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Don't rip my face off, but ... top 10 horror movies of the '80s



poltergeist_faceoff.jpgWho wants another list of great horror movies of the '80s? I tweak and recycle this list every year or so -- just about as often as I recycle the "Dr. Fink" costume from Purple Rain for a Halloween get-up. Still, I maintain that only two movies scared the every-loving-hell out of me in the '80s: Halloween 3 - Season of the Witch (really not good at all, but I still get chills from that creepy commercial jingo) and Poltergeist (for just about every scene from start to finish, but particularly the scene-that-shall-not-be-named yet.) 

The list is generated by reader suggestions, reviews of the movies and a little personal opinion here and there. It's not as long as our previous lists of best comedies, worst songs, best videos and worst films. But it'll still give you a great guide to picking movies to watch tonight since we're all too old to go out and beg for candy.

Excerpts from critic reviews are only included in the top 5 for this list. Critics are traditionally harsh on horror movies and their comments weren't pretty beyond the very best of the movies. I picked the "taglines" for the rest of the flicks.


10. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET(1984): Johnny Depp, Robert Englund. "A scream that wakes you up, might be your own."

9. THE BELIEVERS (1987): Martin Sheen, Helen Shaver. "They exist. Fear them."

Thereturnofthelivingdead 8. RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985): Clu Gulager, James Karen. "They're back ... They're Hungry ... And they're NOT vegetarian."

7. PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1987): Donald Pleasance, Jameson Parker. "It is evil. It is real. It is awakening."

6. CHRISTINE (1983): Keith Gordon, John Stockwell. "Hell hath no Christine." 

5. THE SHINING (1980): Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall. One critic said: "It is not just a great horror film; it is a psychological profile of how people wrestle with their unsavory pasts."

4. NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986): Jason Lively, Steve Marshall. One critic said: "Rarely is a horror comedy as much fun to watch as this movie is."

Americanwerewolf1 3. AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981): David Naughton, Jenny Agutter. One critic said: "It may be one of the best endings to any movie, ever."

2. THE THING (1982): Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley. One critic said: "If you don't repeatedly drop your jaw and gape at the screen in disbelief, you might need to lay off the PCP."

1.POLTERGEIST(1982): Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams. One critic said: "This is the movie The Amityville Horror dreamed of being."

The scariest scenes: The face-ripping scene, that dreaded clown, the bodies floating in the pool. The list goes on and on. The cast of Poltergeist was virtually unknown before the movie. And though ToBe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is given credit for directing it, rumor had it that writer Steven Spielberg often took control of the shooting, giving this move the quintessential 80s feel.

Enjoy the list and remember: "You can't choose between life and death when we're dealing with what is in between."

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 7:17am]


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