85: “The Chameleon Strikes In The Dark” – The Thing
Is this a podcast, or is it merely pretending to be? It’s 2020, so we’re celebrating the holidays a little differently this year. We’ve swapped twitching tentacles for twinkling lights, exploding wolfdogs for red-nosed reindeer, lighting killer space beasts aflame for roasting chestnuts, and a creeping existential dread for jolly good cheer. Ho, ho, ho!
The 1980s saw a revival of 50s sci-fi B-movies, with notable remakes offering similarly bizarre chills and thrills with one major upgrade — some of the most stomach-churning special effects ever put to the screen. John Carpenter’s THE THING (1982) is a horror staple now, but it wasn’t so warmly received when it opened for audiences who had just fallen in love with Spielberg’s cuddly alien pal E.T., and Carpenter’s career never fully recovered.
We discuss how late 20th century horror masters took the traditions of drive-in camp classics and made them their own with gross-out gore and cringey body horror, then hunker down and contend with The Thing in all its goopy, arm-chomping glory. Did Carpenter’s classic deserve to be left out in the cold? Or was it a masterpiece merely imitating a box office bomb? Zip up your parka, secure your blood bags, and prepare for a not-so-silent night, because this is one story of immaculate reproduction that isn’t so blessed.
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54: “…And I’m All Out Of Bubblegum” – 80s Dystopias Part 2
The 1980s may not have been quite as bleak as 1984 predicted, but the Reagan era did see plenty of doom and gloom in entertainment, from Mad Max and Blade Runner to The Terminator and RoboCop. In When We Were Young’s latest episodes, Reel Gents podcast host Travis Dukelow joins us to dissect a cornucopia of dystopias unleashed in the 80s.
In Part One, we cover Terry Gilliam’s legendary BRAZIL (1985), which takes several cues from Orwell’s 1984 and adds a healthy dollop of dryly absurd British humor. Jonathan Pryce stars as meek cog-in-the-machine Sam Lowry, whose heroic fantasies offer the only hope of escape from a dreary, duct-ravaged world — at least, until Robert De Niro shows up as the world’s most swashbuckling repairman. If your vision of the future involves Christmastime, lobotomies, plastic surgery gone awry, and terrorism, this is the dystopia for you!
If you prefer a more scathing satire of consumerism and media, however, look no further than John Carpenter’s camp classic THEY LIVE (1987), discussed in Part Two of this episode. It stars wrestler Roddy Piper as John Nada, a down-on-his-luck drifter who suddenly learns that roughly half of America’s population is being brainwashed by television — and the other half are aliens. This cult favorite features magic sunglasses, excessive ass-kicking, and absolutely no bubblegum — and yet feels strangely prescient about the state of the world in 2018.
Is it 1984 yet? Join us for this two-part dystopic extravaganza before the inevitable collapse of society renders podcasts obsolete!
When We Were Young is a podcast devoted to the most beloved pop culture of our formative years (roughly 1980-2000). Join us for a look back to the past with a critical eye on how these movies, songs, TV shows and more hold up now. You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @WWWYshow, on Facebook at Facebook.com/WWWYShow and you can email us your episodes suggestions at email@example.com. Don’t forget to subscribe and review us on iTunes!
Help us defray the costs of creating this show, which includes purchasing movies/shows/music to review, delivery food to eat our feelings, and producing & editing in-house at the MFP Studio in Los Angeles, California, by donating to our Patreon account at patreon.com/WhenWeWereYoung.