Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday. Stores are stocked with candy, girls dress like strippers, and my favorite horror movies are readily available and easy to find (TV, iTunes, DVDs, etc…). So, since Halloween is approaching, tonight I decided to put together a list of my top ten favorite horror movies from the 80s. As a kid I was a total horror movie geek. It all started when I was ten and bought my first copy of Fangoria magazine from a local comic book shop. For awhile, I even wanted to be a special effects artist like Tom Savini or Stan Winston. I loved the creatures they, artists like them, created, and I wanted to some day make my own (some how I ended up in graphic design…). Although I’m not much of a horror movie buff anymore, I still like to pop one of these into the DVD player and get a little nostalgic for that time. Anyhow, here’s my list. Enjoy!
10. Fright Night (1985)
A young teenage boy, Charlie, enlists the help of a washed-up horror movie actor, Peter Vincent, after he discovers a vampire has moved in next door.
I like this one because it’s a vampire flick when vampires were still the bad guys, evil, and scary (now they glitter…). They were something to be dealt with. Also it seems to give a nod to all the older horror movies that came before (I’m guessing the name “Peter Vincent” came from Peter Cushing and Vincent Price…?).
9. Re-Animator (1985)
Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s story, Herbert West: Re-animator; a medical Student (Herbert West) discovers a way to re-animate the dead… it usually doesn’t end well.
The scene where the severed head goes down on a helpless girl is a can’t miss… but even if that was cut out, it’s still a fun, ultra-gory, movie to enjoy late at night.
8. Friday the 13th part IV: The Final Chapter (1984)
Jason’s back… for the final time… really, it says so in the title! Well, okay, until 1986 at least. But you get one whole movie in between “The Final Chapter” and “Jason Lives” with out him! Yeah, I know, it wasn’t that good. I see why the brought him back after part five.
I know this movie was kind of a lie, but I still like it the best out of the Friday the 13th films. The part where Tommy goes ape-shit nuts on Jason was pretty cool, and there’s a fair amount of bare boobies through out the film.
7. Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors (1987)
The last of the Elm Street kids fight Freddy on his own turf… and one of them decides to be a wizard (???).
This was the coolest of the Elm Street movies. I liked the idea of the kids having special abilities they could use to fight Freddy. Also the giant Freddy snake was pretty wicked.
6. Poltergeist (1982)
A middle class family develops a serious ghost problem (their trees are a bitch too).
I first watched this movie when I was about seven. Unfortunately for my twin brother and myself, our mother had a thing for clowns. She collected all sorts of clown crap (still does), and even put a couple stuffed toy clowns in our closet. I don’t think she ever figured out why she would find them tossed out into the hall most mornings….
5. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Two American college kids, David and Jack, are attacked by a werewolf while backpacking through England. David survives, but ends up becoming a werewolf himself. Jack, although dead and rotting, has to deliver the unhappy news that the only way to be rid of the werewolf’s curse is to for David to kill himself. Bummer….
This show was awesome on all sorts of levels. Great creature effects (especially the transformation scene), a great story, and a sense of humor.
4. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Kind of self-explanatory…. After an accident in a medical supply company, the dead rise from their graves to feast on brains of the living.
Fast paced hungry zombies, scream queen Linnea Quigley dancing naked, and music from The Cramps, Roky Erickson, and The Damned! It’s almost a perfect movie….
3. Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987)
More of a remake than a sequel, Ash (Bruce Campbell) looses his girlfriend, and almost his mind, to ancient evil spirits that have him trapped in a cabin. Worst weekend ever….
If you haven’t seen Evil Dead 2 by now, then… go see it… I couldn’t think of anything to say there… Anyhow, this movie puts gore and fun together like peanut butter and chocolate. Which sounds really really good right now….
2. Hellraiser (1987)
A cheating bitch-queen of a wife (Julia) tries to help her dead lover (Frank), who recently escaped hell, restore himself with the blood of many unfortunate men. In pursuit are a group of sadomasochistic demons (Cenobites) who make a deal with Frank’s niece (Kirsty, who unintentionally summoned the demons by a cursed puzzle box) to spare her if she leads them back to Frank. Based on Clive Barker’s book The Hellbound Heart, this was also his first time in the director’s chair.
This movie scared the shit out of me when I was a kid, and I absolutely loved it. Everything from the fucked-up bondage design of the cenobites, to Frank walking around most the movie with no skin. I feel the story still holds up even when comparing it with today’s horror movies as far as originality and tone.
1. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
Kirsty, after her family was killed, finds herself in a mental institution led by a doctor obsessed with the puzzle box. He manages to resurrect Julia, opens the gates to hell, and summons the cenobites. Kirsty follows hoping to save her father, who she thinks is trapped in hell.
Hellbound had that dark tone of the first movie, but now you were in the cenobites world, in hell, and to me that was just a lot freaking creepier to think about. If you’re in their world, there’s no place where you can run. You’re screwed. I still have nightmares about these movies!
Those are my top ten! Sorry if I was too brief in some of the descriptions and my thoughts, but time is a factor for me. Below are some more great horror movies from the 80s that almost made my list. Let me know what you think, and what your favorite horror movies from that decade are. Thanks, and good night!