A Return to Salem’s Lot (1987)

returntosalemslot_4Starring Michael Moriarty, Ricky Addison Reed, Samuel Fuller, Andrew Duggan, Evelyn Keyes, Jill Gatsby, June Havoc, Ronee Blakley, James Dixon, David Holbrook, Katja Crosby, Tara Reid

Directed by Larry Cohen

Expectations: Moderate. I’m interested, but I hear it’s dumb.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


A Return to Salem’s Lot is like the much trashier stepchild of Salem’s Lot, as the two stories are definitely not of the same lineage. This “sequel” to Salem’s Lot bears no resemblance in any way to the novel or the Tobe Hooper-directed TV adaptation, other than the name of the town and the fact that there are vampires around. No one mentions any of the previous film’s events or characters; even the foreboding representation of evil in the town, the Marsten House, is oddly missing. This would lead a viewer to believe that the companies behind A Return to Salem’s Lot didn’t own the rights to the novel or something, but in the end none of this really matters if you’re a B-Movie fan.

A Return to Salem’s Lot was directed by B-Movie legend Larry Cohen. My knowledge of his films is still rather sparse at best, but I can attest to the fact that what I have seen has been pure gold. His script for William Lustig’s classic Maniac Cop is superb, and his film The Stuff is the best film you’ll ever see about killer yogurt. A Return to Salem’s Lot is definitely not in that upper echelon of B-Movies, but I found more than enough to be intrigued and entertained by.

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The Stuff (1985)

Starring Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Scott Bloom, Danny Aiello, Patrick O’Neal, James Dixon, Alexander Scourby, Russell Nype

Directed by Larry Cohen

Expectations: High. I’ve heard many good things for many years.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


As soon as I saw an old man scoop up a handful of bubbling white foam and immediately taste it, I knew I’d enjoy The Stuff. This is literally the first scene in the movie and it immediately sets the ridiculous, hilarious tone that fills the entire film. Simply put, The Stuff is one of the most consistently entertaining ’80s B-Movies I’ve seen in a while, successfully pulling off a horror/comedy/corporate espionage/social satire/action hybrid, and the finale contains gigantic, fiery explosions. The Stuff is just as intoxicating and additive as the stuff in the film that causes all the trouble.

So as I mentioned before, an old man finds some bubbling white goo coming out of the ground and once he determines that it’s pretty damn tasty, he immediately commercializes it and starts a nationwide food revolution. The Stuff sweeps the nation with a catchy ad campaign and soon the American people are eating nothing but the stuff. No one knows exactly what it is (it’s a secret formula!), but they know they want it all the time. But not everyone is taken in by the craze, so it’s up to our heroes to work together and save the day. Just watch the movie, because no sentence I can construct will be as funny and as entertaining as watching the movie.

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Troll (1986)

TROLLStarring Noah Hathaway, Michael Moriarty, Jenny Beck, June Lockhart, Sonny Bono, Shelley Hack, Phil Fondacaro, Anne Lockhart, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Gary Sandy

Directed by John Carl Buechler

Expectations: Moderate.


There’s a lot of films that are just plain bad. There are a few though that can transcend the steamy birthing pit of awful and become something truly enjoyable. Troll is one such film and it was a distinct pleasure to watch. I felt like the stars had aligned, the tides had synchronized, the rubber band at the crux of the universe had been perfectly tightened. I locked into the Troll mythos and never looked back. This is truly one of the crowning gems of the Empire International catalog.

Troll tells the story of a family moving into a new apartment building. Upon their arrival the young daughter of the clan explores the downstairs laundry room and is accosted by a troll! The troll assumes control of her body and takes her place amongst the family. Immediately it is obvious that she has changed, as she ravenously tears into an open-faced hamburger and then wigs out with the thrill of consuming meat and runs around the entire building screaming, “Ratburgers!” The troll continues its rampage throughout the film, slowly taking over the entire building, one apartment at a time.

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