Horror movies are still a popular genre to this day, but horror movies from the 1980s could almost be a separate genre all on their own. Many horror movies today simply rely on cheap jump scares to spook audiences and while jump scares are certainly present in ‘80s horror movies, there are a lot of other factors that make that decade of horror special.
For many horror buffs, films from the ‘80s have some of the best stories, practical special effects, and acting. A lot of movies from this decade would be considered cheesy by standards of horror movies today, but a fair share of them are terrifying even to this day. Here are 10 Horror Movies From The ‘80s That Will Still Terrify You Today.
10 A Nightmare On Elm Street
When people think of ‘80s slasher movies, they typically think of three faces; Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger. The film had tons of ingenuity when it came to special effects such as the revolving set for Tina’s death, using spandex to allow Freddy to stretch through the wall, and even oatmeal and bisquick for the nightmare stairs.
What makes A Nightmare on Elm Street so terrifying is the concept of Freddy Krueger; a child molester who kills teenagers in their sleep. You can always run away or jump on a plane to get away from other serial killers, but one can only stay awake for so long...
Hellraiser is one of those horror series from the ‘80s that just won’t seem to die. The first Hellraiser was released in 1987 and was directed by Clive Barker. The film introduced the character Pinhead; a Cenobite in the Order Of The Gash. The one thing that still makes this film horrifying is how truly graphic it is.
Even by today’s standards, Hellraiser has a lot of gore. The designs of the different Cenobites including Chatterer, Butterball, the Female Cenobite, and Pinhead are also terrifying. The Hellraiser series has spawned a total of nine sequels, but none of them have been as scary as the first.
8 The Evil Dead
While some horror series go on for way too long, the Evil Dead series didn’t go on long enough. After the third film, Army of Darkness, the series got a continuation in Ash vs Evil Dead, but nothing has been as scary as the original. The first Evil Dead was released in 1981 and starred Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams.
Ash and his friends visit a cabin in the woods and read from the Necronomicon (The Book Of The Dead), which releases flesh-possessing demons. Even though the film was remade in 2013, the original is enough to scare horror fans. After all who can forget Linda singing “We’re gonna get you”?
7 The Thing
Many fans may not be aware, but John Carpenter’s The Thing is actually a remake of the 1951 film The Thing From Another World. That being said, many people consider The Thing the superior film, as well as one of the best horror movies of the ‘80s. Not only does the film have a great lead, Kurt Russell, but the film also has special effects that live up to today.
The alien took the form of many humans (and a dog), which provided plenty of opportunities to create mutated beings. Even with the jump scares that are in modern horror, many people would still get scared when they are performing CPR on Norris and his torso opens up and bites Copper’s arms.
6 The Shining
Stephen King is one horror author that has had his books and short stories adapted a number of times for movies and TV shows. One of the most famous adaptions of his books came in 1980 by legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick took a lot of liberties when it came to the story of The Shining, which caused King to hate Kubrick's film.
Despite King's opinions, The Shining has gone down in history as one of the best horror movies ever made. The plot revolves around Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, his wife Wendy, and their psychic son named Danny. The film is finally getting a sequel this year called Doctor Sleep, but the original is still a chilling tale of a man spiraling into insanity.
5 An American Werewolf In London
Today, there are a lot of movies about werewolves, but one of the most interesting films about a werewolf came in 1981 with John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London. The film is more than just a werewolf tale, with the film including mutant Nazi’s, spirits, and of course one of the most memorable werewolf transformations in the history of cinema.
While there are several terrifying sequences in the film, one of the scariest is the scene where David Kessler turns into a werewolf. The practical effects of the scene are still chilling to this day, so it’s no surprise the film won the Academy Award for Best Makeup back in 1982.
4 Child’s Play
Annabelle may be dominating the big screen when it comes to demonic dolls, but one of the most iconic living dolls is Chucky (who was based on the real-life Annabelle) from the Child’s Play series. Chucky has appeared in a total of seven movies and the character is even going to be the basis of a reboot and a Child’s Play TV show.
The original film used puppets to bring Chucky to life, as well as suiting actor Ed Gale up in a Chucky costume. Newer Child’s Play movies simply rely on puppets and CGI to bring Chucky to life, but having an actor run around as Chucky is unsettling.
3 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
Tobe Hooper’s original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a one of a kind horror film, but the sequel in 1986 has garnered a cult following over the years. The sequel sees the cannibalistic family go after a radio host, while a vengeful sheriff goes after the Sawyer family. The film couldn’t match the quality of the original, but even today, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 has some deeply disturbing scenes.
Leatherface still gets the spotlight in the sequel, but the film expands his family by introducing Chop-Top Sawyer, who is equally as sick as Leatherface. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise hasn’t died yet, but many will agree that Part 2 was the last decent film in the series.
Released in 1982, Creepshow paid homage to the EC and DC horror comics from the 1950s. The film was directed by George Romero and written by Stephen King. Despite it being a full-length feature film, Creepshow was an anthology film with five separate chilling tales.
Between bugs, ape-like creatures, and alien meteorites, there is bound to be at least one story that will still make your skin crawl in 2019. The original movie is now 37 years old, but if it's not scary enough for horror buffs, Shudder will be releasing a new Creepshow TV show this year.
1 Cannibal Holocaust
Out of all the films on this list, Cannibal Holocaust is probably the top film that is horrifying to this day. Even in 2019, Cannibal Holocaust is one of the most controversial films ever made. After the film premiered, the film was so violent and graphic that people thought the deaths in the film were real and accused the movie of being a snuff film.
The actors even signed a contract to basically disappear to keep up the belief that the film was a documentary. While the human deaths in the film were staged, the animal deaths were not. Several animals were killed during the production of the film, which is something that just wouldn’t happen in Hollywood today.