6 Must See Movies from 1989

February 4, 2011

by Joel G. Robertson

Evil Dead 2 was part of a triple feature on HBO Halloween night, 1989.

I remember it so vividly. It was not only the last Halloween where I trick or treated, but it was also my first official introduction to Ash, The Book of the Dead, Sam Raimi’s deliriously wonderful, hyperkinetic filmmaking, and when I was introduced to the actor (via my Dad’s 52″ rear projection big screen television) whose filmography best exemplifies my own eclectic (i.e. oddball) tastes– Bruce Campbell.

This was also the year I realized that my movie obsession made me stand out from the other kids. Sure, there were some that shared my love for horror flicks and sci-fi. But for me, it was a steady diet of raw, unfiltered, cinematic excess; in particular, horror movies.

I’d “charm” the other 8th graders sitting around the table in Mrs. Hill’s Art class with sordid tales of Cenobites, 70s savage cinema titles, the latest straight-to-VHS release from Chuck Band and the boys at Full Moon Entertainment, or whatever else I’d binged my eyeballs on during my usual weekend quadruple-feature.

Oh, how I relished my half-imagined position of power!

I’d developed an interest in Fangoria Magazine the year before, but it was ‘89 when that interest morphed into a crimson-spattered, full-blown passion for those 80-some-odd pages of behind-the-scenes grue.

Yes, ’89, especially the latter half, holds a special place in my heart. What about you? What are your favorite movie memories from 1989?


Pet SemataryRated: R; Dir. Mary Lambert; Starring Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, and Fred Gwynne

After the Creed family loses their family pet to the two-lane highway near their home and buries it in an ancient Indian burial ground, they soon learn why, sometimes, dead is better.

Movie Trivia:

  • Actor Fred Gwynne, who played Jed in Pet Sematary, was best known as Herman Munster from the 60’s sitcom The Munsters.
  • Actress Denise Crosby starred on Star Trek The Next Generation as Lt. Tasha Yar.
  • Mary Lambert is the only woman to direct a theatrically-released movie based on the work of Stephen King (Kari Skogland directed the direct-to-video Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return). She’s also the only director to direct both the original film and sequel of a movie based on one of King’s books.

Pet Sematary Trailer


Uncle BuckRated: PG-13; Dir. John Hughes; Starring John Candy, Macaulay Culkin and Jean Louisa Kelly

When a family emergency arises, irresponsible, life-long bachelor Uncle Buck (John Candy) agrees to watch his nieces and nephews for a week; however, Buck gets more than he bargained for… and so do the kids!

Movie Trivia:

  • Uncle Buck was John Hughes last film as a director (I know, I know, but I REFUSE to accept Curly Sue as his final film).
  • This WAS the last film Hughes and Candy made together.
  • The scene with Culkin waiting at the door inspired Hughes to write Home Alone.

Uncle Buck Trailer


Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure Rated: PG; Dir. Stephen Herek; Starring Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves, and George Carlin

When two slacker metalheads need to put together a project for history class, they get the opportunity to literally travel through time and do their research first hand.

Movie Trivia:

  • Actor Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston, Esq.) went on to become a director. His first feature as a director was the woefully under seen Freaked (1993).
  • Jane Wiedlin of the 80s girl band the Go-Go’s played Joan of Arc.
  • Director Stephen Herek also made Critters and Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure Trailer


Say Anything…Rated: PG-13; Dir. Cameron Crowe; Starring John Cusack, Ione Skye, and John Mahoney

Lloyd (John Cusack) is in love with Diane Court (Ione Skye), a beautiful girl that seems out of his league. But after graduation, Lloyd decides to take a chance and charms his way into her life.

Movie Trivia:

  • Say Anything… was writer/director Cameron Crowe’s first film.
  • Actor Jimmy Piven (Entourage) had a small part as one of lloyd’s (Cusack) friends.
  • Rumor has it that Kirk Cameron was almost cast as Lloyd Dobler.

Say Anything… Trailer


Black RainRated: R; Dir. Ridley Scott; Starring Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, and Kate Capshaw

A New York City detective (Douglas) and his partner (Garcia) follow the trail of a killer to Japan where they must battle Yakuza and local cops.

Movie Trivia:

  • The cinematographer on Black Rain was Jan De Bont, who would go on to direct Speed and Twister.
  • Actor Yûsaku Matsuda was dying of cancer while filming Black Rain. He passed soon after its completion.
  • The filmmakers’ visas ran out during production, forcing them to shoot the final showdown in Napa Valley, California.

Black Rain Trailer


Honey, I Shrunk the KidsRated: PG; Dir. Joe Johnston; Starring Rick Moranis, Matt Frewer and Marcia Strassman

Wayne Szalinski (Moranis) is a scientist who creates a machine that miniaturizes objects. When his kids get caught up in its ray, they learn that great danger and adventure can happen in your own backyard.

Movie Trivia:

  • Director Joe Johnston, a former special effects artist, also made Jumanji, Jurassic Park 3, and most recently the remake of The Wolfman.
  • The Honey, I Shrunk the Audience ride, a semi-sequel to the original film, at Disney’s Epcot replaced the classic Captain EO movie/ride; however, in 2010 it was itself replaced by, none other than, Captain EO!
  • Horror filmmaking legends Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator) and Brian Yuzna (Bride of Re-Animator) wrote the story and screenplay for Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Trailer

So, as the decade where so many of us discovered our unnaturally intense love for movies comes to a close, so does this series of posts.

Well, almost.

We’re going to do one more year. Next week it’s 1990, but that’s where this “6 Movies You Must See” train pulls into the station. After that, well, you’ll have to wait and see. We have all sorts of goodies planned as we creep our way into the second decade of the new millennia.

So, until then remember, a flick’s only forgotten if you’re not talking about it.

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