Some of the best horror movies of the ’80s are forgotten gems. Most people remember iconic horror movies from the ’80s like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Poltergeist, and The Shining, but there are several titles that seem to go overlooked. Even cult classics like Return of the Living Dead and Sleepaway Camp are often mentioned in conversation and in numerous articles on the internet. But in addition to the classics, the Decade of Excess provided many horror flicks that are a must-watch for genre fans. The titles listed below are all highly-rated movies that both audiences and critics praised.
From Beyond (1986)
From the same production team that made Re-Animator comes From Beyond. A team of scientists invent a machine that allows people to see beyond their reality, and what they see is absolutely terrifying.
Horror movies from the ’80s are often delightfully cheesy, but there is nothing delightful about this one. From Beyond is just as unsettling now as it was during its initial release. There are a few scenes that will make viewers laugh, but that doesn’t take away from all of the unnerving moments.
The Burning (1981)
A summer-camp caretaker is badly burned after a prank goes awry. Years later the former caretaker returns to the summer camp armed with hedge clippers to wreak vengeance on those who caused his disfigurement — this is what Friday the 13th should have been.
Most slasher movies are panned by critics, but this addition to the horror subgenre was highly-praised. Audiences will enjoy seeing early appearances from Holly Hunter and Jason Alexander, and horror fans will be happy to know that Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead) did the special effects. Savini would go on to become an actor and director of some of the most popular horror movies, including From Dusk till Dawn (actor).
Dead & Buried (1981)
Tourists visiting a small town are murdered by a few locals, and unfortunately for them, the corpses start coming back to life.
For those that prefer their horror movies to be cheesy then look no further. But even amongst the ’80s cheese, this film remains very creepy and very effective.
A cable-TV programmer discovers the show Videodrome while searching for new programming. His girlfriend auditions for the show and soon they are drawn into a strange world involving a global conspiracy.
David Cronenberg (A History of Violence) directed this film starring James Woods. This terrifying sci-fi thriller also co-stars the multi-talented musician Deborah Harry (Blondie). The Film Yap describes why this is one of the best ’80s horror movies.
“Taken on the terms of the films he’s made, Cronenberg’s fetishistic fascination with flesh has been for better or for worse. Earlier works like ‘Videodrome’ show that sometimes, he’s a provocateur only to a point — boldly striding past boundaries of comfort but getting the heebie-jeebies upon approaching true profundity. But it also shows he wasn’t too far from figuring out which incisions could cut the deepest.”
Near Dark (1987)
Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton star in this film about a small-town man who is forced to join a group of vampires after they turn him into one.
Some horror movies have it all, and this is one of them: dark humor, deep and underlying meanings, sensual vampires, and an abundance of frights.
The Changeling (1980)
A man who is grieving the loss of his wife and daughter stays in a remote mansion. During his stay, he soon learns that he is not alone.
Most modern ghost movies wish they could achieve what this film did nearly 40 years ago, which is to create a genuinely creepy supernatural-horror movie.
[Featured Image by Filmways Pictures]