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The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s

Updated November 10, 2020 108.3k votes 5.2k voters 183.4k views181 items

List RulesMovies 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 classic 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 favorite horror movies to come out of Hollywood. You can also rerank this list any way you like.

The 1980s ushered in a kind of golden age for horror flicks, 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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  • The Thing1
    1,843
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    The Thing

    Kurt Russell, Keith David

    Released1982

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • The Evil Dead2
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    The Evil Dead

    Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi

    Released1981

    Directed bySam Raimi

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  • Aliens3
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    Aliens

    Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton

    Released1986

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • A Nightmare on Elm Street4
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    A Nightmare on Elm Street

    Johnny Depp, Robert Englund

    Released1984

    Directed byWes Craven

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  • Friday the 13th5
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    Friday the 13th

    Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini

    Released1980

    Directed bySean S. Cunningham

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  • The Shining6
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    The Shining

    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall

    Released1980

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

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  • The Lost Boys7
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    The Lost Boys

    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman

    Released1987

    Directed byJoel Schumacher

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  • Poltergeist8
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    Poltergeist

    Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams

    Released1982

    Directed byTobe Hooper

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  • Creepshow9
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    Creepshow

    Stephen King, Ed Harris

    Released1982

    Directed byGeorge A. Romero

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  • Evil Dead II10
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    Evil Dead II

    Bruce Campbell, Kassie DePaiva

    Released1987

    Directed bySam Raimi

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  • Hellraiser11
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    Hellraiser

    Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson

    Released1987

    Directed byClive Barker

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    Predator

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura

    Released1987

    Directed byJohn McTiernan

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  • An American Werewolf in London13
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    An American Werewolf in London

    Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz

    Released1981

    Directed byJohn Landis

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  • Fright Night14
    1,167
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    Fright Night

    Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall

    Released1985

    Directed byTom Holland

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  • Pet Sematary15
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    Pet Sematary

    Stephen King, Fred Gwynne

    Released1989

    Directed byMary Lambert

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  • John Carpenter's The Fog16
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    John Carpenter's The Fog

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh

    Released1980

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors17
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    A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

    Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne

    Released1987

    Directed byChuck Russell

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  • Halloween II18
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    Halloween II

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Dana Carvey

    Released1981

    Directed byRick Rosenthal

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  • They Live19
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    They Live

    Roddy Piper, Keith David

    Released1988

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • The Fly20
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    The Fly

    Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum

    Released1986

    Directed byDavid Cronenberg

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  • Christine21
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    Christine

    Kelly Preston, Alexandra Paul

    Released1983

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • Gremlins22
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    Gremlins

    Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman

    Released1984

    Directed byJoe Dante

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  • Child's Play23
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    Child's Play

    Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks

    Released1988

    Directed byTom Holland

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  • Friday the 13th Part 224
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    Friday the 13th Part 2

    Betsy Palmer, Lauren-Marie Taylor

    Released1981

    Directed bySteve Miner

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  • Silver Bullet25
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    Silver Bullet

    Gary Busey, Corey Haim

    Released1985

    Directed byDan Attias

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