Have you ever wondered how certain movies just never appeared on your radar, despite having seen most other entries in the genre? So did we when we recently stumbled upon the 1981 slasher flick Final Exam. Then we watched the movie.
On this episode we study out the misguided homages to better films, the extra long scenes that don’t lead anywhere or further the plot and of course the random wedgie tug that may have been a character choice but probably wasn’t.
Stick around at the end where we shamelessly namedrop the Skip to the End podcast and hand out some grades of our own for some of the latest releases.
Taking a page from my time in DC, I recently suggested that the monthly DJ gig with friends Jen and Genevieve expand to try a ‘versus night’, specifically New Order versus OMD, as both the latter and Peter Hook, former bassist of the former, were due in town in the coming months.
I was curious if the blissful, insane fun I had at Cure vs. The Smiths, New Order vs. Duran Duran and Depeche Mode nights at DC’s Black Cat (special nod to DJ Michelle Guided for providing much of that soundtrack) could be replicated – on a much smaller scale. And hey, if nobody showed, at least we’d enjoy a night of great music.
We sold the idea to a skeptical manager at The Independent Bar that hosts our low-key, all vinyl gigs. Now for a poster design.
It starts and ends with Peter Saville. Saville’s design defined an era. His work with Factory Records, his iconic cover designs for Joy Division, New Order, OMD and other post-punk bands emerging from the UK in the late 70s and early 80s are instantly recognizable.
I had a lot of fun playing in his sandbox as I went from producing one design to four. The designs are all mashups. The main poster utilizes the bold lines and streetmap grid look of New Order’s 2016 ‘Music Complete’ album while incorporating the tan, brown and green color scheme from OMD’s 1983 album ‘Dazzle Ships’, both designed by Saville. I added the fuchsia for some pop as I felt it complemented the other colors and contrasted the black line art well.
The typography is strict Helvetica, which lent itself to the utilitarian look of a lot of the early Factory Records and Hacienda materials.
Each of the posters pulls from New Order – OMD – Factory aesthetic and style – all shaped by Saville. Famously, the sparse ‘No’ that featured on New Order’s ‘Waiting For the Siren’s Call’ was actually a response by Saville to a request to design the album cover.
The golden age of 80s slasher cinema produced some interesting, if not great movies. In this episode, we buy a ticket for Terror Train, a 1980 Canadian-American production that slipped through the cracks of our adolescent viewing. Jamie Lee Curtis, Ellis from Die Hard and David Copperfield playing against type as a – wait for it – magician! It can’t be all bad can it?
Halloween may very well be Jon and Pete’s favorite time of year, so it’s only fitting that our first annual 8th Halloween special episode be broken up into two parts. In this, part one, we talk about our early memories of trick-or-treating: cheap costumes, canvassing the local neighborhoods with friends to hit the houses with the best candy, and avoiding (or not) getting egged and shaving creamed on the way home after dark.
Can Pete fool his dad into giving him candy at the age of 12? Why was one flustered gentleman buttoning up his pants as he answered the door, only to throw a $5 bill at our intrepid trick-or-treaters while quickly closing the door? How does Jon’s King of Hearts costume stack up among the all-time embarrassments? The answers await your ears if you only listen to this episode!
As a children of the 1980s, my buddy Jon and I have far too much useless pop culture in our head. In an attempt to let some of it out, we’ve started a podcast called Making the Grade where we’ll discuss all the things that shaped who we are today. We’ll tackle topics like horror movies, video games, discovering music, discovering girls, mix tapes, and movies so bad they’re good.
That leads us to our very first episode, the 1987 cheese-tacular Steele Justice, starring Sensei Kreese (Martin Kove) and a boatload of B-C- and D-movie actors that are probably still too good for this movie. The producers threw in pretty much every 80s action movie stereotype – terrible one-liners, supercheese Frank Stallone-esque anthem, emotionally stunted lead character who cares for a pet snake, a spandex-clad music video, cocaine, uzis, beach workout montage with pink sweater and a mop handle, uncomfortable sexual tension between Steele and his best friend’s teenage daughter – it’s a veritable stew of batshit crazy and it fails spectacularly.
Jon and I could talk about this movie for weeks, if not months straight. Each scene is a perfectly realized helping of insanity, served with a sweaty (literally) side of Martin Kove. The original 35mm print of this needs to be preserved in the Smithsonian. But what did Jon and I really think? Does Steele Justice make the grade? Listen and find out!