It Got here From the ‘80s is a sequence that pays homage to the monstrous, lethal, and sometimes slimy creatures that made the ‘80s such a incredible decade in horror.
Getting a film made is not any small feat, however typically, in circumstances the place each impediment that may pop up does, it may be akin to performing a miracle. Such is the case with Neon Maniacs, a large number of a monster film rife with manufacturing woes. In an period of sensible effects-driven horror vulnerable to sequel fever, a horror film a couple of horde of assorted monsters appeared like a protected wager for franchise potential. Even a schlocky one; horror has a built-in fanbase, in spite of everything. Regardless of a cool idea, the muddled title, incoherent narrative, and monetary troubles sentenced this weird film to close obscurity.
The setup is easy sufficient; monsters from one other dimension have taken up residence contained in the Golden Gate Bridge by day. At night time, they emerge to slaughter. When a gaggle of mates hanging out at a close-by park falls prey to the creatures, solely Natalie (Leilani Sarelle) survives. Naturally, the police don’t imagine her story, and he or she’s ostracized in school. She groups up with new love curiosity Steven (Clyde Hayes) and younger horror fan Paula (Donna Locke) to maintain the monsters at bay.
Penned by Mark Patrick Carducci, who would go on to co-write the screenplay for Pumpkinhead, Neon Maniacs was nothing if not bold. As in, the preliminary script was broader in scope and featured twenty-seven Maniacs. Budgetary constraints prompted that quantity minimize down to 12; Ape, Archer, Axe, Decapitator, Doc, Hangman, Juice, Mohawk, Punk Biker, Samurai, Slasher, and Soldier. Additionally they come accompanied by two little cyclops-lizard creatures known as Scavengers. As a result of the movie spends a whole lot of time with the human protagonists, many of the Maniacs get minimal display time. For the monsters that resemble mutated Village Individuals, that’s not at all times a foul factor. Contemplating the film’s title, although, they need to’ve been extra outstanding.
As a substitute, Neon Maniacs spends a whole lot of time establishing the romance between Natalie and Steven, doubtless an enormous deal as a result of she’s a virgin and, due to this fact, a “pure” goal for the Maniacs. That’s isn’t one thing the ultimate product makes all that clear, although. It in all probability additionally explains why the prolonged climax on the faculty’s Battle of the Bands dance ends in anticlimactic vogue. Spoiler alert: After the Maniacs descend and assault, Steven and Natalie disguise in a darkened classroom and determine that’s the proper time to have intercourse. Whereas no less than one monster is looking for them, I assume as soon as Natalie is now not a virgin, the remaining monsters shrug their shoulders and wander again house. Paula is just about a 3rd wheel, an outsider whose ardour for horror someway makes her the primary to find that the monsters’ weak point is water. Due to this fact, dwelling on the Golden Gate Bridge is a dangerous transfer. The film is filled with unusual decision-making that will have made sense in preliminary drafts however grew to become nonsensical throughout its hacked-up manufacturing.
As for the title, Carducci defined in an interview in Fangoria challenge #47 that, “The neon half is a coined time period. It’s a brand new title for brand spanking new monsters.” Additionally including, “There’s additionally a type of electrical, virtually punk power to them.” In different phrases, an evidence that makes extra sense in concept than in follow. It’s a catchy title, nonetheless.
Particular make-up results had been designed and created by Allan A. Apone (The Avengers, Friday the 13th Half III) and Douglas J. White (The Return of the Dwelling Lifeless, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh). Their crew, from their SFX store Make-up Results Lab, had loads on their plate with 13 distinct creature designs on a meager finances, nevertheless it was exacerbated by a sudden 3-month halt in manufacturing halfway by way of the shoot, because of monetary woes. When manufacturing lastly resumed, lots of the actors taking part in numerous Maniac roles didn’t return. So, the MUFX crew needed to reapply foam latex home equipment that had been fitted for these actors on new replacements. Anytime the Maniacs had been doused in water, they melted. Make-up results artist Shannon Shea hilariously particulars what it was like engaged on this impact in his guide I’m Rubber, You’re Glue, recounting that one of many notable monster deaths was merely cotton sweet packed round a skeleton. “The water hit the cotton sweet, and it did soften into brilliant pink and blue rivulets, however was it profitable? Who may inform? It was a low-budget film entitled Neon Maniacs for corn’s sake; did it matter? (pg. 161)”
It wasn’t simply Maniac actors that departed throughout the hiatus; cinematographer Oliver Wooden had moved on as nicely. That meant director Joseph Mangine, an skilled D.P., stretched himself additional by pulling double responsibility. Mangine by no means directed once more after this, however he did proceed his work in cinematography.
As soon as manufacturing lastly accomplished, the movie then sat shelved for a few years earlier than lastly seeing a small theatrical launch in 1986. That last hook meant to tease a sequel by no means occurred, a lot to the frustration of its religious followers. However typically that’s for the most effective. Neon Maniacs must be a horror fan’s dream. A bunch of rampaging monsters operating amok in a metropolis? Sure, please. As a substitute, it’s a bunch of fast pictures of assorted monsters that grin and grunt at one another, however we by no means get to see a lot of their personalities past that. That display time is devoted to a trio of people that don’t provide a lot rooting curiosity. Because it stands, it’s the exact kind of horror film that makes you marvel about what may’ve been. Neon Maniacs belongs in the identical class as movies like Spookies, a movie whose tumultuous behind-the-scenes tales show way more fascinating than what ended up on display.