1988 was a hell of a year for fans of Halloween horror. Of the 31 films on The Shindig’s countdown, 4 were released that year. That’s pretty ridiculous. What’s more, the 5 year run from 1985 to 1989 is straight holding it down, producing almost a 3rd of the films on this list. What can I say? The 80’s were awesome.
For evidence to that effect, one need look no further than tonight’s installment, 1988’s second offering, Primal Rage.
Sure the producers could have just jammed their story about scientists creating a “rage virus” into any point on the calendar, but they choose Halloween, and God bless ‘em for that.
When a foolish collegiate muckraker decides that blasting a laboratory monkey in the face with a seizure-inducing amount of flash photography is a good idea, the creature breaks loose and attacks him. Thus the stage is set for the virus to spread all over campus. Let the madness ensue!
See the virus, which evidently spreads through biting, makes people completely loose their shit, raging out on everything from baseball coaches to street signs, cops and even rapists. Yeah, they kinda ooze and bleed out and shit, but it’s really the batshit-crazy aggression that’s the highlight.
Of course, all of this comes to a head at the college’s annual Halloween ball, complete with the requisite live band you’ve never seen at any school dance you’ve ever attended.
What sets Primal Rage’s “Halloween Party” sequence apart however, is the amount of time we get to spend just wandering around. It really gives you a chance to see and appreciate all of the crazy costumes on display, and there are some seriously awesome costumes at this party.
While not what any average citizen would categorize as “good,” or “worthwhile,” or probably even “watchable,” I think it’s a bit more competent and engaging than something one might label “bad.”
I’m not trying to mislead anyone though, it’s definitely an 80’s horror film, and not one of the nice, flashy ones. It’s made cheaply and acted poorly, but honestly, it’s not horrendous. In fact, I think its got a lot going for it, and it feels a bit more atypical than your average paint-by-numbers, cash-and-grab slash.
So, if 80’s horror films just flood your forebrain with a sensation you simply can not explain, and satiate that longing for a look and feel that’s gone from modern horror movies, then Primal Rage all amounts to a surprisingly enjoyable and Halloweeny-ass selection. What more can you ask for?
Happy 10th, Weeners!