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10 Horror Movies From the '80s You Need To Watch Before AHS: 1984

The Halloween season is quickly approaching, which means the newest season of American Horror Story is close as well. American Horror Story began in 2011 with a haunted house theme. Each season has a different setting, making it an anthology series, but recent seasons have started tying things together. This season is titled AHS: 1984 and looks to be a slasher-themed season that takes place at a summer camp.

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The ‘80s are often regarded as the best decade for horror films, with the slasher genre being created during this time. With this season of American Horror Story clearly drawing inspirations from films from the decade, there are some films you should probably watch in preparation for AHS: 1984. We've got 10 of them.

10 Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th Lake

From the first teaser for AHS: 1984, it was clear that this season was drawing inspiration from the Friday the 13th series. The original film was released in 1980 and was directed by Sean S. Cunningham. Friday the 13th stars Adrienne King as one of the camp counselors that is trying to reopen Camp Crystal Lake, where Jason Voorhees had drowned years before.

While the film doesn’t actually feature Jason doing any of the killings, it's still often considered the best film in the series. Friday The 13th is not only one of the most well-known slashers from the 80s, so it should be at the top of the list for films to watch before AHS: 1984.

9 Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway Cropped Poster

While AHS: 1984 seems to be pulling ideas from Friday the 13th, the film Sleepaway Camp was also likely an inspiration for the season. Sleepaway Camp has the same basic premise as Friday the 13th, with a young girl attending a summer camp, only to witness several murders.

The film was often criticized for being too similar to Friday the 13th but today, Sleepaway Camp has garnered a cult following. This movie also spawned four sequels, none of which were as well-received as the original.

8 A Nightmare On Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street Poster Cropped

One of the most popular movies to come out of the ‘80s was A Nightmare on Elm Street. Much like Friday the 13thA Nightmare on Elm Street created one of the most recognized characters in the horror genre: Freddy Krueger. Robert Englund stars as a child murderer who after being killed by the parents of his victims, comes back to haunt and kill teenagers in their dreams.

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This film had a unique concept, which unintentionally created a long-running franchise that contains a total of eight original films and a remake. Ryan Murphy will no doubt include elements of Wes Craven’s film in AHS: 1984, especially since A Nightmare on Elm Street was released in 1984.

7 Creepshow

Creepshow Cropped Poster

Creepshow was released in 1982 and based on the E.C. horror comics of the ‘50s. Creepshow is a unique film as it was an anthology movie that told five different tales in a two-hour runtime. AHS: 1984 may pull concepts from Creepshow, but the series as a whole sets itself up in a similar way to Creepshow.

The movie also has two legendary horror figures attached to it as horror maestro George A. Romero directed the film and Stephen King wrote it. A new Creepshow series is also coming to Shudder, so watching it now could prepare you for two shows at once.

6 Maniac

Maniac Cropped Poster

From the trailers for AHS 1984, the season seems to revolve around a killer that is on the loose at a summer camp. William Lustig released his film Maniac in 1980, which was then remade in 2012 with Elijah Wood in the starring role. While Maniac doesn’t take place at a summer camp, it does feature a psychopath that kills multiple women.

The film focuses on Frank Zito (Joe Spinell) who travels around New York City on the hunt for young women and cuts their scalps off for trophies. His killing spree is brutal and if AHS: 1984 is anything like past seasons, it will be brutal as well.

5 The Burning

The Burning Cropped Poster

The 1981 film The Burning is yet another horror film from the ‘80s that takes place at a summer camp. The Burning is about a camp caretaker named Cropsy, who is always victim to pranks from the camp counselors. One prank goes wrong and severely burns Cropsy so years later, he returns to seek revenge.

While The Burning didn’t do well upon its initial release, it has earned the title of a cult classic over the years. AHS: 1984 appears to be similar in tone to The Burning, but what makes The Burning worth watching is that it is based on the urban legend of the Cropsey maniac.

4 The Evil Dead

Bruce Campbell as Ash WIlliams in Evil Dead

There are dozens of movies out there that feature a haunted cabin in the middle of the woods, but none are quite like The Evil Dead. The Evil Dead was released in 1981 by director Sam Raimi and stars Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams.

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The 80s unleashed horrifying murders like Jason and Freddy, but Ash one of the most, if not the most, iconic hero to come out of the horror genre. AHS may or may not delve into possession in its ninth season, but it will certainly have terrifying things lurking in the woods like The Evil Dead.

3 Halloween II

Halloween II Cropped Poster

After the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978, a sequel was quickly made by Universal. The sequel would pick up directly after the events of the first film, with Laurie Strode being admitted into a hospital and Michael following to kill her.

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The film wasn’t as well-received as the original but is still one of the better Halloween sequels of the ‘80s. If AHS 1984 stays true to ‘80s horror flicks, its killer will likely be killed numerous times, only to come back and kill again like Michael Myers always does. The original Halloween didn’t make the list since it was released in 1978, but we’d recommend watching that one too.

2 Madman

Madman Cropped Poster

Madman, released in 1982 from Director Joe Giannone, was yet another film based on the urban legend of the Cropsey maniac. Unfortunately, this film had to change its premise at the last minute to avoid having the same plot as The Burning.

Madman still contains a crazed murder at a summer camp, but this madman appears only if the campers say the name Madman Marz. The film has a lot of similarities to The Burning, but is still seen as a cult film in the horror community and worth a viewing before AHS: 1984.

1 Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part II Cropped Poster

While Friday the 13th is a must-watch before AHS: 1984, so is its sequel Friday the 13th Part 2. The first film featured Pamela Voorhees killing the camp counselors to seek vengeance for her son Jason, but this sequel is the first time fans see Jason actually doing the killing.

There were a total of eight Friday the 13th films to come out in the ‘80s, but this is often considered one of the better sequels. Part III may introduce the iconic hockey mask, but if you’re going to watch any of the sequels before AHS: 1984, this should be the one.

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