80s Horror movies relates to a powerful feeling of fear, panic, terror, and shock elicited in response to dark and eerie circumstances. It ventures into the areas that are unknown, strange, irrational, and immaterial via suspense and terrific cinematography. Such movies often blur the boundaries between real and unreal, fact and fiction, living and dead, animate and inanimate, that are designed to deliver fascination and fear at once. It is one of the most popular genres which seeks to provide entertainment through creating curiosity and developing an adrenaline rush.
The movies are obsessed with shadows, darkness, spooky sounds, and exploration of unfamiliar and interstitial areas transgressing the boundaries of sanity and stability. There is a complete disregard for form, body, categorical meaning, coherence, and certainty leading to disgust, discomfort, and heightened sensitivity.
Listed below are 80s horror movies that are sure to give you a chill in the spine.
As far as horror movies go, few are as iconic and haunting as The Shining. Directed by legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel by Stephen King, this 1980 film has become a classic in the horror genre. It tells the story of Jack Torrance, played masterfully by Jack Nicholson, who takes a job as the caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel with his wife and young son.
As the winter months wear on, Jack begins to descend into madness, unraveling the threads of his sanity and bringing his family along for the terrifying ride. With unforgettable scenes and unforgettable performances, The Shining is an absolute must-watch for fans of horror cinema.
2 – The Thing (1982)
The Thing (1982) is a cult classic in the sci-fi horror genre. The film, directed by John Carpenter, is a remake of the 1951 film The Thing from Another World. It follows a group of researchers stationed in Antarctica who uncover an extraterrestrial lifeform that can imitate and assimilate any living organism it comes in contact with. What ensues is a tense and suspenseful battle for survival as the group tries to identify who among them is “the thing.” With practical effects that still hold up today and a hauntingly atmospheric score by Ennio Morricone, The Thing is a must-see for fans of horror or science fiction.
Alien was a groundbreaking science fiction horror movie that terrified audiences with its claustrophobic atmosphere, terrifying monster, and stunning visual effects. The film’s success spawned a number of sequels, but none were as well-loved as its first sequel, Aliens. This movie took the franchise in a new direction, melding elements of action and suspense with science fiction horror.
The result was a thrilling film that kept audiences on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. With its iconic characters, intense action scenes, and gripping plot, Aliens remains one of the best sci-fi movies of all time.
4 – Near Dark (1987)
Near Dark (1987) is a cult classic that has become a beloved vampire film among horror enthusiasts. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, this movie showcases a group of vampires who live on the fringes of society. The film is notable for its unique portrayal of the classic bloodsuckers, with the vampires shown as gritty outcasts rather than the refined aristocrats often portrayed in other vampire movies.
Near Dark also boasts a fantastic soundtrack full of classic rock and country tunes, adding to the eerie and intense atmosphere of the film. With its blend of horror, action, and romance, Near Dark is a movie that is sure to captivate audiences even to this day.
5 – The Beyond (1981)
The Beyond (1981) is an Italian horror film that takes its audience on a terrifying journey into the depths of hell. The movie is a masterpiece of suspense, featuring stunning cinematography, chilling sound effects, and a haunting musical score that will leave you on the edge of your seat. The plot follows a young woman who inherits an old hotel in Louisiana only to discover that it is a gateway to a realm of unspeakable horror. As she fights to survive against supernatural forces, the audience is taken on a thrill-filled ride that will keep them guessing until the very end. The Beyond is a must-watch for any horror fan looking for a truly chilling experience.
The Fog (1980) is a classic horror film that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats to this day. Set in a small coastal town in California, The Fog tells the story of a mysterious fog that rolls into the town, bringing with it vengeful ghosts seeking revenge for a past injustice. It’s up to a small group of townspeople to uncover the truth about the ghosts and their connection to the town’s past in order to stop them from wreaking havoc on the present. Director John Carpenter expertly crafts a suspenseful and eerie atmosphere that leaves viewers feeling uneasy long after the film has ended. The Fog proves to be a timeless horror classic that has stood the test of time.
7 – Tenebrae (1982)
Tenebrae is a haunting and suspenseful film that has captivated audiences since its release in 1982. This Italian horror flick, directed by Dario Argento, follows an American author who travels to Rome for a book tour, only to become embroiled in a series of gruesome murders. With its stunning visuals, iconic score, and a relentless pace, Tenebrae delivers a thrilling experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
The film’s intricate plot twists and turns, leaving viewers speculating until the final act. Whether you’re a horror enthusiast or a casual film-goer, Tenebrae is a must-see for anyone who loves a good suspenseful thriller.
8 – The Company of Wolves (1984)
The Company of Wolves is a dark and twisted horror film that is not for the faint of heart. This 1984 classic follows a young girl living in a village plagued by werewolves. As she navigates this treacherous world, she discovers that the wolves that roam the woods are not the only dangers lurking in the shadows. The film is a chilling exploration of our primal fears, touching on themes of desire, temptation, and the tenuous line between the civilized world and the wild unknown.
With stunning visuals and captivating storytelling, The Company of Wolves is an unforgettable cinematic experience that will stay with you long after it’s over.
9 – The Lost Boys (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987) is a coming-of-age horror film that has kept viewers on the edge of their seats for over three decades. The film presents a unique spin on the classic vampire story, focusing on a pack of mischievous undead teens who wreak havoc on the beach town of Santa Carla.
Through the eyes of two young brothers, Michael and Sam, The Lost Boys explores the fear and excitement of growing up, fighting for what you believe in, and ultimately discovering your own identity. Featuring a stellar soundtrack, gripping performances, and slick visuals, The Lost Boys has become a staple of horror movie collections. Whether you’re a fan of vampire tales or simply love a good scare, this cult classic is not to be missed.
With its unique blend of humor and horror, Gremlins has become a classic film that has stood the test of time. When Billy Peltzer receives a mysterious creature called a Mogwai as a Christmas gift, he thinks it’s the perfect pet. However, he soon learns the hard way that there are three rules to follow when caring for a Mogwai, and breaking any of them has dire consequences.
The mischievous and wickedly funny gremlins that result from the Mogwai’s reproduction wreak havoc on the small town of Kingston Falls, causing chaos and destruction at every turn. With brilliant practical effects and standout performances from its human cast, Gremlins is a movie that continues to delight and terrify audiences to this day.
11 – An American Werewolf in London (1981)
In the horror film genre, few movies can live up to the chilling terror that An American Werewolf in London brings to the screen. This 1981 classic tells the story of two American friends who become the unsuspecting victims of a vicious werewolf attack while traveling in England. As the plot thickens, the audience is taken on a suspenseful ride of fear and danger as the main character, David, begins to experience horrific visions and terrifying transformations, all while trying to overcome the shock of the attack.
With its stunning special effects and gripping storyline, An American Werewolf in London is a must-see film that will leave you on the edge of your seat long after the credits roll.
12 – The Evil Dead (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981) tells the story of five college students who head to a remote cabin in the woods and unknowingly unleash an ancient evil. The movie is notorious for its over-the-top gore, unsettling atmosphere, and innovative camera work. The Evil Dead shook the horror genre to its core with its unrelenting terror. The film’s legacy continues to this day with its influence on modern horror movies and pop culture. If you’re a fan of horror, The Evil Dead is a must-watch. Just don’t forget to leave the lights on.
13 – Phenomena (1985)
Phenomena, the 1985 film directed by Dario Argento, is a mesmerizing and haunting thriller that captivates audiences with its heart-pounding suspense and stunning cinematography. The film follows Jennifer Corvino, played by the talented Jennifer Connelly, who possesses a unique ability to communicate with insects. When she arrives at a Swiss boarding school, she is immediately caught up in a series of mysterious murders, and her insect friends may be the only ones who can help her solve the case.
Argento’s brilliant use of suspenseful camera angles and haunting imagery keep viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Phenomena is a film that will leave you breathless and wanting more.
Santa Sangre (1989) is a haunting surrealist film that follows a young boy named Fenix who witnesses the traumatic events that lead to his parents’ separation. His mother becomes a circus performer while his father, a cult leader, becomes increasingly unstable. As Fenix grows older, he becomes involved in his father’s twisted world, culminating in a shocking finale. Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, this film is a stunning and deeply psychological journey into the darkest realms of the human psyche. It combines grotesque imagery with powerful themes of love, betrayal, and trauma, leaving a lasting impression on all who experience it. Santa Sangre challenges traditional narrative structures and instead offers a deeply personal and surreal exploration of the human condition.
Available on- Netflix, Prime Video.
15 – Possession (1981)
Possession (1981) is not your typical horror movie. The film is an unsettling exploration of the crumbling relationship between a couple on the brink of divorce. Isabelle Adjani delivers a powerhouse performance as Anna, a woman whose descent into madness is both terrifying and tragic. Sam Neill is equally compelling as her tormented husband, Mark. Possession is a film that lingers long after the credits roll, leaving viewers questioning what they just witnessed.
It’s a challenging work of art that demands to be seen by horror fans and cinephiles alike. Director Andrzej Żuławski’s unflinching approach to storytelling, combined with a haunting score and stunning visuals, make Possession a must-see for those who dare.
16. Videodrome (1983)
Videodrome is a psychological thriller that remains one of the most unique and bizarre films ever made in Hollywood. Directed by David Cronenberg, the movie is a reflection of the anxieties and fears of the digital age. It’s a mind-bending tale that explores the merging of technology and the human body, and the consequences that come with it. The story follows Max Renn, a television executive who is on the hunt for the next big thing in entertainment.
When he discovers a mysterious program called Videodrome that features sickening footage of torture and murder, Max becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth behind the show and its origins. What follows is a twisted journey into a world of hallucinations and madness, as Max’s own reality begins to unravel before his very eyes. With surreal visuals and a haunting score, Videodrome is a cinematic experience that challenges viewers to question their own relationship with technology.
Hellraiser is a horror classic that has stood the test of time since its release in 1987. The film, written and directed by Clive Barker, is a haunting and gruesome journey into the darkest desires of the human soul. The story centers around a puzzle box that unleashes a group of demonic beings known as the Cenobites, who eternally torture those who open the box.
The film’s iconic characters, such as Pinhead, have become staples in the horror genre and continue to terrify audiences to this day. With its disturbing imagery and themes, Hellraiser is not for the faint of heart, but for those who dare to delve into the depths of terror, it is a must-watch.
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