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RLLMUK's Films of the 90's - 1995 to 1999: VOTE NOW

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Results already coming in for the first half of the 90's so lets get the second half started and I'll attempt to write it up before the new year. We can then kick off the 2010 to 2019 polls.

 

Pick your top 3 films for 1995 to 1999. Favourite gets 3 points, 2nd gets 2, 3rd gets 1. Film with most points is the best of the year (and in the event of any ties then the film with most first place picks wins).

 

IMDB determines release date (whatever year is in brackets against the film title).

 

Deadline is 11.59pm on Saturday 14th December 2019.

 

Template below:

 

1995

1. Favourite

2. 2nd favourite

3. 3rd favourite

 

1996

1.

2.

3.

 

1997

1.

2.

3.

 

1998

1.

2.

3.

 

1999

1.

2.

3.

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1995

1. Before Sunrise

2. Safe

3. Dead Man

 

1996

1. Fargo

2. When We Were Kings

3. Breaking the Waves

 

1997

1. Jackie Brown

2. Lost Highway

3. Happy Together

 

1998

1. The Big Lebowski

2. The Thin Red Line

3. Rushmore

 

1999

1. Eyes Wide Shut

2. The Straight Story

3. Magnolia

 

Looking at my Letterboxd I was quite surprised about how much weaker these years feel to me than the first half of the decade. Not much depth at all and most of the banging foreign films seemed to dry up aside from Wong Kar-Wai who had probably a more consistently great 90s than anybody. Well, alongside the Coens at least.

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1995

1. Fallen Angels

2. Rumble In The Bronx

3. Tokyo Fist

 

1996

1. Police Story 4: First Strike

2. Trainspotting

3. From Dusk Till Dawn

 

1997

1. Good Will Hunting

2. Men In Black

3. Starship Troopers

 

1998

1. Bullet Ballet

2. Suicide Bus

3. Enemy of the State

 

1999

1. The Matrix

2. Fight Club

3. Audition

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Was thinking during the early 2000s votes those were pretty fallow years, but the 90s is the complete opposite. Real peak for filmmaking, with a wealth of almost experimental mainstream films, compared to the previous decade. If the 80s was Hollywood trying to wrestle audience interest back to cinemas and away from their VHS players with large-scale, big budget action films that begged to be seen on the big screen, the 90s was often the thoughtful follow-up as modern, mainstream filmmaking matured.

 

1995 - “You know this isn’t gonna have a happy ending. It’s not possible.”

 

1. Se7en

2. Toy Story

3. Heat

 

Spoiler

Se7en is one of the reasons I love cinema as much as I do, just wish I hadn't been such a shy teenager and it had jolted me into chasing a career in the industry!

 

Following on from the darker mainstream success of The Silence of the Lambs, Se7en is staggeringly bleak by Hollywood's standards. Its grimy, claustrophobic direction ushered in a downturn in what mainstream movies could be and cemented Fincher as one of the modern eras most eye-catching directors. And it made the 'fuck you' ending a plausible finale for an entirely new generation; films didn't need to be fairytales neatly wrapped up in a pretty bow because life just doesn't work that way.

 

Toy Story changed the face of animated feature films, even if by modern standards have aged it and masked just how technically groundbreaking it was. But the film was no mere tech demo, with a brilliantly simple concept that spoke to all generations, and a cast voicing the film's script note perfectly. The series would peak with its third entry, but this is the film that made Pixar and paved the way for some of the greatest Western animations of the modern era.

 

1996 - "Do you like scary movies?"

 

1. Trainspotting

2. Swingers

3. Scream

 

Spoiler

If Se7en altered Hollywood's path, Trainspotting was a shot of pure adrenalin to the heart of the British film industry. Echoing the kitchen sink realism of the 50s and 60s, Danny Boyle injected his adaptation of Irvine Welsh's novel with visual verve and a soundtrack that became synonymous with the Britpop era. Alongside Pulp Fiction, a film with similarly darkly humorous undertones, this was the poster adorning student walls, this was the film that took the Merchant Ivory-led middle class tweeness of 90s British filmmaking and smashed it to smithereens. Made on a shoestring budget of £1.5m, Trainspotting springboarded careers and made the world sit up and take notice of a film that to this day feels fresh.

 

Swingers and Scream get in for varying reasons: Swingers is, for me, the ultimate 'guy movie', capturing the braying confidence of youth and partnering it with the insecurity that feeds many male psyches. Vince Vaughn has arguably never matched his role of the swaggering Trent, Jon Favreau his able foil. You'll laugh, you'll cringe, you'll tip the bartender 50 cents. As a lover of horror, Scream tore up the playbook and subverted the tired horror tropes of the era. Film savvy and fuelled by the confidence and charm of youth, Scream made Hollywood trust horror as a genre again.

 

1997 - “Don't start trying to do the right thing, boy. You haven't the practice.”

 

1. LA Confidential

2. Boogie Nights

3. Starship Troopers

 

Spoiler

With LA Confidential, Curtis Hanson nailed James Ellroy's tone in a crime epic that harked back to the classic hardboiled noir of the 1940s. A brilliant ensemble cast brought their A-games, giving Confidential the right blend of intrigue, sassiness and brutal violence. A benchmark for modern crime thrillers, a film oozing with class.

 

Some might scoff at the inclusion of Starship Troopers, but for me this is a gloriously OTT reminder of the cartoonish violence of the late 80s. Paul Verhoven satirises war with a mallet, but even so much of the humour appeared to bypass critics at the time. This is unashamedly gung-ho and all the better for it. The casting of Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards almost feels like a cruel joke: gorgeous twenty-somethings with the acting ability of canoes, they are perfect as airheads lacking true self-awareness as the world falls apart around them. Violent, funny and a perfect midnight movie, 'Troopers is a genuinely feel-good reminder that cinema should also be fun.

 

1998 - “Fuck it, Dude. Let’s go bowling.”

 

1. The Big Lebowski

2. American History X

3. Saving Private Ryan

 

Spoiler

It's not the Coen's best film, but it is probably their most enduring, remaining immensely quotable over twenty years after it was released. But good films aren't just a bunch of quotes strung together, even if that's what the film's detractors might say; Lebowski is a dreamlike, sedated crime thriller wrapped up in a lackadaisical comedy, led by one of the greatest pieces of casting in recent memory: Jeff Bridges is The Dude. A man more concerned with the status of his rug than kidnap, nihilists and the affairs of the real Big Lebowski. John Goodman and Steve Buscemi provide brilliant support, Goodman particularly unhinged as flawed friend Walter Sobchak. Funny, poignant and more-than-a-little-quirky, Lebowski is about so much and yet nothing at all.

 

 

1999 - "I have been to the dark side. I have seen a world that no man should see."

 

1. Being John Malkovich

2. Fight Club

3. Toy Story 2

 

Spoiler

While Fight Club continued Se7en's dark lurch into life's grimy underbelly and Toy Story 2 continued one of the greatest sagas in film (until 4's release the series was a near-perfect trilogy), Being John Malkovich was something entirely different.

 

In the wrong hands it would have been a jarringly annoying indie quirk, but Spike Jonz and Charlie Kaufman elevated the kooky story to being an endearing surrealist fantasy, filled with humour, drama and absolutely dripping in creativity. One of films I would most love to have seen the pitch meeting for, Malkovich took the high concept Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer made famous for action films, and inverted the notion, planting a quite brilliant, sky-high concept in a low-budget ensemble piece. A film that you might from time to time question the existence of, as in, 'did that really happen? Did that really get released?!', Being John Malkovich is a delirious, subversive masterpiece quite like anything else of the era.

 

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1995

1. Mallrats

2. Apollo 13

3. ID

 

1996

1. Trainspotting

2. Sleepers

3. A Time to Kill

 

1997

1. As Good As It Gets

2. Starship Troopers

3. The Full Monty

 

1998

1. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

2. American History X

3. Saving Private Ryan

 

1999

1. Human Traffic

2. Toy Story 2

3. The Matrix

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This was the hardest years yet. So many great films didn’t make the top 3.

 

1995

1. The Usual Suspects

2. Braveheart

3. Clueless

 

1996

1. Trainspottng

2. Scream

3. Independence Day

 

1997

1. LA Confidential

2. Jackie Brown

3. Boogie Nights

 

1998

1. Out of Sight

2. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

3. The Truman Show

 

1999

1. Blair Witch Project

2. Cruel Intentions

3. Galaxy Quest


 

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I think I’m going to have to heavily promote this to get as many votes in as possible as so far with 5 people voting already - there are 15 different films voted on for 1995 - no duplicate picks at all!

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Yeah, '95 was a great year. There were some tough choices to make each of the years, think my closest was Saving Private Ryan ousting Run Lola Run, which is a film very much of the time but perhaps without the longevity of Spielberg's war epic. Lola had a belting soundtrack though, would make a for a great double-bill feature with Human Traffic. Dear Prince Charles Cinema...

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1995
Institue Benjamenta
Toy Story
Se7en

 

1996
Fargo
Trainspotting
Scream

 

1997
Starship Troopers
Lost Highway
Cop Land

 

1998
The Big Lebowski
Ring

The Quiet Family
 

1999
The Matrix
Galaxy Quest
Ravenous

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1995

1. Se7en

2. Toy Story

3. Usual Suspects

 

1996.

1. Trainspotting

2. Fargo

3. The Rock

 

1997.

1. Boogie Nights

2. Princess Mononoke

3. Face Off

 

1998.

1. Saving Private Ryan

2. The Big Lebowski

3. Rush Hour

 

1999.

1. The Matrix

2. Toy Story 2

3. Fight Club

 

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Already a difficult one, especially 1995, God...

 

1995

1. Apollo 13 - I mean, it's only possibly one of the best films about Space ever made.

2. Ghost in the Shell - it might occasionally threaten to disappear up itself at times, but this would go on to inform and influence styles and ideas in science fiction for decades afterwards.

3. 12 Monkeys - my favourite Terry Gillian film (yes, even above Brazil). The time travelling story is madcap but strangely very non nonsensical. Brad Pitt puts in a good showing.

 

Runner up: La Haine - an utterly astounding and uncompromising look at life in the Parisian banlieues with an absolutely stratospheric performance by Vincent Cassel.

 

1996

1. Fargo - the best of the Coen's? It's certainly my favourite. Their unique brand of tragicomedy has never been better than in this film.

2. Secrets & Lies - the ultimate in Spall.

3. Star Trek: First Contact - my recurring guilty pleasure. Better than the new Trek. Definitely. Maybe. No, Definitely.

 

Runner up: Trainspotting - I think the toilet scene is enough to immortalise it for all time.

 

1997

1. Princess Mononoke - if I had to make a snap judgement on the best Ghibli film ever made, I think I would go for this one. It is certainly the most epic, and just breathlessly incredible.

2. Perfect Blue - an entirely different animated prospect. Possibly the late Satoshi Kon's greatest work. It's not for the faint hearted, but this is about as far from "anime" bollocks as it gets.

3. Contact - another lovely film about Space, with the lovely Jodie Foster, by the lovely Carl Sagan. Lovely.

 

Runner up: Event Horizon - a truly effectively scary B movie purely probably because of the limited budget.

 

1998

1. Saving Private Ryan - maybe because that Normandy landing scene is etched into my brain. It begat Band of Brothers, which is one of the best series ever made, so deserves this place.

2. The Big Lebowski - the Coens knocking it out of the bowling alley once again.

3. The Truman Show - my favourite Jim Carrey film.

 

Runner up: Dark City - yes, Goyer worked on something decent once.

 

1999

1. The Matrix - it changed everything in action film making while at the same time doing things people tried to copy endlessly without capturing the spirit of, including the sequels.

2. My Neighbours the Yamadas - the funniest film Ghibli ever did, which takes some doing. A beautiful little portrait of Japanese urban domestic life.

3. Toy Story 2 - still the best film Pixar ever made.

 

Runner up: The Iron Giant - (*sob*)

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1995

1. Casino 

2. Clueless

3. Kids

 

1996

1. Fargo

2. Trainspotting

3. Mars Attacks

 

1997

1. LA Confidential 

2. Boogie Nights

3. Jackie Brown

 

1998

1. The Big Lebowski 

2. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

3. Little Voice

 

1999

1. Fight Club

2. Being John Malkovich 

3. Human Traffic 

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Unlike most it seems, I’ve found the 2000s much harder to narrow down. Apart from 1997, that was a hell of a year.

 

1995

1. Ghost In The Shell

2. Casino

3. Before Sunrise

 

1996

1. The People Vs. Larry Flynt

2. Trainspotting

3. Jerry Maguire

 

1997

1. Princess Mononoke

2. Gattaca

3. Lost Highway

Narrowly missing out - Jackie Brown, Good Will Hunting, Starship Troopers, Boogie Nights, LA Confidential & Donnie Brasco.

 

1998

1. American History X

2. He Got Game

3. The Wedding Singer

 

1999

1. Audition

2. The Virgin Suicides

3. The Straight Story

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1995
1. Apollo 13
2. Toy Story
3. GoldenEye

Spoiler

4. Before Sunrise
5. Twelve Monkeys
6. Whisper of the Heart
7. Die Hard With a Vengeance
8. Ghost in the Shell
9. Heat

  • Apollo 13 - Ah, you can't beat space-set competence porn! Ron Howard tends to get dismissed as a functional, journeyman director. Maybe so, but I find it impressive how well he ramps up the tension in a story whose happy ending everybody knows. Great score by James Horner, too.
  • Toy Story - I struggle to decide which of the first three Toy Stories is my favourite. It's one of the most consistently good film series ever (and I include 4 in that).
  • GoldenEye - Yeah, I readily admit this wouldn't be anywhere near this high if not for the N64 game: it was several years between first playing the game and getting an N64 and my own copy of it, so in the meantime, to scratch the itch I rewatched the film more times than is really healthy.
  • Whisper of the Heart - Before I watched this I knew that it was the predecessor to The Cat Returns, so I expected a Ghibli fantasy adventure. Instead, I was surprised by how mundane and grounded it was. I don't remember many specifics, except that I loved the main character's hilariously indignant expressions.

 

1996
1. Fargo
2. Mission: Impossible
3. Bound

Spoiler

4. Mars Attacks!
5. Independence Day
6. Matilda

 

  • Fargo - The first Coen Brothers film I saw, and still my favourite. The film can be analysed in ways like this, which is fascinating... but really I just like it because the accents are funny.
  • Mission: Impossible - This is what I posted about it when M:I Fallout came out:

    How quaint and small-scale this feels now! The most memorable scene is all about keeping as still as possible! Everything up to the point where Hunt climbs onto the train carriage roof feels like it's from another era... a far-off time called the '90s, when Cold War spymasters felt they'd never have anything to do ever again, and when sending emails in multiple languages to a Usenet newsgroup (with a colon in the address) was a viable way of contacting a reclusive arms dealer.
     
  • Bound - The queer aspects get the most attention, but even just viewed as a straightforward thriller, it's really well-executed.
  • Mars Attacks - This doesn't have a good reputation, and I'd probably agree if I was to rewatch it now (it's been about 20 years since I last saw it). But when it came out, it amused me ("Don't run! We are your friends!") and it scared me (the President's death), so I look back on it fondly. Yeah: I'm putting it above Independence Day!

 

1997
1. Jackie Brown
2. Princess Mononoke
3. Men in Black

Spoiler

4. Grosse Pointe Blank
5. Contact
6. Gattaca
7. LA Confidential

 

  • Jackie Brown - This is the favourite Tarantino film of all those fans who were disappointed by what they see as Tarantino's retreat from adult filmmaking and into B-movie exploitation shlock. Personally I don't hold that opinion, but it is one of my favourite films of his. (It also features one of the most effective, non-gimmicky uses of split-screen I've ever seen.)
  • Princess Mononoke - The first Ghibli film I saw was the first anime that I thought really lived up to its reputation. I later discovered other Miyazaki films I liked more, but I'm still very fond of Mononoke-hime.
  • Men in Black - My two favourite things about this film: Vincent D'Onofrio, and the line "No ma'am; we at the FBI do not have a sense of humour we're aware of, may we come in?"

 

1998
1. The Truman Show
2. Run Lola Run
3. Rushmore

Spoiler

4. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
5. A Bug's Life
6. Saving Private Ryan
7. The Big Lebowski
8. Out of Sight
9. Dark City

 

1999
1. The Matrix
2. Being John Malkovich
3. Toy Story 2

Spoiler

4. Magnolia
5. Fight Club
6. The Iron Giant
7. Office Space
8. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
9. Galaxy Quest
10. Man on the Moon

 

  • The Matrix - Yeah, a lot of its SF concepts and action styles had been done before - but for me nothing has ever come close to how well it *combined* them. This was the film that persuaded me that martial arts and shootouts could be the most exciting and spectacular forms of cinematic action; if not for this, it would have taken me a lot longer to discover Jackie Chan, John Woo, and Ghost in the Shell. The martial arts that Keanu Reeves performs in this look quaint next to what he gets up to in the John Wick films, and the bullet time effect pales next to what modern virtual cameras get up to - but again, it's all executed brilliantly, and that doesn't age.
  • Being John Malkovich - The first Kaufman film I saw, and still my favourite (though Adaptation. isn't far behind). The only problem is that the finale of the film - where we get some form of explanation for the weirdness - can't live up to the brilliance of the preceding acts.
  • Toy Story 2 - Like I said for the first Toy Story: a really consistent series.

 

Looking at what I posted in the 2016 version of the poll, it's mostly pretty similar, though a few films slipped in or out of the top 3. I think the biggest change was that in 2016 I put South Park at #3 for 1999!

 

 

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1995

1. La Haine - one of my favourite films of all time. It's one of those that really stays with you.

2. Casino

3. Se7en

 

1996

1. Trainspotting

2. Scream

3. The Rock

 

1997

1. Princess Mononoke

2. Starship Troopers

3. Donnie Brasco

 

1998

1. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

2. Run Lola Run

3. American History X

 

1999

1. The Matrix

2. Being John Malkovich

3. Fight Club

 

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1995

1. Se7en

2. The Usual Suspects

3. Casino

 

1996

1. Sleepers - harrowing story told with such restraint and respect.  Special mention to the excellent cast

2. Mission: Impossible

3. Primal Fear

 

1997

1. Gattaca - the message about the power of the human spirit over genetics really resonated with me.  Added benefit that it told a sci-fi story that could very much come into current reality.

2. Donnie Brasco - excellent central relationship between the two leads

3. Starship Troopers - pulled the wool over so many people's eyes including its own cast

 

1998

1. The Big Lebowski

2. American History X - gloves off look at racism.  Could never look at a curb the same way again.

3. Rounders - Edward Norton could do no wrong this decade

 

1999

1. Fight Club - 4th Edward Norton movie for me and my favourite of his

2. The Matrix

3. The Ninth Gate - subverted my expectations towards the end

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1995

1. Heat 

2. Usual Suspects 

3. Bad Boys 

 

Can it be anything other than Heat for this year? 

Hackers narrowly misses out, that tech, amazing. Good year for Bruce Willis with 12 monkeys and Die hard 3, Goldeneye also a good return for bond but mainly for bringing about the most friendship ruining splitscreen game ever. Oddjob is cheating.

 

1996

1. Trainspotting

2. Fargo

3. Dusk till dawn 

 

Runner up for The Rock, guess you don't get to fuck the prom queen this time Sean.

 

1997

1. The Fifth Element 

2. The Game

3. LA confidential

 

Jackie Brown & Starship troopers so close, Con Air doesn't make the cut, late 90's were really bruckheimer-tastic weren't they? really churning them out. 

 

1998

1. Saving Private Ryan 

2. Lock, Stock and 2 smoking Barrels

3. Rushmore

 

Sorry Blade, sorry Mr. The Dude.

 

1999

1. The Matrix - can I have this as all 3?

2. Fight Club

3. Ghost Dog : Way of the samurai.

 

Hmm, is Ghost Dog better than Toy Story 2? I mean they're basically the same, right? 

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1995

1. The Usual Suspects

2. Casino

3. 12 Monkeys

 

1996

1. Fargo

2. The English Patient

3. The Long Kiss Goodnight

 

1997

1. LA Confidential 

2. Boogie Nights

3. Face Off

 

1998

1. The Big Lebowski

2. The Thin Red Line

3. Dark City

 

1999

1. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
2. The Matrix

3. Fight Club

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This is SO HARD. Can't we have 5 FFS?

95
Heat
Before Sunrise
Se7en

96
Fargo
Trainspotting
Jerry Maguire

97
LA Confidential
Good Will Hunting
Grosse Point Blank/Boogie Nights (oh FFS COME ON!)

98
Summer of Sam/The Truman Show (This is torture)
The Big Lebowski
Rushmore

99
Being John Malkovich
The Iron Giant
The Talented Mr Ripley

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8 minutes ago, Couch Corpse said:

Horrific isn't it, the 90s rocked!


I've always said it was the second best decade after the 70's and that the 80's was the worst. I get ripped to shreds for that statement but when you look at the quality of the things on this list, stuff like The Goonies and Flight of the Navigator suddenly appear a little lacking.

70's
90's
60's
00's
50's 

40's
80's

20's

30's

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Soooooo difficult 

 

1995
1.    Heat
2.    Get Shorty
3.    The Usual Suspects

 

1996
1.    Swingers
2.    The Rock
3.    Hard Eight

 

1997
1.    Jackie Brown
2.    Starship Troopers
3.    Good Will Hunting

 

1998
1.    The Big Lebowski
2.    Rushmore
3.    Ronin

 

1999
1.    The Matrix
2.    The Iron Giant
3.    The Straight Story
 

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2 hours ago, kerraig UK said:


I've always said it was the second best decade after the 70's and that the 80's was the worst. I get ripped to shreds for that statement but when you look at the quality of the things on this list, stuff like The Goonies and Flight of the Navigator suddenly appear a little lacking.

70's
90's
60's
00's
50's 

40's
80's

20's

30's

 

When I think 80s, I think coming of age, horror and action. I'm sure there was some quality drama and thrillers but certainly not on the level or consistency of the 90s.

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1 hour ago, Stigweard said:

 

When I think 80s, I think coming of age, horror and action. I'm sure there was some quality drama and thrillers but certainly not on the level or consistency of the 90s.

 

Yeah 80's absolutely killed for good action and teen flicks. Horror not so much (Evil Dead and Nightmare on Elm St aside, its pretty poor Halloween sequels and endless Friday 13th's).

There is SO MUCH bad stuff in the 80's though.

EDIT: Horror was way more boss than I remembered.

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