Rediscover the Laughs: 25 Overlooked 80s and 90s Comedy Cult Classics – Lifotravel

There are a lot of great weird and wild comedy gems from the 80s and 90s that are worth a watch. Someone on a popular online forum asked for recommendations for movies that are “oddball, zany, weird cult comedies.” Here are the top 25 responses. 

1. After Hours (1985)

After Hours Catherine O'HaraAfter Hours Catherine O'Hara
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

When an ordinary data entry worker from New York decides to go on a date with a stunning but unsettled woman, his evening takes an unexpected turn. He finds himself in a whirlwind of bizarre adventures and oddball characters. Join Paul Hackett through the twists and turns that make this cult film an interesting, laughter-inducing classic.

2. Drop Dead Fred (1991)

Drop Dead Fred Rik MayallDrop Dead Fred Rik Mayall
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

Meet Drop Dead Fred, the imaginary friend who’s more naughty than a monkey on roller skates! When he reappears in a woman’s life, he brings a little bit of chaos and comfort when her whole world is upside down. This film highlights Elizabeth’s self-actualization as she deals with her overbearing mom and lewd husband.

3. UHF (1989)

UHF Michael Richards, 'Weird Al' YankovicUHF Michael Richards, 'Weird Al' Yankovic
Image Credit: Orion Pictures.

Get ready for a dose of weirdness and wackiness in UHF! George Newman’s hyperactive mind leads him to take over a failing TV station and fill the airwaves with the craziest shows you’ve ever seen. Everything from absurd parodies to offbeat comedy sketches makes UHF one of the most entertaining comedy dramas from the groovy 80s.

4. Death Becomes Her (1992)

Death Becomes Her Goldie Hawn, Meryl StreepDeath Becomes Her Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

What happens when eternal youth becomes a deadly obsession? Find out in Death Becomes Her, a darkly comedic tale of two women who will do anything to stay forever young. At the time, this film had one of the most impressive special effects, wickedly funny dialogue, and a cast to die for.

5. Night Shift (1982)

Night Shift Shelley Long, Henry WinklerNight Shift Shelley Long, Henry Winkler
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Night Shift is one of the weirdest and most hilarious graveyard flicks from the 80s. When two morgue attendants stumble upon a crazy business idea, they find themselves in a world of eccentric clients, unexpected romance, and more laughs than a clown car. With deadpan humor and a dash of “morgue romance,” this film will keep you laughing until dawn.

6. The House of Yes (1997)

The House of Yes Parker PoseyThe House of Yes Parker Posey
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

Welcome to The House of Yes, where family gatherings are anything but ordinary. Jackie O isn’t your everyday obsessive female. She takes hers to a new level when she discovers her brother is engaged, leading to secrets being revealed and buried memories being brought to life. Step into a world of twisted secrets and dysfunctional dynamics with a family that makes the Addams Family look like a bunch of accountants.

7. Shirley Valentine (1989)

Shirley Valentine Pauline CollinsShirley Valentine Pauline Collins
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Shirley Valentine goes on a hilarious journey of self-discovery, sandy beaches, and Mediterranean romance in this comedy. This middle-aged housewife’s escape to Greece will transform her into an unrecognizable new woman to her husband. But it’ll also have you laughing, cheering, and contemplating your own dreams of adventure.

8. Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (1989)

Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death Adrienne BarbeauCannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death Adrienne Barbeau
Image Credit: Paramount Home Video.

The government goes on a wild mission to recruit a feminist warrior at the neighborhood university because, you know, someone’s got to handle those feisty Piranha Women chilling in the mysterious Avocado Jungle. Their brilliant plan? Convince these fierce ladies to ditch their jungle pads and move into fancy reservation condos in Malibu. So, our government-appointed heroine teams up with a guide at the jungle’s edge, a bona fide male chauvinist. Get ready for some explosive arguments about the battle of the sexes as they trek deeper into the untamed wilderness.

9. Real Genius (1985)

Real Genius Jon GriesReal Genius Jon Gries
Image Credit: Tri-Star Pictures.

Familiar with the “brainiacs gone bonkers” storyline? Real Genius is just the film for you if that’s something you love. When a group of genius college students invents mind-boggling gadgets for a school project, they had their minds on epic pranks and redefined “nerd party.” But everything takes a sharp turn when they discover their professor intends to use their project to assist the military.

10. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (1991)

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead Christina ApplegateDon't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead Christina Applegate
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Breaking news: babysitter kicks the bucket; kids must survive the summer alone. A woman employs a babysitter while she goes off for a summer trip, leaving the kids with a mean babysitter. But shortly after, the babysitter passes away and the kids are delighted, but not for long. They’re left to fend for themselves when they can’t find their summer-expense money. Despite their mini tragedy, this film will have you reminiscing about your wild and carefree days.

11. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Pee-wee's Big Adventure Paul ReubensPee-wee's Big Adventure Paul Reubens
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Who would expect a man to slap on a red bow tie and embark on a hilariously epic quest across the U.S. over a stolen bike? Oh, we forgot to mention that it’s a man-child we’re talking about. Well, Mr. Pee-wee goes from visiting a psychic to encountering ghosts and rescuing pets from a fire, all to find his beloved bike. Believe it when we say Pee-wee is the ultimate embodiment of sheer goofiness.

12. Hudson Hawk (1991)

Hudson Hawk Bruce WillisHudson Hawk Bruce Willis
Image Credit: Tri-Star Pictures.

What would you do if asked to steal one of the most famous art pieces to save your buddy’s life? Meet Eddie “Hudson Hawk” Hawkins, a recently freed ex-con ready to turn over a new leaf and embrace real life. When faced with a choice between his newfound freedom and saving the life of his buddy Tommy, Eddie realizes that loyalty and friendship are worth more than any fresh start.

13. Down by Law (1986)

Down by Law Roberto Benigni, Tom Waits, John LurieDown by Law Roberto Benigni, Tom Waits, John Lurie
Image Credit: Island Pictures.

Take a trip to the Louisiana jail where three unlikely buddies are locked up together. Zack and Jack end up in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. They share a cell with peculiar Italian can-doer Roberto, who knows an escape route. Down by Law proves that hilarity, even behind bars, knows no bounds. It’ll make you question the sanity of these misfits and wonder if freedom is overrated when eccentric cellmates surround you.

14. The Wrong Guy (1997)

The Wrong Guy David FoleyThe Wrong Guy David Foley
Image Credit: Lions Gate Entertainment.

Bumbling executive Nelson Hibbert hilariously believes his engagement to the boss’ daughter guarantees promotion to the president at Nigel Industries. So, when Nelson’s future father-in-law, Mr. Nagel, snubs him for the position, our clumsy protagonist loses his marbles! When Nelson stumbles upon the lifeless Mr. Nagel, he becomes hysterical. Nelson flees, convinced that the entire police force is on his trail. But that’s not how this dark comedy ends.

15. Meet the Feebles (1989)

Meet the Feebles Danny MulheronMeet the Feebles Danny Mulheron
Image Credit: Kerridge Odeon.

Prepare yourself for a puppet show like no other, where the lines between cute and creepy are hilariously blurred. Meet the Feebles takes you behind the scenes of a wacky variety show filled with singing, dancing, and backstage drama that would make a soap opera blush. It serves puppet antics ranging from outrageous to scandalous in a twisted comedy extravaganza.

16. Getting Any (1994)

Getting Any?Getting Any?
Image Credit: Nippon Herald Films, Herald-Ace, and Office Kitano.

Getting Any? takes you on a mind-bending joyride through a world where absurdity reigns supreme. Follow the misadventures of a naive and inexperienced man who will stop at nothing to improve his chances with a woman, even if it means resorting to the most outrageous methods.

17. Forbidden Zone (1980)

Forbidden Zone Danny ElfmanForbidden Zone Danny Elfman
Image Credit: The Samuel Goldwyn Company.

This movie is an outlandish tale of a girl who stumbles upon a mind-bending dimension right in her own basement. Behind a mysterious door lies the Sixth Dimension, and things are about to get downright peculiar. Frenchy, the lucky lass, captures the heart of King Fausto himself. But jealous Queen Doris swoops in and takes Frenchy hostage. Now, it’s up to the zany Hercules family and Squeezit Henderson to mount a daring rescue mission.

18. Serial Mom (1994)

Serial Mom Kathleen TurnerSerial Mom Kathleen Turner
Image Credit: Savoy Pictures.

Beverly Sutphin shows us the dark side of suburban motherhood in this twisted black comedy about a woman who’ll do anything (even murder) to keep her kids smiling. With a dash of murder, a sprinkle of suburban chaos, and Kathleen Turner’s wickedly funny performance, Serial Mom will have you eyeing every mother you come across.

19. Repo Man (1984)

Repo Man Emilio Estevez, Zander SchlossRepo Man Emilio Estevez, Zander Schloss
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Buckle up and join a punk rocker turned repo man on a wild ride through a strange and unexpected car repossession. This spunky punk who unexpectedly becomes a repo agent embarks on a wild adventure to track down a Chevrolet Malibu worth a cool $20,000 bounty. But here’s the twist: this ain’t your ordinary car chase. This Malibu has a secret in its trunk that’s out of this world — or are intergalactic surprises standard accessories in the automotive world?

20. Freaked (1993)

Freaked Brooke ShieldsFreaked Brooke Shields
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Freaked is a comically twisted tale of a chemical company desperately needing an image makeover. They decide to enlist the help of a charming spokesperson, the one and only Ricky Coogan. Ricky’s journey takes him to South America, where he sees the chemical’s effects firsthand. And guess what? He stumbles upon a farm that’s anything but ordinary: a mutant freak farm. And Elijah, the farm’s enthusiastic owner, couldn’t be happier to have new subjects for his freak machine experiments.

21. Miracle Mile (1988)

Miracle Mile Denise CrosbyMiracle Mile Denise Crosby
Image Credit: Hemdale Film Corporation.

Harry’s all set to make up for an unfortunately missed date when he gets a phone call warning him about an imminent nuclear attack. Our hapless hero, now juggling the prospect of impending doom and his quest for love, goes on a mad scramble to track down Julie Peters, the apple of his eye. It’s a race against the ticking clock as Harry tries to escape the chaos and save the day.

22. Strictly Ballroom (1992)

Strictly Ballroom Paul Mercurio, Tara MoriceStrictly Ballroom Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice
Image Credit: Ronin Films.

Like the rebellious say, rules are meant to be broken. Meet Scott Hastings, a dancing dynamo with the moves to make jaws drop. But Scott’s all about dancing “his own steps,” much to the dismay of the stuffy Australian ballroom dance community. Thanks to Scott’s unorthodox style that sent his regular partner pirouetting out of his life, Fran, a beginner dancer, asks Scott to be her partner. Together, these two misfits are on a mission to defy the Ballroom Confederation and win the Australian Pan Pacific Championships.

23. Polyester (1981)

Polyester Divine, Tab HunterPolyester Divine, Tab Hunter
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

Introducing Francine Fishpaw, the quintessential queen of suburban life in Baltimore who’s figured it all out — or so she thought. She’s an upper-middle-class housewife, rocking the neighborhood with her husband’s not-so-conventional source of income. Additionally, the neighbors are putting on a protest show, her son has severe stomping skills, her daughter embraces motherhood a little earlier than expected with a charming local hoodlum, and her husband is exploring the art of extramarital affairs.

24. Clerks (1994)

Image Credit: Miramax Films.

Clerks takes you on a day-in-the-life journey of two convenience store clerks caught in a whirlwind of bizarre customers, philosophical debates, and crude humor. Dante’s life seems full of down endings, and this particular day is no exception. He discovers that his ex-girlfriend Caitlin is tying the knot. And that’s not all. Dante’s present girlfriend drops a bombshell: she’s got a little more experience in the bedroom department than he ever imagined. Talk about a gut punch, right?

25. The Legend of the Stardust Brothers (1985)

The Legend of the Stardust Brothers The Legend of the Stardust Brothers
Image Credit: Cine Saison.

Flashback to 1985, where we find young Makoto Tezuka, a film student with a sprinkle of wackiness and a dash of artistic genius. Armed with a handful of experimental shorts and a twinkle in his eye, Makoto is suddenly entrusted with transforming an album by the one and only Haruo Chikada into a full-blown, toe-tapping musical film!

Source: Reddit.

Boloere Divine Seibidor, fondly called B.S., is a Nigerian-based writer and poet. Her favorite topics include music, especially Hip-Hop, film, lifestyle, and fashion. She’s been published by Feral Journal, Fantasy Magazine, The Temz Review, and most notably, Wealth of Geeks. She enjoys romantic dinners, movie nights, and touring new sights. When she’s not writing, she’s delving back in time to the underground world of Hip-Hop, watching TikTok, or visiting the cinema.

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