The Best '80s Horror Movies Films

The Best '80s Horror Movies

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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!


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  • 16 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 688
    - 149
    A Nightmare on Elm Street


    Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp

    ;
  2. 2
    + 624
    - 191
    The Shining

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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 566
    - 132
    Friday the 13th


    Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini, Betsy Palmer

    ;
  4. 4
    + 542
    - 175
    The Thing


    Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

    ;
  5. 5
    + 531
    - 170
    Poltergeist


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

    ;
  6. 6
    + 465
    - 106
    The Evil Dead


    Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi

    ;
  7. 7
    + 489
    - 163
    Aliens


    Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn

    ;
  8. 8
    + 437
    - 151
    Pet Sematary


    Stephen King, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby

    ;
  9. 9
    + 403
    - 156
    An American Werewolf in London


    Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Rik Mayall

    ;
  10. 10
    + 398
    - 137
    Halloween II


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Dana Carvey, Kyle Richards

    ;
  11. 11
    + 441
    - 180
    Hellraiser


    Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence

    ;
  12. 12
    + 392
    - 124
    Fright Night


    Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall, Chris Sarandon

    ;
  13. 13
    + 458
    - 132
    The Lost Boys

    ranked low on reranks
    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim

    ;
  14. 14
    + 314
    - 155
    The Return of the Living Dead


    Clu Gulager, James Karen, Linnea Quigley

    ;
  15. 15
    + 392
    - 153
    Gremlins


    Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates

    ;
  16. 16
    + 392
    - 162
    Evil Dead II


    Bruce Campbell, Kassie DePaiva, Ted Raimi

    ;
  17. 17
    + 367
    - 149
    Child's Play


    Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon

    ;
  18. 18
    + 338
    - 180
    The Fly

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg

    ;
  19. 19
    + 295
    - 162
    Children of the Corn


    Linda Hamilton, Peter Horton, R. G. Armstrong

    ;
  20. 20
    + 320
    - 114
    Friday the 13th Part 2


    Betsy Palmer, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Warrington Gillette

    ;
  21. 21
    + 287
    - 121
    John Carpenter's The Fog


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Tom Welling

    ;
  22. 22
    + 348
    - 137
    Predator

    ranked low on reranks
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers

    ;
  23. 23
    + 274
    - 154
    The Howling


    Dee Wallace, John Sayles, Slim Pickens

    ;
  24. 24
    + 304
    - 119
    Creepshow


    Stephen King, Ed Harris, Ted Danson

    ;
  25. 25
    + 235
    - 174
    Re-Animator

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Barbara Crampton, Jeffrey Combs, David Gale

    ;
  26. 26
    + 229
    - 142
    Day of the Dead


    Sherman Howard, Jarlath Conroy, Terry Alexander

    ;
  27. 27
    + 239
    - 130
    Cujo

    added by wiabux
    Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Ed Lauter

    ;
  28. 28
    + 284
    - 128
    Christine

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

    ;
  29. 29
    + 234
    - 133
    The Hitcher


    Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell

    ;
  30. 30
    + 216
    - 155
    Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers


    Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence, Kathleen Kinmont

    ;
  31. 31
    + 229
    - 121
    Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter


    Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Judie Aronson

    ;
  32. 32
    + 205
    - 61
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 155
    - 145
    Return of the Living Dead Part II

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Mitch Pileggi, James Karen, Allan Trautman

    ;
  34. 34
    + 191
    - 129
    Sleepaway Camp


    Mike Kellin, Katherine Kamhi, Robert Earl Jones

    ;
  35. 35
    + 207
    - 148
    Pumpkinhead


    Mayim Bialik, Lance Henriksen, George Buck Flower

    ;
  36. 36
    + 147
    - 51
    Silver Bullet

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

    ;
  37. 37
    + 161
    - 128
    My Bloody Valentine


    Don Francks, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy

    ;
  38. 38
    + 158
    - 116
    Prom Night


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Brittany Snow, Leslie Nielsen

    ;
  39. 39
    + 205
    - 123
    Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives


    Corey Feldman, Tony Goldwyn, Ron Palillo

    ;
  40. 40
    + 191
    - 145
    House


    George Wendt, Kay Lenz, Richard Moll

    ;
  41. 41
    + 165
    - 109
    Friday the 13th: A New Beginning


    Corey Feldman, Miguel A. Núñez, Jr.

    ;
  42. 42
    + 153
    - 136
    Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers


    Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence, Beau Starr

    ;
  43. 43
    + 188
    - 155
    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2


    Dennis Hopper, Bill Moseley, Kinky Friedman

    ;
  44. 44
    + 192
    - 153
    Twilight Zone: The Movie


    Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow, Burgess Meredith

    ;
  45. 45
    + 177
    - 156
    Scanners


    Michael Ironside, Patrick McGoohan, Jennifer O'Neill

    ;
  46. 46
    + 145
    - 110
    April Fool's Day


    Deborah Foreman, Thomas F. Wilson, Ken Olandt

    ;
  47. 47
    + 74
    - 18
    The Amityville Horror

    added by daniel-claeys
    James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger

    ;
  48. 48
    + 149
    - 102
    Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D


    Betsy Palmer, Steve Miner, Richard Brooker

    ;
  49. 49
    + 139
    - 132
    Puppet Master


    Barbara Crampton, William Hickey, Irene Miracle

    ;
  50. 50
    + 105
    - 75
    The Stepfather

    added by CassiopeeLeduc
    Terry O'Quinn, Shelley Hack, Jill Schoelen

    ;
129 +

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