Welcome back kids, we have another installment in the best horror films of the 1980's. Just like all previous posts, this is not a scientific study or list based on box office reciepts or critic reviews; it is just my humble opinion. The 80's are the decade that I was weaned on horror and these are the films that stick out in my head.
Aliens (1986) Really, there is so much to be said of this movie, that it should probably have it's own dedicated piece. So many iconic film moments in Aliens and after all of these years, it's still proper scary, gory and suspenseful. In an unprecedented move, the studio allowed James Cameron to step away from writing the Aliens script in order for him to work on Terminator. He only had 90 pages written, but they liked it so much, that they waited for him to come back and complete the film. That's how good this movie is.
April Fools Day (1986) Here we have our usual group of college kids going away to an island mansion for the weekend. Muffy St. John (yup, that's her name) has organized the getaway and is prepping her mansion with fun practical jokes for everyone. This is a great slasher because it is also a bit of a murder mystery and a dark comedy. Though it relies on many of the standard 80's horror cliches, it's still fun and effective. Besides, I still love the poster; I used to just stand in the video store and stare at her awesome noose braid. I still dream of a day that I can do my hair just like that.
The Fly (1986) You know I just love me a classic example of a horror remake improving upon the original. While the 1958 version is definitely a classic, David Cronenberg put his spin on the story and it is beautiful. Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis won the Academy Award for Best Makeup for their efforts on this film; much like An American Werewolf in London, the effects hold up and still look amazing. What I really loved about this movie is it's ability to really dig deep into your heart and make you care about the characters. As a young girl,this movie made me cry so badly every time. If you have not yet seen The Fly, I will not ruin it for you because this really is a wonderful horror movie with emotional depth.
Henry:Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) Few movies have disturbed me on the level that this one did. On my first viewing, I was, basically, paralyzed by shock and horror; I just could not look away. This was the first time in life that I wished for the ability to erase memories from my brain. On subsequent viewings, I have been able to appreciate this movie for what it is; an absolutely fantastic, gritty, emotional gut punch of a movie. Hey, even Siskel and Ebert love it and they hate horror movies. Michael Rooker is at the top of his game here as Henry. An unflinching and unsympathetic look at a vile man, this is a must see film.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) Directed by Tobe Hooper, this sequel is a horror/dark comedy with Dennis Hopper. What more could you possibly want from a film? Oh, a character named Chop Top? Yeah, this movie has that too. Hooper chose to focus on the dark comedy in this film because it was mostly unackowleged in the first film. This movie is just a basket full of crazy, but I love it. I don't know about you, but any movie that has Leatherface dancing with his chainsaw to Danny Elfman music is fine by me.
Bad Taste (1987) Long before he took us to the Shire, Peter Jackson made one of the most disgusting horror films put to celluloid. The title couldn't be more appropriate; Jackson's first feature film, he wrote, directed, produced, co-edited, co-starred, photographed and made most of the special effects on Bad Taste. This is a gross-out dark comedy and it is wonderful.
Evil Dead 2 (1987) Goofy, gory, slapstick, wild camera angles, completely over the top everything.... this movie is the sh*t. This film, more so than it's predecessor, is what really put Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi in the hearts of horror lovers everywhere.
Hellraiser (1987) Written and directed by Clive Barker, based on his novella The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser is a truly creepy and disturbing film. Few characters have haunted my dreams like Pinhead. Pinhead and his alluring puzzle box; he really draws you in and takes you on a ride to hell.
The Lost Boys (1987) I must be upfront here and say that this is one of my two very favorite movies in the history of time. I can still quote every single line and it never gets old. This is what a vampire movie should be; fun, sexy, scary and a little bit gross. Add the two Coreys (Haim and Feldman) and you have a perfect, little present sent to you straight from 80's horror heaven.
The Monster Squad (1987) O.K., so it isn't scary, but it sure is a ton of fun. A group of kids fighting off a bunch of iconic monsters? Who didn't wish they could be a character in this movie?
Near Dark (1987) Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, this is an under-seen gem of a vampire tale. Rather than the posh, upper class vampires we had become accustomed to, these vampires are a gang that travels the Southwest and wreak havoc. Underneath all of this is a really beautiful love story and a truly performance from Bill Paxton.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3-Dream Warriors (1987) After the very thinly veiled coming out story that was NOES 2, Dream Warriors was a welcome addition to the franchise. There are so many unforgettable visuals and one-liner's from Freddy in this movie that it's hard to pick just one. As a young girl, I was always really creeped out and mesmerized by the visual of the guy being led through the hospital via Freddy's puppet strings. So creepy.
Stagefright (Aquarius) (1987) Not to be confused with the Alfred Hitchcock classic or the 2013 horror musical, this is a gorgeous, gorgeous piece of 80's horror. I love this movie so very much, I wrote a love letter to it; you can read it here.
The Stepfather (1987) As a child of divorce, the idea of a step-parent is terrifying enough, but add in the possibility of a homicidal step-parent and you have got yourself a fine horror film. Terry O'Quinn does an amazing job of playing a too good to be true father figure.
Well, these are my personal favorites; what are yours?