6 Must See Movies from 1985

January 7, 2011

by Joel G. Robertson

1985. Ah, the magical year that gave us cinematic memories like Back to the Future, Cocoon, The Breakfast Club, Day of the Dead, Rambo 2, Rocky IV, Witness, Spies Like Us, The Color Purple, The Goonies, St. Elmo’s Fire, Fletch, Re-animator, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Prizzi’s Honor, Brazil, Commando, Crimewave, Ghoulies, and The Heavenly Kid… just to name a few.

But since this list only allows 6 titles, I went for the ones I thought needed a little extra light sent their way. The horror and comedy picks were by far the hardest. My first response for horror was Re-animator, duh! But then, I thought about the amazing cult fan base that film enjoys.

Next, I remembered Dario Argento’s Phenomena (aka Creepers), starring Donald Pleasance and a very young Jennifer Connelly. At the time I saw it, the film was Creepers and it was the first “gore” film I ever saw. I was around 9 years old and I thought my cousin said he’d just rented Critters, the Gremlins knock-off I’d been dying to see (this was early ’86 and Creepers was new on video).

Needless to say, I was a wee bit traumatized and the twitching still kicks in from time to time…

And while Phenomena/Creepers is certainly a movie remembered by only a devoted few, it still wasn’t quite right. So, I went with another movie my cousin rented around that time and it’s one receiving the remake treatment later this year.

The choice for comedy was even harder. I could have easily gone with Real Genius starring Val Kilmer or Top Secret starring… yep, you guessed it, Val Kilmer. Another choice was Better Off Dead, a classic that still holds up really well.

But my personal favorite from that year is a film that helped jump start me into puberty. It’s also the movie that inspired me and a friend to hook one of his kid sister’s Barbie dolls up to a Commodore 64 using roach clips we found in his mom’s, er, uhm,  “junk” drawer…

Be sure to tell us in the comments section what your must see movies are from 1985!


Fright Night – Dir. Tom Holland; Starring William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall, and Amanda Bearse. A horror lovin’ teen realizes his new neighbor is a bloodsucking vampire, but no one believes him so he enlists the help of legendary horror actor cum horror host Peter Vincent to best the night creature.

Fright Night Trailer

Movie Trivia: Amanda Bearse who plays Charlie’s girlfriend, Amy, went on to star in the hit sitcom Married With Children; Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) was named after horror movie legends Peter Cushing and Vincent Price; Chris Sarandon (Jerry Dandrige) and director Tom Holland worked together again in 1988’s Child’s Play.


Weird Science – Dir. John Hughes; Starring Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, and Kelly LeBrock. Two high school nerds create the woman of their dreams using a computer, but they get way more than they expected.

Weird Science Trailer

Movie Trivia: Weird Science was the last of three movies Anthony Michael Hall made with John Hughes, the other two were, of course, Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club; Actress Suzanne Snyder, who played Deb in Weird Science, also starred in 80s flicks like Return of the Living Dead 2, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and Night of the Creeps. Actor Vernon Wells portrays a character very similar to one he played in The Road Warrior a few years earlier.


Enemy Mine – Dir. Wolfgang Peterson; Starring Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr. Two mortal enemies, a human and a drac (walk into a bar…) crash land on an alien world and must join forces to survive.

Enemy Mine Trailer

Movie Trivia: Terry Gilliam was the original choice to direct Enemy Mine, but he went on to make Brazil instead; The Drac language was Russian spoken backward. Chris Walas worked on makeup effects for this film. Walas also created the gremlins for Gremlins the year before and worked on features like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Scanners, The Fly (1 and 2), Arachnophobia, Deepstar Six, and Naked Lunch.


To Live and Die in L.A – Dir. William Friedkin; Starring: William Petersen and Willem Dafoe. A Secret Service agent (Petersen) goes after the counterfeiter (Dafoe) responsible for the death of his partner.

To Live and Die in L.A Trailer

Movie Trivia: Friedkin also directed the The Exorcist and the classic crime drama The French Connection; To Live and Die in L.A. was Petersen’s first starring role in a feature film (he had a small role in Michael Mann’s Thief [1981]), he would later go on to star in the original CSI television series as Gil Grissom.


Silverado.– Dir. Lawrence Kasdan; Starring Kevin Kline, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover, Scott Glenn. Four men meet up and travel to the small town of Silverado where they run afoul of a rancher and a lawman.

Silverado Trailer

Movie Trivia: Writer/director Lawrence Kasdan was the screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark; Kasdan offered Costner his role to make up for cutting his part in The Big Chill. Costner played a corpse. Some debate it was his finest role.


Explorers – Dir. Joe Dante; Starring Ethan Hawke, River Pheonix, and Bobby Fite. After Ben Crandall (Hawke) experiences strange dreams about a circuit board, he and two friends realize the dream was a message sent by aliens giving them the plans to build a spaceship.

Explorers Trailer

Movie Trivia: Explorers was the feature debut of both Ethan Hawke and River Pheonix; Ben Crandall (Hawke) is obsessed with sci-fi, much like director Dante; A regular in Joe Dante films, Robert Picardo played the alien father, Wak.

Movie Trivia Challenge News

Since the blog and everything we’re doing is all so new, there’s a definite learning curve to it. That said, I’m going to try something a little different with next week’s trivia quiz. I want to make it as easy as possible for the participants to send in their guesses.

So, starting on Monday 01/10 I’ll post the new quiz word courtesy of your and my favorite movie quiz maestro, Dale Lloyd. Then, you’ll have until 6 PM (EST) Monday night to submit your answers.

You can send your answers via Twitter to @forgottenflix using the hashtag #movietrivia, or just leave your answers in the comments section. ANYONE who submits a correct answer is a winner and will get entered into the next prize drawing (at the end of March).

It’s as simple as that.

So, until next time remember, a flick is only forgotten if you’re not talking about it!

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