Almost All of Them Flops

This is a nicely printed flyer that was handed out at a comic book convention in the very early 1980s. On the opposite side of what’s pictured above was a list of horror and science fiction classics released by Universal Pictures from Frankenstein up to The Birds. The pictured side of the flyer showed Universal’s then upcoming slate of what they hoped would be genre classics and boxoffice blockbusters. Some of these are now considered classic while a number of these are completely and utterly forgotten.

I saw most of these in the theater having read about them in magazines such as Starlog, Fangoria, Famous Monsters, Premiere and Cinefantastique. This was supposed to be the fantasy and science fiction tsunami that followed the impact of Star Wars. If a project was weird or could be merchandised, it got the green light from the studio. Kids like this sci-fi crap. Let’s make MORE!

None of these movies really set the world on fire. Conan The Barbarian was supposed to start a wave of sword and sorcery pictures that never came. I thought American Werewolf in London was the greatest movie ever made when I first saw it. John Carpenter’s The Thing is now rightly regarded as a classic, but in 1982 it was utterly swamped by the happy alien story E.T. Cat people was an utter mess that probably killed the career of Nastassja Kinski but had a great soundtrack. The rest of the listed flicks are hit or miss as far as being enjoyable, but at least they were original and all very different from one another. Nowadays if you plunk down the money for a movie you know exactly what you’re going to get. It was a very interesting time in movies.

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