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The Kindred (1987)
In this sadly forgotten and overlooked 80s horror gem, Amanda (Kim Hunter) asks her stolid permed son John to destroy all the lab notes from her experiments on his never before mentioned brother Anthony. John is the steadfast hero who gets involved with his mother’s secrets, Lovecraft themes, a mad doctor (Rod Steiger overacting), a beautiful shifty woman (Amanda Pays), gross makeup and effects and his boring galpal (Talia Balsam).

This was murky and dim with lots of goo. Anthony isn’t your typical bottle baby. The mad Dr Lloyd kills Amanda and has people stolen from ambulances and no one ever notices. This had a memorable VHS cover. At his mother’s funeral, John meets Melissa who wears a very 80s hat and blathers about her work at the Cavendish Lab and hemocyanin. John and his gang of pals (including Peter Frechette of ‘Profiler’) head up to Amanda’s remote house. Who’s been paying the taxes and insurance? Not John! Melissa is mush-mouthed and the dialogue is bad.

The basement smells and is rotten. Sharon (Balsam) is jealous of Melissa. A tentacle waves and a dog is doomed. Melissa is all sexual promise. Sharon has a patience defect and Dr Lloyd has coercive wrath. Brad (Frechette) is dumb. The gang look into Amanda’s work. Mistakes are human, Anthony isn’t. A girl wields a watermelon. John is weak and ineffective and has an ego and a sense of self-righteousness. Dr Lloyd has a nasty streak a mile wide and John has no concept of pet ownership.

Brad kisses Melissa and doesn’t like it. Someone is killed by something in a watermelon. The scene makes no sense. This has no easy charm and the house is near a beach apparently. Melissa goes on about hybridisation. John is so dull. Amanda has reel to reel tapes on which she blathers about creating a hybrid and there are weird noises on the tape. Some stupid tanned dude who is all blank non-existence is attacked by a slimy creature. Thankfully there is a nearby scythe which he uses to escape. It’s broad daylight and the creature hides. Melissa renders herself indispensable by lying.

Melissa is facing a horrifically fateful fate due to her guiltily revelling in lies with impunity. This has little genuine wit but does entertain. Melissa snoops and lies to deflect all blame. Nobody else noticed the jars of creepiness she finds in the basement. Pays is pretty but not a great actress. Sharon is light on enticing options for dating her. Melissa faces irrevocable change and sticks her face close to a jar full of hybrid. Melissa paints a deliberately inaccurate picture of what’s going on. Some blonde bimbo named Cindy wears genie pants and there is babbling about marine life genes. Hemocyanin is dangerous apparently. Sharon works on her dissertation and whines. Does Melissa sleep? No. Melissa hits on John; he doesn’t find her kiss nasty. Melissa is deeply unhappy and in league with Dr Lloyd. John doesn’t think anything is in the basement. Melissa is cold and has big eyes and is in pain. Nobody noticed her sneaking the screaming octo-thing out of the house and driving to Dr Lloyd. Doesn’t she have a car of her own? How did she get to Amanda’s house? Dr Lloyd gives her medication for her illness.

This is not a cultural moment. The idiots don’t tend the generator. Melissa (Pays of ’Oxford Blues’, ’Thirteen At Dinner’, ’Max Headroom’, ’The X Files’, ’Thief Takers’, ’Vengeance Unlimited’, ’Off Limits’ and ’The Flash’)  is the most intriguing character in this. It’s suddenly dark and stormy. Brad says kissing Melissa was like kissing a chilled shrimp. There are morsels of revelation and shouting and no social statements. John suddenly reveals something. Tan dude flees the hospital and Melissa whips out a gun.

Someone is attacked by the goo spurting creature and dies after turning into a fish. There is a pit of goo, screaming, darkness, more death, questionable behaviour, extremely serious problems and this was excellent 80s weirdness.

Best Lines:
“I’ll tell him all about you and your sick dreams.”

“Tell me what you did! Tell me how you did it!”

“Didn’t you pay the utilities while she was in the hospital?”

“Something awful’s down there.”

“You forgot to lock the door last night. I just walked in.”

“You’re a post-doc. Grow up.”

“I slept in your mother’s lab.”

“Very few would understand what I’ve done.”

“Say it was a mad dog.”

“We think it was a mad dog.”

“Perhaps I misunderstood, he was quite incoherent.”

“Some sea monster attacks.”

“What illness?”

“Let’s drink to memories that don’t get made.”

“Why are you working in the dark?”
“Because I’m energy conscious.”

“Creature? Oh you mean the hybrid you were worrying about this morning?”

“Some sort of hybrid here.”

“Stay here and terminate it.”

“Achieve this miracle.”

“Something fishy about the girl.”

“What are you talking about shrimp for?!?”

“Some hybrid that attacks only handymen and dorks.”

“God only knows.”

“Less unnatural.”

“And has given me hope.”

“It’s too late now even for him.”

“It’s dangerous everywhere John.”

"I've come to collect my legacy from Amanda."

"Alive or over your dead body."

"You call yourself a scientist?!?"

"Stop that by God!"

"It killed Melissa!"
"Well, Melissa didn't have long to live anyway."

Testament Of Youth (2014)
In this true story various men dance attendance on Vera. There is Spanish flu already. Vera fights for a place in Oxford and then gives it up to become a nurse due to World War 1. Her fiancée dies and she broods and becomes anti-war. This was so very very dull and worthy.

Best Line:
“Get some antiseptic on this filthy Hun.”

John Carpenter’s Vampires’ (1997)
James Woods plays the sort of guy you might normally see eating food out of dustbins and shouting. Only there are dingy vampires.

Thirteen At Dinner (1983)

Like Water For Chocolate (1992)

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
This Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh film is okay.

Hardware (1990)


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