Film Review: European Vacation (1985)

Also known as: National Lampoon’s European Vacation (complete title)
Release Date: July 26th, 1985
Directed by: Amy Heckerling
Written by: John Hughes, Robert Klane
Music by: Charles Fox
Cast: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Dana Hill, Jason Lively, Victor Lanoux, Eric Idle, William Zabka, John Astin, Paul Bartel, Robbie Coltrane, Moon Unit Zappa

National Lampoon, Warner Bros., 95 Minutes

Review:

“[repeated line] God, I miss Jack!” – Audrey Griswold

I was a bit underwhelmed by the first Vacation movie after revisiting it a few weeks ago. While I wasn’t a massive fan of this film series, as I’m not really a fan of Chevy Chase, they’re still amusing enough to hold my attention and make me laugh in spots.

Now having revisited the second movie, I like this one more. I think that the European setting made it better, overall, and I this set of Griswold kids is my favorite in the series, as a tandem.

While the original seems to be the most beloved of the series, with Christmas Vacation being a very close second, this is just more interesting, as I find the culture clash stuff funnier than the family just driving through the desert, meeting their redneck kin and then riding some rollercoasters.

This also has more action and a pretty good, high energy finale for an ’80s comedy movie.

Additionally, it fleshes out the kids more and gives them their own subplots apart from just making them accessories to their parents on a road trip. In fact, the subplots with the kids I found to be more enjoyable.

All in all, I’m still not in love with this series but it’s not a bad way to kill some time on a rainy day. There are much better ’80s comedies and much better ’80s comedic leads than Chevy Chase.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: the other Vacation movies, as well as other National Lampoon films.

Film Review: Night of the Creeps (1986)

Release Date: August 22nd, 1986
Directed by: Fred Dekker
Written by: Fred Dekker
Music by: Barry De Vorzon, Stan Ridgway
Cast: Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, Tom Atkins, Suzanne Snyder, David Paymer

TriStar Pictures, 88 Minutes

night-of-the-creepsReview:

“What is this? A homicide, or a bad B-movie?” – Detective Cameron (Tom Atkins)

Night of the Creeps is a classic. Well, it is to me, anyway.

While most people have probably never heard of this film, I discovered it about a year after it came out on VHS when my video store clerk told me that it was an awesome film written and directed by the guy who did Monster Squad – another classic in my book.

This film starts like a cheesy alien sci-fi film, quickly turns into 1950s horror and then transitions into a fun, campy and ridiculously awesome 1980s teen horror film. Of course, back then horror films were still rated R and as was common with the era, we get lots of good gore, boobies and 80s humor. Not to mention, a stellar 80s horror film score and great practical effects that are better than a lot of the other 80s B-movie horror flicks.

Tom Atkins plays the bad ass disgruntled detective. He was great in all these 70s and 80s horror films he found himself in and in Night of the Creeps he is at his best. He’s a no nonsense ass kicker that holds his own in a time when pop culture was ruled by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.

The teen actors are good enough and the cast of young talent is led by Jason Lively, who you may remember as the second Rusty Griswold. You will also see a very young David Paymer as a scientist.

The film is essentially a zombie movie but it is done in a new and interesting way unlike anything else I had seen before this. An evil alien sends a pod full of parasitic space slugs to Earth, which enter people through the mouth and turns them into the walking dead. There is also an axe murderer subplot.

The film is fun, the effects are great and the cast and director did a superb job in making one of the most unique low budget 80s horror films. It’s films like Night of the Creeps that really make me miss that era of filmmaking.

Rating: 8/10