Make us your home page

The list that never dies: Best horror movies of the '80s



Anamericanwerewolfinlondon"You wanna see something really scary?" How about the sight of a blogger regurgitating the same old tired list every Halloween?

Yep, welcome to the resurrection of our list of best horror films of the '80s.

The list was generated two years ago 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 between now and the end of the weekend.

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.

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


20. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986): Dennis Hooper, Caroline Williams. "After a decade of silence... The buzzz is back!"

Chud_1 19. C.H.U.D. (1984): Daniel Stern, John Heard. "You Won't Want To Know What It Means."

18. The Changeling (1980): George C. Scott, Jean Marsh. "Whatever you do...DON'T GO INTO THE ATTIC."

17. Hellraiser (1987): Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins. "Demon to some. Angel to others."

16. The Evil Dead (1981): Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss. "The Ultimate Experience In Grueling Terror."

15. Fright Night (1985): Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale. "If you love being scared, it'll be the night of your life."

14. House on Sorority Row (1983): Kate McNeil, Eileen Davidson. "Sisters in life. Sisters in death."

13. Re-Animator (1985): Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott. "Herbert West Has A Very Good Head On His Shoulders... And Another One In A Dish On His Desk."

12. The Lost Boys (1987): Jason Patric, Corey Haim. "Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire."

Dressed_to_kill 11. Dressed to Kill (1980): Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson. "Every Nightmare Has A Beginning ... This One Never Ends."

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 Fury ... like Christine."

The top 5...

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."

Poltergeistface 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.

So there's the list. Feel free to share your darts and laurels.

Speaking of horror flicks...

We have two Halloween podcasts from previous years to choose from, if you're in the mood for a real fright. Either pick our Halloween audio commentary from 2008, or our shorter and livelier (i.e. more sober) podcast honoring our favorite horror flicks of the decade from a few years ago.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:52pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours