Best OBSCURE 80's Movies from my Childhood | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

March 25, 2014

Best OBSCURE 80's Movies from my Childhood

Yes, friends.

I was a child of the 80's.

Literally. I was born in 1981, so I grew up on a steady diet of My Little Pony, My First Sony, ALF, WWF, Hi-C Ecto Cooler and Nerds Cereal.

There are many great cinematic feats from the 80's decade, and a ton of cult classics. These are the well-known films, such as Ghostbusters , Cocoon, Spaceballs, Karate Kid, E.T. , Aliens, Kramer vs. Kramer, Heathers and pretty much every movie Molly Ringwald was in.

But remember: I was a kid. Some of these "classic" movies were not appropriate for me to see until I was older. My days were spent with more kid-friendly films. And somehow they weren't mainstream flicks. As I've spoken with other people, I've found that many of the "classics" from my 80's experience were not as well-known. 

Take, for example, this conversation I had with Hubby last week.  

The setting: Watching the new edition of Cosmos last Sunday, Neil deGrasse Tyson hopped into his little spaceship and flitted around the galaxy.

Me: Hey. Neil's spaceship looks like the spaceship from Flight of the Navigator!

Hubby: Flight of the what?

Me: Navigator. You know. That movie.

Hubby: I have no idea what you are talking about.

Me: What? Every kid watched that movie in the 80's. It's about that boy. And he falls into a ravine. And wakes up and it's like 20 years later and he meets an alien thing that takes him all through space and time in a little teardrop space ship.

Hubby:  ::blank stare::

So now I'm wondering if no one else had the same 80's cinematic experience as I have. I figured the best way to test this was to create a list of the best obscure movies from my childhood in the 1980's, and see if anyone remembers them.


Flight of the Navigator

I've pretty much summed it up above. But the movie is focused on a 12 year old boy named David who falls into a ravine and is knocked unconscious. He wakes up and finds several years have passed and his family no longer lives at his house.  David is taken to a hospital lab for testing, somehow NASA gets involved, and David ends up running away to another part of the lab. Here, he finds a hangar holding a crashed spaceship, which David boards. He meets the alien robotic commander ("Max") and David is referred to as "The Navigator." They leave the hangar, wander the planet together, and the movie ends happily with Max returning David back to 1978.

I don't know. I just loved the little aliens on the ship and the suspense of whether or not David was going to get home. 

Also? What was with the 80's and alien speculation movies?

Monster Squad

Quite possibly the best monster movie of all time. Yes. I went there. A group of boys in the 80's who are obsessed with classic monsters (Frankenstein, Dracula, Mummy, Wolfman, etc) find themselves suddenly in a world of danger because the forces of good and evil are out of balance. Monsters come back into the world and, of course, only the Monster Squad can save them.

Pre-pubescent boy humor abounds in this movie, as evidenced when one of them gives Wolfman a swift kick between the legs and he crumbles. It is noted that, "Wolfman's got nards!"

Yes. Nards.

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

A family of five kids are left home for the summer with a crotchety babysitter when their mom travels to Australia for work. It can be surmised from the title that the babysitter passes away. And the kids, lead by older sister Sue Ellen (hello, Christina Applegate!), decide to not bother mom and to live the dream of a parentless summer. The only problem is that costs money, and it initially becomes Lord of the Flies with no responsibility or authority. So throughout the Summer, the older kids get jobs and trick everyone into thinking they are a responsible family. The kids pull it together and really "grow up" to provide and survive the summer. Eventually poop hits the fan, and it is realized that they've been left alone when Mom arrives home during a big event at the house.

How did these kids get paid? Wouldn't they need to prove their age and social security? How did they pass background checks?


The future Will Gardner.
RIP Will. We'll miss you.

Josh Charles. 

That is all.

Brave Little Toaster

Again, a reminder that I was a kid in the 80's. So I was quite into cartoons. This unique tale was about a group of talking-walking-singing appliances who reside in a log cabin. They've become worried they've been abandoned by their owner, Rob, so they decide to leave their cabin in the country and travel to the city to find him. Many crazy adventures ensue, including a tromp through the forest, a river ride, a very close call at a salvage yard and the threat of being irrelevant when faced with appliances of "The Cutting Edge of Technology" in Rob's new apartment.

They are talking appliances. What is there to understand?

Also note: There were some pretty intense scenes that scared the crap out of me as a child. So if you've never seen it but want to show it to your kids, preview it first.

The Boy Who Could Fly


Milly moves to a new town with her mom and brother after her father dies of cancer. Both Milly and her brother, Louis, struggle to fit in. The family also has growing pains as they learn what it means to be a family of three. They meet Eric, the boy who lives next door. Eric is autistic and lives with his alcoholic uncle. Strange things happen with Eric, and Milly begins to find that he responds to her when he responds to no one else. After she is saved on a field trip when she falls off a bridge by Eric, Milly is convinced Eric can fly. Shortly thereafter, Eric is taken away to "an institute." Milly sneaks Eric out and the movie triumphs when Eric takes Milly on a flying trip around town for all to see.

This movie was amazing because what kid didn't want to have the ability to fly? I also believe The Boy Who Could Fly was ahead of it's time in dealing with a main character with autism.

Little Monsters

Brian learns about the world of monsters that live under his bed. Brian befriends the monster associated with his bed, Maurice, and Maurice shows him the world of monsters over the next few days. Brian finds he is slowly turning into a monster. He learns that all monsters are former kids that were kidnapped. Brian decides to cut Maurice's friendship off by sawing the legs off his bed so Maurice can't visit.  Since Maurice failed to turn Brian into a monster (instead choosing to be friends with him), another monster, Snik, kidnaps Brian's little brother. Maurice helps Brian rescue his brother in a nail-biting finale.

It was terrifying to think there were monsters living under my bed as a child, but I liked that Maurice was a cool dude. 


Fred Savage.

That is all.

Teen Witch

Geeky teen girl, Louise, has a predestined encounter with a medium to find that she is a reincarnated witch. On her 16th birthday, her witch powers are realized and Louise makes all of her teen dreams come true: popularity, revenge and love. When all goes awry, Louise realizes that life was better before she was a witch and she gives up her powers.

This wasn't, like, the best movie in the world. But I was taken with the idea of having powers and making the cutest guy in the whole school fall in love with me. There was also a lot of awesome 80's hair and fashion in this movie.

Batteries Not Included

I have yet to meet another person (aside from my sisters) who has actually seen this movie. An older couple, the Riley's, (amazing real-life 80's couple Raye Hume and Jessica Tandy) run an old apartment building and cafe. A developer comes in and wants to buy the property, meeting refusal from the Rileys. The developer sends a gang lead by Carlos to "scare" them into reconsidering. During this time, a pair of flying robot machines (aliens?) find their way to the building. Mrs. Riley refers to them as "Fix-It's" because they fix mechanical things. The Fix-It's give birth to 3 babies, and they become instrumental in getting the building and cafe up and running again. The developer is upset that plans are being foiled, and sabotages the building with an "accidental fire." The fire consumes the building, putting all tenants in danger. The next morning, the building is a wreck of ashes, and one tenant refuses to leave, halting plans for demolition. The following day, the building is magically restored thanks to the Fix-It's and everything is all happily ever after.

This is actually a Steven Spielberg production and just a really neat concept. 


So there you have it. Some of my favorite obscure movies from the 80's.

Have YOU seen any of these movies?
Which movies would you add to the list?

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