best movies 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!
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1
991 325
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The Shining Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

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2
1,073 273
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A Nightmare on Elm Street Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp

3
904 263
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The Thing Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

4
879 250
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Friday the 13th Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini, Betsy Palmer

5
811 293
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Poltergeist Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke

6
805 244
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Aliens Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn

7
698 252
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Pet Sematary Stephen King, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby

8
765 193
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The Evil Dead Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi

9
727 209
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The Lost Boys Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim

10
649 229
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Halloween II Jamie Lee Curtis, Dana Carvey, Kyle Richards

11
635 250
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An American Werewolf in London Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Rik Mayall

12
595 222
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Fright Night Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall, Chris Sarandon

13
697 261
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Hellraiser Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence

14
605 263
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Gremlins Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates

15
581 245
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Child's Play Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon

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16
624 249
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Evil Dead II Bruce Campbell, Kassie DePaiva, Ted Raimi

17
500 240
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The Return of the Living Dead Clu Gulager, James Karen, Linnea Quigley

18
516 204
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Friday the 13th Part 2 Betsy Palmer, Lauren-Marie Taylor, Warrington Gillette

19
531 264
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The Fly Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg

20
577 214
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Predator Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers

21
468 205
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John Carpenter's The Fog Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Tom Welling

22
409 247
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The Howling Dee Wallace, John Sayles, Slim Pickens

23
461 254
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Children of the Corn Linda Hamilton, Peter Horton, R. G. Armstrong

24
495 189
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Creepshow Stephen King, Ed Harris, Ted Danson

25
364 269
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Re-Animator Barbara Crampton, Jeffrey Combs, David Gale

26
368 218
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wiabux added Cujo Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Ed Lauter

27
429 214
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Christine Kelly Preston, Alexandra Paul, John Madden

28
344 236
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Day of the Dead Sherman Howard, Jarlath Conroy, Terry Alexander

29
388 206
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Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Judie Aronson

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30
404 129
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CassiopeeLeduc added A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, Zsa Zsa Gábor

31
345 259
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Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence, Kathleen Kinmont

32
355 206
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The Hitcher Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell

33
324 214
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Sleepaway Camp Mike Kellin, Katherine Kamhi, Robert Earl Jones

34
330 200
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Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Corey Feldman, Tony Goldwyn, Ron Palillo

35
264 200
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My Bloody Valentine Don Francks, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy

36
328 231
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Pumpkinhead Mayim Bialik, Lance Henriksen, George Buck Flower

37
278 121
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CassiopeeLeduc added Silver Bullet Gary Busey, Corey Haim, Terry O'Quinn

38
289 217
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House George Wendt, Kay Lenz, Richard Moll

39
245 200
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Prom Night Jamie Lee Curtis, Brittany Snow, Leslie Nielsen

40
227 211
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Near Dark Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Adrian Pasdar

41
232 234
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Return of the Living Dead Part II Mitch Pileggi, James Karen, Allan Trautman

42
292 232
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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Dennis Hopper, Bill Moseley, Kinky Friedman

43
221 72
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daniel-claeys added The Amityville Horror James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger

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44
241 228
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Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence, Beau Starr

45
260 195
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Friday the 13th: A New Beginning Corey Feldman, Miguel A. Núñez, Jr.

46
260 173
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Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D Betsy Palmer, Steve Miner, Richard Brooker

47
222 128
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CassiopeeLeduc added Creepshow 2 Stephen King, George Kennedy, Dorothy Lamour

48
290 217
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Twilight Zone: The Movie Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow, Burgess Meredith

49
238 163
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Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood Corey Feldman, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Bennett

50
247 236
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Scanners Michael Ironside, Patrick McGoohan, Jennifer O'Neill