Graveyard Shift The Best '80s Horror Movies  

Ranker Horror
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List Rules 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!
list ordered by

1
1,045 354
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The Shining Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

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2
1,134 295
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A Nightmare on Elm Street Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp

3
968 276
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The Thing Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

4
857 306
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Poltergeist Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke

5
929 264
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Friday the 13th Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini, Betsy Palmer

6
846 260
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Aliens Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn

7
743 268
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Pet Sematary Stephen King, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby

8
623 238
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Fright Night Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall, Chris Sarandon

9
807 203
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The Evil Dead Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi

10
690 244
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Halloween II Jamie Lee Curtis, Dana Carvey, Kyle Richards

11
666 266
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An American Werewolf in London Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Rik Mayall

12
772 221
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The Lost Boys Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim

13
730 280
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Hellraiser Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence

14
613 262
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Child's Play Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon

15
640 277
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Gremlins Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates

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16
547 219
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Friday the 13th Part 2 Betsy Palmer, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Warrington Gillette

17
660 258
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Evil Dead II Bruce Campbell, Kassie DePaiva, Ted Raimi

18
522 255
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The Return of the Living Dead Clu Gulager, James Karen, Linnea Quigley

19
561 277
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The Fly Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg

20
613 225
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Predator Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers

21
488 273
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Children of the Corn Linda Hamilton, Peter Horton, R. G. Armstrong

22
433 261
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The Howling Dee Wallace, John Sayles, Slim Pickens

23
497 217
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John Carpenter's The Fog Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Tom Welling

24
518 194
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Creepshow Stephen King, Ed Harris, Ted Danson

25
380 282
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Re-Animator Barbara Crampton, Jeffrey Combs, David Gale

26
390 235
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wiabux added Cujo Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Ed Lauter

27
418 216
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Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Judie Aronson

28
366 274
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Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence, Kathleen Kinmont

29
361 247
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Day of the Dead Sherman Howard, Jarlath Conroy, Terry Alexander

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30
434 143
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CassiopeeLeduc added A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, Zsa Zsa Gábor

31
449 224
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Christine Kelly Preston, Alexandra Paul, John Madden

32
378 214
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The Hitcher Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell

33
341 227
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Sleepaway Camp Mike Kellin, Katherine Kamhi, Robert Earl Jones

34
283 210
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My Bloody Valentine Don Francks, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy

35
349 239
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Pumpkinhead Mayim Bialik, Lance Henriksen, George Buck Flower

36
349 212
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Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Corey Feldman, Tony Goldwyn, Ron Palillo

37
304 130
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CassiopeeLeduc added Silver Bullet Gary Busey, Corey Haim, Terry O'Quinn

38
245 221
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Near Dark Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Adrian Pasdar

39
302 229
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House George Wendt, Kay Lenz, Richard Moll

40
309 244
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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Dennis Hopper, Bill Moseley, Kinky Friedman

41
262 211
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Prom Night Jamie Lee Curtis, Brittany Snow, Leslie Nielsen

42
255 242
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Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence, Beau Starr

43
248 79
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daniel-claeys added The Amityville Horror James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger

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44
240 248
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Return of the Living Dead Part II Mitch Pileggi, James Karen, Allan Trautman

45
281 183
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Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D Betsy Palmer, Steve Miner, Richard Brooker

46
274 209
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Friday the 13th: A New Beginning Corey Feldman, Miguel A. Núñez, Jr.

47
232 140
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CassiopeeLeduc added Creepshow 2 Stephen King, George Kennedy, Dorothy Lamour

48
254 175
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Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood Corey Feldman, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Bennett

49
174 31
Alien is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best '80s Horror Movies
spideyforever added Alien Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

50
305 223
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Twilight Zone: The Movie Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow, Burgess Meredith