Now, although I've just seen Die Hard and Lethal Weapon (with RoboCop coming up on the viewing schedule), I've considered myself pretty familiar with 1980's horror films at least...
So you can imagine I looked like I had just seen a ghost (aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh, so BAD) when I stumbled across the *unknown* classic: 1986's The Wraith.
Soak this bad ass poster image in for a minute. Slather your eyes with it. And now, gather around fans of the High Plains Drifter because do I have a story for you! Tell me if you've heard this one before:
A stranger drifts into a small town and challenges the local bullies - To The Death!
Keep your High Plains Drifter wild west stories at home for The Wraith, however (although it does take place in the rural, dusty west). Never mind that pack of bad boys in Drifter who steal and torment the locals (okay, well, that's exactly what happens here too...). Leave the ghost stories to the campfire - wait, forget it. This story IS the High Plains Drifter but now in the 1980's instead of the 1880's and super decked out cars are involved.
In all, this is a fun, fun film. Fun in the only way 1980's action/adventure/horror can be: with crazy explosions, car chases, absurd realities, quirky character's, and gut-chuckling groan-worthy dialog. This little interaction being one of my favorites:
- Gutterboy: Skank!
- Skank: Yeah?
- Gutterboy: Who is that guy?
- Skank: I don't know, but whoever he was, he's weird and pissed off!
And oh yes, who can forget:
- Murphy: [Looking down at an intensely flaming car wreck] You think he made it?
- Stokes: You gotta be kiddin' me. Local kid?
- Murphy: Used to be.
Staring Charlie Sheen, Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid, and Nick Cassavetes, this is movie night gold. Get that popcorn ready (piping hot and covered in butter), greasy burgers will do too. Grab a six pack, some friends (or watch alone - it's fun ride alone too), and prepare for a film to satisfy that question: "I'm in the mood for an '80s horror film but I don't know what...".
I watched this one on Shudder, but if you don't have a subscription, it looks like it's currently available on Tubi TV for free. Or, use the Find It! Watch It! links on Horror Habit's side back to locate where else you can find this pre-tiger blood gem.