Round 2: Genre Films of 1982 vs. 2008 – The Heavyweights!

And now, our heavyweight bouts…!

In case you missed part one, this post continues pairing up like-minded genre films of 1982 vs. 2008—two of the strongest years to ever grace filmdom’s history books. (A replay of the earlier three bouts is available here without Pay-Per-View.)

Okay, I’ll pipe down as I see we’re ready for the next and final rounds.

Vampires and Aliens—oh my!

Oh, he lands a stunning roundhouse!

1982 bestowed John Carpenter’s magnum opus remake of The Thing. Despite breaking new ground (and providing Kurt Russell with an incredible role), the film didn’t pull in the bucks at the box office. It appears the public’s appetite was insatiable for lost, friendly aliens at the time—not those falling out of a Lovecraftian nightmare. Regardless, this taut, bleak film has stood the test of time. It’s a sci-fi/horror classic.

But an incredible upper-cut counters from the opponent!

This year gave us one of the best Swedish films this side of Ingmar Bergman: Let The Right One In. Like Carpenter’s film, this tale also has literary origins and it shows. Smart and scary (with a dash of romance too), Let The Right One In is more than just one of the best horror films of 2008—it’s one of this year’s best, period.

Ding ding! Okay, the judges and I (*ahem*, me standing in front of a mirror) have argued over this one for an hour. Daggers abound from every eye in the crowd. But how can I decide? They’re both amazing films! I…just can’t choose!

What’s this? Little Orphan Annie’s bet a fortune on this bout and Sandy’s sharpening his fangs? Oh dear, we need an answer fast!

Ding! Then here it is: The Thing…and 1982 by a splattered dog head. It’s a close one and both put up an incredibly worthy fight.

Superheroes Supreme

Unless you’ve been vacationing in the Phantom Zone for the past 12 months, you know that 2008 was a banner year for superheroes at the cinema—the best evah!

Iron Man proved that what could have easily been a low rent Roger Corman property in the 80s or 90s had the power to top both the critics and box office lists of today. Hellboy also showed up again, as did the Hulk. And then there’s The Dark Knight….

1982 had…um, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends on TV?

Winner by forfeit (sorry Ms. Lion), 2008.

And Our Final Bout…Replicants vs. Psychos

Blade RunnerIn 1982, Ridley Scott created one of the most visionary films to ever grace the screen. Sure, Star Wars introduced us to a fully realized galaxy replete with used vehicles and dusty terrain, but it was Blade Runner that truly seemed to open a window into our future.

Philosophically complex and beautifully shot by Jordan Cronenweth (formerly of Altered States) it’s simply one of the best SF movies ever created.

And then there’s The Dark Knight.

It’s also brooding, atmospheric, and complex. But you already knew that. There’s no need to cover what thousands have said before. DK is one of the best films of the year, and hopefully its monumental success will usher in more films that embrace (rather than eschew) larger amounts of gray matter squeezed onto the summer blockbusters.

So who wins between these two titans?

I’m donning my Johnny Storm approved flame suit as we speak, as either answer could shake the Internet cosmos, but I’m going with Mr. Roy Batty. Blade Runner tends to reveal more with every viewing (and I’m not referencing all of the different versions here). While I can see the next Batman film nearing or even surmounting DK‘s summit, I just can’t imagine another big budget summer film as philosophically deep and SFX heavy as Blade Runner making its way through the studios unscathed today.

I’d love to be proven wrong on that point, and hopefully one day I will be.

Whew…Whatta Night!

So that’s our final matches. Thanks for joining me. Of course, there are other worthy genre films representing both years, but they were excluded due to their redundant or mismatched attributes (e.g., 1982’s Conan The Barbarian vs….uh, 2008’s Punisher: War Zone?).

Our final score: 1982 rings up four KOs, while 2008 falls slightly short at two. But that’s no reason for it to hang its head in shame. It’s been a terrific year to go to the movies.

When Old Man 2008 meets the Baby New Year in a few more days, he can remind the kid he has a lot to live up to!

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