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The Best Ghost Films of the 1980s

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ghost films 80s

The Shining 1980 , 142 min.

Stanley Kubrick   •    Starring: Jack Nicholson ,  Shelley Duvall ,  Danny Lloyd

Based-on-20th-Century-Literature    •    Ghost Film    •    Haunted House Film

Held position in the past 45 days

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ghost films 80s

Ghostbusters 1984 , 105 min.

Ivan Reitman   •    Starring: Bill Murray ,  Dan Aykroyd ,  Harold Ramis

Comedy    •    Fantasy Comedy    •    Fantasy

Held position in the past 45 days

Beetlejuice 1988 , 92 min.

Tim Burton   •    Starring: Geena Davis ,  Catherine O'Hara ,  Alec Baldwin

Black Comedy    •    Comedy    •    Fantasy Comedy

Held position in the past 45 days

Poltergeist 1982 , 114 min.

Tobe Hooper   •    Starring: JoBeth Williams ,  Craig T. Nelson ,  Heather O'Rourke

Ghost Film    •    Haunted House Film    •    Horror

Held position in the past 45 days

The Changeling 1980 , 107 min.

Peter Medak   •    Starring: George C. Scott ,  Trish Van Devere ,  Melvyn Douglas

Canuxploitation    •    Ghost Film    •    Haunted House Film

Held position in the past 45 days

Ghostbusters II 1989 , 108 min.

Ivan Reitman   •    Starring: Bill Murray ,  Dan Aykroyd ,  Sigourney Weaver

Action    •    Action Comedy    •    Comedy

Held position in the past 45 days

The Fog 1980 , 89 min.

John Carpenter   •    Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis ,  John Houseman ,  Adrienne Barbeau

Ghost Film    •    Horror    •    Mystery

Held position in the past 45 days

The Beyond 1981 , 87 min.

Lucio Fulci   •    Starring: Catriona MacColl ,  David Warbeck ,  Cinzia Monreale

Exploitation Film    •    Ghost Film    •    Haunted House Film

Down by 4 in the past 45 days

The House by the Cemetery 1981 , 87 min.

Lucio Fulci   •    Starring: Catriona MacColl ,  Paolo Malco ,  Ania Pieroni

Foreign Language Film    •    Ghost Film    •    Haunted House Film

Up by 1 in the past 45 days

House 1986 , 90 min.

Steve Miner   •    Starring: William Katt ,  George Wendt ,  Richard Moll

Comedy    •    Ghost Film    •    Haunted House Film

Down by 1 in the past 45 days

The Entity 1982 , 125 min.

Sidney J. Furie   •    Starring: Barbara Hershey ,  Ron Silver ,  David Labiosa

Down by 1 in the past 45 days

Ghost Story 1981 , 110 min.

John Irvin   •    Starring: Fred Astaire ,  Melvyn Douglas ,  Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Drama    •    Ghost Film    •    Haunted House Film

Held position in the past 45 days

Waxwork 1988 , 95 min.

Anthony Hickox   •    Starring: Zach Galligan ,  David Warner ,  Dana Ashbrook

Fantasy    •    Ghost Film    •    Haunted House Film

Held position in the past 45 days

Poltergeist II: The Other Side 1986 , 91 min.

Brian Gibson   •    Starring: JoBeth Williams ,  Craig T. Nelson ,  Heather O'Rourke

Down by 2 in the past 45 days

House II: The Second Story 1987 , 88 min.

Ethan Wiley   •    Starring: Arye Gross ,  Jonathan Stark ,  Royal Dano

Held position in the past 45 days

The Watcher in the Woods 1980 , 84 min.

John Hough   •    Starring: Bette Davis ,  Carroll Baker ,  Lynn-Holly Johnson

Down by 1 in the past 45 days

Mr. Vampire 1985 , 96 min.

Ricky Lau   •    Starring: Ching-Ying Lam ,  Wah Yuen ,  Siu-hou Chin

Action Comedy    •    Action    •    Comedy

Down by 1 in the past 45 days

Daffy Duck's Quackbusters 1988 , 72 min.

Greg Ford   •    Starring: Mel Blanc ,  Mel Tormé ,  Roy Firestone

Comedy    •    Family    •    Fantasy

Held position in the past 45 days

The Woman in Black 1989 , 100 min.

Herbert Wise   •    Starring: Adrian Rawlins ,  Bernard Hepton ,  David Daker

Based-on-20th-Century-Literature    •    Costume Horror    •    Ghost Film

Held position in the past 45 days

Haunted Honeymoon 1986 , 82 min.

Gene Wilder   •    Starring: Gene Wilder ,  Gilda Radner ,  Dom DeLuise

Comedy    •    Farce    •    Ghost Film

Down by 1 in the past 45 days

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The 55 Best Horror Films From the 1980s

Camp, honest-to-god scares, and stellar Stephen King adaptations—this decade had it all.

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In honor of an era that took major risks with the malleable horror genre , we’ve gathered our favorite scary movies from the decade. From director Ulli Lommel’s The Boogeyman to the Stephen King-inspired Christine , these horror flicks are both campy and frightening. Ahead of Halloween, we recommend watching any (or all!) of the following thrillers to get into the spooky spirit. So, without further ado, here are the 55 best horror films from the '80s.

a group of people sitting in a room

55. Silver Bullet (1985)

In Silver Bullet, a quiet town is disrupted by a series of murders that no officer can solve. Naturally, the town's residents try to hunt the assailant on their own—but that comes at a deadly price. As the town’s paranoia grows, Marty, a young boy in a wheelchair, discovers a werewolf lurking among them. Armed with information that no one else has, Marty decides to catch the killer on his own.

a person with the mouth open

54. Christine (1983)

Christine might be one of Stephen King's strangest novels, sure, but it certainly makes for a campy adventure. The film follows a a high school nerd named Arnie Cunningham, who buys a 1958 Plymouth Fury in hopes of becoming popular. For a while, it works—who can resist a dope ride? Unfortunately, Arnie’s luck changes when he learns the car is possessed by a vicious spirit.

a monkey on top of a car

53. Cujo (1983)

If you’re afraid of dogs, this is not the movie for you. Cujo follows a fluffy St.Bernard who is bitten by a bat. Thankfully, Cujo survives the attack, but the bat's venom transforms him into a violent beast. When Cujo goes on a deadly rampage through town, his panic-stricken owners try their best to stop him.

a couple of men posing for the camera

52. The Lost Boys (1987)

The Lost Boys follows a pair of brothers, Michael and Sam, who move to northern California with their mom. Being the new kid on the block is never easy, but they both meet new friends. Sam opts for a group of comic-book nerds. And what about Michael? Well, he befriends David, a tough guy who turns out to be the leader of a vampire gang.

the boogeyman still

51. The Boogeyman (1980)

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In The Boogeyman, a young boy murders his mother's abusive boyfriend, while his sister watches through a mirror. Years later, the mirror is broken, which should be fine—except the man’s evil spirit was trapped inside. To make matters worse, he’s hell-bent on getting revenge.

Doll, Fiction, Human body, Flesh, Musical instrument, Room, Toy, Musician,

50. Motel Hell (1980)

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A satiric take on some of its most famous genre predecessors, this wacko horror-comedy involves a motel-operating couple who sell smoked meats that are really their guests/victims—whom they bury up to their necks in a "secret garden" until they're ready to be harvested.

Fiction, Room, Darkness, Photography, Fictional character, Art, Black hair, Games,

49. The Funhouse (1981)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper goes back to the deformed-masked-psycho well with this entertaining 1981 B-movie, in which four teenagers decide to spend the night at a carnival—which already sounds like a bad idea—only to then have their fun ruined by a giant mutant freak with a penchant for violence.

Fun, Gesture, Long hair, Hand, Smile, Photography, Brown hair,

48. April Fool's Day (1986)

Buoyed by one of the all-time great horror-movie posters , this 1986 cult classic hybridizes the slasher film and the manor house murder-mystery, detailing a group of college kids' weekend getaway that turns bloody when someone begins picking them off.

Plaid, Snapshot, Facial hair, Fun, Standing, Human, Shoulder, Design, Mouth, Beard,

47. The Gate (1987)

The big-screen debut of Stephen Dorff (at the age of 14), Tibor Takács film is a superior midnight movie about some kids who, left home alone for the weekend by their parents, discover that the construction worker-created hole in their backyard is actually a portal to Hell—and furthermore, that clues to how it works can be found in a heavy metal album's lyrics.

Personal protective equipment, Gas mask, Mask, Costume, Helmet, Headgear, Fictional character,

46. My Bloody Valentine (1981)

George Mihalka's 1981 slasher film isn't particularly inventive, but it makes up for its rote premise (about kids being stalked by a vengeful fiend on Valentine's Day) with decent plotting, a memorable villain in a mining mask, and a level of violence that was deemed so extreme by the MPAA, the uncut version has still never been released.

Face, Head, Hat, Headgear, Fashion accessory, Photography, Smile,

45. Children of the Corn (1984)

Based on Stephen King's short story of the same name, this adolescent nightmare charts the ordeal of a couple that winds up in a Nebraska town where the kids—highlighted by the unforgettably sinister Malachai (Courtney Gains)—have decided that ritualistically killing adults is the best way to guarantee a good corn harvest.

Barechested, Chest, Flesh, Chest hair,

44. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

John Landis' seminal 1981 horror-comedy strikes just the right balance between the terrifying and the absurd through its story of two American backpackers in England who are attacked by a werewolf, leaving one dead and the other to await his lycanthropic fate. Frequently amusing, it also boasts groundbreaking monster-transformation effects by Rick Baker.

Head, Sculpture, Forehead, Human, Art, Statue, Wrinkle, Smile,

43. Bad Taste (1987)

Peter Jackson's splatter-ific calling card, this gonzo 1987 effort is nominally concerned with a small New Zealand town under siege from aliens, but it's really about the insanely gory, over-the-top B-movie special effects that Jackson created on his own.

Hair, Face, Nose, Cheek, Chin, Child, Blue, Hairstyle, Head, Lip,

42. Child's Play (1988)

Tom Holland's franchise-starting 1988 hit tapped into the underlying creepiness of kids' playthings with its story of a serial killer who transfers his soul into a popular doll, and then attempts to leapfrog back into a young boy's body—a loopy idea that's largely sold by the design of Chucky , and by Brad Dourif's voicework for the villain.

Portrait, Art, Games, Illustration,

41. Pumpkinhead (1988)

Special effects maestro Stan Winston's directorial debut is a sturdy supernatural revenge saga about an Appalachian mountain man (Lance Henriksen) who, with the aid of a backwoods witch, conjures the legendary (and magnificent-looking) Pumpkinhead demon to kill those who murdered his son—a decision that ultimately comes back to haunt him.

Santa claus, Christmas, Facial hair, Fictional character, Beard, Holiday,

40. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

One of the most traumatizing horror movies of the era (especially if you were (un)lucky enough to see it at an early age), this scuzzy slasher film concerns a young boy who witnesses his parents' brutal murder at the hands of a lunatic in a Santa Claus costume, and then years later turns into a likeminded killer.

trick-or-treat, Pumpkin, Jack-o'-lantern, Vegetarian food, Art,

39. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

The only Halloween film to not feature Michael Myers—it was intended to turn the franchise into more of an anthology-style series— Season of the Witch (about a conspiracy involving Halloween masks) remains a uniquely unsettling stand-alone film in an E.C. Comics-by-way-of-John-Carpenter tradition.

Forehead, Head, Chin, Nose, Barechested, Human, Chest, Fun, Cool, Neck,

38. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

The film that launched the career of Michael Rooker, John McNaughton's seminal 1986 serial-killer film takes a gritty, no-frills docudrama approach to its story (based on real-life convict Henry Lee Lucas ) about a psycho and his partner-in-crime acting on their murderous impulses.

Tree, Glasses, Cool, Beard, Facial hair, Headgear, Adaptation, Temple, Plant, Photography,

37. Pet Sematary (1989)

It may not quite live up to its Stephen King source material, but Mary Lambert's 1989 adaptation nonetheless captures the overarching don't-make-deals-with-the-devil mood of its story—about a man who uses a mystical pet cemetery to bring his toddler son back from the grave—while also climaxing with a depiction of childlike evil that three decades later remains downright disturbing.

Fictional character, Movie, Fiction, Shout, Screenshot,

36. Fright Night (1985)

Tom Holland's stellar horror-comedy pits a young suburban teenager (William Ragsdale) and his midnight-movie TV host idol (Roddy McDowall) against a new next-door neighbor (Chris Sarandon) who, it turns out, is actually a bloodsucking creature of the night.

Human, Movie,

35. Day of the Dead (1985)

The third installment in George A. Romero's pioneering zombie series is a scary and smart story about a group of post-apocalyptic survivors in an underground bunker who find themselves increasingly at each other's throats, all while a team of scientists attempt to find a cure for the plague through research that includes domesticating a brain-muncher known as Bub.

Cheek, Finger, Fun, People, Hairstyle, Skin, Photograph, White, Happy, Facial expression,

34. Opera (1987)

No one stages murder quite like Dario Argento, who continued to cement his reputation as the master of the giallo (a particular strain of lurid Italian thriller) with this saga of an opera understudy who becomes the lead in a new production of Macbeth , only to then be terrorized by one of Argento's trademark, never-seen-except-his-gloved-hands fiends.

Face, Facial expression, Head, Nose, Eye, Human, Mouth, Organ, Lip, Snout,

33. The Howling (1981)

Joe Dante's contribution to the werewolf genre was this 1981 gem (co-written by John Sayles), which tracks Dee Wallace's TV news reporter—still traumatized by her run-in with a serial killer—to a remote resort where she finds herself in all sorts of full moon-triggered trouble.

Flesh, Fictional character, Screenshot,

32. The Stuff (1985)

Fringe auteur Larry Cohen delivers an amusingly horrific satire of American appetites with this underappreciated B-movie about a mysterious yogurt-like diet snack that becomes a national sensation. There's just one side-effect: The Stuff turns consumers into zombie-like monsters.

Nose, Mouth, Cheek, Flesh, Jaw, Eating, Human, Lip, Close-up, Neck,

31. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

With all due respect to its equally revolting kindred spirits ( Cannibal Ferox in particular), Ruggero Deodato's infamous Cannibal Holocaust still stands as one of the most morally repulsive—and, admittedly, effective—horror movies of the decade, courtesy of extreme violence that was either thought to be real (involving humans) or was real (involving animals).


30. The Hitcher (1986)

Further emphasizing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 's point that picking up strangers on the side of the road is a very bad idea, Robert Harmon's 1986 thriller offers up Rutger Hauer as a psycho hitchhiker who makes life a living hell for nice-guy driver C. Thomas Howell.

Lighting, Temple, Night, Darkness,

29. The Changeling (1980)

George C. Scott brings a measure or gravitas to this haunted-house tale, about a composer who, still mourning the death of his wife and child, moves across the country to an eerie estate that boasts a ghost who likes to play ball.


28. Creepshow (1982)

Inspired by the macabre tales of E.C. Comics, this Stephen King-George A. Romero collaboration is a phenomenal anthology, highlighted by a short in which Leslie Nielsen gets revenge on Ted Danson by burying him up to his neck in sand right in front of the ocean's tide line.

Face, Forehead, Chin, Jaw, Neck, Dress shirt, Pleased,

27. The Stepfather (1987)

Long before he was stranded on Lost , Terry O'Quinn was a nutcase weaseling his way into new families as a stepfather—and then going off the bloody deep end like a cross between Jack Torrance and Norman Bates when things don't conform to his Reagan-era values.

Canidae, Dog, Dog breed, Carnivore, Dog walking, Photography, Companion dog, Leash, German shepherd dog, Kunming wolfdog,

26. The Beyond (1981)

Famed Italian horror director Lucio Fulci's The Beyond is a gruesome head-trip about a Louisiana hotel that contains the doorway to Hell, and the new owner who unwittingly opens it, thus instigating all sorts of nasty, hallucinatory Satanic madness that concludes with one of the great shots in all of '80s horror cinema.

Musical instrument, Musician, Music,

25. Creepshow 2 (1987)

George A. Romero may not have directed this sequel to his anthology hit, but he and Stephen King nonetheless had a guiding hand in its production—and in making it better than its predecessor, thanks to the strikingly sinister tale, "The Raft."

Zombie, Face, Head, Flesh, Fictional character, Mouth, Forehead, Human, Fiction, Jaw,

24. Prince of Darkness (1987)

More than a little bit bonkers—and better off for it— John Carpenter's severely undervalued Prince of Darkness stars the director's Halloween lead Donald Pleasance as a priest who believes that a cylinder of green goo is actually Satan.

Darkness, Performance, Games, Photography, Performing arts, Scene, Flash photography, Night,

23. Hellraiser (1987)

Clive Barker paved the way for S&M-style horror with this adaptation of his novella The Hellbound Heart , about a mysterious puzzle box that functions as the portal to a sadomasochistic dimension ruled by a race of nasty "Cenobite" creatures led by the porcupine-y Pinhead.

Water transportation, Vehicle, Canoe, Boat, Boats and boating--Equipment and supplies, Reflection, Watercraft, Water, Boating, Recreation,

22. Friday the 13th (1980)

The one that truly started it all, Sean S. Cunningham's Friday the 13th may not feature Jason Voorhees as its actual villain (he wouldn't even don his trademark hockey mask until 1982's Friday the 13th Part 3 ), but it remains the template upon which a legion of subsequent slasher films were based.

Movie, Photography, Fictional character, Art,

21. Maniac (1980)

The first of two William Lustig features to make this list, 1980's Maniac is a deranged and decidedly unsettling exploitation saga about a crazed loner with a fondness for decorating department store mannequins with the scalps of his many innocent victims.

Butcher, Flesh, Human, Cuisine, Food, Meat, Dish,

20. Re-Animator (1985)

Stuart Gordon's loose H.P. Lovecraft adaptation is a delirious Frankensteinian riff about a demented medical student (Jeffrey Combs, in a role that rightly turned him into a B-movie icon) who discovers the means of bringing things back from the dead—albeit with a few unexpected, unpleasant side effects.

Light, Darkness, Lighting, Night, Fun, Room, Reflection, Photography, Midnight, Candle,

19. Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

A wackadoo genre work marked by its bizarre methods of murder and its even more bizarre narrative twists and turns, Happy Birthday to Me is the rare slasher film that constantly keeps one on its toes—up to its surprising final revelations.

Blond, Fun, Sitting, Long hair, Conversation, Brown hair, Event, Scene,

18. The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Rife with all sorts of psychosexual imagery—none better than the poster-ready sight of cowering women spied through the legs of a man wielding a phallic power drill—this slasher-film anomaly ultimately proves a distinctly feminist (and fight-the-male-power) take on the genre.

Youth, Fun, Leisure, Vacation, Event, Recreation, T-shirt, Child, Style, Smile,

17. Sleepaway Camp (1983)

An obvious descendant of Friday the 13th , Robert Hiltzik's Sleepaway Camp is an above-average suspense story about kids being slaughtered at an overnight camp by a mysterious assailant—until, that is, its superbly shocking finale, which stands as the decade's biggest (and best) horror blindside.

Movie, Human, Screenshot, Darkness, Fictional character, Scene, Action film, Digital compositing, Fiction,

16. The Evil Dead (1981)

Sam Raimi's breakthrough indie set the stage for the director's particularly rambunctious style, as well as established the peerless comedic-hero persona of star Bruce Campbell.

Face, Zombie, Human, Eye, Flesh, Fictional character, Fiction,

15. Maniac Cop (1988)

Featuring one of the all-time great taglines ("You Have the Right to Remain Silent…Forever"), William Lustig and Larry Cohen's Maniac Cop follows a traditional return-of-the-repressed formula via its portrait of a vengeful resurrected cop who comes back from the great beyond in order to punish the corrupt officials who locked him up with those he'd previously put away.

Hair, Face, Blond, Child, Nose, Eye, Hairstyle, Lip, Cheek, Organ,

14. Poltergeist

Regardless of whether you believe Poltergeist was helmed by credited director Tobe Hooper or (as rumors have long suggested) producer Steven Spielberg, this TV-phobic haunted-house thriller delivers unforgettable scares and a classic horror-cinema line ("They're heeeere"), as well as a rather touching portrait of the strength of the American nuclear family.

Yellow, Event, Performance, Photography, Musician, Costume, Musical ensemble,

13. Gremlins (1984)

One of Amblin Entertainment's finest productions, this darkly humorous holiday horrorshow (directed by Joe Dante, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, and written by Chris Columbus) revolves around a strange furry pet named Gizmo who, if touched by water or fed after midnight, sprouts hordes of maniacally evil Gremlins.

Snapshot, Muscle, Fun, Sitting, Photography, Smile, Child, Black hair,

12. The Fly (1986)

David Cronenberg's big-budget body-horror saga (a loose adaptation of George Langelaan's story and the ensuing Vincent Price film) details the efforts of a scientist (Jeff Goldblum) to create a teleportation device, and the hideous consequences of his experiment when a fly accidentally gets into his machine.

Leather jacket, Movie, Jacket, Fictional character,

11. Near Dark (1987)

Kathryn Bigelow's 1987 film is an unbelievably moody, stylish vampire-Western hybrid that's as romantic as it is tense, and features a number of cast members (Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, and Bill Paxton) from her future husband (er, ex-husband) James Cameron's Aliens .

Room, Darkness, Photography, Media, Fictional character, Television, Television set,

10. Videodrome (1983)

A year after Poltergeist suggested that television was a disruptive force in the American family, David Cronenberg suggested that it was a conduit toward a "new flesh" in Videodrome , a madness-infected film about a Canadian TV station owner (James Woods) who stumbles upon—to his eternal, hellish-hallucinatory dismay—a broadcast of red-room torture.

Face, Nose, Eyebrow, Facial expression, Skin, Lip, Cheek, Head, Close-up, Chin,

9. Tenebre (1982)

Dario Argento's best film is this superlative giallo from 1982, in which an American writer, while in Rome to promote his new book, becomes embroiled in a police case about a serial killer whose methods may be modeled after those found in his novel. Few horror films have ever been this vividly awash in issues of twisted sexuality, voyeurism, gender power dynamics, mirror-image doubling, and the role between artist and spectator.

Atmospheric phenomenon, Sky, Atmosphere, Screenshot, Mist, Illustration, Darkness, Photography, Cloud, Fictional character,

8. The Fog (1980)

John Carpenter's follow-up to 1978's Halloween is an old-fashioned ghost story about drowned mariners who return to exact revenge on the descendants of those who lured them to their death—a tale that's elevated by Carpenter's unparalleled mastery of widescreen visuals.

Fiction, Fun, Movie, Human, Darkness, Fictional character, Flesh, Scene, Smile, Screenshot,

7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

How do you follow up one of cinema's all-time scariest films? If you're Tobe Hooper, you take things in a decidedly more comedic direction, and in the process, deliver a second helping of Texas Chainsaw Massacre mayhem that's as goofy as it is grisly. " Dog will hunt! "

Fictional character, Demon, Darkness, Movie, Fiction, Screenshot,

6. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)

Sam Raimi's Evil Dead sequel is, in large part, a big-budget remake-cum-overhaul of his 1981 original, marked by better special effects, more outrageous camerawork, and a truly larger-than-life performance by ably chinned leading man, Bruce Campbell.

Blue, Sky, Darkness, Tree, Forest, Performance, Stage, Photography,

5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Wes Craven turned Freddy Krueger into one of modern movies' great bogeymen with his dreamlike 1984 hit, in which a child-abusing evildoer returns from the grave to punish his killers by attacking their children through their dreams.

Lip, Mouth, Zombie, Fun, Jaw, Fictional character, Smile,

4. Possession (1981)

The craziest possession film ever—and potentially the craziest film ever—Andrzej Zulawski's relationship drama charts the disintegration of a marriage between a spy (Sam Neill) and his wife (Isabelle Adjani), who's soon sleeping with a tentacled monster. In the signature scene, Adjani writhes around a subway station floor while miscarrying. As I've said before , it has to be seen to be believed.

Cg artwork, Digital compositing, Movie, Fictional character, Action film,

3. Aliens (1986)

For this sequel to Ridley Scott's 1979 original, James Cameron shifts the focus away from horror and toward action, though that doesn't change the fact that his continuation of Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) battle against the alien xenomorphs is an unforgettable monster-movie ride.

Adventure game, Darkness, Photography, Performance, Fictional character, Games, Screenshot,

2. The Thing (1982)

Far surpassing its 1951 Howard Hawks source material, John Carpenter generates nerve-rattling anxiety through his science-fiction-y horror story about a group of Antarctic researchers whose snowbound situation turns lethal when they're visited by an alien who can take human shape—and thus co-exist with them in hiding. Come for the creepy creature effects and non-stop unease, stay for Kurt Russell's first-class performance.

Face, Hair, Facial hair, Facial expression, Skin, Chin, Forehead, Nose, Beard, Head,

1. The Shining (1980)

Never mind that Stephen King doesn't love it . Bolstered by Jack Nicholson's unhinged performance as a father increasingly determined to off his family, and by direction that creates an overpowering sense of dread in every methodical pan and tracking shot, Stanley Kubrick's haunted-hotel classic is the pinnacle of 1980s horror.

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Nick Schager is a NYC-area film critic and culture writer with twenty years of professional experience writing about all the movies you love, and countless others that you don’t. 

Bria McNeal is a Manhattan based journalist who is patiently awaiting B5's revival. When she's not writing about all things entertainment, she can be found watching TV or trying to DIY something (likely, at the same time). Her work has appeared in NYLON, Refinery29, InStyle, and her personal newsletter, StirCrazy.  

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25 Horror Movies from the ’80s That Have Stood the Test of Time

The special effects might be a little outdated, but these gems have proven enduring nonetheless.

Headshot of Chloe Foussianes

The Fly (1986)

David Cronenberg's body horror classic is the vanishingly rare remake that transcends the original. As the title suggests, it follows scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) as—after a fateful encounter with a fly in a teleportation machine—he begins to look more and more bug-like.

The Evil Dead (1981)

Sam Raimi's take on the "scary cabin in the woods" trope still holds up.

Videodrome (1983)

Cronenberg's second film on this list is a wholly original creation: a meditation on the nature of media and violence, equal parts carnal and cerebral (though Videodrome makes a compelling case that those two concepts aren't as separate as they might appear) . Viewed decades after its debut, it's all the scarier for its prescience.

Friday the 13th (1980)

There's a lot of debate about the best Friday the 13th movie (the original spawned a dozen sequels and reboots) but what better place to start than with the slasher that started it all?

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

There's a reason why Freddy Krueger's become such an enduring character in pop culture: the original installment in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise boasts an intriguing premise, terrifying villain, and plenty of teenage drama.

Gremlins (1984)

For the sizable community of people who've always been convinced that Furbies were hiding a dark secret, Gremlins is sure to reinforce a long-held suspicion or two.

The Shining (1980)

Horror fan or not, The Shining is required viewing: the carpeted halls of the film's expansive hotel are embedded in our cultural memory, and the films iconic moments are referenced ad infinitum in movies and TV of all stripes. It's also just really, really good.

The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Nothing's more punk than the undead in this high-energy tale of a group of punks who face flesh-eating consequences when one of their parties unearths a toxin that turns human into zombies.

Aliens (1986)

David Cameron's follow-up to Ridley Scott's seminal Alien sees Sigourney Weaver (er, Ellen Ripley) once again besieged by parasitic extraterrestrials—though this sequel is much heavier on the action, and a little lighter on the thrills, than its predecessor.

The Thing (1982)

The premise of The Thing revolves around a shape-shifting alien, but the protagonists are plagued as much by their own very human foibles as any extraterrestrial foe.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Catchy tunes, a brilliant cast, and a healthy dose of camp turn this creature feature into a bloody good time.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

A pioneering entry into the now ubiquitous self-aware horror-comedy sub-genre, An American Werewolf in London manages to land jokes and scares with equal effect.

Creepshow (1982)

Inspired by 1950s horror comics, this anthology film (which marks Stephen King's screenwriting debut) by George Romero is a note perfect blend of comedy and creeps.

Predator (1987)

Prefer your creature features with a little more muscle? This sci-fi action romp (featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger) will soothe your savage soul.

Poltergeist (1982)

A key part of Poltergeist 's lore is that despite director Tobe Hooper's name in the credits, producer and screenwriter Steven Spielberg had more of a hand on the wheel—but ultimately, it's the movie itself, not its disputed authorship, that ensured it would endure.

Child's Play (1988)

The creepy doll genre gets a snarky twist with this quippy supernatural horror featuring the now famous Chucky doll—which happens to house the soul of a serial killer.

Tenebre (1982)

Dario Argento, the Italian horror auteur behind the original Suspiria , also created the (somewhat) lesser-known Tenebre —a film about an American mystery author who travels to Rome, only to find himself enmeshed in a real-life murder investigation.

Hellraiser (1987)

Clive Barker's directorial debut (based on his own 1986 novella) not only gave us our first look at the bizarre world of the Cenobites, it also introduced the world to the now-iconic Pinhead.

Beetlejuice (1988)

The '80s really embraced the intersection of humor and scares, and few movies typified that quite as much as Tim Burton's famous tale of a couple of ghosts who try to exorcise the humans from their house.

The Dead Zone (1983)

Cronenberg and Stephen King mashup in this Christopher Walken-starring classic about a man who develops psychic powers after waking up from a coma.

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Chloe is a News Writer for , where she covers royal news, from the latest additions to Meghan Markle’s staff to Queen Elizabeth’s monochrome fashions ; she also writes about culture, often dissecting TV shows like The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Killing Eve .

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The 31 Best '80s Horror Movies

From the introduction of icons like Freddy Krueger and Chucky, to fun sequels featuring the likes of Michael Myers and Norman Bates

preview for 15 of The Best Horror Movies

Aliens (1986)

best 80s horror movies

James Cameron follows up Ridley Scott’s cosmic dread with a badass sequel some argue is better than Scott’s franchise opener. And though we love a good debate, there’s no doubt Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley is hands down one of sci-fi’s greatest heroes. Here, she resurrects her role as the sole-surviving Nostromo warrant officer, only to find herself juggling a six-year-old, a tabby, and an angry Alien Queen.

Beetlejuice (1988)

best 80s horror movies

File this one under “Best Gateway Horror,” right in between The Addams Family and Ghostbusters . Starring a 1988 Michael Keaton with all the rizz of a man who’s been rotting in a coffin for a hundred years, Tim Burton’s afterlife classic operates with a lot of plot holes, but that won’t stop us from revisiting the feud between the Maitlands and the Deetzes every year around this time.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

best 80s horror movies

Frank Oz's horror musical about a florist whose dreams of romance are squashed by a giant potted man-eater who demands to be fed is ripe for revival. Narrated by a Greek chorus trio—Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon—this botanical spectacle stars Rick Moranis alongside a scene-stealing Steve Martin, whose demented dentist is tops. This delightful little film bites in all the best ways.

Near Dark (1987)

best 80s horror movies

Way before Point Break, The Hurt Locker, and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow put out this immortal classic that fuses wild west action with vampire lore and sexual chemistry. About a farm boy who tries to break free from the clutches of a nomadic vampire clan, the film remains one of the best contributions to the night-bite subgenre. Plus, it comes with a killer ’80s soundtrack.

Possession (1983)

best 80s horror movies

A victim of the era’s “video nasties” moral panic, Possession was banned here and in the United Kingdom. Today, however, you can stream it in all its visceral, controversial intensity. The gist: Sam Neill and the Cannes-winning Isabelle Adjani star as a married couple on the verge of divorce. Suspecting his wife is having an affair, Neill’s Mark follows her down a rabbit hole of violence and psychological horror.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

best 80s horror movies

J-horror has long been a huge player in the pantheon of horror cinema, influencing American film with its psyche torture and long-haired ghosts. But sometimes, J-horror takes cues from our very own greats. Borrowing from David Lynch and David Cronenberg, Shin'ya Tsukamoto delivers dystopian body horror that sees a “metal fetishist” get revenge on his killer by impaling his body with rusty metal. Oh, and, strong stomachs need only apply.

The Changeling (1980)

best 80s horror movies

Vacant mansions get a bad rap. And for good reason. Besides the negative effects on local communities … they're haunted! Exhibit A: the Seattle fixer-upper in this 1980 film from Peter Medak. After the deaths of his wife and daughter, a composer named John Russell moves into a Victorian gothic abode to nurse his grief, but instead gets tormented by a ghost named Joseph Carmichael.

The Evil Dead (1981)

best 80s horror movies

In a feat of ’80s special effects, Sam Raimi’s breakout feature is a savage supernatural haunt that follows a group of friends to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly awaken a brood of hellish demons who feed on the souls of the living. Turning goo and splatter into an art form, this gore fest serves as the initial portal to a franchise still delivering on the blood-soaked fun (see: 2023's Evil Dead Rise ).

The Hitcher (1986)

best 80s horror movies

Nightmares. That’s what this heap of highway havoc gives us after every watch. A benchmark in the road thriller subgenre, The Hitcher stars C. Thomas Howell as a teen who’s stalked and terrorized by Rutger Hauer’s sadistic hitchhiker while driving from Chicago to San Diego. Tapping into deep-seated primal fears, this white-knuckler will make you rethink everything you love about the open road.

Tenebre (1982)

best 80s horror movies

One of the classic giallo gems from the Dario Argento canon, Tenebre is a cacophony of violence, suspense, and stylish camerawork. It tells the story of an American writer who heads to Rome to promote his latest page-turner, but instead finds himself the number one suspect in a string of murders that mirror the kills in his own book. With this one, the blurrier the line between fact and fiction gets, the higher the body count rises.

Child's Play (1988)

21 best horror movies

Before Annabelle took over the haunted/possessed/demonic doll scene, Charles Lee Ray was known as the ultimate killer doll, thanks to 1988's Child's Play . In the iconic movie, Andy begs his mom to buy him a Good Guy doll. Short on cash, she manages to snag one from some random guy in an alley for a discount price. Unfortunately, the doll she takes home contains the soul of a serial killer known as the Lakeshore Strangler. Many fun sequels followed, and now Chucky has his own TV series , so it's the perfect time to see where it all began.

Poltergeist (1982)

21 best horror movies

Although many horror movies start with a family moving into a new home, 1982's Poltergeist stands out from the crowd. Directed by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre's Tobe Hooper, Poltergeist was lauded for its phenomenal special effects that helped bring a myriad of demonic spirits to life. It was remade in 2015 , but nothing can quite live up to the horror of the original, which was co-written by Steven Spielberg.

Chopping Mall (1986)

best 80s horror movies

This classic '80s slasher focuses on a group of teenagers that decide to have a debaucherous party inside the mall once it's closed. What they don't count on is being stalked and killed by three malfunctioning security robots that are meant to be protecting the stores. While Chopping Mall is definitely one of the cheesier '80s slashers, it's still a super fun watch. By taking place in a mall, rather than a haunted house or a creepy camp ground in the woods, the film manages to stand out from its peers almost four decades later.

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

sleepaway camp best 80s horror movies

After her family is killed in an accident, Angela is sent away to Camp Arawak. However, Angela's fellow campers start meeting gory ends at the hands of a mysterious murderer. Any character with less than honorable intentions is especially at risk of being killed. The movie is still praised for its surprising twist, and thanks to the financial success it had at the box office, Sleepaway Camp spawned a plethora of sequels .

The Shining (1980)

21 best horror movies

Jack Nicholson stars as Jack Torrance, a struggling writer who takes a job as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Jack moves his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and their son Danny into the mysterious property. However, it's not long before Danny starts having troubling visions, which get progressively worse. As Jack struggles with writer's block, he discovers that the Overlook Hotel holds some terrifying secrets, and it's not long before he starts losing his mind.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

21 best horror movies

Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street made Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) a household name. In the franchise's first installment, a group of teenagers start having their dreams terrorized by Freddy, a former child murderer turned nightmare purveyor. Thanks to some stellar special effects, A Nightmare on Elm Street is an exceedingly fun watch, and Englund's first turn as Krueger is nothing short of iconic. If you have trouble sleeping, this probably isn't the film for you.

Friday the 13th (1980)

21 best horror movies

The '80s brought us some of the horror genre's most iconic serial killers. Joining Freddy Krueger in that list is Jason Voorhees, and although he's not the star of the franchise's first outing, Friday the 13th laid the groundwork for the hockey-masking wearing savant. Camp Crystal Lake has been closed for two decades following a series of unsolved deaths. Set to reopen, a group of camp counselors arrive for the summer season, ignoring the so-called "death curse" that the locals talk about. You can guess what happens next.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

21 best horror movies

As '80s horror movies go, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is seriously fun. A gang of strange looking alien-clowns start terrorizing a small town, but the cops think the circus freaks are just part of an elaborate prank. While these clowns look kinda cute on the outside, they're intent on harvesting and eating humans. This candy floss-covered horror flick has gained cult status, and the Killer Klowns are now regulars at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights.

Halloween II (1981)

21 best horror movies

John Carpenter's Halloween remains one of the most important horror movies in recent memory. A slew of sequels have followed, and the current timeline ignores Halloween II altogether. However, Halloween's first sequel is a gruesome slasher that's a must for anyone revisiting '80s horror. Picking up immediately following the events of Halloween, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) finds herself in a hospital. However, it's not the safest place to be, as Michael Myers stalks and kills the entire staff in his search for his eternal nemesis.

Pet Sematary (1989)

21 best horror movies

Stephen King's Pet Sematary has been haunting audiences for decades, and with good reason. In Mary Lambert's 1989 adaptation of the novel, the Creed family moves to Maine with their pet cat, Church. Their neighbor, Judd, shows them a derelict "pet sematary" behind their home, and it's not long before the family is drawn into a series of dangerous and supernatural events. From impossible resurrections to terrifying premonitions, Pet Sematary will keep you guessing right up until the end.

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The Best Horror Movies of the 1980s

The eighty-nine best, most successful, and/or most influential movies of the 1980's. I analyze reviews from horror critics, fans, and filmmakers to determine the "must-see" films for hardcore horror buffs.

  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • Release Year

1. Altered States (1980)

R | 102 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A psycho-physiologist experiments with drugs and a sensory-deprivation tank and has visions he believes are genetic memories.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: William Hurt , Blair Brown , Bob Balaban , Charles Haid

Votes: 37,560 | Gross: $19.85M

2. Dressed to Kill (1980)

R | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A mysterious blonde woman kills one of a psychiatrist's patients, and then goes after the high-class call girl who witnessed the murder.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Michael Caine , Angie Dickinson , Nancy Allen , Keith Gordon

Votes: 46,471 | Gross: $31.90M

3. Friday the 13th (1980)

R | 95 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A group of camp counselors trying to reopen a summer camp called Crystal Lake, which has a grim past, are stalked by a mysterious killer.

Director: Sean S. Cunningham | Stars: Betsy Palmer , Adrienne King , Jeannine Taylor , Robbi Morgan

Votes: 154,315 | Gross: $39.75M

4. Encounter of the Spooky Kind (1980)

R | 102 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

A rickshaw driver's wife and his rich client are secret lovers, and they decide to get rid of him without being implicated, so they hire a powerful sorcerer to kill him, but the sorcerer's colleague intervenes to protect him.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung , Fat Chung , Lung Chan , Ha Huang

Votes: 2,660

5. The Changeling (1980)

R | 107 min | Horror, Mystery

After the death of his wife and daughter in a car crash, a music professor staying at a long-vacant Seattle mansion is dragged into a decades-old mystery by an inexplicable presence in the mansion's attic.

Director: Peter Medak | Stars: George C. Scott , Trish Van Devere , Melvyn Douglas , Jean Marsh

Votes: 38,862

6. The Fog (1980)

R | 89 min | Horror, Thriller

An unearthly fog rolls into a small coastal town exactly 100 years after a ship mysteriously sank in its waters.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Adrienne Barbeau , Jamie Lee Curtis , Janet Leigh , John Houseman

Votes: 81,210 | Gross: $21.38M

7. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson , Shelley Duvall , Danny Lloyd , Scatman Crothers

Votes: 1,080,546 | Gross: $44.02M

8. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Horror

Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.

Director: John Landis | Stars: David Naughton , Jenny Agutter , Joe Belcher , Griffin Dunne

Votes: 117,388 | Gross: $30.57M

9. Dead & Buried (1981)

R | 94 min | Horror, Mystery

A suspense horror film set in a small coastal town where, after a series of gory murders commited by mobs of townspeople against visiting tourists, the corpses begin to come back to life.

Director: Gary Sherman | Stars: James Farentino , Melody Anderson , Jack Albertson , Dennis Redfield

Votes: 14,464 | Gross: $0.22M

10. My Bloody Valentine (1981)

R | 90 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A decades-old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.

Director: George Mihalka | Stars: Paul Kelman , Lori Hallier , Neil Affleck , Keith Knight

Votes: 24,306 | Gross: $5.67M

11. Possession (1981)

R | 124 min | Drama, Horror

A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.

Director: Andrzej Zulawski | Stars: Isabelle Adjani , Sam Neill , Margit Carstensen , Heinz Bennent

Votes: 40,117 | Gross: $1.11M

12. Scanners (1981)

R | 103 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A scientist trains a man with an advanced telepathic ability called "scanning" to stop a dangerous Scanner with extraordinary psychic powers from waging war against non scanners.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jennifer O'Neill , Stephen Lack , Patrick McGoohan , Lawrence Dane

Votes: 60,293 | Gross: $14.23M

13. The Burning (1981)

R | 91 min | Horror

A former summer camp caretaker, horribly burned from a prank gone wrong, lurks around an upstate New York summer camp bent on killing the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement.

Director: Tony Maylam | Stars: Brian Matthews , Leah Ayres , Brian Backer , Larry Joshua

Votes: 21,633

14. The Howling (1981)

After a bizarre and near deadly encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Dee Wallace , Patrick Macnee , Dennis Dugan , Christopher Stone

Votes: 39,327 | Gross: $17.99M

15. The Prowler (1981)

R | 89 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

An unknown killer, clad in World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small California town, bent on reliving a 35 year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual graduation dance.

Director: Joseph Zito | Stars: Vicky Dawson , Christopher Goutman , Lawrence Tierney , Farley Granger

Votes: 12,645

16. The Evil Dead (1981)

NC-17 | 85 min | Horror

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell , Ellen Sandweiss , Richard DeManincor , Betsy Baker

Votes: 228,207 | Gross: $2.40M

17. Wolfen (1981)

R | 115 min | Horror, Thriller

A New York cop investigates a series of brutal deaths that resemble animal attacks.

Director: Michael Wadleigh | Stars: Albert Finney , Diane Venora , Edward James Olmos , Gregory Hines

Votes: 11,232 | Gross: $10.63M

18. Cat People (1982)

R | 118 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

A young woman's sexual awakening brings horror when she discovers her urges transform her into a monstrous black leopard.

Director: Paul Schrader | Stars: Nastassja Kinski , Malcolm McDowell , John Heard , Annette O'Toole

Votes: 23,399 | Gross: $7.00M

19. Creepshow (1982)

R | 120 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

Six grisly tales about a murdered father rising from his grave, a bizarre meteor, a vengeful husband, a mysterious crate's occupant, a plague of cockroaches and a disgruntled boy.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Hal Holbrook , Leslie Nielsen , Adrienne Barbeau , E.G. Marshall

Votes: 52,169 | Gross: $21.03M

20. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

R | 98 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Kids all over America want Silver Shamrock masks for Halloween. Doctor Daniel Challis seeks to uncover a plot by Silver Shamrock owner Conal Cochran.

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace | Stars: Tom Atkins , Stacey Nelkin , Dan O'Herlihy , Michael Currie

Votes: 59,888 | Gross: $14.40M

21. Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)

R | 93 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

NYPD detectives Shepard and Powell are working on a bizarre case of a ritualistic Aztec murder. Meanwhile, something big is attacking people of New York and only greedy small time crook Jimmy Quinn knows where its lair is.

Director: Larry Cohen | Stars: David Carradine , Michael Moriarty , Candy Clark , Richard Roundtree

Votes: 9,198

22. Tenebrae (1982)

R | 101 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

An American writer in Rome is stalked and harassed by a serial killer who is murdering everyone associated with his work on his latest book.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: Anthony Franciosa , Giuliano Gemma , John Saxon , Daria Nicolodi

Votes: 26,680

23. The Dark Crystal (1982)

PG | 93 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and to restore order to his world.

Directors: Jim Henson , Frank Oz | Stars: Jim Henson , Kathryn Mullen , Frank Oz , Dave Goelz

Votes: 70,282 | Gross: $40.58M

24. The Thing (1982)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell , Wilford Brimley , Keith David , Richard Masur

Votes: 453,349 | Gross: $13.78M

25. Angst (I) (1983)

Not Rated | 87 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A troubled man gets released from prison and starts taking out his sadistic fantasies on an unsuspecting family living in a secluded house.

Director: Gerald Kargl | Stars: Erwin Leder , Robert Hunger-Bühler , Silvia Ryder , Karin Springer

Votes: 12,889

26. Christine (1983)

R | 110 min | Horror, Thriller

A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own and his nature starts to change to reflect it.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Keith Gordon , John Stockwell , Alexandra Paul , Robert Prosky

Votes: 90,233 | Gross: $21.20M

27. The Dead Zone (1983)

R | 103 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic ability.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Christopher Walken , Brooke Adams , Tom Skerritt , Herbert Lom

Votes: 75,410 | Gross: $20.77M

28. The Man with Two Brains (1983)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi

A brain surgeon marries a femme fatale, causing his life to turn upside down. Things go more awry when he falls in love with a talking brain.

Director: Carl Reiner | Stars: Steve Martin , Kathleen Turner , David Warner , Paul Benedict

Votes: 27,470 | Gross: $10.10M

29. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

PG | 101 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Four horror and science fiction segments, directed by four famous directors, each of them being a new version of a classic story from Rod Serling 's landmark television series.

Directors: Joe Dante , John Landis , George Miller , Steven Spielberg | Stars: Dan Aykroyd , Albert Brooks , Vic Morrow , Doug McGrath

Votes: 40,400 | Gross: $29.50M

30. Videodrome (1983)

R | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A programmer at a TV station that specializes in adult entertainment searches for the producers of a dangerous and bizarre broadcast.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: James Woods , Debbie Harry , Sonja Smits , Peter Dvorsky

Votes: 100,378 | Gross: $2.12M

31. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Teenager Nancy Thompson must uncover the dark truth concealed by her parents after she and her friends become targets of the spirit of a serial killer with a bladed glove in their dreams, in which if they die, it kills them in real life.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Heather Langenkamp , Johnny Depp , Robert Englund , John Saxon

Votes: 257,339 | Gross: $25.50M

32. Blood Simple (1984)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

The owner of a seedy small-town Texas bar discovers that one of his employees is having an affair with his wife. A chaotic chain of misunderstandings, lies, and mischief ensues after he devises a plot to have them murdered.

Directors: Joel Coen , Ethan Coen | Stars: John Getz , Frances McDormand , Dan Hedaya , M. Emmet Walsh

Votes: 102,373 | Gross: $2.15M

33. Ghostbusters (1984)

PG | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Three parapsychologists forced out of their university funding set up shop as a unique ghost removal service in New York City, attracting frightened yet skeptical customers.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Bill Murray , Dan Aykroyd , Sigourney Weaver , Harold Ramis

Votes: 435,725 | Gross: $238.63M

34. Gremlins (1984)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

A young man inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Zach Galligan , Phoebe Cates , Hoyt Axton , John Louie

Votes: 239,852 | Gross: $148.17M

35. Night of the Comet (1984)

PG-13 | 95 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

A comet wipes out most of life on Earth, leaving two Valley Girls fighting against cannibal zombies and a sinister group of scientists.

Director: Thom Eberhardt | Stars: Catherine Mary Stewart , Kelli Maroney , Robert Beltran , Sharon Farrell

Votes: 23,138 | Gross: $14.42M

36. Razorback (1984)

R | 95 min | Horror, Thriller

As a vicious wild boar terrorizes the Australian outback, the husband of one of the victims is joined by a hunter and a farmer in a search for the beast.

Director: Russell Mulcahy | Stars: Gregory Harrison , Arkie Whiteley , Bill Kerr , Chris Haywood

Votes: 7,646 | Gross: $0.15M

37. The Company of Wolves (1984)

R | 95 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A teenage girl in a country manor falls asleep while reading a magazine, and has a disturbing dream involving wolves prowling the woods below her bedroom window.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Sarah Patterson , Angela Lansbury , David Warner , Graham Crowden

Votes: 18,012 | Gross: $4.39M

38. The NeverEnding Story (1984)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

A troubled boy dives into a wondrous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Noah Hathaway , Barret Oliver , Tami Stronach , Gerald McRaney

Votes: 153,017 | Gross: $20.16M

39. Threads (1984 TV Movie)

TV-MA | 112 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

The effects of a nuclear holocaust on the working class city of Sheffield, England and the eventual long-term effects of nuclear war on civilization.

Director: Mick Jackson | Stars: Karen Meagher , Reece Dinsdale , David Brierly , Rita May

Votes: 18,747

40. Angel's Egg (1985 Video)

Not Rated | 71 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

A mysterious young girl wanders a desolate, otherworldly landscape, carrying a large egg.

Director: Mamoru Oshii | Stars: Mako Hyôdô , Jinpachi Nezu , Keiichi Noda

Votes: 11,334

41. Cat's Eye (1985)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller

A stray cat is the linking element of three tales of suspense and horror.

Director: Lewis Teague | Stars: Drew Barrymore , James Woods , Alan King , Kenneth McMillan

Votes: 27,590 | Gross: $13.09M

42. Come and See (1985)

Not Rated | 142 min | Drama, Thriller, War

After finding an old rifle, a young boy joins the Soviet resistance movement against ruthless German forces and experiences the horrors of World War II.

Director: Elem Klimov | Stars: Aleksey Kravchenko , Olga Mironova , Liubomiras Laucevicius , Vladas Bagdonas

Votes: 91,548

43. Day of the Dead (1985)

Not Rated | 101 min | Horror, Thriller

As the world is overrun by zombies, a group of scientists and military personnel sheltering in an underground bunker in Florida must determine how they should deal with the undead horde.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Lori Cardille , Terry Alexander , Joseph Pilato , Jarlath Conroy

Votes: 73,148 | Gross: $5.80M

44. Fright Night (1985)

R | 106 min | Horror

A teenager believes that the newcomer in his neighborhood is a vampire. He turns to an actor in a television horror show for help to deal with the undead.

Director: Tom Holland | Stars: Chris Sarandon , William Ragsdale , Amanda Bearse , Roddy McDowall

Votes: 77,022 | Gross: $24.92M

45. Lifeforce (1985)

R | 101 min | Action, Horror, Mystery

A race of space vampires arrives in London and infects the populace, beginning an apocalyptic descent into chaos.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Steve Railsback , Mathilda May , Peter Firth , Frank Finlay

Votes: 28,575 | Gross: $11.60M

46. Mr. Vampire (1985)

PG-13 | 96 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

The planned reburial of a town elder goes awry as the corpse resurrects into a hopping, bloodthirsty vampire, targeting everyone responsible for digging the grave. A Taoist Priest and his two disciples attempt to stop the terror.

Director: Ricky Lau | Stars: Ching-Ying Lam , Siu-Ho Chin , Ricky Hui , Moon Lee

Votes: 4,456

47. Re-Animator (1985)

Unrated | 84 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

After an odd new medical student arrives on campus, a dedicated local and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue.

Director: Stuart Gordon | Stars: Jeffrey Combs , Bruce Abbott , Barbara Crampton , David Gale

Votes: 69,994 | Gross: $2.02M

48. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

When two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to rise again as zombies.

Director: Dan O'Bannon | Stars: Clu Gulager , James Karen , Don Calfa , Thom Mathews

Votes: 67,191 | Gross: $14.24M

49. Vampires in Havana (1985)

Not Rated | 80 min | Animation, Comedy, Horror

A vampire family from Cuba is preparing for a showdown between the USA vampires and the Eastern European vampires. But with the aid of a scientist, they need a type of vaccination where they can live in daylight.

Director: Juan Padrón | Stars: Frank González , Manuel Marín , Irela Bravo , Carlos Gonzalez

Votes: 1,434

50. Aliens (1986)

R | 137 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Decades after surviving the Nostromo incident, Ellen Ripley is sent out to re-establish contact with a terraforming colony but finds herself battling the Alien Queen and her offspring.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Sigourney Weaver , Michael Biehn , Carrie Henn , Paul Reiser

Votes: 747,607 | Gross: $85.16M

51. Blue Velvet (1986)

R | 120 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Isabella Rossellini , Kyle MacLachlan , Dennis Hopper , Laura Dern

Votes: 210,748 | Gross: $8.55M

52. From Beyond (1986)

R | 85 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A group of scientists have developed the Resonator, a machine which allows whoever is within range to see beyond normal perceptible reality. But when the experiment succeeds, they are immediately attacked by terrible life forms.

Director: Stuart Gordon | Stars: Jeffrey Combs , Barbara Crampton , Ted Sorel , Ken Foree

Votes: 29,498 | Gross: $1.26M

53. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Unrated | 83 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Arriving in Chicago, Henry moves in with ex-con acquaintance Otis and starts schooling him in the ways of the serial killer.

Director: John McNaughton | Stars: Michael Rooker , Tracy Arnold , Tom Towles , Mary Demas

Votes: 39,572 | Gross: $0.61M

54. In a Glass Cage (1986)

Unrated | 110 min | Drama, Horror

A former Nazi child-killer is confined in an iron lung inside an old mansion after a suicide attempt. His wife hires him a full-time carer, a mysterious young man who is driven slowly mad by the old man's disturbing past.

Director: Agustí Villaronga | Stars: Günter Meisner , David Sust , Marisa Paredes , Gisèle Echevarría

Votes: 4,935

55. Manhunter (1986)

R | 120 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Former FBI profiler Will Graham returns to service to pursue a deranged serial killer dubbed "the Tooth Fairy" by the media.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: William Petersen , Kim Greist , Joan Allen , Brian Cox

Votes: 78,893 | Gross: $8.62M

56. Night of the Creeps (1986)

R | 88 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

Alien brain parasites, entering humans through the mouth, turn their host into a killing zombie. Some teenagers start to fight against them.

Director: Fred Dekker | Stars: Jason Lively , Tom Atkins , Steve Marshall , Jill Whitlow

Votes: 25,525 | Gross: $0.59M

57. The Fly (1986)

R | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jeff Goldblum , Geena Davis , John Getz , Joy Boushel

Votes: 197,177 | Gross: $40.46M

58. The Hitcher (1986)

R | 97 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

A young man who escapes the clutches of a murderous hitchhiker is subsequently stalked by the hitcher and framed for his crimes.

Director: Robert Harmon | Stars: Rutger Hauer , C. Thomas Howell , Jennifer Jason Leigh , Jeffrey DeMunn

Votes: 51,196 | Gross: $5.84M

59. A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

Unrated | 98 min | Action, Fantasy, Horror

After a string of bad luck, a debt collector has no other choice than to spend the night in a haunted temple, where he encounters a ravishing female ghost and later battles to save her soul from the control of a wicked tree demon.

Director: Siu-Tung Ching | Stars: Leslie Cheung , Joey Wang , Wu Ma , Wai Lam

Votes: 10,811

60. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

R | 96 min | Fantasy, Horror

A psychiatrist familiar with knife-wielding dream demon Freddy Krueger helps teens at a mental hospital battle the killer who is invading their dreams.

Director: Chuck Russell | Stars: Heather Langenkamp , Robert Englund , Craig Wasson , Patricia Arquette

Votes: 88,427 | Gross: $44.79M

61. Angel Heart (1987)

X | 113 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A private investigator is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer named Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn.

Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Mickey Rourke , Robert De Niro , Lisa Bonet , Charlotte Rampling

Votes: 93,704 | Gross: $17.19M

62. Anguish (1987)

A controlling mother uses telepathic powers to send her middle-aged son on a killing spree.

Director: Bigas Luna | Stars: Zelda Rubinstein , Michael Lerner , Talia Paul , Àngel Jové

Votes: 4,200 | Gross: $0.23M

63. Dolls (1986)

R | 77 min | Horror

A dysfunctional family of three stop by a mansion during a storm -- father, stepmother, and child. The child discovers that the elderly owners are magical toy makers and have a haunted collection of dolls.

Director: Stuart Gordon | Stars: Ian Patrick Williams , Carolyn Purdy-Gordon , Carrie Lorraine , Guy Rolfe

Votes: 12,483

64. Evil Dead II (1987)

R | 84 min | Comedy, Horror

The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell , Sarah Berry , Dan Hicks , Kassie Wesley DePaiva

Votes: 178,699 | Gross: $5.92M

65. Fatal Attraction (1987)

R | 119 min | Drama, Thriller

A married man's one-night stand comes back to haunt him when that lover begins to stalk him and his family.

Director: Adrian Lyne | Stars: Michael Douglas , Glenn Close , Anne Archer , Ellen Latzen

Votes: 94,515 | Gross: $156.65M

66. Hellraiser (1987)

R | 94 min | Horror, Thriller

A woman discovers the newly resurrected, partially formed, body of her brother-in-law. She starts killing for him to revitalize his body so he can escape the demonic beings that are pursuing him after he escaped their sadistic underworld.

Director: Clive Barker | Stars: Andrew Robinson , Clare Higgins , Ashley Laurence , Sean Chapman

Votes: 137,363 | Gross: $14.56M

67. Near Dark (1987)

R | 94 min | Horror

A small-town farmer's son reluctantly joins a traveling group of vampires after he is bitten by a beautiful drifter.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow | Stars: Adrian Pasdar , Jenny Wright , Lance Henriksen , Bill Paxton

Votes: 43,702 | Gross: $3.37M

68. Predator (1987)

R | 107 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior.

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger , Carl Weathers , Kevin Peter Hall , Elpidia Carrillo

Votes: 444,026 | Gross: $59.74M

69. Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 93 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

After the death of Shaggy's Uncle Beaureguard, he, Scooby, and Scrappy arrive at his uncle's plantation to collect the inheritance. But as soon as they arrive, they find it is haunted by ... See full summary  »

Directors: Paul Sommer , Carl Urbano , Ray Patterson | Stars: Don Messick , Casey Kasem , Sorrell Booke , William Callaway

Votes: 4,849

70. StageFright (1987)

Unrated | 90 min | Horror, Thriller

A group of stage actors lock themselves in the theater for a rehearsal of their upcoming musical production, unaware that an escaped psychopath has sneaked into the theater with them.

Director: Michele Soavi | Stars: David Brandon , Richard Barkeley , Barbara Cupisti , Domenico Fiore

Votes: 8,902

71. Street Trash (1987)

Unrated | 91 min | Comedy, Horror

A liquor store owner sells alcoholic beverages to homeless people, unaware of what the bottles actually contain: toxic brew.

Director: J. Michael Muro | Stars: Mike Lackey , Bill Chepil , Vic Noto , Mark Sferrazza

Votes: 11,168

72. The Hidden (1987)

R | 97 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A cop and an FBI agent race for answers after law abiding people suddenly become violent criminals.

Director: Jack Sholder | Stars: Kyle MacLachlan , Michael Nouri , Claudia Christian , Clarence Felder

Votes: 22,007 | Gross: $9.75M

73. The Lost Boys (1987)

After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Jason Patric , Corey Haim , Dianne Wiest , Barnard Hughes

Votes: 157,120 | Gross: $32.22M

74. The Monster Squad (1987)

PG-13 | 79 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

A young group of monster fanatics attempt to save their hometown from Count Dracula and his monsters.

Director: Fred Dekker | Stars: Andre Gower , Robby Kiger , Stephen Macht , Duncan Regehr

Votes: 34,686 | Gross: $3.77M

75. The Stepfather (1987)

After murdering his entire family, a man marries a widow with a teenage daughter in another town and prepares to do it all over again.

Director: Joseph Ruben | Stars: Terry O'Quinn , Jill Schoelen , Shelley Hack , Charles Lanyer

Votes: 17,728 | Gross: $2.49M

76. Beetlejuice (1988)

PG | 92 min | Comedy, Fantasy

The spirits of a deceased couple are harassed by an unbearable family that has moved into their home, and hire a malicious spirit to drive them out.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Alec Baldwin , Geena Davis , Michael Keaton , Annie McEnroe

Votes: 329,511 | Gross: $73.71M

77. Child's Play (1988)

R | 87 min | Horror, Thriller

A struggling single mother unknowingly gifts her son a doll imbued with a serial killer's consciousness.

Director: Tom Holland | Stars: Catherine Hicks , Chris Sarandon , Alex Vincent , Brad Dourif

Votes: 113,649 | Gross: $33.24M

78. Dead Ringers (1988)

R | 116 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jeremy Irons , Geneviève Bujold , Heidi von Palleske , Barbara Gordon

Votes: 52,300 | Gross: $9.13M

79. Evil Dead Trap (1988)

Unrated | 102 min | Horror

A late night TV presenter receives a snuff tape, in which a woman is brutally killed. She decides to take a crew out to a location indicated in the tape, but only death and despair await them.

Director: Toshiharu Ikeda | Stars: Miyuki Ono , Aya Katsuragi , Hitomi Kobayashi , Eriko Nakagawa

Votes: 3,584

80. Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

PG-13 | 88 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

Aliens who look like clowns come from outer space and terrorize a small town.

Director: Stephen Chiodo | Stars: Grant Cramer , Suzanne Snyder , John Allen Nelson , John Vernon

Votes: 44,127 | Gross: $15.63M

81. Pin (1988)

R | 103 min | Horror, Thriller

Isolated by his strange parents, Leon finds solace in an imaginary friend, which happens to be an anatomy doll from his father's doctor office. Unfortunately, the doll begins to take over Leon's life, and his sister's life as well.

Director: Sandor Stern | Stars: David Hewlett , Cynthia Preston , Terry O'Quinn , Bronwen Mantel

Votes: 5,093

82. Pumpkinhead (1988)

R | 86 min | Fantasy, Horror

After a tragic accident, a man conjures up a towering, vengeful demon called Pumpkinhead to destroy a group of unsuspecting teenagers.

Director: Stan Winston | Stars: Lance Henriksen , Jeff East , John D'Aquino , Kimberly Ross

Votes: 26,973 | Gross: $4.39M

83. The Blob (1988)

R | 95 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A deadly entity from space crash-lands near a small town and begins consuming everyone in its path. Panic ensues as shady government scientists try to contain the horrific creature.

Director: Chuck Russell | Stars: Shawnee Smith , Kevin Dillon , Donovan Leitch Jr. , Jeffrey DeMunn

Votes: 42,013 | Gross: $8.25M

84. The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

R | 98 min | Fantasy, Horror

An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Bill Pullman , Cathy Tyson , Zakes Mokae , Paul Winfield

Votes: 27,263 | Gross: $19.60M

85. The Vanishing (1988)

Not Rated | 107 min | Mystery, Thriller

Rex and Saskia, a young couple in love, are on vacation. They stop at a busy service station and Saskia is abducted. After three years and no sign of Saskia, Rex begins receiving letters from the abductor.

Director: George Sluizer | Stars: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu , Gene Bervoets , Johanna ter Steege , Gwen Eckhaus

Votes: 42,191

86. They Live (1988)

R | 94 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

They influence our decisions without us knowing it. They numb our senses without us feeling it. They control our lives without us realizing it. They live.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Roddy Piper , Keith David , Meg Foster , George 'Buck' Flower

Votes: 141,442 | Gross: $13.01M

87. Santa Sangre (1989)

NC-17 | 123 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A former circus artist escapes from a mental hospital to rejoin his armless mother--the leader of a strange religious cult--and is forced to enact brutal murders in her name as he becomes "her arms".

Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky | Stars: Axel Jodorowsky , Blanca Guerra , Guy Stockwell , Thelma Tixou

Votes: 22,778

88. Society (1989)

R | 99 min | Comedy, Horror

An ordinary teenage boy discovers his family is part of a gruesome orgy cult for the social elite.

Director: Brian Yuzna | Stars: Billy Warlock , Concetta D'Agnese , Ben Slack , Evan Richards

Votes: 21,308

89. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Not Rated | 67 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A businessman accidentally kills The Metal Fetishist, who gets his revenge by slowly turning the man into a grotesque hybrid of flesh and rusty metal.

Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto | Stars: Tomorô Taguchi , Kei Fujiwara , Nobu Kanaoka , Shin'ya Tsukamoto

Votes: 25,197

90. The Funhouse (1981)

R | 96 min | Horror

Four teenagers visit a local carnival for a night of innocent amusement, but soon discover that nothing there is innocent or amusing.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Elizabeth Berridge , Shawn Carson , Jeanne Austin , Jack McDermott

Votes: 15,908 | Gross: $7.89M

91. Alone in the Dark (1982)

R | 92 min | Horror, Thriller

A few dangerous and delusional mental patients break out of a mental asylum during a power blackout, and lay siege to their new doctor's house, who, they believe, killed their previous doctor.

Director: Jack Sholder | Stars: Jack Palance , Donald Pleasence , Martin Landau , Dwight Schultz

Votes: 6,801

92. The Toxic Avenger (1984)

R | 82 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

Tromaville has a monstrous new hero. The Toxic Avenger is born when meek mop boy Melvin falls into a vat of toxic waste. Now evildoers will have a lot to lose.

Directors: Michael Herz , Lloyd Kaufman | Stars: Andree Maranda , Mitch Cohen , Jennifer Babtist , Cindy Manion

Votes: 31,292

93. Sole Survivor (1984)

R | 85 min | Horror, Thriller

A lone survivor of a plane crash is haunted by a feeling unworthy of survival. Dead people start coming after her to collect her.

Director: Thom Eberhardt | Stars: Anita Skinner , Caren L. Larkey , Peggy McClure , Roberta Kay

Votes: 2,371

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

PG | 115 min | Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape from Earth and return to his home planet.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Henry Thomas , Drew Barrymore , Peter Coyote , Dee Wallace

Votes: 429,107 | Gross: $435.11M

95. Phenomena (1985)

R | 116 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

A young girl who has an amazing ability to communicate with insects is transferred to an exclusive Swiss boarding school, where her unusual capability might help solve a string of murders.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: Jennifer Connelly , Donald Pleasence , Daria Nicolodi , Dalila Di Lazzaro

Votes: 29,351

96. Inferno (1980)

An American college student in Rome and his sister in New York investigate a series of killings in both locations where their resident addresses are the domain of two covens of witches.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: Leigh McCloskey , Irene Miracle , Eleonora Giorgi , Daria Nicolodi

Votes: 23,425

97. White Dog (1982)

PG | 90 min | Drama, Horror

A trainer attempts to retrain a vicious dog that's been raised to attack black people.

Director: Samuel Fuller | Stars: Kristy McNichol , Christa Lang , Vernon Weddle , Jameson Parker

Votes: 10,592

98. Alice (1988)

Not Rated | 86 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Horror

A surrealistic revision of Alice in Wonderland.

Director: Jan Svankmajer | Stars: Kristýna Kohoutová , Camilla Power

Votes: 13,696

99. Summer Camp Nightmare (1986)

PG-13 | 89 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A group of campers revolt against their strict camp director and take over the camp for themselves.

Director: Bert L. Dragin | Stars: Chuck Connors , Charlie Stratton , Harold Pruett , Adam Carl

100. House (1985)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

A troubled writer moves into a haunted house after inheriting it from his aunt.

Director: Steve Miner | Stars: William Katt , Kay Lenz , George Wendt , Richard Moll

Votes: 29,331 | Gross: $19.44M

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The 50 Best Horror Movies of the 1980s, Ranked

If there's one thing we can thank the 1980s for, it's being home to some of the best (and wildest) horror movies ever made.

If nothing else, the 1980s were an age of discovery for the horror genre, as well as a time of weird normalization. Horror movies finally shook off the yolk of the thriller and adventure stories where they originated in the 1970s and had created a line of movies that were uniquely interested in evincing terror of all sorts for the audience. One could argue something like Jaws is still, at its heart, an action-adventure story, but what on earth would you call The Texas Chainsaw Massacre if not horror? An experimental, Dadaist noir featuring some demented clown with a chainsaw?

That was the time of the genre being created and finding confidence, whereas the 1980s is where genre found itself and the 1990s was when it established itself in the pantheon of other big-studio genres. We first met Ms. Voorhees and her son, Jason, in the 80s and suddenly, you couldn’t go into the movie theater without seeing advertisements for another Friday the 13th  movie or buying a ticket for one. These movies were cheap to make and people showed up in droves to see them, if only for the gratuitous nudity and buckets of fake blood. People liked seeing the monsters do their stuff from a distance, and though the money was never in the same abundance as it would be with the comic-book craze, there was still a lucrative fad going on.

It’s easy to see the decade as the era of Jason, Freddy, Chucky, and Leatherface’s continued reign, but the 1980s also laid down the foundation for some of the most crucial stylistic decisions of the genre as it exists now. The best movies from the era transcended the cheapness, the frivolity, and the easy pleasures of the franchises to seek out the true thrill and disturbing nature of murderers and monsters. The Thing tells the story of a group of men being consumed by an alien force that replicates them, but beyond the story, John Carpenter directed the movie as if it was a lost Antonioni script. For whatever else it might be, The Shining is a brutal self-excoriation and a frighteningly convincing portrait of a mind becoming untethered from daily life, family, and identity.

That’s where horror has become important, a new genre lined with violent, expressive images that open up all new realms of political, sociological, and cultural discussion. The best horror films of the 1980s might not have all went so far into the ether as Kubrick or Carpenter, but each one clearly came from both a unique point of view and an ambitious, capable artist, surrounded by technical geniuses and other artists who help them out as best they can. And the fact that genuine, mature artists have found not only refuge but glory in this genre suggests that its full power hasn’t even been surmised yet.

Here are the 50 best that were released in the 1980s.

50. C.H.U.D.

This uproarious wonder is something of a local masterwork in New York City. Shot on location amidst the stinking, garbage-strewn streets of the city that never sleeps, C.H.U.D. details the fight between the denizens of NYC and an army of cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers. The humans are represented by a youthful John Heard  and a seriously lanky Daniel Stern , and the talk is more important for the splashes of outdated lingo, the East Coast accents and the unpredictable groans, sighs, or belches. There’s nothing much in the way of violence but the creatures themselves are gloriously cheap works of desperate invention. I can’t say that you’ll be scared by this movie, or that you won’t spend most of the runtime laughing at the…let’s call it problematic continuity and production design. Still, when I think about the horror geeks who come to New York to make good genre movies for a decent wage, my brain wanders back to this strangely charming oddity more than The Panic in Needle Park , Dog Day Afternoon , Midnight Cowboy , or Andy Warhol ’s Empire . - Chris Cabin

49. Basket Case

From the cracked mind of Frank Henenlotter and boasting a budget that would make even the most capable indie producer cry, Basket Case was likely never meant to spawn the rabid cult following (or sheer number of loving derivatives that it did), but if any horror comedy of the ‘80s deserved such a hallowed future, it certainly is this one. Following a wide-eyed, naive young man named Duane Bradley and his not-so-friendly sidekick on the murderous hunt for the doctor who separated Duane and his now hideously deformed (telepathic!) Siamese twin, Basket Case employs a bit of Cronenbergian grotesque, a dash of Lynchian horror and scads of over-the-top gore for a fearlessly unique blend of gonzo scares. The plot itself is bonkers enough to qualify this film as a notable nasty, but the film’s storyline is largely an excuse for the pop psychology, perversion and piles of gore that lie just beyond a padlocked wicker box. Horror gems don’t come much crazier than this. - Aubrey Page

48. Night of the Comet

What would kids in the 1980s do if the apocalypse blew through the world without them noticing? Hang out at the mall, but of course. That’s the set-up for this very funny, quite dated horror-comedy, which begins when a quartet of adolescents lock themselves inside a projection booth at the mall’s multiplex. This somehow allows them to live through an extinction level event of some sort, which has also left roaming bands of murderous mutants.

Catherine Mary Stewart of the equally inexplicable Weekend at Bernie’s leads the film, but it’s a movie of mood more than substance ultimately. Does the wealth-fueled naiveté of the average white teenager survive in a vacuum? Does it go away when they are being hunted for sustenance? It’s an interesting to watch on these terms and when the zombies show up, director Thom Eberhardt adds menace and a tight feel for suspense to the action sequences. And if we’re being honest, it belongs on this list for its soundtrack alone. The rest of this is just whip cream and cherries. - Chris Cabin 

47. Killer Klowns from Outer Space

One of my all-time favorite B-horror movies that became a part of the Midnite Movies collection, this coulrophobic nightmare is the absolute definition of cult classic. As of this writing, it remains the only writing/directing work for the Chiodo Brothers ; there’s been talk of a 3D sequel for a while now but we haven’t heard much on that lately. If you haven’t seen it, there’s no better time than the present. (Oh and the protagonist’s name is Mike Tobacco , if that helps sway your opinion.)

I’m willing to bet that there’s no other film out there in which a circus tent-shaped spaceship crash lands in a field and unleashes clown-like alien monstrosities upon the countryside. (If there is another one, please let me know.) While this could easily have fallen flat as a one-joke premise, it’s a surprisingly fun and fast-paced watch full of clown gags that are just as creepy as they are clever. As for my favorite part of the Killer Klowns mythology, I’m torn between the cotton candy cocoons and the method of defeating the clown: shooting them in their noses. If that makes you smile, then Killer Klowns from Outer Space is right up your alley. – Dave Trumbore

46. Child's Play

Chucky, the original nightmare doll, was the creation of Don Mancini , who’s made quite the career from the creepy character. To date, there are eight films in the  Child's Play  franchise, including a 2019 reboot starring  Aubrey Plaza  and  Brian Tyree Henry . But to really get a sense of where the Chucky craze started, you have to go back to the original 1988 film Child’s Play .

In a stroke of twisted genius, the story follows a serial killer named Charles Lee Ray who is fatally shot by a homicide detective in Chicago. While that would be an okay start for a slasher film, the fact that his soul is transferred into a child’s doll really sets the foundation for the entire franchise. What follows is a tense, at times terrifying thriller in which the newly purchased doll comes to life and starts committing murder and mayhem while ordering around his new owner, Andy. Look, dolls are creepy enough to begin with, so when one of them has the autonomy to run around, cuss a blue streak, and kill anyone who looks at him funny, you know you’ve got a horror classic on your hands. Add to that the fact that this doll is nigh immortal and now you’ve got a franchise. Do yourself a favor and go back to where it all started before Chucky’s secret made its way into the world. – Dave Trumbore

45. Prince of Darkness

Prince of Darkness  is one of John Carpenter ’s odder outings, but it's still laced with his untamable weirdness and chilling talent at conveying fear and menace with equal potency. Here, he tangos once again with Donald Pleasance  ( Halloween ’s doomed Dr. Loomis), who plays a priest who convinces a local Los Angeles professor ( Big Trouble in Little China 's  Victor Wong ) to bring his class to an abandoned church where he believes he’s tracked down the essence of Satan. Carpenter is no fan of organized religion and here he seems to really let his secular fury flow. The hiding from and battles against the legions of the possessed allows Carpenter plenty of time to let his natural talent for B-movie action out to play, and though not quite as politically radical as one might hope, the suspicious, atheistic perspective is a breath of fresh air regardless. – Chris Cabin

44. The Blob

There has been a drought of creature feature horror movies in recent years and that’s a crying shame. Luckily, past decades have us well and truly covered with just about every type of critter imaginable. Case in point: 1988’s The Blob . This remake of the 1958 film of the same name brings an amorphous, acidic, amoeba-like creature to life and lets it crawl across the California countryside consuming everything in its path.

This is just good old-fashioned creature feature fun. The practical effects are a blast as multiple victims are partially or completely digested and dissolved by the blob’s acidic chemistry. And though the creature may have crash-landed onto Earth from outer space, its actual origins provide the necessary narrative twist in this movie that would otherwise be a one-note slog. The gore factor is near the top of the charts in this one so if that bothers you, you might want to skip it entirely. But for those of you who maybe watched this movie at too young an age and then reenacted it with a glob of Silly Putty and toy soldiers, I think you’ll enjoy this little chunk of nostalgia. – Dave Trumbore

43. The Stuff

The Stuff is essentially a Bugsy Malone remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with advertising and greed being the substitute for Snatchers’ Communist pod people and “The Stuff” a substitute for the lethal ice cream that was in the kids’ gangster guns in Malone . What’s “The Stuff”? Some delicious white goop that bubbles up from the ground one day and is discovered to be extremely nutritious and calorie free, despite tasting so good. Because it tastes swell and makes folks feel good, before anyone will ask why is it pumping out of the ground, it’s packaged, marketed and sold. Years later, it’s essentially all that anyone lives off of, but it also starts moving on its own and bodily husks start being found where “The Stuff” now runs amok. You should’ve asked questions!

Larry Cohen ’s film is goofier than it is scary. It recreates many iconic horror scenes (such as the bloody bed in Nightmare on Elm Street ) with a marshmallow-y texture. What’s really at play in The Stuff is that we shouldn’t just be scared of sharp things that can pierce us, but also seemingly harmless everyday things that we constantly replenish and restock without thought. Don’t become a slave to your “stuff”. ~ Brian Formo

42. Hellraiser

This entry previously appeared in the Best Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now article.

Clive Barker 's name has become synonymous with the horror genre, just as his first feature-length film  Hellraiser  has become a symbol for leather-wearing, sadomasochistic, pain-worshippers. Both descriptors are fitting, though there's so much more to Barker's original 1987 film than mere fetishism. There's a deep mythology here, a rather original one that started with Barker's novella "The Hellbound Heart" and was carried on in numerous sequel films, comic books, novels, video games, and more.

And it all started with  Hellraiser , a film that explores the linked sensations of pain and pleasure on a number of levels. The main players are Larry Cotton and his second wife Julia, who cheated on him with his brother Frank shortly after they were married. This sets up one of the most bizarre yet rich mythologies in cinema history: Julia's obsession with Frank continues well after his death and is rejuvenated when Frank himself is resurrected. However, Frank needs fresh blood to return to his full health, blood that Julia is happy to supply by luring men back to Frank's abandoned childhood home and sacrificing them.

And yet, as horrible as this is, it's mundane compared to the arrival of the Cenobites, beings from another dimension obsessed with carnal experiences elucidating the extremes of pain and pleasure. Their design and presence is fantastic in the truest sense of the word and the practical effects on display here are just as terrifying today as they were in 1987. If you haven't seen the original or any of the sequels,  Hellraiser  is the perfect place to start. If you're not careful, this movie will tear your soul apart. -  Dave Trumbore

41. The Funhouse

In a way, no one but Tobe Hooper could have directed this no-frills chiller. Part of what fascinates Hooper is the everyday horrors of the world, how things that we take for granted as familiar images and utilities are also, in origin or myth, horrific. In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre , the craziness begins with a hitchhiker not seeing the inherent horror in making headcheese. In the case of The Funhouse , it’s as much the cheap designs of the traveling carnival where the central quartet of teens finds themselves rambling around as the damage that’s been done to the equipment and the overall age of it all. There’s also something about the veneer of fear in the simple story, in which a murderous mutant being hunts the aforementioned teens. The man who runs the haunted house and funhouse doesn’t care about the effectiveness of his designs or rides, but his personal life is full of unimaginable burdens and endless terror. Similarly, the inanimate mask that the killer wears hides a, er, unappealing visage, but this killer, under Hooper’s direction, reanimates the horrors of the carnival funhouse after years of these images being dismissed as lame or old-fashioned. – Chris Cabin

40. The Fog

John Carpenter 's  The Fog  is a good old-fashioned ghost story and it makes no bones about it. The film opens on  John Houseman ‘s grizzled Mr. Machen spinning a campfire yarn about the local legend of a wrecked ship, the Elizabeth Dane, which washed up on the rocky shores of Antonio Bay 100 years ago, dragging the ship’s crew to the bottom of the sea. On the town Centennial, the sinister truth about the Elizabeth Dane emerges along with the souls of its crewmen, as a neon blue fog rolls into town with some very pissed off pirate ghosts in tow. Carpenter’s  Halloween  follow-up feels similar in a lot of ways: a slow-moving, unstoppable force coming to wreak havoc on a quiet town, set to a pulsing synth score, and hey, Jamie Lee Curtis  is there too (though in an inconsequential supporting role). It’s a sleepy, atmospheric film that embodies the spirit of a campfire ghost story. --  Haleigh Foutch

39. Phenomena

A young girl ( Jennifer Connelly ) communicates with insects and they assist her in warding off attacks in an idyllic Swiss landscape where young girls are getting speared and decapitated. This being a Dario Argento film, that means we get to see some action that it’s split into eight eyes and that the human decapitations are especially gruesome, but handsomely shot.

In revealing who/what’s killing the town’s youth and also who can save them, Phenomena has the most bonkers third act of any horror film that I’ve ever seen. It’s the sort of thing that must be seen to be believed. But as absurd as it is, it fits in with Argento’s side narrative about loving all living things and how that energy can assist you in life. Just think of that love of life when he gleefully films the crimson that drains from it during the last pleads for life.

Did I not mention that Donald Pleasence co-stars as a scientist with a pet chimpanzee? See this movie. -  Brian Formo

38. Children of the Corn

Stephen King’s Children of the Corn  brings the 1977 short story from Stephen King  to life. First published in Penthouse and then included in the “Night Shift” collection,  Children of the Corn is  centered on a bickering couple on a road trip to California for a vacation. Their journey takes an unfortunate side track into the Nebraska town of Gatlin where a gruesome and bizarre cult of extremely devout children do not take kindly to outsiders, especially adults.

While this movie starts out as a faithful adaptation of King’s work, it quickly turns into a more traditional heroic story than the short story intended; purists of King’s writing will likely find the movie infuriating. However, it remains as a great example of the “creepy children” that King’s work has become known for, and of the cultural touchstones of Malachi, Isaac, and He Who Walks Behind the Rows. Yeah, you’re probably going to laugh when you see a bunch of corn stuffed into a car’s engine block “disabling” it or when the hero plays a game of “How Many 5th Graders Can You Take in a Fight?” but it’s a classic nonetheless.  - Dave Trumbore

One of three Stuart Gordon movies that adorn this list, Dolls is perhaps the most uniquely frightening of the bunch and also the least audacious in terms of concept and style. The story, which centers on an old couple who house a number of strangers on a stormy night in a home filled with creepy dolls, seems to be a throwback to The Twilight Zone or, more accurately, the beloved B-movie classic Devil Doll . And yet, under Gordon, the entire tale seems revitalized, given a new rampant fury and energy that somehow never outpaces with pulse of suspense and terror. For a director who must use actors much like playing with living, thinking dolls, the movie must have a vicious, self-excoriating purpose for Gordon. For the audience, it's an oddly funny, quite bloody entertainment sans frills. - Chris Cabin

36. The Entity

Where other ghost tales may focus on homes stirred into tumult by specters or human possession, The Entity supposes something a lot more discomfiting: the act of being repeatedly raped by a ghost. That’s what Barbara Hershey ’s mother of four must survive on a somewhat regular basis in her home, a status that she calls in Ron Silver ’s doctor to give her some insight into. The attacks themselves are brutal even as they feature nothing more than Hershey struggling against an invisible being. That’s the talent of Sidney J. Furie coming out, and it’s the grinding mechanical noise accompaniment as much as the images of Hershey unable to control her own body. The movie takes a turn toward scientific reasoning – amongst the ghost rape – which unfortunately suggests a lack of confidence in the sheer madness and emotional effectiveness of the premise and its execution. Up until the attempts to bring in physics, chemistry, and whatnot into this unnerving nonsense, however, The Entity is uniquely memorable, and not for particularly joyful reasons. – Chris Cabin

35. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

Director Tobe Hooper dubbed this unlikely 1986 sequel a “red comedy” in an attempt to explain horror that transcends even the tastes of intellectual cynics. The viscerally bitter point of view of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 , its utter disregard for empathizing with the dead, certainly sticks with you but that’s not what’s worth discussing with this film. Instead, it’s worth recalling the demented world-building power that Hooper let flourish in the DADA-esque editing and the spare yet chilling production design of the original, as he continues to explore nonsensical yet deeply effective stylistic excesses. He builds tremendous suspense during the second movement of the film in the radio station, which features some sensational long takes and tight, paranoia-inducing framing in the final moments leading up to the climax. For all these cerebral reasons to let this noble sequel off the hook, it’s still the unshakeable feeling that Hooper’s Massacre films stricken you with that keeps you coming back, as if you had just met personally with the janitorial staff of the sixth circle of hell. – Chris Cabin

34. Motel Hell

Of the innumerable Texas Chainsaw Massacre rip-offs, Motel Hell might be the most enjoyable and distinct of the lot. In the middle of nowhere, farmer Vincent Smith makes his living off of a meager stretch of land, his barbeque, and the few rooms at his Motel Hello. Often enough, it’s the perverts and local lost tourists that stop at the Motel Hello that turn into that state-famous barbeque that brings discerning carnivores back. And then old Vincent tries to make a love slave out of one of his victims and that’s where the problems begin. There’s no great artistry here but there’s plenty of bewitching bizarreness, from the not-so-polished performances on down to the no-budget production design. It’s the proper setting for one of the true disciples of a movie that’s as remarkable for what it shows as for how it shows it. – Chris Cabin

33. Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Much maligned because it departed from the track the horror franchise had established with the first two films (and because it was completely insane), Halloween III: Season of the Witch has developed somewhat of a cult following since its 1982 debut. It’s the sole film in the franchise that doesn’t feature the iconic, unkillable serial killer Michael Myers or any of the previously established mythology. The reason behind this was that Halloween creators and producers John Carpenter and Debra Hill envisioned the franchise as going in an anthology direction with the third installment verging into sci-fi/fantasy territory. Things did not go as planned.

For the uninitiated, Season of the Witch follows an investigation into the Silver Shamrock Novelties company and its owner, Conal Cochran ( Dan O’Herlihy ), which brings prosperity to a small town but also has a significant creepy factor thanks to his besuited businessmen roaming around. While I won’t give away the investigations findings (they’re bonkers) or the reason behind them (even more bonkers), I will say that you’ll never see anything else quite like it. Completionists need to check this one off their list and it’s a must-watch for horror aficionados as well, but for folks with an open mind who can appreciate the movie’s anti-consumerism message and taboo treatment of violence against children, it’s an eye-opening experience. – Dave Trumbore

32. Of Unknown Origin

Director George P. Cosmatos would come to prominence in 1985 with Rambo: First Blood Part II , and would hit the big time again with the notorious Sylvester Stallone actioner Cobra , but Of Unknown Origin  remains his sole triumph. Mild-mannered Peter Weller has a huge project at work looming over him when his wife and kids decide to take a vacation, but that’s exactly when our hero starts hearing and seeing rats. Huge ones, as a matter of fact. It’s a true oddity and Cosmatos somehow strikes the perfect tone for this disturbing psychological thriller, but it’s also clearly a cheesy, if inventive cultural comment. The obsession of an unknown infiltrator, whether it be a thief in the night or AIDS, over the stasis of your life on the whole reflects a nattering anxiety over some false sort of purity. It makes all the more sense to symbolize sin and debauchery with a rat, the unofficial symbol of the New York City subway system, a location that’s already long been marked with more than its fair share of scarlet letters. – Chris Cabin

The effect of William Lustig ’s Maniac , in which we follow a demented killer ( Joe Spinell ) of women who occupies a small room full of mannequins and collects the heads of women he sees on the streets at night. Or does he?

The possibility that this is all some kind of sweat-soaked nightmare doesn’t dull the impact of the murders themselves, which are directed to emphasize the physical exertion of the activity, the exhaustion and messiness of an act that’s often presented as quick and easy with a gun. And the grisly acts that are visited upon these corpses certainly don’t become easier to ignore when the main man is questioning his state of mind. Lustig shot on a humble budget in New York City and much like C.H.U.D. and Basket Case , the movie is remembered partially as a last-ditch document of pre-Giuliani New York. The movie is, after all, Giuliani’s walking, bloody nightmare of the town he’s pimped out for credibility for years.

Maniac is exacting in its depiction of the ugliness of serial killing, but it’s also one of those movies that stands as a giddy affront to good taste and a testament to why you should never, ever, ever try to clean up the five boroughs. – Chris Cabin

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The 24 best horror movies of the '80s

Want to watch a totally scary movie? Here are 24 of the most tubular horror picks, from The Shining to A Nightmare on Elm Street to The Thing.

If the '70s transformed horror , then the '80s was the decade when the genre really came into its own. Although many fans have a soft spot for slasher movies , the '80s also birthed iconic monsters, brought body horror to gooey new heights, and sparked a new subgenre: the splatter comedy.

Truly, some of the most famous horror movies of all time were made in the colorful, campy, boundary-pushing decade, including cult oddities like Fright Night and hidden gems like Dead & Buried .

Here's our list of the 24 best horror movies of the '80s.

The Shining (1980)

Released the same month as the original Friday the 13th , The Shining isn't necessarily what you think of when you think of '80s horror. It's a slow-burn ghost story anchored by precision cinematography, bravura performances from stars Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson , and direction from Stanley Kubrick , a big-name filmmaker with no previous connection to the genre.

Nevertheless, The Shining holds up as a disturbing, bone-chilling classic whose influence is all over contemporary "elevated" horror.

Where to watch The Shining : Paramount+ with Showtime

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

New Line Cinema is sometimes referred to as "the house that Freddy built" — an appropriate nickname given A Nightmare on Elm Street ' s outsize influence on the fledgling studio's fortunes.

Wes Craven adapted a newspaper story about a 12-year-old Cambodian refugee plagued by nightmares into this all-time classic, which marked the screen debut of both blade-wielding homicidal burn victim Freddy Krueger ( Robert Englund ) and a young Johnny Depp .

Where to watch A Nightmare on Elm Street : Max

Evil Dead II (1987)

Sam Raimi essentially remade his game-changing debut The Evil Dead (1981) with a bigger budget and an enhanced slapstick sensibility with Evil Dead II , a cabin-in-the-woods slasher by way of Looney Tunes.

Bruce Campbell returns as wisecracking final boy Ashley "Ash" Williams, whose unrelenting gauntlet of extreme terror as he fights for his life against the demonic Deadites is even bloodier — and sillier — this time around. The beauty of Evil Dead II is that it's both genuinely funny and genuinely scary, making for a wildly entertaining roller-coaster ride of a movie.

Where to rent Evil Dead II : Amazon Prime Video

Videodrome (1983)

Disproving the stereotype that Canadians are inherently mild-mannered people, David Cronenberg 's 1983 body-horror masterpiece Videodrome blends pain with pleasure, violence with entertainment, and human consciousness with pixelated transmissions from a nightmare realm.

James Woods stars as a sleazy TV executive in search of the ultimate ratings grab, alongside Blondie 's Debbie Harry as the seductive hostess of the titular broadcast.

Where to rent Videodrome : Amazon Prime Video

Hellraiser (1987)

Speaking of the razor's edge between pleasure and pain — queer horror icon Clive Barker lives on that edge, and so does his most famous creation, Hellraiser .

Adapted from Barker's novella The Hellbound Heart , Hellraiser revolves around a mysterious puzzle box known as the Lament Configuration. Once solved, the box summons the Cenobites, sadomasochistic beings from a dimension of pain and suffering who are all too happy to show jaded mortals an agonizing good time.

Where to watch Hellraiser : Amazon Prime Video

Fright Night (1985)

Sporting some good old-fashioned chills and a rockin' new wave soundtrack, Fright Night is a cult classic horror-comedy with a contagious affection for the genre.

Featuring Roddy McDowall as a TV horror host forced to confront the supernatural in real life, director Tom Holland's debut stars William Ragsdale as Charley Brewster, a horror-obsessed teen who becomes convinced that his suave next-door neighbor ( Chris Sarandon ) is actually a vampire.

Where to rent Fright Night : Amazon Prime Video

Creepshow (1982)

Combining the powers of writer Stephen King , director George Romero , and special effects artist Tom Savini, Creepshow is one of the best horror anthologies — not only of the '80s but of all time.

Inspired by the EC horror comics King and Romero grew up reading in the '50s, the five segments that make up Creepshow are full of macabre twists, bizarre creatures, and amoral characters getting their well-deserved supernatural comeuppance. Cartoonish in the best way, it's a tribute to the childhood scares that made these horror icons and has now spawned a reboot series on Shudder .

Where to rent Creepshow : Amazon Prime Video

Near Dark (1987)

Blending Western tropes with a punk-rock attitude, director Kathryn Bigelow puts a pulpy rockabilly spin on the vampire myth in Near Dark , one of the best and bloodiest vampire films of the '80s.

Adrian Pasdar stars as Caleb Colton, a small-town kid who joins up with a roving band of vampires after being bitten by an alluring stranger he meets at a bar. But it's Bill Paxton who steals the show as Severen, the most unhinged of this undead crew, whose sex appeal is matched by his thirst for violence.

Near Dark is currently unavailable to watch or rent

The Thing (1982)

One of several horror masterpieces directed by John Carpenter , The Thing wasn't appreciated by critics or audiences during its initial release. Decades later, it's an undisputed classic.

Filmmakers are still ripping off Rob Bottin's gruesomely inventive special effects, the excess of which contrasts with the tightly wound paranoia of the story. That latter quality only gets more relevant with every passing year; it's no coincidence that a screenshot of Kurt Russell 's character saying, "Nobody trusts anybody now, and we're all very tired" went viral in 2020.

Where to rent The Thing : Amazon Prime Video

Day of the Dead (1985)

The third film in George Romero's zombie series is just as politically charged — and as nihilistic — as Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead , even though, yes, it does have a zombie listening to a Walkman.

The story picks up in a military bunker in the Everglades, where the last shreds of humanity have gathered in search of safety. Part-splatter movie and part-meditation on the dangers of science run amok, Day of the Dead is a sobering and thought-provoking take on the zombie genre.

Where to watch Day of the Dead : Hulu

Re-Animator (1985)

Sleazy, silly, lurid, colorful, and tons of fun, Re-Animator is a modern classic of mad scientist cinema. Directed by Stuart Gordon from a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, this video store favorite stars Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West, a medical student obsessed with bringing the dead back to life.

They don't teach ethics at Miskatonic University, so Herbert's experiments become increasingly outlandish, eventually drawing two of his fellow students ( Barbara Crampton and Bruce Abbott) into his chaotic orbit.

Where to watch Re-Animator : Tubi

The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

The most party-hearty horror movie of a party-hearty decade, The Return of the Living Dead will bring tons of madcap energy — and toxic sludge — to your movie night.

The story takes place in Louisville, Ky., where a group of teenage punks partying in a graveyard come face to face with the aftermath of two youths accidentally kicking over a barrel in a top-secret government facility. That barrel was full of a gas that turns unsuspecting humans into zombies, which can mean only one thing: Let the flesh-eating festivities begin!

Where to watch The Return of the Living Dead : Amazon Prime Video

Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter (1984)

The 1980 original spawned 10 sequels, a remake, and innumerable rip-offs. But this is the quintessential (and the best) Friday the 13th movie.

Erroneously billed as "The Final Chapter," this fourth film in the saga does everything an '80s slasher is supposed to do — namely, put a bunch of horny teenagers in a cabin and let Jason Voorhees pick them off one by one. And it does it well, with gruesome kills, memorable characters (a rarity in the Friday the 13th series), and a totally bonkers ending featuring a young Corey Feldman .

Where to rent Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter : Amazon Prime Video

Dead & Buried (1981)

A dreamlike, atmospheric take on the zombie legend, Dead & Buried is one of the most singular horror movies of the '80s.

Director Gary Sherman's second feature, about a picturesque coastal town where packs of locals murder unsuspecting tourists — only for those tourists to be seen later wandering around town — languished in obscurity for decades before being rediscovered and hailed as a cult classic.

Where to watch Dead & Buried : Amazon Prime Video

The Changeling (1980)

George C. Scott stars as a recently widowed dad in The Changeling , a sophisticated, grown-up take on the haunted house movie that's still absolutely terrifying. The story takes place in an empty, secluded Victorian mansion, where John Russell (Scott) retreats after losing his wife and daughter in a car crash.

If you think that sounds like the perfect time and place to see some ghosts, you're correct — but the knowing doesn't make their appearance any less heart-stopping, thanks to superior craftsmanship from director Peter Medak.

Where to watch The Changeling : Peacock

Society (1989)

The '80s were a great decade for satirical horror-comedies, and Brian Yuzna's Society stands as one of the best of the subgenre.

The manicured lawns and yuppie fashions of Beverly Hills form the perfect backdrop for this bizarre (and goopy) statement on the decadence of the rich, starring the wonderfully named Billy Warlock as a wealthy teenager who suspects his parents are part of a cannibalistic cult. It all climaxes with an extended orgy of body-horror transformation that we won't spoil here, but we can guarantee that you'll never forget.

Where to rent Society : YouTube

They Live (1988)

Another instant classic from genre master John Carpenter, They Live is a sci-fi horror satire whose commentary on mindless consumerism is as relevant today as it was in 1988.

Starring "Rowdy" Roddy Piper as a drifter who finds a pair of sunglasses that expose an alien plot to subjugate humanity through subliminal messaging, They Live cuts its trenchant social critique with action-movie silliness — case in point: an infamous, hilarious fight sequence that goes on for six minutes for no particular reason — and highly quotable dialogue.

Where to rent They Live : Amazon Prime Video

Opera (1987)

Some might say that Italian horror legend Dario Argento was past his prime by the time the '80s rolled around. Opera , however, disproves that argument. Argento's work has always incorporated the melodramatic sweep and heightened emotion of opera.

And Opera , about an obsessive fan terrorizing a young soprano (Cristina Marsillach) during a production of Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth , ranks among the maestro's most beautifully shot and fiendishly inventive tributes to the art of murder.

Where to watch Opera : Tubi

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

The only '80s slasher franchise written and directed entirely by women, The Slumber Party Massacre satirized the subgenre while it was still being formed.

Directed by Amy Holden Jones from a screenplay by lesbian feminist author Rita Mae Brown, The Slumber Party Massacre was written as a parody, but producers insisted that Jones film it as a straightforward slasher picture. Its tongue-in-cheek sensibility came through anyway, poking at horror tropes with clever visual gags and a comically oversized power drill.

Where to watch The Slumber Party Massacre : Freevee via Amazon Prime Video

Possession (1981)

Emerging from obscurity to become a cult classic, Andrzej Żuławski's Possession is one of the most fascinating, singular visions in horror filmmaking. On one level, it's a shocking, disturbingly sexual arthouse creature feature. Dig deeper, and it's a painfully personal divorce movie.

Deeper still, it's a psychological thriller about a woman losing her grip on reality, with a touch of Cold War-era political satire. Bleak, uncompromising, and anchored by an unforgettable performance from star Isabelle Adjani, Possession is a movie that's hard to shake.

Where to watch Possession : Shudder

The Beyond (1981)

Lucio Fulci movies are an acquired taste. But once you've acquired it, nothing else satisfies in quite the same way. The Beyond is the second and best film in Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy, about a woman who inherits a dilapidated hotel in the middle of the Louisiana swamp only to discover that it's cursed with a literal portal to hell in the basement.

The Beyond is "about" gore as much as it is "about" anything, however, a psychedelic miasma of slow-moving zombies and colorful viscera that's hypnotizing and confounding in equal measure.

Where to watch The Beyond : Peacock

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

You may think you've seen it all, but that isn't true until you've seen Tetsuo: The Iron Man .

Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto's chaotic, erotic body-horror head trip takes cyberpunk to some unforgettable new places, using inventive low-budget effects to tell the surreal story of a "metal fetishist" whose death in a drive-by car accident sparks an outrageous new chapter in human evolution.

Where to watch Tetsuo: The Iron Man : Shudder

Night of the Comet (1984)

Valley girl culture was everywhere in the '80s, and two of the most appealing characters to come out of this mall-obsessed SoCal teen cult appear in 1984's Night of the Comet .

Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney star as Regina and Samantha, teenage sisters who fight for survival in postapocalyptic Los Angeles (with breaks for shopping, of course) after a passing comet turns most of the population into zombies. Full of vibrant color and good-natured humor, this entertaining sci-fi hybrid holds up — even if the fashions don't.

Where to watch Night of the Comet : Tubi

The Burning (1981)

It didn't spawn a hit franchise, but The Burning still stands as one of the best entries into the early-'80s slasher cycle.

Inspired by the New York urban legend of Cropsey, The Burning is a lean, mean-spirited hack-and-slash summer camp horror movie that's elevated by its energetic young cast — which includes Jason Alexander , Fisher Stevens , and Holly Hunter in their debut film roles — and Tom Savini's gruesomely realistic makeup effects.

Where to watch The Burning : Amazon Prime Video

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The 33 Best Horror Movies From the '80s

From A Nightmare on Elm Street to The Shining , here are the films you can't miss.

the shining, nightmare on elm street, gremlins

Ah, the '80s—a decade probably best remembered by its big hair, leg warmers, and mullets—but let's not forget the gruesome, chill-inducing, and oh-so-wonderfully-terrifying horror movies that came to define the genre for generations to come.

Take A Nightmare on Elm Street , a film that still fuels our nightmares (and also turned us off striped sweaters forever). Or the bloodbath and masterpiece that is Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. (We're scared of long, empty corridors to this day.) And who could forget the most terrifying holiday horror movie of all: Gremlins.

The horror movies of the '80s, full of camp, gore, and surprising twists, created the foundation for the contemporary scary movies we love today. Freddie Krueger and hockey-masked Jason from Friday the 13th cemented the recurring killer who it seems can never truly be stopped. And comedies like Beetlejuice and An American Werewolf in London presented all the spooky elements of horror we love, but with a few laughs along the way too. For every gory flick from the '80s, there's another that's genre-blending and inventive, using comedy or action or sci-fi to show there's tons of ways to make a creepy horror masterpiece.

Sure, modern horror's great, but scary flicks from the '80s weren't afraid to have take chances, so join us on our terrifying trip down memory lane: Here are 33 of the best '80s horror movies, from total classics to the weird and experimental sort that'll make you hide under the covers.

Gremlins (1980)


What happens when a bunch of troublemaking Furby-like dolls terrorize a small town on Christmas day? That's what Gremlins explores, and we're really happy our parents gave us G.I. Joes growing up instead.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

a nightmare on elm street

This Wes Craven '80s flick which spawned a handful of sequels dug into people's ultimate fear: What if our nightmares were real? And what if there was no way to escape them? Freddy Kruger remains the GOAT of the decade's horror villains.

Stream It here

The Shining (1980)

the shining

A novelist and his family are tasked with watching over a hotel in the Rocky Mountains during a particularly harsh winter season, which, as you likely know, spirals into utter madness. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

Poltergeist (1982)


A family is stalked by an otherworldly figure casting a dark shadow on their home (which also has the ability to reach them through their television set, our other worst fear).

Stream It Here

The Thing (1982)

the thing

A group of American researchers in Antartica witness a helicopter shooting at a sled dog that's entered their camp—only to discover the dog is not the friendly, cuddle-up-to-you kind. (We'll save you from any spoilers.)

Aliens (1986)


Legendary for all kinds of reasons, but mostly because the sequel somehow managed to be better than the already great original. We stan Sigourney!

Evil Dead (1981)

evil dead

A group of young college students descend upon an isolated cabin in the woods—where all good things happen—and encounter the ultimate demonic figure in this gory flick.

Cujo (1983)


Stream it here

Friday the 13th (1980)

friday the 13th

At the time of this classic flick's release, it was critically panned . Still, it was massively popular at the box-office and gave rise to 11 (yes, 11) sequels. Here's where it all began.

Videodrome (1983)


A David Cronenberg special, Videodrome follows the president of a TV station that stumbles across the dark web of television when he finds a show that tortures its characters. Is it all fiction, though? (You can pretty much guess the answer.)

Child's Play (1988)

child's play

There are plenty of villains on this list to be terrified of, but alas, nothing scares us more than Chucky. Here's where the Child's Play franchise was born.

The Fly (1986)

the fly

Jeff Goldblum goes through the ultimate transformation in this horror classic, and we're just really happy to see him in any capacity.

Christine (1983)


What if the villain was a murderous and blood-thirsty car......said no one ever, until Stephen King wrote a novel about it, later adapted into this horror classic.

Pet Sematary (1989)

pet sematary

Another brilliant Stephen King film adaptation, Pet Sematary explores one family's experience with the tragic loss of their son—and what they're willing to do to see him again.


Fright Night (1985)

fright night

What happens when a vampire becomes your next door neighbor and pursues both your mom and girlfriend? We know now thanks to this cult classic (also remade in 2011).

April Fool's Day (1986)

april fools day

College friends spend the weekend leading up to April Fool's in a mansion. Things start to go awry when one of the friends begins to pick the others off one by one. Yikes.

Stream it Here

Children of the Corn (1984)

children of the corn

Adapted from a Stephen King short story, a young couple is trapped in a small town where children have killed all the adults and now worship a deity called He Who Walks Behind the Rows.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

an american werewolf in london

A werewolf attacks two American backpackers. When one survives, he has to figure out whether or not he's a werewolf, and what he's going to do about it. This horror/comedy won an Academy Award for Best Makeup, and has a (not great) 1997 sequel.

The Changeling (1980)

the changeling

A composer moves to Seattle after his wife and daughter's deaths. Little does he know... the house he bought is haunted. The film was nominated for two Saturn Awards.

The Fog (1980)

the fog

Starring Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis, The Fog tells the tale of a California town suddenly engulfed in fog, bringing back vengeful ghosts of mariners who died there a century ago. Horror legend John Carpenter helmed this cult classic.

Headshot of Joshua Ocampo

Josh Ocampo is the Senior Editor at Men's Health. He has covered politics, travel, and food for Mic, Men's Journal, and Bon Appetit. 

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The 35 Best '80s Horror Movies Ranked

Freddy Krueger mugs for camera

The '80s were a boom time for horror. Two formats of video recorder (VHS and Betamax) duked it out, with VHS eventually winning due to being the cheaper format to license. The proliferation of this technology in the home meant that films had a market beyond cinemas for the first time, and rental stores cropped up worldwide. Direct-to-video became a valid way to release films, and a lot of people wanted to cash in on the growing horror craze. In addition, because it was now possible to record movies from their TVs, many eager youngsters cultivated an interest in horror by watching scary movies at home, freed from the age-based restrictions at theaters.

My childhood was one of regular video shop visits, marveling at the gory covers on cassettes in the horror section. The quality of the tapes varied wildly, but many still hold up today, and some of them now bona fide classics. Obviously, any list such as this is subjective, but there are a few entries that I'm genuinely sad missed the cut, even if just barely — especially "From Beyond."

Adjust your tracking, align your azimuth heads, and let's go...

35. Sleepaway Camp

If 1980's "Friday the 13 th " (alongside films like "The Burning") hadn't already taught us that there were few places as dangerous as summer camp, 1983's "Sleepaway Camp" proved it beyond any doubt. Summer camp counselors must have been up there alongside snake handlers and bomb disposal crews in the '80s, and at least those pursuing the latter two careers are given better protective garb than short shorts and crop top tee-shirts. It would appear that a disgruntled parent or vengeful (and permanently scarred) victim of bullying lurked behind every tree or chalet.

An unlikely film to kickstart a franchise, "Sleepaway Camp" would go on to spawn several sequels, each more tongue-in-cheek than the one before. Honestly, as a slasher — especially one in such an overcrowded market given the number of "Friday the 13 th " imitators inspired by that film's breakout success — this particular entry is very much by-the-numbers, and the characters a collection of broadly drawn archetypes in a movie particularly guilty of having 30-somethings trying to play young teenagers.

That said, it's solely the movie's ending that makes "Sleepaway Camp" worthy of inclusion on this list. A striking reveal and final shot instantly elevate the film from forgettable to quite the opposite, and it's a conclusion that still stands up as brave and shocking some four decades later .

34. Scanners

There's a general rule of thumb that the appearance of actor Michael Ironside improves any film, and this certainly applies to the 1981 science fiction/horror flick "Scanners." Ironside plays the baddie in this tale of weaponized psychics in a setting that will be familiar to any fans of the works of Canadian auteur writer/director David Cronenberg — a reality parallel to ours, but one where technology or humanity has gone awry.

In his earlier works "Shivers" and "Rabid," Cronenberg dealt with his familiar themes of disease, but in "Scanners" (and "The Brood" from two years previous) he delves into the powers of the mind and those who would exploit them.

The plot is as ambitious as it is mind-blowing, which leads us neatly into the one famous moment that cemented this visceral and literate science fiction film's place in the horror hall of fame. The villainous Darryl Revok (Ironside) turns his particularly vicious telepathic talents against another psychic, causing his head to explode messily. The scene — achieved with a prosthetic full of burger remnants, latex, and wax shot at point-blank range with a shotgun — has gained notoriety, immortalized in countless animated GIFs. It's a gimmick in a film that doesn't need one, but also a prime example of practical effects work that still stands up today.

33. Fright Night

Nostalgia is a powerful drug, and if 1985's "Fright Night" will make you long for anything, it's the concept of old-fashioned horror hosts. Those stalwart individuals — of whom Elvira was one of the most famous — haunted our screens in the dead of night on cable television, introducing a succession of schlocky low-budget, yet thoroughly entertaining, horror movies.

In this tale of a vampire moving into a suburban neighborhood and the attempts to uncover him, Roddy McDowall plays the aforementioned horror host — Peter Vincent — dragged into a real-life vampire hunt. He delights as a pretentious luvvie with ideas above his station, proving to be quite hopeless in real life at the abilities boasted about by his on-screen persona. In a metaphysical twist beating "Scream" to the punch by some time, it's also a neat skewering of the 80s trend of horror switching towards slasher movies, with has-been Vincent bemoaning modern audiences don't even have time for creatures such as vampires anymore.

The '80s were a rich era for comedy blended with horror, and "Fright Night" boasts a razor-sharp script as gruesome as it is funny. A vampire flick is also only as good as its bloodsucking lead, and here Chris Sarandon stars as the confident and suave suburban sucker Jerry Dandridge (vamping it up a couple of years after former wife Susan had done the same in "The Hunger").

32. Tetsuo: The Iron Man

The cinematic equivalent of a monochromatic fever dream, this 1989 Japanese splatter-punk body horror is as contentious as they come. Critics will point out its paper-thin plot, ramshackle special effects, and over-the-top gore — and fans will proclaim those elements as exactly why they love it.

The vague plot follows our protagonist, The Salaryman (Tomorowo Taguchi) as he contracts a mysterious illness that causes him to slowly transform into a hideous bio-mechanical hybrid of flesh and metal. An encounter with a metal fetishist forces the two rusting reprobates into a deadly battle.

A minuscule budget and a do-it-yourself approach to the special effects give " Tetsuo: The Iron Man " a unique look, making it quite different from other horror movies. Sequels would up the budget and the quality of special effects — and the complexities in the storytelling — but this first low-budget horror, with its punk-rock ethos, remains the most fascinating entry of them all. "Akira" would tread similar territory in the same decade with its own metamorphosing and mutating Tetsuo to greater and more profitable effect. Still, there's no doubting the low-fi charm of this strange little film, and you'll never look at a junk pile in the same way again.

31. Brain Damage

In 1982's " Basket Case ," writer/director Frank Henenlotter created a most unusual antagonist in Belial, a monstrously deformed conjoined twin. However, that pale-skinned, potato-shaped creature was the paragon of normality compared to Aylmer from Henenlotter's next film, "Brain Damage." Aylmer, a purple and blue chorizo-shaped parasite, is a millennia-old creature with perfectly polite diction — and a penchant for eating brains in return for injecting his acolytes with a chemical capable of causing vivid and exquisitely pleasurable hallucinations. In a knowing nod to low-budget horror, Aylmer is voiced by John Zacherle, who was a renowned host — known as The Cool Ghoul — throughout the '50s and '60s.

Protagonist Brian (Rick Hearst)– with that name and film title similarity being one of the most refined elements of this 1988 comedy horror — stands front and center in this outlandish slice of cinema. It simultaneously takes a sledgehammer-subtle approach to addiction and serves as a violent gore-fest, with each killing presented in a neon brilliance from a narcotic haze rivaling anything seen in Joel Schumacher's "Batman Forever."

There's no denying a running theme in Henenlotter's output, which typically involves a grimy New York underbelly populated by sleazy unsympathetic characters getting what's coming to them. That said, his brand of horror exploitation cinema is unique, and it's no exaggeration to call Henenlotter something of an auteur. There's little reason or logic behind his works, but their distinctiveness makes them stand out in a crowded genre. Like the vicious stinger that Aylmer uses to squirt his potent narcotic all over your cerebral cortex, his films get into your brain.

30. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Before Alabamian actor Michael Rooker emerged as James Gunn's cinematic muse (appearing in "Slither" and various "Guardians of the Galaxy" films), he terrified audiences as the lead in John McNaughton's 1986 psychological horror " Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer ."

Based on the story of real-life killer Henry Lee Lucas, this gritty movie follows Henry after his release from imprisonment for murdering his mother. Taking a job — appropriately — as an exterminator, he and a friend conduct a series of indiscriminate killings. From a decade in which movie murders were designed to be as novel as possible — with the bigger the body count, the better — "Henry" stands as a grimly realistic and sobering view of a mass murderer's mind.

Henry isn't a masked slasher or supernatural creature out for vengeance or killing for a misguided cause, but an anonymous psychopath who could blend into the crowd, and whose motives appear random. The movie is awkwardly voyeuristic at times, making us, the audience, feel guilty for watching Henry carry out his hideous crimes with a casualness that defies sense. It'd be a challenge to find a more nihilistic movie from the '80s, and it's pretty telling that it sat in post-production limbo for three years before becoming one of the first movies given the Motion Picture Association of America's new NC-17 rating.

29. The Dead Zone

You'd struggle to think of two things more ubiquitous in '80s horror than David Cronenberg and Stephen King, and 1983's " The Dead Zone " sees a collaboration between the two genre legends.

In a case of perfect casting, Christopher Walken plays Johnny Smith. Walken is always at his strongest playing unusual, haunted characters (case in point: his scene-stealing performance as the Archangel Gabriel in 1995's "The Prophecy") — and Smith is one of the most interesting of them all. He wakes from a coma to find himself able to catch glimpses of individuals' lives through touch, this psychometric talent capable of discovering people's secrets — by seeing their futures. Accidental contact with presidential candidate Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen) shows the Senator will go on to start World War III, and Smith is locked in a battle against time to prevent this seemingly inevitable prophetic apocalypse.

Despite feeling a little dated given recent events in modern politics — where few in positions of power seem to have the honor anymore to resign with dignity when embarrassed or shamed — it's a powerful film. The final act is a slice of brilliantly tense cinema , and "The Dead Zone" has proven to be one of the most effective of King's works put to screen. The '80s saw a great many King adaptations, but notably, few of them feature on this list, such is their varying quality.

28. Possession

Enjoying somewhat of a resurgence due to its recent appearance on the streaming channel Shudder, 1981's "Possession" was one of several films from the decade that found itself on the list of British "Video Nasties." Whereas many films found themselves on that notorious list through their extreme gore and that alone, "Possession" was also included for its sheer brutality and uncompromising view of domestic abuse. This far-from-comfortable watch charts the breakdown in the relationship between spy Mark (Sam Neill) and Anna (Isabelle Adjani), and follows her increasingly odd behavior after requesting a divorce. It flits through genres, beginning as a grim kitchen-sink divorce drama in the equally grim environs of West Germany before the fall of the Wall , yet ends up in Cronenberg-esque body-horror territory. Neill is never anything less than watchable in any of his roles and "Possession" is no exception. Still, it's Adjani who steals this movie — with one subway scene in particular memorable as a high point of horror cinema.

It's an oddly structured narrative that asks as many questions as it answers, and it's definitely not a film for everybody's taste — but if you like your horror challenging and ambiguous, there are few better examples in '80s cinema. I can guarantee you that it's like nothing you've ever seen — or will ever see.

27. Friday the 13th

It was the film that launched a franchise, eventually seeing its protagonist visit the far-off climes of Hell, outer space, and — most terrifyingly — Manhattan. It's incredible to think that a series that went on to form an instantly recognizable horror legend in the form of Jason Voorhees and his iconic hockey mask started without even his inclusion, Jason's only proper appearance being an afterthought ( inspired by the end of "Carrie" ) in a dream sequence.

Rushed into production to capitalize on the success of "Halloween" (1978) from two years earlier, "A Long Night at Camp Blood" (to use its working title) was a compelling whodunit with the identity of the murderer kept a secret from the audience. The ultimate reveal wasn't as effective as the thrills and chills that led up to it, but there is no denying how influential this film was on the genre. The excellent (and lengthy) documentary "Crystal Lake Memories" explores the sad tale of diminishing returns and how the series eventually lost its way, but it's easy to forget how it once dominated the box office.

And while "Friday the 13th" spawned countless mediocre spin-offs featuring hapless counselors in peril, the original still stands tall today. All together now ... Voorhees a jolly good fellow ...

26. Poltergeist

"Poltergeist" is an odd beast. Tobe Hooper, who'd terrified the living snot out of us eight years earlier with "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," directed this 1982 horror film, but it feels like a film straight out of the Spielberg playbook. Spielberg's influence as the tale's writer imprinted on every frame, and there's an argument — with no small irony in a film about a restless spirit — that Spielberg ghost-directed the movie . And it's easy to see how people came to believe that.

Hooper (or maybe Spielberg) lulls you into a false sense of security as the characters start witnessing odd activity in their new home (another example of '80s homeowners blissfully unaware of what lurks under the foundations of their building — although at least in this case we were spared the common trope of Indian burial ground). The titular poltergeist is initially playful, moving furniture around accompanied by a cheery Jerry Goldsmith score, as well as communicating with the family's young daughter through the static on a television set. ("They're heeeeere.")

There's a big rug pull to come, though, as the film suddenly descends into the macabre and cruel. There's a mirror scene involving face-peeling horror that would be considered over the top in a Cronenberg movie, and moments of terror you wouldn't expect in a film with such a mild rating; it was rated the equivalent of PG (Parental Guidance) in the UK, which seems laughable now given the film's haunting content.

25. Videodrome

With the dawn of the video cassette being such a boon for the horror genre — for both viewers and filmmakers, as touched upon in my introduction to this piece, it was inevitable that somebody would deliver a film about the power of that medium. And who better than a director who seemed obsessed with impressing upon us the dangers of over-reliance on technology?

1983's " Videodrome " follows TV channel president Maxx Renn (James Woods) as he attempts to uncover the secrets behind the titular TV show — a gratuitous offering dedicated to torture and abuse — after he learns that the on-screen violence might be genuine. It's a wry — and, as you can imagine from director David Cronenberg, a far-from-conventional — look at the increasingly graphic nature of the content we consume, and the lengths that television creators will go to satisfy that urge.

The VHS concept and clunky on-screen technology date the film, locking it in an alternative '80s, but the theme remains as prescient as ever when we consider how the medium has changed in the 40 years since its release. In an era of fake news, radicalization, and people famous for simply being famous, perhaps we've never wandered too far from the Videodrome.

24. The Hitcher

A masterclass in atmosphere and tension that probably resulted in far fewer hitchhikers being picked up in the decade of its release, 1986's "The Hitcher" still stands out today for its memorably callous antagonist, Rutger Hauer's John Ryder. It's precisely the kind of role that the sadly missed Hauer was best known for.

When young Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) stops for a hitchhiker, he has no idea of the events he sets in motion. He narrowly escapes with his life from this self-proclaimed psychopath, and the two of them fight to the death on the desert plains.

There are shades of Roy Batty, Hauer's "Blade Runner" character, in Hauer's oppressive antagonist, with both coming across as Aryan, idealized superhumans. Ironically, Ryder feels even less human than Roy Batty's replicant. It's a movie reminiscent of Spielberg's "Duel" from the decade previous, seeing innocents in the wrong place at the wrong time, tormented simply for their bad luck. Like the persistently aggressive Truck from Spielberg's feature, Ryder is an unstoppable force of nature, a villain with little nuance or subtlety, in a film as bleak as it is violent. "The Hitcher" was remade in 2007 with Sean Bean in the lead role, but even an actor of his gravitas couldn't salvage something that should have been left on the curbside, thumb permanently outstretched.

23. The Changeling

Another exemplary horror starring George C. Scott, " Exorcist 3 " narrowly missed being on this list by virtue of opening 11 months too late, but 1980's "The Changeling" is equally as fine — a wonderful and chilling tale released in an era known for jump scares and gore. The ghost story is a fine tradition that seems to be (no pun intended) a dying art, and "The Changeling" is a textbook example of seeing it done well.

Scott plays composer John Russell, who moves into a Seattle mansion after a car accident saw his wife and daughter killed. It's not long before he starts to experience supernatural phenomena and learns of the events that transpired in his 12-years-vacated house.

Co-writer Russell Hunter based the story on his own experiences in the Henry Treat Rogers mansion two decades before, but the tale almost feels secondary to Scott's excellent performance.. almost. His music teacher is a haunted soul — both literally and figuratively — and his reactions to the events around him make the drama utterly convincing. Scott's always been a compelling character actor, and his performance grounds some of the more far-fetched elements, making the plot work. "The Changeling," through atmosphere and sound design alone, frightened this horror fan on first viewing — and aspects of this standout film have stuck with me ever since.

22. Evil Dead II

1987's "Evil Dead II" is a quirky one — it's not exactly a sequel to the original, more a bigger budget remake that's played slightly more for laughs than the 1981 classic. The impressively chinned Bruce Campbell returns as Ash Williams, once again getting himself involved with scary supernatural shenanigans in a secluded shack. The Book of the Dead — the Necronomicon, heavily featured in the first three "Evil Dead" movies — is once again responsible, as ancient texts naively read aloud reawaken the Deadites who dwell in the surrounding woods.

The slapstick quotient is heightened considerably from the first film, with Campbell's physical comedy prowess conjuring images of a Three Stooges one-person show. His exploits with a myriad of miniaturized mimics are a particular highlight, as is the scene with his possessed hand (with the severing of said limb being responsible for one of the few visual gags ever put to screen ... based on an Ernest Hemingway novel).

It's a visual riot, ending with a perfect set-up for "Army of Darkness," which arrived in theaters in 1992 (and thus can't be included on this list). Purists may not want to think too hard about how the conclusion of "Evil Dead II" doesn't quite match the start of the next installment, but that's pure nitpicking.

21. The Shining

Stephen King may have famously hated Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaption of his first bestselling novel , but there's no denying the quality of the notorious auteur's only stab at the horror genre. Author and recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a job as a winter caretaker and moves his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) into the Overlook Hotel. Given warnings from the hotel's manager that the previous caretaker had gone insane and killed his family, Jack's behavior becomes increasingly erratic, and it transpires that they're not the only occupants of the Overlook — but they are the only ones still alive.

The film has been somewhat overshadowed by the real-life horror story of actor Shelley Duvall's on-set experiences , but "The Shining" is an exemplary piece of horror cinema. It's beautifully shot, as you'd expect from a talent such as Kubrick, albeit a little clinical, but many of the set pieces remain chillingly effective today. The notorious "Here's Johnny" scene featuring an ax-wielding Jack has been spoofed and parodied so many times it's virtually a cultural landmark, but it's a reminder of how superbly Nicholson could play manic characters. Mike Flanagan's 2019 sequel "Doctor Sleep" revisited many of the iconic shots and scenes from "The Shining," acting as a timely reminder of how good they really were.

20. Basket Case

Frank Henenlotter has a rare directorial talent: the ability to cover every frame of celluloid with an intangible layer of grime. Across his limited yet illustrious career, New York has been as much a character in his films as any of the oddballs, eccentrics, or freaks he casts. "Basket Case" is as much a love letter to the Big Apple as anything made by Woody Allen, but concentrates on the city's rotten core: the seedy, sleazier side of the concrete metropolis.

"Basket Case" is a simple tale about a boy and his deformed mutant brother, but it's the humans in the film who are the real monsters. It's a tale that'll stick in your brain long after you've finished showering to try and wash the grubbiness away. Some of its effects are risible — a stop-motion scene with monstrous brother Belial trashing a hotel room is more about the "stop" than the "motion" — but, as with the rest of Henenlotter's work, there's a certain charm.

Henenlotter inspired a whole bunch of other filmmakers, notably Joe Begos ("Bliss" and "VFW") and Harrison Smith ("The Special"), proving that exploitation is alive and well. The "Basket Case" sequels veer more towards black comedy and away from horror, but are never less than watchable.

19. Predator

In some little backwater alternate reality, there's a far different version of "Predator" from the one that hit cinemas in 1987. In this universe, it's one of the more obscure movies of Schwarzenegger's oeuvre, an action-horror flick starring heavily disguised, little-known actor Jean-Claude Van Damme (who suffered a career-ending injury after an ill-timed jump in a preposterous looking rubber costume).

Luckily, that's not the one we got. Featuring the ever-reliable designs of genre genius Stan Winston, "Predator" is an unashamedly macho science-fiction action-horror movie which sees Dutch (Arnie) and his squad of war-film stereotypes take on the eponymous alien menace. Featuring enough ammunition to topple a third-world dictatorship, and biceps bulging with more veins than most of us have in our entire circulatory systems, "Predator" is an absolute blast.

Like Billy on the bridge, brave enough to take on the Predator with just a machete, the film is expertly executed. A novel sequel that moved the setting to the concrete jungle of Los Angeles was followed by increasingly dismal movies, but, unlike the Predator himself, the franchise refuses to vanish.

18. Gremlins

A rare piece of stealth-horror, this one, sneaking from the video store shelf into many homes thanks to the cute furry Mogwai on the cover. It'd be a little while before its true nature became apparent: "Gremlins" is  a Tex Avery cartoon given lizard flesh, a violent, blood-spattered tale of evil little skittering demonic creatures. My nervous mother (who'd subsequently tried to warn me away from "Rosemary's Baby," calling it the "scariest movie ever") never quite forgave me.

At its heart, "Gremlins" is a movie-length cautionary tale, a reminder to always follow instructions. The gremlins and their leader, Stripe, are the yin to the cute Mogwai Gizmo's yang, wreaking havoc amongst the deserving and undeserving alike. The gremlins themselves are a force of nature, dispatched in a variety of grisly ways that'll delight the childish-at-heart and sicken people ;ole my dear-departed mum. It's manic, playful, and buzzing with a sugar-rush energy rarely found outside of Saturday morning cartoons, but there's a hint of the darkest elements of Grimm just lurking under the surface — Phoebe Cates' saddest Christmas story of all time is testament to that.

"Gremlins" is a film that gets away with a lot due to the violence being cartoonish and over-the-top, but that doesn't stop it being as worthy an entry as anything on this list.

17. The Evil Dead

Whatever they try and tell you, nostalgia is what it used to be. A lot of my love for the movies on this list isn't simply due to the films itself, but the memories the films evoke of times, places, and friends. 

The early '80s saw the Video Nasty uproar in the UK, in which movies — typically from the horror and exploitation genres – were banned under the Obscene Publications Act, and filmmakers and distributors found themselves prosecuted. Bootleg VHS cassettes of "Video Nasties" were forced underground, passed between avid collectors and fans like a Russian athlete's urine samples at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"The Evil Dead" was one such movie, with this writers' first experience of the seminal horror film being in a grubby caravan in a friend's garden in the summer of 1983. It could be argued that the sequel — effectively a bigger budget remake of the first — is the better movie, but there's a low-fi charm to the original. There's a joy in this style of guerrilla filmmaking, wringing the very most out of a non-existent budget. "The Evil Dead" displays all the hallmarks that Sam Raimi would come to be known for; bold camerawork, a frenetic pace and style, and a comic-book sensibility. The less said about the tree molestation scene, though, the better.

16. The Blob

"The Blob" is just one of several remakes on this list, all of which follow the same principle; do it bigger and better. The Steve McQueen original is a well-regarded, cheesy science-fiction B-movie with a novel and original antagonist. The remake is a brilliant piece of '80s body horror that time seems to be doing its darned best to forget.

Like Tom Savini's excellent remake of "Night of the Living Dead," the remake plays with the ideas of the original while subverting them for a modern audience. The jock that the film seems to be setting up to be the lead dies (horribly) in the first act, writer Frank Darabont and director Chuck Russell seem to have missed the bit in the Hollywood scriptwriter's handbook that says, "Don't kill any kids," and it all fits neatly with the '80s' obsession with conspiracies — "It was the Government what did it."

"The Blob" also sets itself up neatly for a sequel that would never come, the film getting lost amongst a heaving morass of summer releases. Still, it's great fun with some truly memorable gross-out moments, and, aside from some dated back projection work, still stands up well.

15. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch

Narrowly beating another John Carpenter movie ("The Fog") for a place on the list, "Halloween 3" sits in such a prominent position simply for trying — albeit failing — to do something new with the developing franchise. Attempting to break away from being simply the continuing saga of Michael Myers, this was a bold attempt to push the Halloween franchise in a new direction; namely, to make it a series of horror films based around the holiday itself, with no link to the Shape.

With a script originally by Nigel Kneale (of "Quatermass" fame), "Halloween 3" is a folk-horror tale at heart, brimming with concepts that Kneale relished, like the overlap between technology and old magic. He eventually distanced himself from the project, but his name runs through it like the writing on a stick of rock.

However, the true magic at work here is the sheer sexual magnetism of lead actor Tom Atkins. Jamie Lee Curtis' character in "The Fog" beds him within moments of meeting him, as does his investigative partner — Ellie Grimbridge — in this. Despite dodgy Irish accents and a jingle that'll infest your brain for weeks, "Halloween 3" is, in this writer's humble opinion, the best of the series.

14. An American Werewolf in London

Thanks to "An American Werewolf in London" there are a whole plethora of songs with "Moon" in the title that will trigger a Pavlov-conditioned response among a certain generation of horror fans, evoking imagery of violent transformations, unwelcoming taverns, and Jenny Agutter in a shower.

For a director with a rich heritage in comedy, "An American Werewolf in London" fits neatly into John Landis' filmography. It's a horror movie with a bloated, black comedic heart, elevating itself above its lupine peers from the same decade (namely, "The Howling" and its sequels). For an audience expecting the werewolf transformation to consist of the lead actor having more fur glued to his face before he appears from behind a piece of furniture, Rick Baker's moonlight change from David to lycanthrope was a revelation. This was no elegant metamorphosis from wolf to man, but an agonizing and brutal act in which bones rearranged themselves and skin stretched to the point of tearing open.

Effects aside, "An American Werewolf in London" is horror with genuine depth, faithful to the werewolf tradition, but with a modern slant. A risible sequel emerged from the moors nearly two decades later, but with none of the charm or humor of this horror classic.

13. Society

"Shunting." Such an innocent term, conjuring (to this Brit, anyway) images of steam trains and the golden age of rail. Well, watching "Society" will banish any such romantic notions from your brain, replacing the word's meaning with gross physical deformations and disgusting bodily absorptions.

Responsible for the notorious KY Jelly shortage of 1989, "Society" is a distinct film of two halves, a shifting amorphous mass that's ingested David Cronenberg and the cast of "Beverly Hills 90210." It introduces a metaphor as subtle as a house-brick to the chin, taking the adage to a logical — and repugnant — extreme: What if the parasitic rich really were feeding off the poor?

"Society" is trickle-down economics given malleable flesh, with a delightfully exuberant and grotesque final act that's well worth the wait. The aptly named Screaming Mad George is on FX duty in this paranoiac satire, and the practical special effects still stand out three decades later. Are the soulless incestuous people of "Society" aliens, or have they been here all along? A question still as valid and equally as unanswered today.

12. Day of the Dead

Any list of the top 20 horror movies of the '60s wouldn't be complete without "Night of the Living Dead," and to leave "Dawn of the Dead" out of a '70s chart would be verging on illegal. Similarly, "Day of the Dead" rightfully deserves a position here. Romero would ensure that the increasingly inaccurately titled "Trilogy of the Dead" would receive more entries in the next century , but none stand up to the original three.

The "Day of the Dead" trailer alone was enough to terrify audiences, an early example of a jump scare taken from the opening scene. As the (supposed) final entry in the trilogy, it portrays a group of survivors who may be the last remnants of mankind, hunkered together in an underground bunker. The last stragglers of a military operation which should have been long abandoned, it's a claustrophobic character study of confinement, as well as an excuse for some truly memorable and horrific effects work from Romero's long-time collaborator, Tom Savini.

Captain Rhodes' soldiers are just as terrifying as any of the undead, and it's the conflict between them and the civilian scientists that make for a tense and brutal showdown. The three surviving leads (Lori Cardille, Jarlath Conroy, and Terry Alexander) recently appeared together in intriguing photographs hinting at a return for the characters in an unofficial sequel to "Day of the Dead,"  nearly four decades later.

11. Creepshow

As a sucker for a well-done anthology movie, "Creepshow" is one of the better ones, edging out "The Twilight Zone" movie. A loving tribute to the old EC Horror comics of the '50s, it was the first collaboration between the sadly missed George A. Romero and Stephen King.

Whereas some '70s films brought EC Horror stories directly to the big screen (Amicus Productions' "Tales from the Crypt" and "The Vault of Horror"), "Creepshow" was simply inspired by the feel and theme of these comics. They all follow a similar pattern. All of the segments are modern morality tales: They're all about bad people doing dreadful things to good people, and eventually get their comeuppance. One segment starring King himself — "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" — acts more as a cautionary tale, the sage warning being, "Don't get meteor crap on your fingers."

The comic book motif is strong throughout, shots framed by borders with expositional text or filmed at bizarre angles, mimicking comic book panels. Lighting is in bold, garish colors, aping the four-color printing process of the source material, and scenes elegantly transition with the turning of pages. A standout cast is the cherry on the icing-topped, severed-head cake.

10. Re-Animator

Jeffrey Combs is a little like Michael Ironside in that both men elevate any material that they're in; even the dullest of films is enlivened by Jeffrey's manic presence, and there's no better vehicle for him than Stuart Gordon's "Re-Animator." There's a reason the actor's filmography is as long as your freshly severed arm, and this movie would have been many audience members' first experience of him.

Loosely based on the H.P. Lovecraft story of (nearly) the same name, "Re-Animator" sees a perfectly cast Combs play a medical student fixated on reanimating the dead. He's obsessed to the point of madness, channeling Colin Clive as Doctor Frankenstein in the James Whale classic.

Like many films in this list, "Re-Animator" is another horror comedy from a decade in which they positively thrived. Adding a rich vein of humor to your movie was a common delivery mechanism for conjuring up increasingly outlandish special effects and gore, and "Re-Animator" is a blood-spattered rollercoaster ride. The plot is as lurid as the bright luminous green of the re-animation serum, all reanimated heads and monstrous resurrected chimeras, only to fall into dark farce as West's ill-fated plans go awry.

9. Killer Klowns from Outer Space

History shows us that the worst way to make a cult movie is to try and make one — however, in "Killer Klowns from Outer Space," the Chiodo brothers achieved exactly that. It shouldn't work. There are very few scares, and the entire concept is laughable. But for some reason "Killer Klowns" has remained in the public consciousness for longer than it ever deserved to.

There's an amazing, frenetic, campy B-movie energy to the entire film, which succeeds by having a main cast that takes the whole thing seriously. Every avenue of clownery is explored; big-top spacecraft, monstrous popcorn jack-in-the-boxes, and death by custard pie. It's Peter Jackson's "Bad Taste" with more ambition and a bigger budget, a movie destined for drive-through cinemas and big crowds. It achieves exactly what it sets out to do, throbbing red nose and all.

Worthy of note is the key ingredient of John Massari's energetic soundtrack, shifting effortlessly between atmospheric pieces and raucous Looney Tunes-style fairground calliope and organ. The main theme by '70s punk band The Dickies makes this worth a rewatch all on its own.

Another remake on this list that's better than the original, "The Fly" is auteur David Cronenberg operating at his very peak with arguably one of his most mainstream films to date. The story — a surprisingly close adaption of the 1958 movie — is a perfect vehicle for the director's fascination with the degeneration of the human body, disease, mutation, and entropy.

In a movie about two disparate entities fused together in an accident, "The Fly" is also a hybrid: a tale of both doomed love and graphic body horror. What begins as a convincing romance between Veronica and Jeff Goldblum's eccentric yet charming scientist, Seth Brundle, mutates into something far darker. Released during the height of the AIDS epidemic, hindsight gives it a particular relevance, 

It's difficult to discuss the movie without it falling into glorious fawning appreciation over the incredible effects. A mixture of state-of-the-art prosthetics and animatronic work, Brundle's degradation from man to insect is as wonderfully realized as it is heartbreaking. Whereas the original saw the scientist separated into two distinct entities (making for a truly memorable ending), Cronenberg sees them fused into one, an amalgam with a similarly doomed fate.

7. Hellraiser

Clive Barker remains a unique voice in horror. "The Hellbound Heart" — the novella that became "Hellraiser" — was a tale of obsession and dark passions, of unspeakable creatures from a radically different Hell, a blasphemous terrain of dark order. It was Barker's first stab at directing, and to advantageous effect. There is a beautiful charm to the movie, a confidence that knows it's unlike anything seen before. It's heavy with its own mythology, as though we are only witnessing a tiny fragment of Barker's vision.

Elements of "Hellraiser" have aged poorly — an ill-conceived and overly swift resolution is matched by equally weak effects — but it still stands out as something unique. It seems like an unlikely movie to spawn its own horror legend, but Doug Bradley's lead Cenobite ended up in fine company alongside Krueger, Leatherface, Jason, et al. But Pinhead wasn't even named until the sequels; like a magic trick, the more we knew about him, the less special he became. Familiarity bred contempt, even for the Pope of Hell. Still, there is a dark magic at work in the first movie, and to some extent the second, for those who dare to brave the Lament Configuration.

6. Near Dark

If a horror movie could be said to only be as good as its villains, there's a reason that "Near Dark" makes this list while films like "The Lost Boys" and "Fright Night" don't make the grade. Jesse Hooker and his miscreant gang of fanged fanatics would wipe the floor with Jerry Dandridge, along with David and his hair-metal kin.

Hooker's gang are no preening 20-somethings whose excessive hairspray would cause them to go up like kindling if exposed to flame, nor are they smooth-talking, overly confident seducers. They're predators at top of the food chain, and vampires have rarely appeared as threatening or as menacing as they do here.

"Near Dark" is a vampire western, albeit one where the "V" word is never mentioned. It's also another wonderful pairing between Lance Henriksen and the sadly missed Bill Paxton, the only two actors to be killed by a Predator, Terminator, and Xenomorph. It's a wonderfully confident solo directorial debut by Kathryn Bigelow, who plays with the conventions of the genre conventions and has the chutzpah to stage the final conflict between hero Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) and Severen (Paxton) in a street, "High Noon" style. It's a beautifully lean movie as well, and never outstays its welcome.

James Cameron's original pitch for "Aliens" is rumored to have begun with him writing the title on a whiteboard and adding the S to the end as a dollar sign — "Alien$." If not apocryphal, then arrogant. Accurate? Resulting in a classic sequel to a classic original thought impossible to match or beat, that would be hard to argue.

Effortlessly shifting the central theme from a haunted house to the Vietnam War, "Aliens" has been the obvious inspiration for many films across the past three decades. Its strength is that it's still just as much Ripley's tale as the original. It simply ups the scale and the scope.

The Xenomorphs are back, but this time they've brought their mum. Thanks to a particular deleted scene from "Alien", the vicious fanged beasties' life-cycle was never fully explained, giving us a creature even more terrifying than Giger's slavering obsidian whirlwind of tooth and claw: the Alien Queen. It's easy to forget that "Aliens" is a masterclass in storytelling too, with not a frame or line of dialogue wasted. It's the only film I ever owned where the video cassette ended up worn out from overuse, which is the highest praise I can bestow upon any movie.

4. The Thing

It's weird to think now, given that by law it must now appear on most top 10 film lists, that "The Thing" was a flop on release. It barely made its budget back and was mauled in the press. The ambiguous ending was derided, and it was labelled by critics and audiences alike as "stupid", "nihilistic" and "boring."

But "The Thing" is a masterpiece in both horror and tension, back from when Carpenter was at the absolute top of his game. Easily as much a siege movie as his earlier "Assault on Precinct 13," "The Thing" traps its distinct and identifiable cast in the middle of nowhere — Antarctica — and then throws a distinctly slimy spanner in the works.

When "The Thing" was made, aliens in science fiction films were still mostly men in rubber suits, something that even Howard Hawks' original "The Thing from Another World" was guilty of. In Carpenter's cover version — and, to some extent, the Xenomorph in Ridley Scott's 1979 classic "Alien" — we were given an alien that was truly that: alien. With a motive as vague as its nebulous appearance, we were presented with a truly remarkable adversary. We're also lucky enough to see how it would have fared with CGI rather than practical effects in the identically titled prequel from 2011; the new version is by far the lesser film for it.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street

It's easy to forget that in the time before he became a one-line-wisecracking Funko pop culture icon, sweater-wearing burn enthusiast Freddy Krueger was a genuinely terrifying villain. In the first — and best — of the Elm Street series, before it forgot its own rules and logic, the son of one hundred maniacs was a terrifying new figurehead in horror. In a decade plagued with wannabe franchises and countless bladed baddies, Elm Street stands out.

In a transformation as unexpected as that of Michael Keaton becoming Batman, a prosthesis-and-latex-smothered Robert Englund (better known as sweet Willie from the TV series "V") becomes the dream demon, slaughtering his way through Springwood's children like a bladed Herod. Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), cursed to meet the man of her dreams, makes for an excellent foil and final girl. Bed is where she should feel safe, so to have a villain who can invade the sanctity of sleep is a terrifying concept. It's an idea used less effectively as the series goes on, but in this first movie the dream sequences are unnerving, tinged with a surreal edge — genuinely feeling like the stuff that nightmares are made of. Forget the mediocre remake — Wes Craven's original is easily the best.

2. Little Shop of Horrors

A convoluted origin, this: "Little Shop of Horrors" is based on a 1982 stage musical which, in turn, was based on a 1960 Roger Corman horror comedy. It's inclusion on this list is a reminder that horror doesn't necessarily need to be about scares and gore. It can be fun. A brutal premise (an innocent man, corrupted by thoughts of fame and power, feeds human flesh to a ravenous meat-eating plant) is executed with humor and panache, all to a wonderful soundtrack of crowd-pleasing songs, most of them show-stoppers.

With animatronic puppet work to rival anything in "The Thing," "Little Shop of Horrors" is a visual delight too, and one of the few items on this list that remains (essentially) family friendly. As evidenced by the work of Roald Dahl, kids love the macabre, so consider "Little Shop of Horrors" their gateway drug to greater and darker pleasures later in life.

In an interesting coda, the original ending was considerably more downbeat, seeing giant kaiju-scale rampaging plant creatures destroying New York and, inevitably, the world (all to the accompaniment of "Don't Feed the Plants," one of the film's best songs). The actual ending to the movie is more upbeat (with a slightly hackneyed and predictable twist), so I happily consider the darker finale to be the proper ending.

1. Return of the Living Dead

After a dispute between George A. Romero and writer John Russo over potential sequels to 1968's "Night of the Living Dead," it was agreed they could both do their own, with Russo having control over the "Living Dead" suffix. Hence, 1985's "Return of the Living Dead," a canonical sequel that acknowledges that the previous film was fictional, albeit based on a real event. It inherits very little from its predecessor except for its pessimistic ending, the rest being unashamed slapstick and comic-book violence.

A leakage from a sealed canister of Trioxin resurrects the occupants of a nearby graveyard, threatening the lives of both a group of punks direct from central casting and employees of the nearby morgue. It's played as much for laughs as scares and is possibly the first film to introduce the concept of zombies passionately declaring their great fondness for human brains (incidentally, previous research under my horror writer secret identity has identified that brains are quite calorific, and a far from ideal snack).

Memorable for some gratuitous nudity from scream queen Linnea Quigley and for introducing the shambling oily corpse known as Tarman, "Return of the Living Dead" is a perfect macrocosm of '80s horror; confident, brash, gory, and sadly prone to spawning a set of inferior sequels that barely do justice to the original. "Send ... more ... paramedics!"

Screen Rant

20 best 1980s horror movies, ranked.

The '60s and '70s were when most modern horror film tropes were established. However, the '80s is an equally important decade in the history of horror

  • The 1980s saw the evolution of horror cinema, as the genre found its voice and took established tropes to their limits.
  • The best horror movies of the 1980s are considered among the greatest films of all time, combining genres like sci-fi, fantasy, drama, and comedy.
  • From iconic Western horror films to obscure Italian giallo and Asian horror cinema, these movies make a strong case for the '80s being the best decade in horror.

The best 1980s horror movies represent a special era in the evolution of the genre. This is because contemporary horror cinema developed exponentially from the '60s through the '80s. While the very foundations of modern horror were set in the '60s and '70s, it can be said that it was in the '80s when the genre truly found its voice.

Like the best horror movies of the 1970s , the genre's greatest films of the 1980s are also considered among the greatest films of all time period. In the '80s, new horror films took established horror tropes to their limits, which heavily involved other genres like sci-fi, fantasy, drama, and even comedy. The low-budget aesthetic established in the '70s was upheld by the so-bad-they're-good horror B-movies of the '80s. From the most iconic Western horror films ever to the more obscure Italian giallo and Asian horror cinema from the era, the best '80s horror movies make a strong argument for why it might be the best decade in horror.

20 Children Of The Corn (1984)

Release Date: 1984-3-9 | Director: Fritz Kiersch

Cast: Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, John Franklin, Courtney Gains

Based on a short story by Stephen King, Children of the Corn took the evil child horror trope to new heights. Apart from launching the Children of the Corn movie franchise , this formative supernatural '80s slasher is notable for the performance of John Franklin as Isaac, a nine-year-old boy who forms a murderous religious cult. Isaac and his followers worship and do the bidding of He Who Walks Behind the Rows, a malevolent spirit who pushes the small Nebraska community's children into committing violent acts against all adults. A pivotal film for the evil child horror trope/subgenre, Children of the Corn dives deeply into religious zealotry, human frailty, and sacrifice.

19 Motel Hell (1980)

Release Date: 1980-10-18 | Director: Kevin Connor

Cast: Rory Calhoun, Paul Linke, Nancy Parsons, Nina Axelrod

Motel Hell is an iconic dark comedy based on the true story of the cannibal Karl Denke. It revolves around the secret recipe for Farmer Vincent's delectable sausages — human meat sourced from the nearby Motel Hello. From how Farmer Vincent processes his meat to perfection in his secret garden, to the hilarious moments that break the otherwise palpable tension, Motel Hell deserves its status as one of the most important cult comedy-horror films from the '80s. Despite its thick air of satire, the film's terrifying premise still makes Motel Hello one of the scariest horror movie hotels ever .

18 Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982)

Halloween iii: season of the witch.

The supernatural sci-fi horror Halloween III: Season of the Witch is both lambasted and celebrated for how it departs starkly from the slasher genre, which the previous Halloween movies helped establish. In fact, it's infamous for being the only Halloween movie to not feature the iconic Michael Myers. Centered around an evil corporation's plan to use Halloween masks in order to sacrifice children during the festival of Samhain, the film is a surprisingly successful combination of folk horror and science fiction. Halloween III added a layer of mystery to the otherwise predictable franchise, the overall cultural influence of which was greatly expanded by this formative '80s sci-fi horror.

17 Pumpkinhead (1988)

Release Date: 1989-1-13 | Director: Stan Winston

Cast: Lance Henriksen, John D'Aquino, Jeff East, Kerry Remsen

The Pumpkinhead movie franchise began with special effects whiz Stan Wilson's directorial debut, which introduced the titular monster. After a grieving father seeks the aid of a witch to avenge his son's death, a ritual of blood magic gives rise to Pumpkinhead, a grotesque, misshapen demon bent on revenge. As the creature wreaks havoc, Pumpkinhead explores themes of guilt and the consequences of seeking retribution. Known for its practical effects and atmospheric tone, Pumpkinhead has earned a cult following as an early folk horror fable that set high new standards for creature features.

16 The Company Of Wolves (1984)

Release Date: 1984-9-21 | Director: Neil Jordan

Cast: Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Micha Bergese, Sarah Patterson

A surreal retelling of The Little Red Riding Hood , The Company of Wolves is a gothic folk horror film that shifts between reality and the fantastical dreams of a teenage girl. The movie unravels across four stories and three generations, exploring the evolution of werewolves and related folklore through dreamlike, nightmarish visions. While The Company of Wolves isn't a well-known '80s horror film, it has garnered praise for its atmospheric storytelling and imaginative approach to the classic fairy tale. Celebrated for featuring some of the most gorgeous cinematography in horror, The Company of Wolves remains one of the best werewolf movies of all time .

15 Hellraiser (1987)

Release Date: 1987-9-10 | Director: Clive Barker

Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence

Clive Barker's Hellraiser revolves around a mysterious puzzle box that opens a gateway to a sadomasochistic realm inhabited by demonic beings known as Cenobites. When a man inadvertently opens the box, he unleashes these otherworldly entities, leading to a nightmarish and gory ordeal — featuring some of the best set pieces in body horror history. Hellraiser is celebrated for its innovative blend of horror and dark fantasy, exploring themes of desire, pain, and base human instincts. An intense and classic '80s horror gore fest, Hellraiser is particularly iconic for Doug Bradley's performance as the Cenobite known as Pinhead, one of the greatest demonic villains in 20th century cinema.

14 Friday The 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th.

There are plenty of horror movies about killers in youth summer camps, and it all started with Friday the 13th. This first of the Friday the 13th movies birthed the summer camp horror subgenre at Camp Crystal Lake, following a group of teenage camp counselors who fall victim to a mysterious killer. The movie is known for its suspenseful atmosphere, gruesome kills, and the iconic introduction of Jason Voorhees. Friday the 13th isn't a perfect movie, but it nonetheless had a significant impact on horror cinema, particularly for how it established tropes that continue to define the modern slasher subgenre

13 Suddenly At Midnight (1981)

Release Date: 1981-7-17 | Director: Ko Young-nam

Cast: Kim Young-ae, Yoon Il-bong, Lee Ki-seon

A biologist and his wife hire a new housemaid, a beautiful young woman who is also the daughter of a deceased shaman priestess who died in a fire. As the South Korean erotic horror Suddenly at Midnight (aka Suddenly in the Dark ) unfolds, the wife receives disturbing visions of the housemaid and her husband, especially after she discovers a strange wooden doll that the housemaid has brought into their home. Suddenly at Midnight is a wild combination of tragic romance, sheer paranoia, and the classic creepy killer doll concept, for which it notably predates Child's Play by several years.

12 Street Trash (1987)

Release Date: 1987-9-16 | Director: J. Michael Muro

Cast: Mike Lackey, R. L. Ryan, Vic Noto

Street Trash is a dirty and ugly '80s horror movie that only a cult following could love. Set in a decaying urban environment, Street Trash follows the chaos that ensues when a liquor store owner discovers and sells an old and spoiled stash of cheap booze. Anyone who drinks the poisonous booze painfully melts away into goo, which comes in a variety of bright colors. Street Trash is celebrated for its over-the-top gore, black humor, and social commentary on homelessness and urban decay. A rare example of a melt movie, Street Trash is an underrated cornerstone of '80s dark comedy and cult horror cinema.

Related: Cult Classic Horror Reboot Faces A Huge Challenge Thanks To Forgotten Genre

11 Wicked City (1987)

Release Date: 1987-4-25 | Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri

Cast: Yūsaku Yara, Toshiko Fujita, Ichirō Nagai, Mari Yokoo

Yoshiaki Kawajiri's Wicked City is a stylish combination of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The horror anime movie follows the exploits of two agents of the Black Guard, an organization tasked with protecting humanity from the demonic creatures of the Black World. As they navigate dangerous alliances with peculiar mystics and demons, Wicked City explores themes of trust, betrayal, and the boundary between worlds. Known for its explicit content, stylistic animation, and great world-building, Wicked City draws inspiration from Japanese folklore, dark gothic fantasy, and noir storytelling.

10 A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

A nightmare on elm street.

The movie that introduced audiences to Freddy Krueger and inadvertently led to a string of Nightmare on Elm Street movies , the original Wes Craven film is a horrifically creative exploration of what would happen if nightmares became reality. The story centers on a group of teenagers haunted by Freddy in their dreams, where their nightmarish fates are reflected in the real world. Krueger's ability to harm people in their dreams remains an unforgettable and compelling premise. The film is praised for its groundbreaking practical effects, which cemented both A Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger as horror icons.

9 The Evil Dead (1981)

The evil dead (1981).

The Evil Dead popularized the use of an isolated cabin in the woods as an effective horror setting. Though several movies had used this setting before, The Evil Dead was when the decrepit cabin was truly established as a viable horror movie trope. Directed by the legendary Sam Raimi, it also introduced Bruce Campbell's Ash as a typical college student stuck in the woods — before becoming the chainsaw and boom stick-wielding face of not just the Evil Dead franchise, but campy '80s horror itself. The Evil Dead 's weird gore, dark humor, and introduction of the Necronomicon cement its place as a 1980s cultural phenomenon.

Related: How The Evil Dead Created A Whole Horror Sub-Genre

8 Child's Play (1988)

Child's play.

Child's Play wasn't the first film to feature a creepy killer doll as its main antagonist. Yet, even today, it remains the most iconic movie to use this now-common horror trope. From the movie's explosive opening scene to the finale, Brad Dourif's performance as the serial killer Charles Lee Ray/Chucky is forever burned into audiences' minds. Combining crime with a supernatural voodoo-inspired twist, the plot unfolds with a mix of horror and dark humor, which gave way to an iconic and enduring horror franchise. Child's Play set extremely high standards for creepy dolls in horror, which most contemporary horror movies — including its own sequels — can scarcely meet today.

7 The Changeling (1980)

Release Date: 1980-3-28 | Director: Peter Medak

Cast: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas, John Colicos

After the family of composer John Russell is killed in an accident, he moves to a long-vacant historic mansion for rent in Seattle. Through a series of eerie occurrences and unexplained supernatural events, Russell discovers that the mansion is haunted by the restless spirit of a child. While exploring themes of guilt and grief, The Changeling stands out from other haunted house films with its understated psychological terror and atmospheric tension. By relying on cinematography, editing, and practical effects to evoke terror in viewers, The Changeling is a prime example of great '80s horror.

6 Possession (1981)

Release Date: 1981-5-25 | Director: Andrzej Żuławski

Cast: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Heinz Bennent

Possession is about the tumultuous breakup of former German spy Mark and his wife Anna, who exhibits increasingly erratic behavior after telling Mark that she wants a divorce. One of the many banned shocking movies that only became more famous after getting censored in the '80s, Possession is renowned for its unconventional narrative, exceptional performances, and unsettling atmosphere. Even by today's standards, the movie is a disturbing collision of supernatural fantasy, intense family drama, spy noir, eroticism, and Lovecraftian horror. For her performance as Ana, Isabela Adjani won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival, during which Possession was also nominated for the coveted Palme d'Or.

5 Tenebrae (1982)

Release Date: 1982-10-27 | Director: Dario Argento

Cast: Anthony Franciosa, John Saxon, Daria Nicolodi, Giuliano Gemma

Dario Argento's Tenebrae is a foundational giallo film, an Italian storytelling genre pertaining to murder mysteries. Centered around American horror novelist Peter Neal, the movie unravels across a series of murders in Italy, where Neal is promoting his latest novel, Tenebrae. Neal soon comes to the horrifying conclusion that the murders are inspired by the events in his violent horror books. From the pulsating score by the rock band Goblin to Argento's slick, stylish cinematography, Tenebrae violently dragged classic American cinema slasher tropes into Italian arthouse territory. Horror director James Wan cites Tenebrae as one of the various Argento films that inspired Malignant .

4 Kisapmata (1981)

Release Date: 1981-12-25 | Director: Mike de Leon

Cast: Vic Silayan, Charo Santos, Jay Ilagan, Charito Solis

Retired police officer Dadong gets upset after his daughter Mila informs him that she is pregnant and that she wants to marry her boyfriend Noel. As the story unfolds, Dadong gets increasingly abusive and controlling. Kisapmata is a perfect psychological thriller in many ways, but it is defined by Vic Silayan's disturbing performance as Dadong, a terrifying representation of patriarchy. Based on the true crime novel The House on Zapote Street by Filipino author Nick Joaquin, Kisapmata is an unsettling deep dive into domestic abuse. An allegory of life under former Filipino president Ferdinand Marcos's dictatorship, Kisapmata 's unique take on horror tropes makes it a cornerstone of cult '80s cinema.

3 The Thing (1982)

The thing (1982).

In a desolate station in Antarctica, a research team encounters a murderous alien organism that assimilates and imitates any life form. The Thing is known for its groundbreaking practical effects — particularly the grotesquely realistic transformations — and for how its plot deftly tackles paranoia and isolation. Kurt Russell leads as R.J. MacReady, the helicopter pilot determined to survive the claustrophobic alien encounter. From the mystery of what The Thing really looks like , to the bleak and ambiguous ending, this formative '80s sci-fi horror will continue to subvert the expectations of viewers lucky enough to have never seen it.

2 Opera (1987)

Release Date: 1987-12-19 | Director: Dario Argento

Cast: Cristina Marsillach, Urbano Barberini, Daria Nicolodi, Ian Charleson

Opera is about a young understudy who gets to play Lady Macbeth in an operatic rendition of the Shakespearean tragedy. However, the understudy gets targeted by an obsessive and violent stalker inside the historic opera house where the play is being staged. Combining body horror, voyeurism, and arthouse cinema, the understudy becomes the literal captive audience of the stalker, who forces her to witness his vile crimes. Filmed on location at Italy's Teatro Regio di Parma, Opera is a celebration of stylized violence and suspense and an underappreciated cornerstone of '80s horror and Italian giallo slasher cinema.

1 The Shining (1980)

The shining.

Set in the isolated Overlook Hotel in the mountains of Colorado, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining follows the new caretaker Jack Torrance, who moves his wife and child into the resort before it becomes snowbound. As The Shining unravels the hotel's dark history, supernatural forces come into play, and Jack becomes increasingly erratic and abusive towards his family. Featuring gripping cinematography and starring Jack Nicholson in one of the best performances of his movie career, The Shining is largely regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Despite what Stephen King thinks of The Shining , it remains one of the best adaptations of the horror novelist's books.

ghost films 80s

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The 100+ Best '80s Horror Movies, Ranked

The 100+ Best '80s Horror Movies, Ranked

Ranker Horror

The best horror movies of the 1980s don’t just encompass some of the greatest horror films of the decade, but some of the greatest horror films ever made . The ‘80s were a phenomenal decade for classic horror films, with some of the best, scariest, creepiest, and in some cases, campiest films ever put on the silver screen. 

The 1980s ushered in a kind of golden age for horror flicks, with so many titles coming out so fast that it was difficult to keep up. Every week, a handful of new and freaky horror films were released in theaters. And sequels? Oh good grief, the sequels! '80s horror movies included the originals and sequels for the wildly popular Nightmare on Elm Street , Evil Dead , and Friday the 13th  franchises. Halloween , while released in the late-1970s, did spawn several sequels released in the 80s.

While slasher horror films  and monster movies have existed since the early days of cinema, the genre reached its height in the 1980s. Every major horror film, with a handful of exceptions, featured some sort of psycho killer on the loose, stalking poor, helpless (and clueless!) teenagers. Sometimes these killers were human, other times they were aliens or – gasp! – murderous clowns . Graphic violence was the norm, the shock value kept going higher and higher, and these films were certainly among the most nausea-inducing great films of all time.

Be sure to vote up the best horror movies of the 1980s, and check out the best 1990s horror movies!

The Thing

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A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street

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  • # 58 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
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The Evil Dead

The Evil Dead

  • # 167 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 147 of 284 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
  • # 22 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time


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The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys

  • Whatever Happened To The Cast Of 'The Lost Boys'?
  • # 26 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 41 of 284 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th

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The Shining

The Shining

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  • # 60 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked


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  • # 197 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 31 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

  • # 217 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 217 of 284 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
  • # 67 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

An American Werewolf in London

An American Werewolf in London

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  • # 107 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

Fright Night

Fright Night

  • # 169 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 226 of 284 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
  • # 77 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary

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  • # 136 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
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  • # 183 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 64 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
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Evil Dead II

Evil Dead II

  • # 232 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 239 of 284 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
  • # 79 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

Halloween II

Halloween II

  • # 212 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 190 of 284 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
  • # 37 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time


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Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part 2

  • # 220 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 236 of 284 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
  • # 57 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time


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  • # 20 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
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Child's Play

Child's Play

  • # 231 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 130 of 284 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
  • # 83 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

John Carpenter's The Fog

John Carpenter's The Fog

  • # 206 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 70 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 11 of 64 The Best Movies Of 1980

The Fly

  • # 128 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 87 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

The Return of the Living Dead

The Return of the Living Dead

  • # 259 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 145 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 151 of 234 The Best '80s Comedy Movies, Ranked


  • 'Christine’ Is One Of The Most Underrated Adaptations To Come Off Stephen King’s Assembly Line
  • # 29 of 104 The 100+ Best Movies About High School
  • # 147 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

They Live

  • # 41 of 176 The 150+ Best Movies With Aliens
  • # 171 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 146 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

Children of the Corn

Children of the Corn

  • # 47 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
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  • # 36 of 92 The Best Movies Of 1984, Ranked

The Hitcher

The Hitcher

  • # 226 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 106 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 14 of 87 The Best Movies of 1986

Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet

  • # 109 of 386 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
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Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

  • # 266 of 284 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime
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  • # 21 of 117 The Best Horror Movie Sequels

The Blob

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  • # 265 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
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Lists that rank the best and scariest movies made since the beginning of cinema, including a few you might not have seen.

The Best Horror of the 1990s

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50 Best Ghost Movies Ever Made

From spine-chilling horror flicks to classic comedies, our ultimate list of ghost films has something for everyone.

Headshot of Hannah Jeon

Whether you're looking for something scary, funny — or yes — even romantic, our ultimate list of the top ghost movies has something for everyone. There are, of course, plenty of classic horror movies and bone-chilling psychological thrillers that will keep you up all night (and even get you in the spirit for Halloween !). But for those who can't handle their horror, there are also some lighter picks that feature poltergeists and phantoms — like comedy movies , supernatural dramas and even kid-friendly scary movies that keep the frights a little more PG. The good news is: Whichever ghost flick you pick, you'll be in for a truly great watch featuring all the best specters and spirits around.

The Shining (1980)

ghost movies jack nicholson in 'the shining'

Often considered one of the greatest horror films of all time, Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's novel — about an aspiring writer named Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) who becomes the caretaker at an isolated hotel — delivers on all the psychological horror and ghostly terror.

RELATED: 20 Fascinating Facts About The Shining We Bet You Didn't Know

A Ghost Story (2017)

ghost movies a ghost story

For those looking for a more offbeat, unconventional ghost tale, this acclaimed A24 film centers around a recently deceased man who returns as a ghost (yes, white sheet and all) to the house he shares with his widowed wife. It's a poignant film about loss, grief and time that you won't forget.


Poltergeist (1982)

ghost movies poltergeist

Strange occurrences start to happen to a young family living in a California suburban home, as 5-year-old Carol Anne begins to communicate with ghosts through a television set. Be prepared for plenty of unnerving suspense from this Steven Spielberg horror-thriller.


The Conjuring (2013)

ghost movies the conjuring

What's more terrifying than a ghost story inspired by true events? Based on a real-life paranormal investigation, The Conjuring will certainly give you chills with a story about a family who moves into a secluded old farmhouse — only to discover it's haunted.


RELATED: How to Watch The Conjuring Series in Order for the Scariest Movie Marathon Ever

Ghost (1990)

ghost movies ghost

Because who doesn't love a ghost romance? If you haven't yet watched this '90s movie about the ghost of a murdered banker who teams up with a psychic to save his lover, you've probably at least seen that iconic scene with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore cozying up at the pottery wheel.

Ghostbusters (1984)

ghost movies ghostbusters

We couldn't forget a true classic! This iconic supernatural comedy about parapsychologists who start a ghost-hunting business in New York City started a huge franchise for a reason.

RELATED: 50 Movies From the '80s That You Totally Forgot About

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)

ghost movies ghostbusters answer the call

Of course, after watching the original Ghostbusters, you'll also have to watch the 2016 reboot — a hilarious take on the classic — starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as New York City's four ghost-hunters.

The Devil's Backbone (2001)

ghost movies the devil's backbone

If you liked The Shape of Water and Pan's Labyrinth , try director Guillermo del Toro's gothic horror masterpiece from 2001. Set during the Spanish Civil War, this mournful Spanish-language film follows a boy who uncovers the secrets of a haunted orphanage.


A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

ghost movies a tale of two sisters

This acclaimed Korean film blends psychological thriller, drama and horror into one truly gripping, eerie story about two sisters who return from a mental hospital to their country home, where strange incidents begin to occur.

RELATED: The 22 Best Korean Movies to Add to Your Watchlist

The Sixth Sense (1999)

ghost movies the sixth sense

Considered one of M. Night Shyamalan's greatest works (it even earned a Best Picture nomination, a rare occurrence for a horror film!), The Sixth Sense is a chilling thriller about a child psychologist (Bruce Willis) who discovers a young boy's dark secret: He can talk to the dead.

Beetlejuice (1988)

ghost movies beetlejuice

If you're looking for something more light-hearted, you can't go wrong with this '80s cult classic from Tim Burton. Centering around two ghosts who haunt their former home, Beetlejuice will definitely play up both the laughs and the scares.

RELATED: 60 Best Halloween Movies, From Old Classics to New Cult Favorites

Candyman (1992)

ghost movies candyman

A horror film that also examines issues of race and social class, Candyman follows a Chicago graduate student researching the urban legend of a murderous ghost summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. Plus, if you enjoy this one, you can also watch the 2021 sequel by Jordan Peele afterward.

Personal Shopper (2016)

ghost movies personal shopper

If you're looking for a haunting ghost story that perfectly mixes horror with drama, try this critically acclaimed thriller which stars Kristen Stewart as a personal shopper in Paris who tries to communicate with her dead brother and starts to receive mysterious messages from an unknown source.

The Haunting (1963)

ghost movies  the haunting

Craving an old classic? You'll love this 1963 horror film based on Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House , which follows a group of guests participating in a paranormal study in a haunted mansion.

RELATED: 20 Classic Movies on Netflix That'll Make You Feel Extra Nostalgic

Coco (2017)

ghost movies coco

Sure, it may not be what you immediately think of when you hear "ghost movie," but this popular Pixar movie does center around a boy who finds himself transported to the Land of the Dead, where he meets the spirits of his ancestors. Who says ghost stories can't be cute and heartwarming?


The Changeling (1980)

ghost movies  the changeling 1980

In this terrifying psychological horror flick that's often considered one of the best horror films of all time, a composer who recently lost his wife and daughter to a tragic accident retires to a secluded mansion only to experience supernatural occurrences.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

ghost movies  paranormal activity

Known for its found-footage horror scenes, the first of the Paranormal Activity franchise follows a couple who moves into a suburban home and sets up video cameras in the house after becoming disturbed by what appears to be a supernatural presence.

Field of Dreams (1989)

ghost movies  field of dreams

Ghosts and baseball, who knew? This Academy Award-nominated sports fantasy drama film is not your typical ghost story — it's about a farmer (Kevin Costner) who becomes convinced by a mysterious voice to build a baseball field, which attracts the ghosts of baseball legends.

The Others (2001)

ghost movies  the others

Nicole Kidman stars in this gothic supernatural film set in the 1940s about a mother who moves with her two children to the English coast during World War II. She begins to suspect their secluded mansion is being occupied by mysterious “others."

The Frighteners (1996)

ghost movies  the frighteners

Be prepared for both laughs and scares in this supernatural comedy horror flick from director Peter Jackson, best known for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that follows an architect (Michael J. Fox) with the ability to communicate with ghosts after his wife's death.

Headshot of Hannah Jeon

Hannah Jeon is an Associate Commerce Editor at Prevention, where she covers expert-driven commerce content for all things health, beauty, and wellness. Previously the Editorial Assistant at Good Housekeeping, she earned her bachelor’s degree in creative writing and psychology from Johns Hopkins University. When she’s not on the hunt for all the best products online, you can often find her trying out new food spots in New York City or clicking away behind a camera.

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The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie is a dizzying mashup of decades of culture

And yet, not a particularly great horror movie

Five Nights at Freddy’s signature animatronics — Foxy, Chica, Freddy Fazbear, and Bonnie — lurk in the darkness in the movie spinoff

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Share All sharing options for: The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie is a dizzying mashup of decades of culture

At first glance, Five Nights at Freddy’s seems like an odd property to become a pop culture phenomenon. A robust display at Hot Topic, sure. A video game about a security guard attempting to survive multiple nights at an abandoned Chuck E. Cheese-style restaurant beset with possessed animatronics has the requisite goth-kitsch merch inspiration.

But Freddy’s has expanded into so much unexpected pop culture real estate — a full game series , indie game imitators , books and graphic novels , toys and collectibles , an energetic movie rip-off — that the new feature film version feels long overdue, even though the first game only dates back to 2014. Taken by itself, the movie shouldn’t be able to withstand the level of hype fans have brought to it. And yet it might stand up to expectations — not because of its merits as a kid-accessible PG-13 horror movie, but because of the way it unexpectedly converges decades’ worth of popular culture into a single feature.

Before the story even gets going, Five Nights at Freddy’s sets up a nostalgic hall of mirrors. The titular pizza-and-games establishment is modeled on ’80s entertainment centers like Chuck E. Cheese and ShowBiz Pizza. But the movie isn’t set in the 1980s, or even in 2014, when the first game launched. According to a flash of security footage, it appears to be set in the year 2000. Though that might seem like an arbitrary play to avoid cell phones and widespread use of Google, the setting becomes increasingly appropriate as the movie goes on.

Animatronics villains Bonnie, Freddy Fazbear, and Chica loom in a dark space, narrowed eyes glowing threateningly, in the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie

Mike (Josh Hutcherson) doesn’t have time for childhood nostalgia, though. He takes the job at Freddy’s out of desperation. He’s acting guardian to his much younger sister, Abby (Piper Rubio), and though he’s loath to work nights for that reason, he’s worried that their conniving Aunt Jane (Mary Stuart Masterson) will take custody of Abby if he can’t bring in some money. He’s also worried that Jane might actually provide better care for Abby than he can, even though he suspects she’s just angling for the government assistance she’d get as primary caretaker.

Mike’s spotty employment record and unresolved mental health issues from a lingering childhood trauma make him a risky hire, so he takes what he can get from a peculiar career counselor (Matthew Lillard) and reports for duty at the long-closed Freddy’s. It’s quietly creaky at first. Then the seemingly abandoned animatronic animal mascots — Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy — start to show unsettling signs of life.

This all sounds like the material of a campy horror-comedy gorefest. But in spite of some jump scares and a few semi-gnarly PG-13 kills, Five Nights at Freddy’s spends a lot of time actively avoiding opportunities to wring tension from this creepy-funny situation. A sequence where Mike learns the truth about the creatures (game aficionados or anyone who watched the trailer will already know the big secret) is weirdly underplayed, and not for the sake of a punchline. It’s just immediately subsumed into a convoluted soap opera, connected to Mike’s traumatic backstory involving his brother’s disappearance.

The flashback material addressing this tragedy is also weirdly tension-free, and confusingly staged by director Emma Tammi. Jim Henson’s Creature Shop provides impressively tactile-looking puppets, but the movie doesn’t put them to any visceral use.

Abby (Piper Rubio), a small, pale girl with dark hair, stands in an unlit room in front of a wall covered in children’s drawings, as an unseen figure looms over her, with a hook-hand prominently in the foreground of the screen in the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie

Newcomers may be dismayed to realize that Tammi doesn’t seem especially interested in leaning into the horror aspects of Five Nights at Freddy’s . But she has turned into a surprisingly comprehensive compendium of 21st-century culture. The streamlining of a complicated backstory recalls the comic-book movies that have ruled the box office for the better part of two decades. The straight-faced faithfulness to material that could have been goofier brings to mind the YA movie adaptations of the 2000s and 2010s, especially the similarly teen-friendly horror-fantasy of Twilight . (It helps to have Hunger Games co-star Hutcherson along for the ride.) Even smaller details recall other pop culture of our young century, like how the animatronics’ eyes narrowing in suspicion look a lot like a similar move on Family Guy .

Family Guy is also a show fairly obsessed with ’80s arcana; its breed of referential throwback has been a feature of popular culture since around the time of Freddy’s 2000 setting, most recently in Netflix’s smash Stranger Things . The very idea of a horror movie with such kid appeal (whether it was intentional from the game’s outset or not) feels like an outgrowth of the various attempts to recapture that ’80s Amblin magic, crossed with memories of that era’s kids on the playground excitedly talking up the forbidden adventures of Jason and Freddy, hungering for something more dangerous than Spielberg-adjacent wonder. In the 21st century, that horror friendliness has gone mainstream, with far more Freddy’s merch than just the occasional Freddy Krueger doll we got in the actual ’80s.

In combining ’80s nostalgia with more recent touchstones, the movie version of Five Nights at Freddy’s plays like the cultural smorgasbord of YouTube come to life. From the premise on up, it’s a natural outgrowth of the online rabbit holes the site offers, inviting viewers to peruse old Chuck E. Cheese ads or feature-length documentaries about animatronic bands . (The movie even has Mike watching a training video on VHS, exactly the kind of thing that gets salvaged by enterprising streaming collectors.)

Hapless night security guard Mike (Josh Hutcherson) winces as the inside of an animatronic bear’s faceplace, complete with glowing red eye and threatening fan blade, approaches his head in the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie

So it’s natural that the franchise has expanded beyond games to become an online experience, with vast networks of video explainers, online playthroughs, and fan art — hence the movie’s cameos from multiple YouTubers, including game and film theorist MatPat playing a waiter at a diner, and Five Nights fan CoryxKenshin having a less animated reaction to one of the animatronics than he might during an online playthrough.

Internet culture existed before this century, of course, but it was well into the 2000s before it converged so relentlessly with other media. In theory, if not always in practice, the movie rolls together horror, fantasy lore, animation, interactivity, and meme comedy, all remixed with multiple layers of nostalgia, bringing together people old enough to remember ’80s kitsch and young enough for even 2000s-era culture to feel like the distant past. This isn’t just a display in Hot Topic; this is the whole store.

The movie’s convergence of youth culture doesn’t make it especially good, but it does help explain why it shows so little familiarity with the affairs of mere humans. In the context of Freddy’s creating its entire world out of pop culture signposts, it’s more understandable that the movie’s characters are untethered from any sort of basic reality, or each other.

That aspect of the movie is most obvious in its family dynamics. Hutcherson, the actor playing Mike, is 31; the character’s age is unclear, though to mitigate the uncommented-upon weirdness of Mike having a much younger sister he feels unqualified to raise, he would have to shave a full decade off that number. Even that math doesn’t offer an easy fix. Based on her dialogue and her drawing skills, Abby seems like she’s around 8. But based on her extremely intermittent education, which takes place at what looks more like a daycare facility or a rec center than a school, the possible range widens. Is she supposed to be 5? 10? The movie doesn’t seem to know or care.

Even stranger, Mike and Abby’s parents aren’t both dead. Only their mother has actually passed away, and though Mike describes them as the kind of “perfect parents you’d see on a TV show,” their father’s absence is hand-waved as him being simply unable to cope with the family’s losses. No one even seems particularly put out by the monumental betrayal of this man sticking his 20-to-30-year-old son with his 5-to-10-year-old daughter and disappearing forever. (The game-related reasons that keep Mike and Abby’s father off screen seem nearly impossible in the movie’s story.) For that matter, the idea that Aunt Jane wants to take custody of Abby in order to collect a government check is pretty nonsensical; Abby would probably need to be in state custody for Jane to serve as a paid foster parent.

Bruised and wild-eyed, night security guard Mike (Josh Hutcherson) faces off against perky-looking cop Vanessa (Elizabeth Lali) in the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie

That might sound like nitpicking, but Five Nights at Freddy’s is littered with these kinds of emotional and logistical implausibilities well before it gets to the actual fantasy stuff. There isn’t a single character here who seems like they could exist outside of their prescribed scenes. In particular, friendly cop Vanessa (Elizabeth Lail) has all the depth and shading of an extremely minor game NPC. She fits comfortably into a movie that feels like it’s been machine-learned and reverse-engineered from YouTube fanfic, rather than rooted in any kind of recognizable human experience, behavior, or psychology.

To some extent, that resonance with the most straightforward and service-driven fan work is probably the point. The movie has more utility as a shared experience for fans and a souvenir for YouTube mining than as a narrative, not so different from Taylor Swift’s hit concert film The Eras Tour . (Though Swift would neither skimp on the spectacle to the degree FNAF does, or let through a snarky, redundant line like “Well, that went well” without a redraft.) The movie is also a canny exploitation of certain younger kids’ fascination with horror — remixing the game with so many other familiar online elements could ease them into a sometimes forbidden genre.

Then again, it’s equally possible that Five Nights at Freddy’s will just create a feedback loop of further lore, continuing to burden the poor human actors tasked with bringing it to life. The movie’s funniest line is unintentional, when Mike earnestly explains, “I’m having a hard time just processing everything that’s happened,” as if he’s working through a tough breakup rather than a series of increasingly bizarre animatronic attacks. He’s right, though. For a movie with such a simple, appealing premise, Five Nights at Freddy’s is a lot to process.

Five Nights at Freddy’s is in theaters and streaming on Peacock starting Oct. 27.

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10 Worst Horror Movies of the '90s, According to Letterboxd

Posted: November 12, 2023 | Last updated: November 12, 2023

The 90s were home to some of the most well-regarded and iconic horror movies of all time, from massive critical hits like The Silence of the Lambs and Scream to cult classics like The Craft and Candyman . The decade as a whole only furthered the excitement and thrill surrounding horror during the 80s and gave way to one of the most enthralling and exciting decades in all horror history.

However, for every amazing, groundbreaking, and award-winning horror movie that was released during the decade, there were also a select few horror movies that failed to conjure anything close to scares. As the modern hub for movie fans and connosieurs, horror and alike, Letterboxd has become the perfect modern day platform for the general stance and opinions on a wide variety of films. Through Letterboxd and their weighted average ratings system, it's possible to see exactly which horror movies from the 90s are considered by the community to be the worst of the worst .

'Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation' (1995)

Letterboxd average rating: 1.93/5.

The 4th installment of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation sees Leatherface returning for another murder spree, although this time joined by his bloodthirsty family. A group of stranded teens soon find themselves in the crosshair of the family, as they are forced to fight for their own survival.

Despite its surprising all-star cast consisting of Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey , The Next Generation is considered by many fans to be the worst of the franchise. Leatherface's brother, Vilmer, played by McConaughey, takes up much more screentime than Leatherface himself, and the film as a whole is much more nonsensical and cheesy compared to the previous outings. While there is some enjoyment to be found in the film as an undervalued camp classic , it still doesn't hold a candle to some of the more iconic outings in the franchise .

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

Rent on Apple TV+

'Trucks' (1997)

Letterboxd average rating: 1.91/5.

Based on the Stephen King short story, Trucks follows the story of a group of tourists and locals who find themselves hunted by a group of autonomous trucks that are taking revenge on humanity. Now secluded and trapped at a truck stop, the group of survivors attempts to find a way to escape an impending demise at the hands of the killer trucks.

While King's books have often found themselves to be quite successful when adapted into film, Trucks failed to accomplish much with its minuscule TV budget. It didn't help Trucks in the least bit that this specific story had been adapted to film before, ironically directed by King himself in 1986's Maximum Overdrive . While Maximum Overdrive was able to take the premise and come out the other side with a campy fun action horror film , Trucks only comes across as a failed attempt to recapture what that film did much better.

Watch on Tubi

'Retro Puppet Master' (1999)

Letterboxd average rating: 1.89/5.

The seventh film in the Puppet Master franchise and the prequel to Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge , Retro Puppet Master sees a young Toulon as he is taught how to animate puppets. Taught by the mysterious sorcerer known as Afzel, As Toulon begins to master the art of controlling his puppets, he soon turns to grow and become the infamous Puppet Master.

Especially for a horror franchise that had been going on for so long with so many unique entries, by the seventh entry in Retro Puppet Master , there was very little actual budget or originality to work with . For the most part, the film only serves to rewrite and ignore previous entries as an excuse to show off new puppets and tell its own strange intricate story. The most notable thing about the film is that it stars notorious The Room star Greg Sestero in the leading role, as he portrays the young Toulon.

'The Amityville Curse' (1990)

Letterboxd average rating: 1.81/5.

The fifth film in the original The Amityville Horror series, The Amityville Curse sees five people spending the night in the abandoned Amityville haunted house, unaware of their terrifying fate. The group soon finds themselves terrorized by an assortment of ghosts, venomous insects, and any and all kinds of ghostly apparitions that are looking to make sure the group doesn't leave the house alive.

While the Amityville name has been attached to a number of cheap and underwhelming horror films over the years, in terms of the original Amityville Horror series, Amityville Curse is considered the worst of the bunch. The film does very little to differentiate itself not only from the other films in the franchise but other supernatural horror films that had come out previously. Combined with its minuscule straight-to-video budget, the resulting final product fails to live up to the iconic original film .

'Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return' (1999)

The sixth film in the Children of the Corn series, Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return sees the reawakening of the main villain children from the original film, Isaac who had been in a coma for 19 years. After being reawakened by a girl named Hannah, Isaac soon returns to his mischievous evil plot, and attempts to fulfill the prophecy surrounding Hannah once and for all.

The original Children of the Corn is an iconic horror title in terms of Stephen King adaptations, and while the series had a wide variety of ups and downs following the original, Isaac's Return seemed to show promise. On top of bringing back the iconic villain from the first film (reprized by a now older John Franklin ) Isaac's Return in general felt like a return to form, going back to the classic era of the series. Sadly, the film failed to deliver on its promising premise in the eyes of fans, as it comes across as just another cheap addition to a franchise that had gone sour long ago.

Watch on Max

'Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace' (1996)

Letterboxd average rating: 1.80/5.

A sequel to the cult classic sci-fi horror Stephen King adaptation, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace sees Jobe resuscitated by a virtual reality entrepreneur Jonathan Walker. Walker hopes that Jobe will help him create a special computer chip that will connect all computers in the world to a singular network for him to control and manipulate on a whim. However, Walker's plans are soon threatened by a group of teenage hackers attempting to put a stop to his dastardly plans.

The original Lawnmower Man was already a highly controversial film upon release, resulting in a major lawsuit between King and the Studio . While the original film still has its fans who tout it as a cult classic, no such reverence is held for the lackluster follow-up. The film completely abandons what made the original so enjoyable to fans and just becomes a jargled mess of techno-speak, unlikable characters, and incredibly dated CGI. While it can be debated whether the original film was of high quality, the only quality the sequel holds is being so bad, that it's good.

'Candyman: Day of the Dead' (1999)

Letterboxd average rating: 1.77/5.

The third film in the Candyman franchise, Candyman: D ay of the Dead sees the return of the Candyman as he attempts to convince a female artist descendant of his to join him as a legendary figure. In able to accomplish this, he begins to frame her for a series of hideous murders of all of her friends forcing her to have nowhere else to turn but to join him as a legend.

The original Candyman film was so highly beloved thanks in part to its brilliant subtext and messaging , which further amplified every aspect of the film to a terrifyingly shocking degree. This makes it all the more disappointing and egregious when Day of the Dead strips away all the power and strength of the original messaging and theming and transforms Candyman into just another slasher villain. Even as just a straight-laced slasher movie, Day of the Dead fails to do anything interesting or original , making it easily the worst film in the Candyman franchise .

'Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday' (1993)

Letterboxd average rating: 1.74/5.

The ninth film in the Friday the 13th franchise, Jason Goes to Hell sees the iconic Jason Voorhees who is seemingly taken down for good after being blown to bits by a special FBI task force. While it initially seems like the nightmare is finally over, sending Jason to the depths of hell has only made him stronger, as he comes back with newfound powers and a thirst for vengeance against those who killed him.

Especially nine movies in, the Friday the 13th films had achieved an understanding of what makes their stories work, and how to make Jason effective and still scary film after film while still staying true to his character. Jason Goes to Hell completely throws away the iconic tendencies of Jason as a killer, and the implementation of hell's powers, while interesting on paper, completely ruins the flow and tone of the film. The film feels nothing like a Friday the 13th film , and while the equally insane follow-up, Jason X , would find its own legacy in being so bad it's good , Jason Goes to Hell would not achieve this legacy.

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday

Watch on Apple TV+

'Howling: New Moon Rising' (1995)

Letterboxd average rating: 1.69/5.

The seventh film in the Howling franchise, Howling: New Moon Rising sees a small California town being ravaged by a number of vicious murders after a motorcycle-riding stranger arrives in town. As the murders seem to look like the work of a werewolf, it disturbingly parallel the struggles of another nearby town, which has its police force on the trail of a killer that they believe is a werewolf.

While the Howling films have had their ups and downs when it comes to telling spooky tales of werewolves and their rampages upon towns, the strange and bewildering choices behind New Moon Rising make it a franchise low . New Moon Rising theming and angle is directly tied to that of being a sort of country-western, as it's filled with cowboy characters, settings, and theming throughout. The complete tonal whiplash between a werewolf story interlaced with cowboys makes for a complete fever dream, as the viewing experience becomes more and more indecipherable as it goes on.

'Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor' (1992)

Letterboxd average rating: 1.46/5.

Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor sees Allison Kramer a survivor of the events of the first Sleepaway Camp , is tasked with returning to the site of the killings in order to unlock her repressed memories. Her trip comes with its own cavalcade of mysteries and disturbing revelations, as Allison comes to realize that she may not just be a survivor, but may in fact be the killer herself.

Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor is a strange case of a horror movie that some may argue wouldn't even count as a complete film. The film technically was never officially released, as it was canceled in 1992 due to budgetary issues, and then 20 years later released by fans as an amalgamation of recovered original footage and stock footage. The resulting final product does as good a job as possible when recovering and attempting to make use of scrapped footage, and makes fans wonder what could have been if the film was truly finished in the '90s.

Buy DVD on Amazon

NEXT: The 10 Worst Horror Movies of All Time, According to Letterboxd

10 Worst Horror Movies of the '90s, According to Letterboxd

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Citizen Releases Retro '80s-Style Watches Paying Tribute to Ghost in the Shell

Citizen Watch Company announces the launch of limited-edition timepieces inspired by the new movie Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045: The Last Human.

Citizen Watch collaborates with Ghost in the Shell to launch two new collector wristwatches designed for Japanese cyberpunk fans and fans of chunky retro designs.

Ghost in the Shell fans can now these preorder limited-edition watches, inspired by the latest installment in the Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045 series. Citizen Watch Company announced the launch of a pair of timepieces designed with the brand's distinctive Ana-Digi Temp interface, which features two analog watch panels and three digital displays for toggling time and date, thermometer and alarm functions. The watch face has a circuit board design overlay "inspired by cyborgs and cyber space, making it look like a gadget from the near future."

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Preorders for the watch, which costs US$300 (¥45,000), come with a bonus acrylic stand of Motoko Kusanagi wearing the collaborative timepiece. The watches are made to order and available in green or blue watch face motifs, each with corresponding engravings on the rear case; the green JG2155-61W shows a profile shadow of Major Kusanagi , while the blue JG2155-61L features a Tachikoma silhouette. The watches will be shipped in collector boxes overlaid with hologram foil and illustrated artwork. Preorders are accepted until Dec. 24, to be fulfilled as early as June 2024.

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The watch weighs 69g and is only available in one size of 32.5mm x 40.6mm x 8mm. The product specs note that its accuracy might deviate by 15 seconds per month within an approximately two-year battery life. The finish is waterproofed for everyday use, durably built with a crystal glass face and a stainless steel casing and wristband. Citizen has been making high-quality watches for more than 90 years, and has directly competed with timepiece brands like Casio and Seiko since. Citizen primarily makes quartz watches but has also released mechanical timepieces under its brand name.

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Similar merchandise collaborations have been launched in service of anime fandoms. For example, Seiko has partnered with One Piece for the launch of its new Gear 5 watch, which features anime references inlaid on the watch face's auxiliary dials. The same company also launched premium collaborative timepieces inspired by Studio Ghibli's Porco Rosso , which was referenced in designs and inscriptions all over the rear case and watch face. Citizen's Ghost in the Shell collaborative watch is perfect for fans of the massive franchise, which has expanded from the manga into multiple entertainment media including toys, video games, anime and a live-action film.

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Source: Citizen Watch official site


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