Guest article by Caroline at Culture Coverage
Web mastery by Tami Jackson
The 1980s gave us hundreds of horror movies. Forget "Top 100" lists because "Top 200" horror movie lists still lurk about. Many of the best horror I’ve seen came from the eighties and it's extremely difficult to choose the best of the scariest but this list, "Most Creeptastic Movies From The 80s" is a great start!
Tom Holland wrote and directed this award-winning horror movie about 17-year-old Charlie Brewster. Brewster discovers that his neighbor, Jerry Dandrige, is a vampire but his parents refuse to believe him when he tells them about it. So Brewster turns to TV Show Host Peter Vincent for help.
Fright Night proved popular when first released and has gained a cult following since. The cast includes Roddy McDowall, as the delightful unwitting vampire-hunter named Peter Vincent and Chris Sarandon, who steals the show as Vampire Jerry Dandrige, an amusingly affable and debonair personality (until crossed).
AVAILABILITY: Fright Night is not on many streaming services but you can buy or rent it on Amazon Prime or buy the full series by searching Google under the "shopping" tab. You might also find it by subscribing to a Virtual Private Network, such as Express VPN. Buy: Fright Night 1985.
Steven Spielberg wrote and produced Poltergeist; another award-winning supernatural horror. Directed by Tobe Hooper, it follows the story of the Freeling family and the peaceful community they live in. When their youngest daughter, Carol Anne, starts talking to the static on the TV late at night, her peculiarities are heightened the day after an earthquake. That's when even stranger things happen. A malevolent force abducts Carol Anne, and the Freelings battle it to save their daughter from a terrible fate.
When first released, Poltergeist was praised for its special effects. It is now considered a classic and has a cult following, thanks to the brilliant plot and frightening presentation. Even more creepy, the movie is said to be cursed! Four of its most significant cast members died within a few years of its release. As with Fright Night, it is not available on many streaming services, but it is available on Amazon, and for purchase by Google "shopping." Buy: Poltergeist 1982
The Thing (1982)
Directed by John Carpenter and written by Bill Lancaster, The Thing is an American science fiction horror movie where a parasitic alien life form can assimilate anything it touches. When the alien infiltrates an American research station in Antarctica, the team must kill it. Yet things get more complicated as it becomes more difficult to differentiate between the alien and their friends. As a result, survivors become increasingly paranoid.
Despite this movie's major box office success, critics initially gave it negative reviews. Today, however, it receives high ratings and audiences still enjoy it. The creepy, well-crafted, story is enhanced by the remarkable makeup effects. The desolate setting adds quite a grim tone. Unfortunately, it’s not available on American Netflix, but you may access it through Netflix in other countries. You can also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), such as Buffered VPN, to watch it overseas. Buy: The Thing 1982
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a supernatural slasher movie written and directed by Wes Craven. The movie follows teenager Nancy Thomson and her friends as they start having nightmares in which they are hunted and killed by a disfigured man, Fred "Freddy" Krueger. Every injury inflicted in their dreams results in a physical injury when they're awake and everyone that Freddy kills in their dreams actually dies. In time, Nancy realizes that she must figure out how to stop the disfigured man before she’s murdered too.
A Nightmare on Elm Street was successful from the start and both critics and viewers loved it. Even today, it’s hailed as one of the best horror films ever made. This highly imaginative movie plays with audiences’ perceptions and crosses the boundary between dreams and reality in alarming ways. The suburban setting only adds to the terror and shows audiences that horror can happen anywhere. While not available on American Netflix, you can watch it on Netflix overseas. The DVD is available for sale in many stores and you can order a copy by mail through Google's shopping feature. Order it on YouTube for $2.99. Buy: A Nightmare On Elm Street 1984
The Shining (1980)
No list of great horror movies from the 1980s would be complete without The Shining! Stanley Kubrick produced and directed this psychological horror, which is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name.
About recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance - the man hires on as an off-season caretaker of an isolated hotel. When a snowstorm traps the family at the hotel, Jack loses his grip on reality and grows increasingly agitated.
Amazingly, audiences did not receive The Shining very well; not on its initial release. Critics labeled the film as "too slow" and "not scary enough." Now, however, it’s become a classic! The change in attitude probably evolved because it’s more common for horror movies to have a slower pace today. Nowadays that gradual build-up is thought to add a hypnotic quality.
In The Shining, the atmosphere is heavy and claustrophobic. The hotel itself is isolated. All elements add up to make The Shining delightfully disturbing. Watch this movie for FREE on YouTube. Only available on Netflix outside of the US, "The Shining" DVD can be purchased on-line and in stores. Buy: The Shining (1980)
As said above, this list is simply a small taste of what the 1980s offered in terms of creeptastic horror. Which is your favorite horror movie from the decade? (Please let us know in the comments below.)
You may find Caroline on Twitter at: @CultureCovC.
Leave tips for her here in the comments, at Vampire Review, because she’s always on the lookout for recommendations for terrifying movies!
Here is our list on sale right now!