Dearest Radults,

Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, what many would say are the three staple horror movies of the 80’s. Sure, they’ve held their value and production over the past few decades and nearly everyone in America can tell you the origins of Michael, Jason, and Freddy. But what movies of the 80’s really deserve the spotlight that these films have? Because, let’s be completely honest, yes the slasher era was different and basically paved the way for horror even today, but many a movie could have (and have) taken the cake for best horror of the 80’s. Fight me if you want to, but I’m about to lay out for you five of the movies that should have been the icons of their time. I mean, they still have their name, but why do they deserve more?

1. Re-Animator (1985)

Be real, what mad scientist movie can really compare to the campy beauty of light gore-fest Re-Animator? Jeffrey Combs plays a slightly off (but oddly likeable) scientist who has discovered a serum that can, believe it or not, re-IMG_9777animate things that have died. With the assistance of fellow nurse trainee Dan Cain, the two discover that sometimes things are better left in the grave. The gore is absolutely incredible, not too much that it throws off the story, but just enough to keep the movie virtually timeless. Who needs CGI when you have this masterpiece? The well-written and nicely executed film creates a mood for the “don’t play God” Frankenstein-esque tale.

2. Hellraiser (1987)

hellraiser 80s horror movies

I understand Hellraiser is considered a popular 80’s movie already but I feel like it’s appreciated in the complete wrong way. Yes Pinhead and the Cenobites are still some of the creepiest villains to appear on screen and the story is… interesting. But Clive Barkers’ originality in aesthetic and the perfect use of gore and special effects makeup is what sets this incredible piece of film aside from other horror movies of its time. “Jesus wept”. Yeah, you know the scene I’m talking about. The image of Frank having his face fileted by chains that we have no idea where they came from but there the fuck they are is life changing. Well, in the aspect of ever viewing movie gore again.

3. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

henry portrait of a serial killer 80s horror movies

Yep, you forgot this eerie and disturbing gem is an 80’s flick, didn’t you? It’s like the industry wanted you to forget this piece of art. Seriously one of the most unsettling films I’ve watched (and believe me, I’ve seen my fair share), Portrait of a Serial Killer is actually based off of the very real story of Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole. The raw grittiness this film captures is enough to keep it a timeless piece of work. Between the gore, dialog, and the knowledge this film is entirely based on a real-ass murderer, the cake has been taken for most disturbing movie of this age.

4. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

cannibal holocaust 80s horror movies

Yet another iconicly banned film that upholds a standard for films to follow to this day. Italian director Ruggero Deodato saw no boundaries in the making of this cannibalistic gore fest. Not to mention, this is the found footage movie before all found footage movies. Everything from the gore to the somewhat still halfway unexplored idea of cannibals in horror keeps this movie young and its name still relevant even near 40 years later. Fuck your neighborhood knife-wielding murderer, Cannibal Holocaust has opened the door for body horror and other extreme gore-fests of its kind, and it’s still considered one of the goriest movies to this day.

5. The Evil Dead (1981)

Yes, yes, another one on the list that has already made a pretty huge name for itself. With an equally as demonic evil dead 80s horror moviesand disgusting remake in 2011, Evil Dead still beats time much like the risen dead in the movie to stay relevant even in the twenty-tens. But, much like the others on this list, this movie is set apart completely by its incredible use of practical effect gore. The iconic Ash Williams, his lady, and four friends come across an old necromancer book that when read aloud, awakens evil from the depths of the unknown. A concept, an execution, and pretty ignorable acting for an 80’s flick? I’m sold.

So yes, believe it or not there are other horror movies from the 80s that you definitely should’ve gone down in time as the best of the best, and I’m talking about from a casual/avid movie watcher perspective. I mean seriously, why aren’t these films printed on shirts and sold for stupid prices on Halloween? Some would say they’ve earned that thread space more than others… but that’s an argument for a later date. So until then…

Your’s Ghouly,


About the Author (of Your Doom)

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