriving with a welcome change of pace from the nihilistic movies of the 70s such as Deer Hunter and Taxi Driver, while taking place before the mass production of blockbuster franchises that has seemingly jaded cynical cinemagoers as a result. Movies from the 80s are truly an unpretentious spectacle of prestige popcorn flicks and not to mention good old-fashioned wholesome fun. With that in mind we count down the top 5 modern movies that easily could have been made in the 1980s.
5. Super 8
Perhaps it is no surprise that a film about a group of friends who encounter an extraterrestrial in a small town, is produced by Stephen Spielberg. This J.J. Abrams directed movie has all the hallmarks of everything Spielberg and the 80s are synonymous with. The film mines the often-thrilling uncertainty of childhood and summer time youth, while evoking a sense of nostalgia for a time when filmmaking focused more on story instead of vacuous action sequences. Super 8 is reminiscent of movies likes ET and The Goonies, while J.J. Abrams’ visual flair gives the film a contemporary edge to update the formula for modern audiences.
4. Cold in July
The 80s weren’t all fun and treasure hunts as the murderous midnight movie thriller Cold in July, directed by Jim Mickle, demonstrates. If Michael C. Hall’s period piece mullet wasn’t enough to convince you of this movies 80s credentials, the John Carpenter inspired synthesizer score certainly will. This pulpy revenge thriller is a gritty yet grizzly crime tale that elicits comparisons with the likes of Blood Simple and the works of Walter Hill.
3. Easy A
The teen comedy that made Emma Stone a star owes more than a small debt to one of the most renowned figures of the 80s, John Hughes. The man behind such high school comedies as The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Sixteen Candles must surely have had a big influence on Easy A. The movie, which tells the story of a clean-cut teenager who relies on the schools rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing, is vintage John Hughes. It is a funny, engaging comedy that treats its characters with intelligence and warmth, all hallmarks of the films of John Hughes, especially from the 1980s.
2. It Follows
It Follows is a 2014 supernatural psychological horror film or the best piece of safe sex propaganda there is, depending on how you want to look at it. The film, directed by David Robert Mitchell, tells the story of a girl who is pursued by a supernatural entity after a sexual encounter. Mitchell has cited the works of George A. Romero and John Carpenter as an influence on the films compositions and visual aesthetics. It Follows is a skillfully made lo fi horror movie that plays with many familiar tropes of the genre, yet still manages to remain creepy and suspenseful.
1. Turbo Kid
This action adventure set in an alternate post-apocalyptic world known as The Wasteland shouldn’t work at all, but some how does. Turbo Kid is clearly aimed at adults but some how manages to transport you back to a time when you were a child and created epic worlds inside your own imagination. While these worlds could never hold up in the wake of serious film criticism or indeed basic science, they were still a magical experience reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons. And this is exactly what Turbo Kid feels like – a funny, gory, enjoyable blast from the past that encompasses all that was great about the 1980s. It can be best described as Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior meets The Power Rangers and if that isn’t enough to peak your interest, then the 1980s were never the decade for you to begin with.