1980s sci-fi movies: The thrill of being not quite terrified on mum's floral sofa

www.theregister.co.uk | 1/9/2018 | Staff
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2017 saw two major cinematic milestones of different extremes. One was the mega release of Blade Runner 2049, the originally unplanned sequel to, yes, Blade Runner. The other was the more overlooked anniversary of the vastly smaller Tron.

They were a pair of different films occupying almost opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of budget, revenue and marketing hype. Both were released in 1982.

Vintage - Canon - Works - Homage - Screen

But 1982 isn’t a rare vintage: the 1980s is home to a canon of works remembered, celebrated, homage, copied or rebooted on the big screen and TV. The decade was a golden age of cinematic sci-fi. We had Aliens, The Terminator, Blade Runner, E.T, Back To The Future, Robocop, The Fly and The Thing.

Almost every modern film or TV depiction of the future draws at least something from the films of this era - whether it’s serious or spoof.

Period - Age - David - Ayer - Take

Why was the period such a golden age? With David Ayer’s recent take on Graham Baker 1988 Alien Nation now behind us, I venture some suggestions as to why the sci-fi vision of future is, was and remains the great past of that 1980s decade.

Science fiction has been a staple of cinema since Georges Méliès took film fans on a Trip to the Moon in 1902. There was a significant wave of speculative fiction in the '50s, when a few gems such as Forbidden Planet, This Island Earth and Invasion of the Body Snatchers stood out from a welter of cheap and cheerful B-movies.

Handful - Fide - Earth-bound - Classics - Screen

The 1960s and 1970s gave us a handful of bona fide (mainly Earth-bound) classics on screen, but what was more important – especially in the latter decade – was what was going on behind the scenes.

Economic hard times in the wake of the '70s oil shock led to the big Hollywood studios that controlled mainstream movie-making...
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