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It Came from Outer Space: Our Guide to Awesome 1980s Space Movies
November 21, 2012 | 11:07AM

Whenever there is a federal holiday, DC’s Town Danceboutique teams up with promoter Aaron Riggins to throw their outlandish WTF!? party. Each features performances that make you say “WTF!?” (a zombie Madonna vouging, the pope serving jello-shot communion on the dance floor, horses go-go dancing in jockstraps, the sisters from Hocus Pocus appearing out of nowhere).  It’s an over-the-top affair with each party centering on a new theme, with WTF!? returning this Wednesday for Thanksgiving…In Space!

While WTF!? isn’t a costume party, party goers get so into the theme that many do dress up. For “Thanksgiving…In Space!” it would be easy reach for party goers to immolate costumes Star Wars, Star Trek, and our favorite soft-butch Sally Ride. But, why not go a bit further with your creativity? To help you prep, we’ve rounded up our favorite space-themed movies from the 1980s.

1) Blade Runner (1982)

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Harrison Ford plays an awesome, badass cop in 2019. By that point, our technology has developed past Twitter to the creation of organic robots (called “replicants”) who are used for dangerous work on other planets. When four replicants learn that they are only programed to have a four-year life, they escape to Earth to find out how to extend it. Ford’s cop character is a “blade runner” who hunts down replicants and “retires” them. He’s sent to find the four more recent escapes.

2) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

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Drew Barrymore was all cute. You know the rest. A lonely boy named Elliot befriends an alien, tries to dissect a frog, gets drunk in class on alien space vibes, fights with his sister, almost dies, then takes an epic bike ride.

3) The Last Starfighter (1984)

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A trailer park teenager spends all of his time playing a video game as he is obsessed with becoming the highest scorer on the Starfighter. When he does, he is approached by the game’s designer and asked to “take a ride,” which is not creepy at all. The car turns out to be a space ship, and the teen is taken to a planet called Rylos. Apparently, the planet needed a really experienced pilot to fight a war so they thought of the bright idea of designing a game, placing it in a trailer park, and seeing which piece of trailer trash could save their civilization and empire. Totally believable.

4) Dune (1984)

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In the far future, the universe is ruled by Emperor Corrino. The most valuable substance in the universe is a spice called “melange” (also, a more-than-appropriate drag queen name). You can cook with it, use it as a drug, or use it to time-travel. The rest of the movie focuses on fighting over the spice. Oh, and it stars Sting, Patrick Stewart and that guy who plays Charlotte’s husband in Sex in the City.

5) Cocoon (1985)

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Steve Guttenberg plays a fishing boat captain who is hired by aliens to rescue the cocoons of their friends, whom they left off the coast of Florida 10,000 years ago. Meanwhile, old people discover that swimming in the aliens’ pool (where they keep the cocoons) makes them feel younger. Yada, yada, yada, eventually 30 old people leave with the aliens to outerspace. It’s all very sweet, and a great movie. Plus, you get to see Steve Guttenberg shirtless – and a 1980s shirtless Steve Guttenberg is a very sexy thing. You also get to see Wilford Brimley shirtless as well, if you’re into that.

6) Flight of the Navigator (1986)

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This movie was the shit. Period. It centers on a 12 year old boy named David who is captured by an alien spaceship in 1978. He travels to the future…1986. He doesn’t realize that he’s time-traveled and everyone wonders where the hell he’s been and why hasn’t he aged. He gets locked up, he escapes, then he finds the spacecraft who – for some reason – is voiced by Pee Wee Herman. None of it makes sense. Who cares? Pee Wee Herman is an alien spaceship and Sarah Jessica Parker also stars.

7) Space Camp (1986)

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This movie featured Kate Capshaw, Kelly Preston, Lea Thompson and an adorable and young Joaquin Pheonix. With a stable of stars, how could it go wrong? Well, releasing a movie about a space shuttle mishap five months after the Challenger disaster pretty much doomed it. We loved it anyway. Basically, a bunch of kids at Space Camp get a tour of the space shuttle…when it accidentally launches. They instantly become astronauts and have to figure out how to get back home.

8) Predator (1987)

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Arnold Schwarzenegger leads a military group into the jungles of Central America to rescue an American cabinet secretary who has been kidnapped by guerrillas. Meanwhile, and alien spaceship had landed in the jungle and a nearly-invisible alien is roaming Central America killing people. Schwarzenegger ends up fighting it, killing it, and doing 123 sequels.

9) Spaceballs (1987)

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Bill Pullman, Rick Moranis, and John Candy star in this Mel Brook’s parody of Star Wars, Alien, and Star Trek.  Joan Rivers also lends her voice as that of Dot Matrix. Now a cult classic, the movie follows Pullman and Candy as they travel the galaxy in their Winnebago to save planet Druidia.

10) Batteries Not Included (1987)

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Who would of thought that Jessica Tandy would have starred in three movies in the 1980′s about aliens (the others being Cocoon, and Cocoon: The Return)? In this one, Tandy plays an elderly manager of an apartment building in New York’s East Village. Aliens move into the building disguised as household appliances.  When the property owner tries to force Tandy and the residents out of the building, they solicit the support of the aliens/appliances. Pissed off that the residents won’t move, the owner hires an arsonist to burn down the building. But, in the end, the aliens reconstruct the whole thing. Fun Fact: Hugh Cronyn plays Jessica Tandy’s husband in Cocoon, Cocoon: The Return, and Batteries Not Included. They were married as well in real life.

11) Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

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This horror/comedy featured a plot which centered on…do we really need to tell you? But yeah, a circus tent spaceship falls to earth and lands in Southern California. The Klowns begin to kill people. One even shrinks a group of townspeople to the size of popcorn and feeds it to a baby killer Klown. Killer Klowns from Outer Space is now considered by many to be a cult classic.

12) Alien Nation (1988)

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A group of 300,000 aliens land in the California desert seeking refuge. As they are integrated into Los Angeles, they are each given human names. Despite efforts to integrate, their oddities (they get drunk off of spolied milk) and presence begin to irk locals who begin to discriminate against them.  James Caan (human) and Mandy Patinkin (alien) play police partners in this movie would also spawn a television series.

13) Earth Girls are Easy (1988)

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Geena Davis plays a Valley Girl and manicurist in this 1988 musical by MTV VJ Julie Brown (no, not Downtown Julie Brown). When a spaceship lands in her pool while she is sunbathing, she meets three space-traveling aliens (Jeff Goldblum, Damon Wayans, and Jim Carrey). She shaves them an introduces them to L.A. culture. We can’t make this shit up.

14) My Stepmother is an Alien (1988)

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Kim Basinger plays an alien sent to earth on a secret mission. There, she carries a designer purse with a device that guides her an can create anything (as long as it fits in a purse): diamonds, clothes, key rings. She somehow marries Dan Aykroyd and learns how to cook, clean, kiss, and have sex…with Dan Aykroyd. Her stepdaughter (played by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and How I Met Your Mother‘s Alyson Hannigan) becomes suspicious, but eventually it all works out in the 80′s movie way.


 

WTF!? Thanksgiving…IN SPACE
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Town Danceboutique (8th & U Streets, NW)
10 PM | $5 | 21+

Music by Ed Bailey, Aaron Riggins, and DJ Bradley.
Performances by Ba’Naka, Pu$$y Noir, Dirrrty Pony, Callisto, Jezzibell JaxKnife and Heidi Glüm.

For more information on WTF!?, click here.

Remember, you can also follow the BYGays on Twitter for the most up-to-date party information. P.S., here is a picture of a shirtless Steve Guttenberg from Cocoon. You’re welcome.

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