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The Best '80s Horror Movies

List Criteria: Movies in the horror genre that were originally released in the 1980s

This list of the best 80s horror movies is a lengthy one, with good reason. The 1980s were a phenomenal decade for horror films, with some of the best, scariest, creepiest and in some cases, campiest films ever made. Several of the greatest horror films ever made were released in the 80s. This list of the top scary films from the 1980s is by no means complete, so feel free to vote for your favorites and please, add any great ones that are missing. You can also rerank this list any way you like.

The 1980s ushered in a kind of golden age for horror movies, with so many titles coming out so fast that it was difficult to keep up. Every week, a handful of new and freaky horror films were released in theaters. And sequels? Oh good grief, the sequels! '80s horror movies included the originals and sequels for the wildly popular Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead, and Friday the 13th franchises. Halloween, while released in the late-1970s, did spawn several sequels released in the 80s.

While slasher horror films and monster movies have existed since the early days of cinema, the genre reached its height in the 1980s. Every major horror film, with a handful of exceptions, featured some sort of psycho killer on the loose, stalking poor, helpless (and clueless!) teenagers. Sometimes these killers were human, other times they were aliens or – gasp!murderous clowns. Graphic violence was the norm, the shock value kept going higher and higher, and these films were certainly among the most nausea-inducing great films of all time.

Need more horror? Check out the best 1990s horror movies as well!

The Best '80s Horror Movies Films
  • 16 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 639
    - 133


    Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp

    ; watch now
  2. 2
    + 583
    - 172

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

    ;
  3. 3
    + 513
    - 161


    Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

    ;
  4. 4
    + 514
    - 124


    Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini, Betsy Palmer Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

    ;
  5. 5
    + 501
    - 157


    Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke

    ;
  6. 6
    + 430
    - 95


    Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi

    ;
  7. 7
    + 459
    - 153


    Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn

    ;
  8. 8
    + 404
    - 143


    Stephen King, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby

    ;
  9. 9
    + 376
    - 143


    Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Rik Mayall Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

    ;
  10. 10
    + 368
    - 130


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Dana Carvey, Kyle Richards

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  11. 11
    + 408
    - 173


    Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence

    ;
  12. 12
    + 365
    - 120


    Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall, Chris Sarandon

    ;
  13. 13
    + 418
    - 125


    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim

    ;
  14. 14
    + 418
    - 79

    ranked low on reranks & added by shaneoram2d
    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

    ;
  15. 15
    + 289
    - 147

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Clu Gulager, James Karen, Linnea Quigley

    ; watch now
  16. 16
    + 363
    - 151


    Bruce Campbell, Kassie DePaiva, Ted Raimi

    ; watch now
  17. 17
    + 364
    - 144


    Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates

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  18. 18
    + 337
    - 137


    Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon

    ; watch now
  19. 19
    + 311
    - 171

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

    ;
  20. 20
    + 272
    - 153


    Linda Hamilton, Peter Horton, R. G. Armstrong

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  21. 21
    + 295
    - 107


    Betsy Palmer, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Warrington Gillette

    ; watch now
  22. 22
    + 320
    - 128


    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers

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  23. 23
    + 262
    - 116


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Tom Welling

    ; watch now
  24. 24
    + 254
    - 147


    Dee Wallace, John Sayles, Slim Pickens

    ; watch now
  25. 25
    + 283
    - 113


    Stephen King, Ed Harris, Ted Danson

    ;
  26. 26
    + 223
    - 164

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Barbara Crampton, Jeffrey Combs, David Gale

    ;
  27. 27
    + 213
    - 134


    Sherman Howard, Jarlath Conroy, Terry Alexander

    ;
  28. 28
    + 223
    - 120

    added by wiabux
    Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Ed Lauter

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  29. 29
    + 260
    - 121

    ranked low on reranks
    Kelly Preston, Alexandra Paul, John Madden

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  30. 30
    + 203
    - 144


    Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence, Kathleen Kinmont

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  31. 31
    + 219
    - 127


    Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell

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  32. 32
    + 210
    - 114


    Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Judie Aronson

    ; watch now
  33. 33
    + 182
    - 49

    ranked low on reranks & added by CassiopeeLeduc
    Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, Zsa Zsa Gábor

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  34. 34
    + 144
    - 136

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Mitch Pileggi, James Karen, Allan Trautman

    ; watch now
  35. 35
    + 176
    - 118


    Mike Kellin, Katherine Kamhi, Robert Earl Jones

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  36. 36
    + 148
    - 117


    Don Francks, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy

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  37. 37
    + 187
    - 143


    Mayim Bialik, Lance Henriksen, George Buck Flower

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  38. 38
    + 131
    - 44

    ranked low on reranks & added by CassiopeeLeduc
    Gary Busey, Corey Haim, Terry O'Quinn

    ; watch now
  39. 39
    + 185
    - 114


    Corey Feldman, Tony Goldwyn, Ron Palillo

    ; watch now
  40. 40
    + 137
    - 110


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Brittany Snow, Leslie Nielsen

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  41. 41
    + 175
    - 137


    George Wendt, Kay Lenz, Richard Moll

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  42. 42
    + 141
    - 122


    Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence, Beau Starr

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  43. 43
    + 148
    - 99


    Corey Feldman, Miguel A. Núñez, Jr.

    ; watch now
  44. 44
    + 181
    - 141


    Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow, Burgess Meredith

    ;
  45. 45
    + 171
    - 145


    Dennis Hopper, Bill Moseley, Kinky Friedman

    ; buy at  
  46. 46
    + 163
    - 147


    Michael Ironside, Patrick McGoohan, Jennifer O'Neill

    ;
  47. 47
    + 136
    - 102


    Deborah Foreman, Thomas F. Wilson, Ken Olandt

    ; watch now
  48. 48
    + 131
    - 121


    Barbara Crampton, William Hickey, Irene Miracle

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  49. 49
    + 133
    - 93


    Betsy Palmer, Steve Miner, Richard Brooker

    ; watch now
  50. 50
    + 138
    - 140


    Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Adrian Pasdar

    ;
131 +

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