Here’s a guest post from Sheri White. You can (and should) check out her blog “Chaos and Contentment” here. This post is a personal essay about her experience growing up as a teen in D.C. during the 80’s. Sheri’s depiction of this time is honest, raw, and full of the white-hot truth-telling that erupts from the heart and soul of teenage rebellion.
It’s a thing of beauty, damn it, and like so many other neon-soaked memories…
It Came From the 80s – Liquid Sky
By Sheri White
The year was 1984 and midnight movies were all the rage. My friends and I had seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Exorcist and Candy, just to name a few. So when a movie called Liquid Skywas on the marquee at a Washington, DC theater, we were there.
My friends and I weren’t punk or New Wave. We liked to go out to cool clubs and dance the night away, do some partying and wear colorful clothes. We didn’t have big hair or piercings anywhere other than our ears (but I had my ears double-pierced; that was so daring). We were just teenagers, more St. Elmo’s Fire than The Breakfast Club.
So we were pretty unprepared for Liquid Sky. And although I’ve seen it several times, it’s still pretty hard to describe without sounding like I’m on crack. The movie has aliens that feed on pheromones emitted through heroin use. However, they soon find that the pheromones emitted through orgasm are much tastier. So any character who gets high on heroin or has an orgasm disappears into thin air at the crucial moment. But a lesbian drug dealer begins to believe that she is the one making people (including her lovers) disappear.
See? It sounds insane. And it truly was. But let me say, it was absolutely beautiful. The colors, the music, the clothes, the hair. For my friends and me, it was quite an experience. I think we sat there, a little lit, inhaling amyl nitrate (poppers) once in a while, engrossed to the point where we felt part of the New Wave scene up on the screen.
While the movie never inspired us to try heroin, of course, we were inspired by the clothes and the music. We started listening to New Wave music rather than Top 40. Yaz was a favorite as were The Psychedelic Furs. My friend Marybeth and I tried out a club in DC called “Poseurs” where I heard The Cure for the first time.
My clothes became more colorful outside of work. The neon style was in, and sometimes you could see me coming a mile away. I couldn’t make my hair New Wave awesome because I have naturally-curly hair, but I did get some maroon streaks put in (that couldn’t be seen in my dark hair). I had a 9-5 job at the time and since the company was a Navy contractor, I had to be pretty conservative. But I so wanted to break out and put make-up stripes on my face and lime-green streaks in my hair!
The New Wave girl inside me would never fully get to come out, but weekends were mine, and they were spent in a world similar to the nightclubs in Liquid Sky, as long as our fake IDs gave us access. In Washington, DC in the 80s, they usually did. We’d dance all night, drinking wine coolers or screwdrivers, sneaking poppers on the dance floor and just having a blast without a care in the world.
If I watched Liquid Sky now, I’m sure it wouldn’t captivate me like it did when I was eighteen. But I bet it would take me back to those days before life got serious, before marriage and kids and bills.
If you were a teenager in the 80s and never saw this movie, track it down and take a look. Maybe it’ll bring back some great memories for you, or maybe you’ll be embarrassed to remember what some of our generation were like as teens.
If you’re a lot younger than I am, check out this movie and see what your parents were like when they were your age. If you’re anything like my oldest daughter, who is 22, you’ll actually feel a little twinge of envy for how cool (yes, cool) the 80s truly were.
Liquid Sky is an honest and open look at one of the most influential subcultures of the 1980s. Don’t miss it.
Click here to watch the trailer for Liquid Sky.
Joel here… what a great trip through the 80s underground! It not only introduced many of us to a truly forgotten flick in Liquid Sky, but gave us a glimpse into the unapologetic bliss of living life in the 80’s “New Wave.” Thanks Sheri!
Don’t forget, tomorrow is an all-new Insanely Difficult, Damn-Near-Impossible Movie Trivia Challenge! New rules, a new way to play, and a new prize, but it’s still the same great game courtesy of the movie quiz maestro, Dale Lloyd (aka @VivaVHS on Twitter).
So, until next time remember, a flick is only forgotten if you’re not talking about it!