Steve Martin burst onto the national radar with his comedy album “A Wild and Crazy Guy” (1978). He followed that success by starring in his first feature film, the box office bonanza The Jerk (1979) directed by Carl Reiner and co-starring his then-current flame, Bernadette Peters. Although The Jerk was merely crass instead of authentically . . . → Read More: PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (1981)


DIRECTED BY: Jim Sharman

FEATURING: Jessica Harper, Cliff De Young, Barry Humphries, Richard O’Brien, Charles Gray, Ruby Wax, Patricia Quinn

PLOT: A young married couple end up in a town that’s actually a giant television network; Janet

is groomed as a celebrity, while Brad becomes a mental patient in a hospital show. WHY IT WON’T . . . → Read More: CAPSULE: SHOCK TREATMENT (1981)

102. LUCIFER RISING (1981)

“The montage of hermetic symbols becomes first dreamlike, then menacing; centuries of mystical thought are distilled into a series of voyeuristic fantasies, a kinky psychodrama backed by the carnival strains of a maleficent calliope.  Anger intended Lucifer Rising to stand as a form of ritual marking the death of the old religions like Judaism and . . . → Read More: 102. LUCIFER RISING (1981)


AKA: The Night the Screaming Stops

DIRECTED BY:  Andrzej Zulawski

FEATURING: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent, Johanna Hofer, Carl Duering, Shaun Lawton

PLOT: A secret agent finds himself in a real mess when he hires a detective to track his

unfaithful wife. WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE LIST: With campy acting, . . . → Read More: LIST CANDIDATE: POSSESSION (1981)

ELVIS (1979) & THIS IS ELVIS (1981)

The life of Elvis Presley is “the” perfect American grand guignol tale that has never really been captured on film. John Carpenter’s Elvis (1979) has finally been released in its full three hour European theatrical version. Some consider it to still be the best film on the subject of Elvis. Elvis Presley was undoubtedly a . . . → Read More: ELVIS (1979) & THIS IS ELVIS (1981)


DIRECTED BY: Marco Ferreri

FEATURING: Ben Gazarra, Ornella Muti

PLOT: Alcoholic skid-row poet Charles Serking (a pseudonym for Charles Bukowski, on

whose stories the film is based) drinks, writes poetry, has bizarre sex with a small harem of loose women, and finally falls in love with a beautiful but self-destructive prostitute. WHY IT’S ON . . . → Read More: BORDERLINE WEIRD: TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS [STORIE DI ORDINARIA FOLLIA] (1981)

37. TIME BANDITS (1981)

“…Gilliam fearlessly brings the logic of children’s literature to the screen.  Plunging headfirst into history, myth, legend, and fairy tale, Gilliam sends his characters—a boy and six good-natured if rather larcenous little persons (i.e. seven dwarves)—careening through time-twisting interactions with Napoleon, Robin Hood, and Agamemnon (played, respectively, by Ian Holm, John Cleese, and Sean Connery).  . . . → Read More: 37. TIME BANDITS (1981)

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