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The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s

Updated October 14, 2020 109.8k votes 5.1k voters 181.9k views161 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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  • 1
    The Thing is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
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    The Thing

    Kurt Russell, Keith David

    Released1982

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • 2
    The Evil Dead is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,458
    382

    The Evil Dead

    Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi

    Released1981

    Directed bySam Raimi

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  • 3
    Aliens is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,548
    464

    Aliens

    Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton

    Released1986

    Directed byJames Cameron

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  • 4
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,923
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    A Nightmare on Elm Street

    Johnny Depp, Robert Englund

    Released1984

    Directed byWes Craven

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  • 5
    Friday the 13th is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,631
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    Friday the 13th

    Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini

    Released1980

    Directed bySean S. Cunningham

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  • 6
    Poltergeist is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,493
    543

    Poltergeist

    Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams

    Released1982

    Directed byTobe Hooper

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  • 7
    The Shining is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,805
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    The Shining

    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall

    Released1980

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

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  • 8
    Creepshow is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    992
    319

    Creepshow

    Stephen King, Ed Harris

    Released1982

    Directed byGeorge A. Romero

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  • 9
    The Lost Boys is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,434
    404

    The Lost Boys

    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman

    Released1987

    Directed byJoel Schumacher

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  • 10
    Evil Dead II is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,192
    430

    Evil Dead II

    Bruce Campbell, Kassie DePaiva

    Released1987

    Directed bySam Raimi

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  • 11
    Hellraiser is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,271
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    Hellraiser

    Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson

    Released1987

    Directed byClive Barker

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  • 12
    An American Werewolf in London is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,200
    486

    An American Werewolf in London

    Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz

    Released1981

    Directed byJohn Landis

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  • 13
    Fright Night is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,147
    465

    Fright Night

    Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall

    Released1985

    Directed byTom Holland

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  • 14
    Predator is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,079
    440

    Predator

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura

    Released1987

    Directed byJohn McTiernan

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  • 15
    Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,312
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    Pet Sematary

    Stephen King, Fred Gwynne

    Released1989

    Directed byMary Lambert

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  • 16
    Halloween II is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,162
    517

    Halloween II

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Dana Carvey

    Released1981

    Directed byRick Rosenthal

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  • 17
    John Carpenter's The Fog is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
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    397

    John Carpenter's The Fog

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh

    Released1980

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • 18
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: D is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    925
    332

    A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

    Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne

    Released1987

    Directed byChuck Russell

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  • 19
    They Live is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    529
    161

    They Live

    Roddy Piper, Keith David

    Released1988

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • 20
    Christine is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    843
    377

    Christine

    Kelly Preston, Alexandra Paul

    Released1983

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • 21
    The Fly is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,078
    457

    The Fly

    Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum

    Released1986

    Directed byDavid Cronenberg

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  • 22
    Child's Play is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,062
    476

    Child's Play

    Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks

    Released1988

    Directed byTom Holland

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  • 23
    Gremlins is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    1,125
    525

    Gremlins

    Steven Spielberg, Corey Feldman

    Released1984

    Directed byJoe Dante

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  • 24
    Friday the 13th Part 2 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    988
    461

    Friday the 13th Part 2

    Betsy Palmer, Lauren-Marie Taylor

    Released1981

    Directed bySteve Miner

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  • 25
    Silver Bullet is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s
    666
    310

    Silver Bullet

    Gary Busey, Corey Haim

    Released1985

    Directed byDan Attias

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