12 Best Horror Movies of the 1980s

The 1980s was an important decade in the television and movies industry. Most of the genres were undergoing change and directors were exploring new ways of telling their stories. But there was one genre that ruled the 1980s more than any other. Yes, you guessed it right: horror. The 1970s had shown with films ‘The Exorcist’ and  ‘Omen’ that horror movies have a huge potential at the box office. So, more and more filmmakers and producers started getting behind the genre that till this day remains amongst the most popular. With that said, here’s the list of top old horror movies of the 1980s. You can watch several of these best 80s horror movies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

12. The Dead Zone (1983)

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Based on a novel by Stephen King, this is easily one of David Cronenberg’s more straightforward and accessible films. In The Dead Zone, choice plays a key role, both the ability to make decisions and the horror that results from having those decisions taken away from you. The inventive plot sees a man haunted by images of future events, finely played by Christopher Walken in one of his least flamboyant performances. His hollow eyed, almost shell-shocked interpretation strikes the mark perfectly and he is ably supported by Herbert Lom as a pragmatic doctor and holocaust survivor and Martin Sheen as an insidious senatorial candidate.

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11. The Thing (1982)

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The Thing is horror master John Carpenter’s remake of the 1951 film The Thing from Another World, which stars James Arness as a Frankenstein-esque alien menacing a scientific expedition. It is a fascinating, horrifying, and utterly engaging from the first frame to the last.With a thick, thick air of intense paranoia and jaw-dropping monster effects work, The Thing stands as one of the greatest films of both the horror and science fiction genres.

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10. Christine (1983)

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It is John Carpenter’s thriller based on a Stephen King story about an “evil” car that possesses its owners to kill. Keith Gordon stars as geeky Arnie Cunningham, who buys “Christine” and soon becomes obsessed with her. The movie was filmed around the Los Angeles area. The first hour of Christine is the director at his best, with his camera mapping out all the ways small towns can be both comforting and confining. With tight editing and some decent scares make this one of the better King adaptations.

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9. They Live (1988)

Chances are if you’ve heard of They Live, it is for one of two reasons. One, you’ve heard the line that launched a million t-shirts: “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubblegum.” Or two: You’ve seen the prolonged alleyway fight scene between Roddy Piper and Keith David on YouTube (or the fantastic South Park parody of it).  But if you’ve never seen the film itself those two things might give you the impression that it’s just another cheesy action flick from the eighties, but in keeping with the theme of the film, appearances can be deceiving. The execution of film is admirable. This is a must see cult-classic.

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8. The Fly (1986)

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“The Fly” is one of the more realistically creepy films you will ever see. With great pacing leading up to the incredible transformation, David Cronenberg’s fantastic picture is all about suspense, and he is a master at keeping you engaged. In the vein of “Videodrome,” “The Fly” follows a similar formula, as we follow the main character’s transformation into a monster of multiple sorts.

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7. Evil Dead II (1987)

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Evil Dead II, also known as Evil Dead II:Dead by Dawn, is a 1987 sequel to Evil Dead. The film is as the previous film directed by Sam Raimi and stars Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry and Dan Hicks. It’s not really a sequel but more a different remake of the first one with superior special effects and camera work, and it is definitely a lot funnier, with a more bizarre physical humor that includes a squealing possessed hand and a hysterical Bruce Campbell stealing the scene.

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6. Bad Taste (1987)

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Bad Taste became one of the most popular cult classics of the 80s, and now with Jackson at the helm of the Lord of the Rings series, its popularity just continues to grow and grow. Bad Taste takes it to the extreme in its action sequences.The creator also won an Oscar for this insanity.

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5. Child’s Play (1988)

What is it about dolls that makes them seem so sinister? Why is it that kids in the movies always seem to share some evil secret with their dolls? “Child’s Play” is a cheerfully energetic horror film of the slam-bang school, but slicker and more clever than most, about an evil doll named Charles Lee Ray, or “Chucky.” It is a cheerfully energetic horror film of the slam-bang school, but slicker and more clever than most.

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4. Society (1989)

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A weird but enjoyable tale that pokes fun at the inner circles of the rich elite of the Beverly Hills community. The less you know about this one the better but it’s a film that’s worth a watch at least once. Special mention also to make-up effects artist for his creative and grotesque work.

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3. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

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A clever mixture of comedy and horror which succeeds in being both funny and scary, An American Werewolf in London possesses an overriding eagerness to please that prevents it from becoming off-putting. In the movie “Two American tourists travelling through England are attacked by a werewolf”.

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2. Poltergeist (1982)

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When researching Horror films, you will undoubtedly come across, “Poltergeist”. You’ll also notice that the film is often showered with adulation. Poltergeist is like a thoroughly enjoyable nightmare, one that you know that you can always wake up from, and one in which, at the end, no one has permanently been damaged. It was the highest-grossing horror film of 1982 and also one of the 1980s most distinctive and important horror movies.

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1. The Shining (1980)

It is an intense, epic, gothic horror film and haunted house masterpiece released in the year 1980 by Stanley Kubrick. The movie is not about ghosts but about madness and the energies it sets loose in an isolated situation primed to magnify them. In the movie, we meet Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), a man who plans to live for the winter in solitude and isolation with his wife and son. He becomes caretaker of the snowbound Overlook Hotel where an evil spiritual presence influences him into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future. The film is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name.

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