Monday, September 6, 2021

Highlander (1986)


I'd like to express my sincere thanks to Gill of Realweegiemidget Reviews for inviting me to the New Romantic Blogathon, because if I'm known for anything, it's my encyclopedic knowledge of frilly shirts, synth pop, and excess. 

Now I know what you're thinking, Stabford has yet again missed the memo. Realweegiemidget Reviews has graciously invited me to the No True Scotsman Blogathon, and I admit I don't know an awful lot about Scotland, Scottish actors, or kilts. However, I do know an awful lot about dodgy accents, extravagant outfits, and music videos disguised as movies, which is why I'm absolutely convinced since I'm reviewing the head-lopping, mid-80s, sword-and-trenchcoat, Scottish noir fantasy Highlander directed by music video auteur Russell Mulcahy, that this blogathon was just itching to be plundered, and here we are. 

Highlander (1986)

Before I get to the review, maybe I should explain a little about what the New Romantic movement was. It was a pop culture movement that lasted about two weeks during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and neither me nor my closet have ever really gotten over it, with my chrome sneakers, collection of various scarves, and unusually high number of skinny ties dating back to Interpol's first record, but that's neither here nor there. Anyway, the New Romantic movement consisted of hair spray, eyeliner, extravagant blouses, shouting the phrase "Shiver me timbers!", and synthesizers, and for the life of me I just can't figure out why it never caught on.

"Ridicule is nothing to be scared of"

Before I get to the review, I'm just going to say that watching Highlander was a little triggering, because it reminded me of all those times during the early 80s when I nonchalantly strolled down damp, foggy Austrian streets as spotlights illuminated my shadow against buildings while I dramatically bundled up my trench coat fashionably around my neck to combat the chill and oops I'm forgetting that I was never in the band Ultravox and the music video to their classic song Vienna was not one of my actual memories.


I'm not going to say that I didn't have my share of evenings out in the 80s hopping from nightclub to nightclub in ridiculous outfits; scarved, Aquanetted and eyelinered within an inch of my life, because I did, but unfortunately since it was the early 1980s there are no pictures to confirm this and you'll have to take my word for it that I looked excessive, slightly pirate-y, and amazing. 

What I thought I looked like

What I actually looked like

Anyway, enough about my early-80s penchant for wearing a scarf as a headband, because I mean who didn't go through one of those phases am I right? Let's get back to the review.

Highlander (1986)

The film begins with a little wrestling because that's what you'd expect to find in a Scottish sword movie and because why not. Suddenly, a sword fight breaks out in a parking garage with sweeping crane shots, backflips, and a sword fighter artfully reflected in silver Ray-Ban sunglasses, and you're going to be hard-pressed to find something more quintessentially 80s than that. 

Someone wears a skull headdress and a kilt, and I totally would have worn that when I saw A-ha on their Hunting High And Low Tour in 1986, when I wore a floor-length black trench coat.

In a sea of pastel Benetton cable-knit sweaters, even Morten Harket looked upon me disapprovingly.

Suddenly, someone is seen running down an alley with stream escaping from pipes, which means there may have been some sort of plumber shortage during the 80s since this was such a common occurrence. Speaking of common occurrences, someone turns abruptly and dramatically looks at the camera, and there's a shot of just their eyes. 

Signature move

I'm not sure where this film actually takes place, but it's the most amazing location, because everywhere you go during the present day, you hear Queen, and everywhere you go in the past, it looks like the Safety Dance. 

Signature move

Sean Connery arrives dressed in peacock feathers claiming to be from Spain, and his accent makes that seem unlikely. Then he rows a boat and says, "Haggis? What is haggis?".

Codpiece? What is codpiece?

You know, we're a little too early in the review for a codpiece joke. 

Sean Connery wears a red outfit with puffy sleeves, claims he's Egyptian, and sings a song while wearing a codpiece. All this seems very unlikely. Speaking of unlikely, I searched high and low (a ha!) over the internet for "Sean Connery Highlander Codpiece", and there seems to be a lack of images, and that's surprising because it's so conspicuous it probably had its own trailer. 

Looks like he's smuggling a spiral cut ham

Come to think of it, "Connery Codpiece Trailer" sounds like a 1990s indie band that has a hammered dulcimer player.

Suddenly, there's a sword fight that destroys a castle because of course there is.

A bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos makes an appearance, and it's pretty infuriating because I'm off cheese. Apparently, a vintage bag of Nacho Flavored Doritos was on sale on E-bay for $400. There were no chips in it, so I don't see the appeal. The Nacho Cheese Doritos are pretty good, but the Taco Flavored Doritos are my favorite. Speaking of unlikely things, I once had a lengthy discussion with a stranger about Taco Flavored Doritos in the snack aisle at Target because the stranger claimed they were very hard to find, but I pointed at the bag and said, "They're not hard to find, they're right there", and Mrs. Deathrage wandered away in disgust and said she "Didn't want to be indoctrinated into my weird Dorito cult". 

If anyone would like to be indoctrinated into my Weird Dorito Cult™, just Venmo me $5 and you're in.

During a sword fight in another smoky alleyway, there's a sudden machine-gun battle, and all the dancers from Love Is A Battlefield appear.

OK, OK. Even I have to admit that I've wandered far afield on this one if I'm bringing up Love Is A Battlefield. Russell Mulcahy didn't even direct it, and Pat Benatar was never part of the New Romantic movement. I've written myself into a very vague and stylish corner. So, I think what this situation calls for is a video of four minutes of a loop of a man dressed in a Peirrot outfit dancing to Planet Earth by Duran Duran, you know, as a distraction. 

Now that's over, back to the movie. There are trench coats, Miami Vice suits, outlandish earrings, pleated pants, shoulder pads, ludicrously placed zippers, burlap, leather jackets, high waisted jeans, and safety pins.

There's also gratuitous pyrotechnics and people slowly rising up out of the water. 

Signature move

There's also swords that go "Whoosh", kilts, beheadings, Linn Drum, and Fairlight, and I've rambled on long enough. I'm not going down the Fairlight rabbit hole.

Thanks again to Gill for allowing me to participate in the No True Scotsman Blogathon, since this might be the last one she allows me to participate in after this since I haven't mentioned Christopher Lambert once. His accent is just terrible.


  1. Thanks for your always fun post which has at least one point, and I will allow you into my next blogathon and not just as I agree that Lambert's accent is shite, but also for honourable mentions of everything Scottish from Midge Ure and Ultravox to Connery!

  2. Thanks a lot! Now all that 80s stuff is bubbling up from the lower depths of my brain, and it'll take at least a couple days to push it back down! :)

  3. I'm old enough to remember how shocking (and cool) it was to see Connery in a small but pivotal role! Nice review!

  4. Love you to join in with a response to this tag... you have been tagged!
    from Gill at Realweegiemidget Reviews
    PS Also have another blogathon if you interested, be good to have you as always xx