Presents? Turkey? The tree? Let’s face it, the best Christmas tradition is the gathering of friends and family. So what better way to celebrate this December than with a big bunch of crowd-pleasers at the cinema. Devised on the understanding that a lot of Christmas films are a little bit naff, HOME present a season of ’80s classics sure to unite your loved ones. As HOME Film Programme Producer, and season curator, Jennifer Hall says, “I can take or leave Christmas films, but ’80s films, now they remind me of Christmases gone by.” This unashamedly nostalgia-fuelled feast takes in a range of blockbusters, comedies and cult classics, with a line-up featuring some of the most beloved characters of the decade.
At HOME in the ’80s opens on Friday 14th December with a special screening of Robert Zemeckis’ innovative live action-animation hybrid, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, introduced by Hall. Set in 1947 Los Angeles, this mash-up neo-noir stars Bob Hoskins as a detective hired to investigate a scandal involving Roger Rabbit and his wife Jessica. Screening for a second time on Sunday 23rd December, it’s the kind of off-the-wall high concept which shouldn’t work, but absolutely does — and did repeatedly throughout the 1980s. Along those lines, who’d have thought that a mockumentary centred around “one of Britain’s loudest bands” would become one of the decades most enduring hits? Fans can catch Rob Reiner’s endlessly quotable This is Spinal Tap on Monday 17th December.
There are darker comedies in the mix too. Heathers (Saturday 15th December) stars Winona Ryder and Christian Slater as a murderous high-school couple dead-set on putting down the cruel, popular girls in their place. It’d never be made today, but director Michael Lehmann concocted this cult gem with a winking nihilism and a working knowledge of the 80s teen movie genre. HOME’s Artistic Director of Film, Jason Wood will introduce another comedy with bite on Thursday 20th December. Perfectly pitched, John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London balances the laughs with gore and some gnarly effects work as an American teen runs into trouble on the misty moors.
Of course, much of the lasting affection for the cinema of the ’80s comes from the characters it introduced us to. Eternal dude, Keanu Reeves was launched to stardom as one half (alongside Alex Winter) of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Wednesday 19th December), the time traveling adventure flick about…passing a history class? The film was popular enough that it spawned one sequel and rumours persist regarding a third. But HOME’s season concludes just before Christmas (Saturday 22nd December) with a character so beloved, that he made it to the big screen a third and then a fourth time. Harrison Ford’s roguish, buccaneering archaeologist Indiana Jones is a bonafide ’80s icon and there are few films more suited for a family outing than Steven Spielberg’s thrilling Raiders of the Lost Ark.