Spabbit’s top 3 Christian Slater Movies

So Gen-X cool. Aside from the usual flicks, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Goonies, Breakfast Club, there are these three gems, all starring Christian Slater – as a younger version of myself I was fascinated with ’em, and still occasionally re-watch, reliving those fond memories – Enjoy!

My Best Friend is a Vampire (1987) – “I’ll take a pint of pig’s blood” – It’s a dry, darkly comedic take on the classic vampire tale, set in an era teetering on the brink of significant change. Picture this: a teenage lad, suddenly turned vampire, grappling with the absurdity of his new undead status amidst the mundane trials of high school life.

The film mirrors the undercurrents of the late 80s. It’s a time marked by a sense of global unease, and a cultural shift towards the surreal and the absurd. This movie doesn’t just parody the vampire genre; it subtly reflects the societal unease of its time. It’s less about the glitz of vampirism and more a wry, understated commentary on finding one’s identity in a rapidly changing world that seems as alien and perplexing as being turned into a vampire.

At the end of the movie, you know I wouldn’t have minded turning into a Vampire just like Jeremy – I mean who wouldn’t wanna be bitten by Nora, who could also turn into a cat! Every movie also need a chase character – in this case, Jeremy is relentlessly pursued by David Warner as Prof McCarthy – a Van Helsing / Buffy wannabe, and his hapless sidekick Grimsdyke played by Paul Wilson – such a great almost slapstick performance by the pair of them 🙂 Everything seemed so cool back then, and My Best Friend is a Vampire continued to ride the cool wave before the internet made any hint of surprise an instant loss!

My Best Friend Is a Vampire | May 6, 1988 (United States) Summary: After a sexual encounter with a beautiful client, a teenage delivery boy finds himself being turned into a vampire.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

Heathers (1988) – Alright, let’s set the scene. It’s 1988, and the world is just starting to emerge from the shadows of the Cold War. Thatcher’s Britain is in full swing, and across the pond, Reagan’s era is winding down. Amidst all this, “Heathers” hits the screens, a dark, satirical comedy that perfectly captures the angst and absurdity of American high school life.

Imagine a school where the popular clique, all hot girls named Heather, reign supreme. Enter Veronica, played by the ever-so-charming Winona Ryder (this was the era before she took a spin down drug and shop lifter avenue). Veronica is on the outskirts of this clique. She meets J.D., a mysterious new kid (a smouldering Christian Slater), and things get a bit, well, murderous.

“Heathers” is like a twisted, funhouse mirror reflection of the era’s teen movies. It’s a world where shoulder pads are as sharp as the wit and scrunchies are as tight as the social hierarchy. The film mercilessly skewers the superficialities of high school popularity, blending black comedy with a healthy dose of cynicism – a perfect antidote to the often twee teen dramas of the time.

In a way, “Heathers” is a metaphor for the late ’80s itself. Beneath the surface of economic prosperity and political stability, there’s a dark undercurrent. Just like in the movie, where beneath the glossy exterior of high school life, there’s a seething mass of jealousy, insecurity, and, yes, even homicide.

So, as you watch “Heathers”, remember – it’s not just a film. It’s a time capsule of an era that was both bright and dark, often at the very same time.

A side note to the mucic of the film “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It)”: The song “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It)” by the fictional band Big Fun was specifically written and produced for the film by musician Don Dixon. The song is performed by the ad hoc group “Big Fun”, which consisted of Dixon, Mitch Easter, Angie Carlson, and Marti Jones. This song was later included on Dixon’s 1992 greatest hits album

Heathers | March 31, 1989 (United States) Summary: At Westerburg High where cliques rule, jocks dominate and all the popular girls are named Heather, it's going to take a Veronica and mysterious new kid to give teen angst a body count.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

Pump Up the Volume (1990) – “Pump Up the Volume” is a bit of a gritty gem, really. It captures the essence of teenage rebellion in a world that’s just starting to grapple with the power of media and self-expression.

The protagonist, a high school loner (Slater), portrays Mark Hunter, a high school student living in a sleepy suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. By day, Mark is a loner struggling to socialize, but by night, he transforms into “Happy Harry Hardon,” a pirate radio DJ. Through his broadcasts, he tackles societal issues, teen angst, and exposes his school faculty’s underhanded actions. His candid discussions on the radio resonate with the student body, leading to a substantial increase in his audience, and a teenage rebellion.

Crucially along side Slater, Samantha Mathis plays Nora De Niro, a fellow student who figures out Mark’s secret identity. She attempts to comfort Mark, especially after a tragic incident where a depressed teenager, Malcolm, commits suicide following a broadcast. Nora’s character is instrumental in helping Mark cope with the guilt over Malcolm’s suicide and encouraging the continuation of his show. As the story progresses, Nora becomes a crucial ally, assisting Mark in evading the authorities and broadcasting his final message. She’s the alt-girl-next-door always portraying a genuine concern and drive…

Overall, the film taps into the zeitgeist of an era where authority and traditional values were being questioned. It’s a reflection of a time when youth culture was on the cusp of a digital explosion, yet still clung to the raw, unfiltered truth. The movie doesn’t just entertain; it throws a spotlight on the power of words and the burgeoning sense of individuality among young people, amidst a world still reeling from the excesses of the 80s and the Cold War’s dying embers. It’s not just about teenage angst; it’s a commentary on the era’s thirst for authenticity and change.

An interesting fact regarding the soundtrack – Some songs featured didn’t appear on the officially released soundtrack, including:

  • The original version of “Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen, which appeared on his 1988 album “I’m Your Man”. Cohen’s version is used as the theme song for Mark’s (Christian Slater) pirate radio program throughout most of the film.
  • “Hello, Dad, I’m in Jail” by Was (Not Was)
  • “Fast Lane” by Urban Dance Squad
  • “Talk Hard” by Stan Ridgway, whose original version has never been officially released

In summary, remember “tonight, I’m as horny as a ten-peckered owl, so stay tuned because this is Hard Harry reminding you to eat your cereal with a fork and do your homework in the dark” – so fucking cool for the time 🙂

Pump Up the Volume | August 22, 1990 (United States) Summary: Mark runs a pirate radio station and causes an uproar when he speaks his mind and enthralls fellow teens.
Countries: United States, CanadaLanguages: English