The Ace Of Spades!

This edition of BRAIN HAMMER’S PICKS FROM THE CRYPT throws the spotlight on two of the finest teenage revenge flicks from 1985, both starring none other than the Ace of Spades himself – James Spader! Are you kids Tuff enough?!?




Loren (strange name for a dude!) and his hot sister Abby (played by a fresh faced Lori Loughlin from FULL HOUSE!) move across the country to live with their crazy aunt and uncle after their parents are killed by a drunk driver. Their uncle owns and lives in an old beat up amusement park that he dreams about one day getting back into shape and open for big business. In the meanwhile he runs a small gas station in front of the park and can barely make ends meet. Loren immediately feels sorry for his uncle and gives him the majority of his inheritance money. In exchange Loren and Abbey give to live together inside an old piece of shit barn and slave away working at repairing the park and pumping gas, for free! Great deal.

Things go from bad from worse when the new kids meet the local gang of psychotic redneck dog fighters who terrorize both the high school and the town, led by a cocaine fueled (probably on and off camera) James Spader! When Abbey decides not to offer up her pussy to the gang, they decide everyone in the family must suffer accordingly! The new kids quickly learn three things about southern hospitality – blood, sweat, and TERROR!

DAMN!!! I owe my pal DeathSacks a million for turning me on to this masterpiece of slick & glossy 80’s styled teenage revenge, which was directed by Sean S. Cunningham of “Friday The13th” fame! This is now officially one of my favorite flicks of all time. In the genre of high school themed revenge, done with a lot of drama and intensity, it’s easily one of the best I’ve ever seen. It ranks right up there with other classics like“Massacre At Central High” and “Class Of 1984.″ Cunningham has said in numerous reviews that making this movie really “bummed him out.” He describes it as “Walking Tall” in high school, and found both the storyline and the filming of numerous scenes of brutal violence and sexual content to be very disturbing. It must have reminded him of his glorious days on the set of “Last House On The Left!”

“The New Kids” has it all, including but limited to: rednecks with thick southern accents, characters named Joe Bob, dog fighting tips, cocaine in abundance, a sadistic albino (well not quite, but Spader’s hair is pretty damn bleached out), inept and unless police with bad moustaches, Lori Loughlin in skin tight blue jeans and blood stained white cotton panties, brutal bathroom beatdowns, urination humilation, bloody bunny rabbit in the shower pranks, shotgun shenanegans, bumper car hilarity, house of mirrors hijinks, decapitation via roller coaster, accidental electrocution, pitbull throat ripping, and fiery face melting! And did I mention the brief yet essential appearence of TOM FUCKING ATKINS as the stern yet lovable father with a heart of gold?!? The opening montage where Tom works out with the kids is pure gold. “Why does it hurt to be tough?” You’ll know the answer to that question after you watch this life affirming motion picture.

Not to mention the fact that the lead actor in the movie  – Shannon Presby is a total badass. He’s not your your normal tormented tender teen with feet of clay. This kid takes no shit whatsoever from the bullies and stops at nothing to defend his sister’s honor. He also bankrolls his crazy Uncle’s wild business schemes, breaks into his enemies house at night for a little homoerotic payback at knife point, and even finds the time to fall in love with the sheriff’s hot piece of ass daughter! Now that’s a hero that we can be proud of! As Tom Atkin’s onscreen son I expected no less from him.

A masterpiece in every sense of the word, this flick has earned many repeat viewings in the Hammer household! They really don’t make them like this anymore. Fans of revenge themed flicks and fans of the gloriously cheesy 80’s should consider this a must see flick. THE NEW KIDS is currently available on dvd, and a dvd collection without a copy is piss worthy.


TUFF TURF (1985)

A fresh faced James Spader stars as Morgan Hiller, a leather jacket sporting, bmx riding rebel without a cause. Poor little rich boy Morgan gets kicked out of an exclusive private school in Connecticut for performing rooftop rock concerts during lunch and this inexplicably causes his family to lose most of their money and be forced to move cross country to the mean streets of Los Angeles. Morgan quickly finds out how tuff his new turf can be when he stops a ruthless teenage street gang from mugging an old man while singing “Be Bop A Lu La.” One of the gang members manages to slice up a really gay looking patch on the back of Morgan’s jacket with a samurai sword (?) and the evil leader of the gang, Nick, swears revenge.

The next morning is Morgan’s first day at his new school. There’s an interesting moment where the gang gathers in the school parking lot and Nick notices Morgan. This causes Nick to tell his thugs “I think we’re going to school.” Apparently the gang normally hangs out in the parking lot every morning before school and then leaves without going inside. Meanwhile, Morgan quickly finds himself a heterosexual life partner in the form of New Wave Jimmy, played by none other than the infamous Robert Downey Jr! Jimmy gives Morgan a switchblade to protect himself and warns him about the dangers of tangling with Nick and the boys.

Morgan doesn’t listen of course, especially when he sees that Nick has swiped his beloved bmx and is having a joyride in the parking lot. Morgan immediately goes to confront Nick which causes Jimmy to declare that he has a goddamn death wish. Morgan narrowly avoids getting run over by Nick’s minions, and his bike is trashed in the process. Morgan doesn’t bother trying to fight Nick. Instead he stares a hole into Nick’s smoking hot girlfriend Frankie. (Kim Richards!) Morgan’s eyes burn with a fiery intensity, and this steely determination seemingly captures Frankie’s interest.

Later that night Morgan steals a car and goes to the local New Wave club to catch a performance from the human heroin vacuum himself, Jim fucking Carroll! Frankie and her skanky gal pal also go to the show, which gives Morgan another chance to stare at Frankie like a psychopath. Then Morgan grabs Frankie and repeatedly forces her to dance with him. This is one of those moments where the mere words of an intrepid reviewer can do nothing to capture the movie magic. Being the 80′s after all, the entire dance scene is carefully choreographed chaos. I would think that grabbing a girl and forcing her to dance against her will would make her hate you, but this bold move actually seems to impress Frankie and makes her crack a smile or two.

The fun ends when Nick and the boys show up. (Everyone loves the Jim Carroll band in this flick!) The hooligans chase Morgan into the parking lot and rough him up a bit before helping themselves to his car, the same car that he had stolen earlier. The LAPD quickly catches up with the gang and locks them up, which gives Morgan a few days to make his move on Frankie. New Wave Jimmy steals Nick’s car and picks up Morgan for a joyride. Morgan then gets the brilliant idea to trick Frankie and the skankie into hopping into the car for a little cruise around town.

Yet again, Morgan forces Frankie to spend time with him, despite the fact that she repeatedly tells him that she’s not interested and that her boyfriend will kill him. The kids kill some time rolling through Beverly Hills before crashing an upscale country club luncheon. Madcap hilarity ensues as the street wise teens mingle with the culturally elite. Just when the snobby country club manager is about to kick them out, Morgan hops on the piano and belts out an incredibly tender ballad entitled “I Walk The Night.” This sudden display of sensitivity is enough to finally melt Frankie’s heart and make her warm up to Morgan. Then the kids go to yet another club and dance up a storm to the toe tapping sounds of Jack Mack & The Heart Attack. The music causes Frankie to unleash her inner whore and dance like a woman possessed!

No high school revenge flick would be complete with a bathroom beat down, and TUFF TURF is no exception to this rule. Nick and the gang get out of jail and promptly beat the shit out of Morgan in the showers. Nick gives Morgan a final warning to stop playing with fire, and yet again Morgan refuses to take no for an answer. Instead he shows up in Frankie’s bedroom and invites her to dinner with his family. Frankie hesitatingly agrees and spends some quality time in front of the mirror making herself look prim and proper. As Frankie and Morgan enjoy their dinner, Nick plots and schemes to get his revenge. The dinner turns ugly thanks to some offhand remarks from Morgan’s bitch of a mother and Frankie storms off, only to find Nick and the gang waiting for her. Nick smooth talks her and then drives around the city aimlessly for a few hours until he finally finds what he is looking for – Morgan’s father. Morgan’s pop is a cab driver by night, and Nick tries to makes Frankie go up to him looking for money. When Frankie refuses, Nick explodes with jealousy and shoots Morgan’s father in the chest!

Morgan’s father somehow survives the shooting. While the family stews in the hospital waiting room, Morgan’s yuppie older brother shows up and gives mom a lengthy hug. A bit too lengthy, if you catch my drift. There’s an entire subplot about Morgan being jealous of his older brother, but I’m more interested in the distinct possibilities of torrid incest between his brother and mother. The two of them can’t stop groping each other in every scene. Frankie also shows up at the hospital and tearfully apologizes to Morgan for what happened. Morgan accepts her apology, and then takes her home to gently and sweetly fuck her brains out.

Just as things finally seem to be going Morgan’s way, Nick makes his presence known and violently assaults Frankie inside of her dad’s liquor store. He goes completely nuts, trashes the store, and then forces Frankie to call Morgan. Nick gets on the phone with Morgan and tells him that he would rather kill Frankie than see her with another guy. He then tells Morgan to meet him at THE WAREHOUSE in twenty minutes. Despite the fact that there are thousands of warehouses in Los Angeles, Morgan somehow knows exactly what warehouse Nick is referring to and arms himself with his trusty tranquilizer guns for a final showdown. He’s a rebel about to become a hero.

I consider “Tuff Turf” to be a true 80′s masterpiece. This movie is so much fun! I’ve watched this one countless times over the last few years. Most of the plot is shamelessly lifted from “Rebel Without A Cause.” New kid in town, falls in love with the wrong girl, etc. Not exactly groundbreaking material, but why mess with a winning formula? James Spader is pantie peeler. The scene where he pours out his soul to Kim on the piano is a powerful vaginal moisturizer.

Another one of the many highlights of the film for me is watching an old school Robert Downey Jr with the gap in his teeth rocking out on the drums with the Jim Carroll band! I have to wonder if Jim hooked Robert up with some skag on the set and helped send him down the path to glory. The music in this flick is excellent. There’s also a decent amount of violence and tension towards the end of the film to help keep things interesting and prevent this flick from being a cornball comedy.

This flick is notorious for featuring a Kim Richards breast shot, but stunt breasts were used. Sadly, Kim Richards has never gotten naked on film. I can only dream, and trust me when I say that I do. Often. She looks incredible in this movie. Her big dance scene is a real show stopper. “She’s lookin’ good!” Fans of the gloriously cheesy 80′s will eat this up. Sadly, they just don’t make them like this anymore. TUFF TURF is available on dvd from Anchor Bay Entertainment, and is Brain Hammer approved in a BIG way! 



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