It’s been a movie themed week, so we might as well cap it off with his entry.
I assume you are all familiar with the Farmer Boy Market on State Route 113 in Amherst Township, Ohio? It’s not called that anymore and it’s definitely not owned by the same family, but of course you know it. The convenience store located next to Farmer Boy Restaurant, which is also not called that anymore? My parents used to buy 2% milk there, and the owners went to our church? We rented movies there sometimes? Still not ringing any bells, huh?
Imagine a mom and pop convenience store in any suburb or small town, and you’re essentially thinking of Farmer Boy. I can say with some degree of confidence that I haven’t set foot inside since 1996, and not with any regularity since 1990. We eventually moved on to video rentals at a couple of places in Amherst, and then Drug Mart took over our rental and milk buying needs (almost never Piggy’s Main Street Market. I would rent video games there as a last resort, but I never really got over them accusing me of opening the beer cooler in 1993 when I didn’t open it. I’m still scarred by that false accusation. It’s my own version of The Fugitive), but for a few years Farmer Boy was our spot. I remember it best for the movie posters that hung in the rental section. Here were some of my favorites.
Oh baby. What a poster. And that title! I never saw this horror movie directed by Freddy himself, Robert Englund. I was 8 and my parents were pretty strict about rated R features. Even so, this is one of those movie titles that is forever lodged in my brain. I think it’s a symptom of having grown up in an era when premium phone numbers were still a thing. There’s an entire generation of young adults unaware that not only was there a 1-900 corollary to 800 numbers, there was also 976. And that’s on top of the fact that people used to make phone calls! How insane is it that in fewer than 40 years somebody born in the early 1980s has seen the demise of both premium phone numbers and collect calling. In the 1990s every other commercial on MTV was for a collect call company. So the movie. Probably worth checking out, I suppose? Just don’t call the number. It’s probably cursed, and by cursed I mean disconnected.
Saturday the 14th Strikes Back (1988)
This even more forgettable sequel to a 1981 horror comedy spoof is a movie I actually watched! The poster worked! I remember two things about this movie: It starred My Favorite Martian, Ray Walston, and the title of the movie. Not a single thing else. If that poster grabs you like it did me, the whole movie is available to watch on YouTube. It might be worth your time? You’re reading this right now, so you’re either at work or you don’t place a very high value on that time to begin with.
They Live (1988)
I now know how significant this movie is, but at age 8 all I that mattered to me was Rowdy Roddy Piper on the poster. He’s a wrestler AND he’s in a movie?! Children don’t know how to compartmentalize things like that. It’s mind blowing for a little kid to see one of his WWF heroes doing something that isn’t wrestling. Five years later, when you’ve had time to mature and it’s Hulk Hogan trying to act alongside children it’s very sad, but when it’s Piper and a skeleton faced guy it’s badass. I’ve since seen They Live, of course, and it’s a great movie, but I’ll always remember the poster as one of the first instances where I got an inkling that professional wrestling might not be as real as I thought. No Holds Barred on the other hand, totally believable. Because they wrestle in it. And they’re wrestlers. It tracks.
Bonus! Tag Team, the 1991 Piper/Jesse the Body TV pilot:
License to Drive (1988)
If you weren’t an adolescent in the late 1980s and early 1990s then you don’t understand what a phenomenon the Coreys were. It’s like DeNiro and Pacino finally appearing together on screen in Heat, if you swapped out the gravitas for Dep hair gel. I wasn’t quite the demographic because I was a few years too young and not a Tiger Beat subscriber, but in time I grew to appreciate the impact of seeing Corey Feldman and Corey Haim getting into PG-13 level highjinks. Throw in a sweet red car that I assumed was a Corvette because I was a child and knew nothing about cars, and it becomes a live action Cruisin’ video game. Things didn’t turn out great for the Coreys, but we’ll always have this image of them at the top of their game.
Originally this final slot was going to go to Killer Klowns from Outer Space, until I realized that the image of the clown face I and presumably everybody else associates with that movie isn’t the original poster. The actual Killer Klowns movie poster is a much less memorable drawing of Earth spinning on a clown finger. Instead I decided to go with my second choice, Cocktail. The late 1980s were prime “Tom Cruise giving smoldering looks on movie posters” years, and Cocktail is a perfect example of the form. This is a poster that screams, “Movie for adults” with Tom eye fucking you below a title that screams out in neon. I’ve still never seen the movie, but everything I’ve read says it’d be ridiculous if it wasn’t so boring. Even so, Tom sold the hell out of it.
That’s my lineup. What movie posters from your childhood stick out most for you? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.