vote on everything
Watchworthy
1.0k voters

The Scariest Movies of the 1980s

Updated September 23, 2019 12.8k votes 1.0k voters 25.0k views69 items

List RulesScary horror movies released in the 1980s.

The 1980’s were know for a lot of historical events such as the ending of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the release of the first IBM personal computer. But more importantly, the 1980's brought us some of the best, scariest, cheesiest, horror movies in the history of film.

But what are the scariest 80s horror movies of all time? The films on this list, ranked by film lovers, has the scariest 80s movies. Whether you’re looking for a realistic flick based on actual events or a completely fictional fright film, there’s sure to be the perfect movie on this list for you!

This list has the scariest horror movies from the 80s, including: Blood Beach, The Beast Within, and An American Werewolf in London.

Vote up your favorite 80's horror movie or add one that always brings the scares, that isn't already on the list.
Photo:
...more
  • 1
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    388
    117

    A Nightmare on Elm Street

    Johnny Depp, Robert Englund

    Released1984

    Directed byWes Craven

    A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American supernatural slasher horror film written and... more on Wikipedia

    More A Nightmare on Elm Street 

    Ranking Freddy Krueger's Best Kills from A Nightmare on Elm StreetBehind The Scenes Of Glen's Death In 'A Nightmare On Elm Street'

  • 2
    Poltergeist is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    365
    104

    Poltergeist

    Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams

    Released1982

    Directed byTobe Hooper

    Poltergeist is a 1982 American supernatural thriller film, directed by Tobe Hooper and... more on Wikipedia

    More Poltergeist 

    Did Steven Spielberg Really Ghost-Direct ‘Poltergeist’?#257 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies

  • 3
    The Shining is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    376
    137

    The Shining

    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall

    Released1980

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by... more on Wikipedia

    More The Shining 

    Behind-The-Scenes Stories About Shelley Duvall From 'The Shining'The Making Of 'The Shining' Was A Bigger Nightmare Than The Film's Story

  • 4
    The Thing is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    298
    117

    The Thing

    Kurt Russell, Keith David

    Released1982

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    The Thing is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written... more on Wikipedia

    More The Thing 

    #55 of 242 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#7 of 144 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

  • 5
    Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    293
    106

    Pet Sematary

    Stephen King, Fred Gwynne

    Released1989

    Directed byMary Lambert

    Pet Sematary is a 1989 American horror film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same... more on Wikipedia

    More Pet Sematary 

    Real Burial Grounds And Locations That Could Have Inspired 'Pet Sematary'#187 of 364 The Best Movies Based On Books

  • 6
    Aliens is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    261
    115

    Aliens

    Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton

    Released1986

    Directed byJames Cameron

    Aliens is a 1986 American science-fiction action horror film written and directed by James... more on Wikipedia

    More Aliens 

    #175 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#140 of 149 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

  • 7
    Friday the 13th is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    282
    113

    Friday the 13th

    Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini

    Released1980

    Directed bySean S. Cunningham

    Friday the 13th is a 1980 American slasher film directed by Sean S. Cunningham and written by... more on Wikipedia

    More Friday the 13th 

    The Most Terrible And Mysterious Things That Have Happened On Friday The 13th#51 of 280 The Best Whodunit Movies

  • 8
    Hellraiser is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    243
    101

    Hellraiser

    Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson

    Released1987

    Directed byClive Barker

    Hellraiser is a 1987 British horror film written and directed by Clive Barker, based upon his... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    John Carpenter's The Fog is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    179
    102

    John Carpenter's The Fog

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh

    Released1980

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    The Fog is a 1980 American horror film directed by John Carpenter, who also co-wrote the... more on Wikipedia

    More John Carpenter's The Fog 

    #4 of 20 20 Pretty Interesting Movie Details We Found This Week#38 of 64 Horror Movie Set-Ups You'd Least Like to Be Trapped In

  • 10
    The Evil Dead is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    242
    105

    The Evil Dead

    Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi

    Released1981

    Directed bySam Raimi

    This film is a 1981 American horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi and executive... more on Wikipedia

    More The Evil Dead 

    #956 of 1,647 The Most Rewatchable Movies#14 of 714 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

  • 11
    An American Werewolf in London is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    173
    104

    An American Werewolf in London

    Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz

    Released1981

    Directed byJohn Landis

    An American Werewolf in London is a 1981 horror comedy film written and directed by John... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Friday the 13th Part 2 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    183
    102

    Friday the 13th Part 2

    Betsy Palmer, Lauren-Marie Taylor

    Released1981

    Directed bySteve Miner

    Friday the 13th Part 2 is a 1981 American horror film directed by Steve Miner. It is a direct... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Fright Night is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    155
    103

    Fright Night

    Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall

    Released1985

    Directed byTom Holland

    Fright Night is a 1985 American horror comedy film written and directed by Tom Holland and... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Evil Dead II is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    150
    91

    Evil Dead II

    Bruce Campbell, Kassie DePaiva

    Released1987

    Directed bySam Raimi

    Evil Dead II is a 1987 American horror comedy film directed by Sam Raimi, a parody sequel to... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    The Fly is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    146
    104

    The Fly

    Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum

    Released1986

    Directed byDavid Cronenberg

    The Fly is a 1986 American science fiction horror film directed and co-written by David... more on Wikipedia

    More The Fly 

    #1000 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time#10 of 136 The Scariest Animal Horror Movies Ever Made

  • 16
    Cujo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    139
    85

    Cujo

    Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro

    Released1983

    Directed byLewis Teague

    Cujo is a 1983 American psychological horror/thriller film based on Stephen King's novel of... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Christine is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    121
    92

    Christine

    Kelly Preston, Alexandra Paul

    Released1983

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Christine is a 1983 American horror thriller film directed by John Carpenter and starring... more on Wikipedia

    More Christine 

    'Christine’ Is One Of The Most Underrated Adaptations To Come Off Stephen King’s Assembly Line#15 of 49 The Best Movies Based on Stephen King Books

  • 18
    Hellbound: Hellraiser II is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    120
    79

    Hellbound: Hellraiser II

    Doug Bradley, Ashley Laurence

    Released1988

    Directed byTony Randel

    Hellbound: Hellraiser II is a 1988 British-American horror film directed by Tony Randel. It... more on Wikipedia

    More Hellbound: Hellraiser II 

    #32 of 61 The Best Horror Movies About Hospitals and Mental Asylums#267 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

  • 19
    Day of the Dead is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    103
    91

    Day of the Dead

    Sherman Howard, Jarlath Conroy

    Released1985

    Directed byGeorge A. Romero

    This film is a 1985 American horror film written and directed by George A. Romero and the... more on Wikipedia

    More Day of the Dead 

    #39 of 64 The Most Rewatchable Horror Movies#132 of 404 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

  • 20
    Halloween II is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    202
    102

    Halloween II

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Dana Carvey

    Released1981

    Directed byRick Rosenthal

    Halloween II is a 1981 slasher horror film directed by Rick Rosenthal, and written and... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    Children of the Corn is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    163
    79

    Children of the Corn

    Linda Hamilton, Peter Horton

    Released1984

    Directed byFritz Kiersch

    Children of the Corn is a 1984 supernatural horror film based upon the 1977 short story of the... more on Wikipedia

    More Children of the Corn 

    #327 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made#31 of 70 The Best Teen Slasher Movies

  • 22
    The Howling is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    111
    90

    The Howling

    Dee Wallace, John Sayles

    Released1981

    Directed byJoe Dante

    The Howling is a 1981 werewolf-themed horror film directed by Joe Dante. Based on the novel of... more on Wikipedia

    More The Howling 

    #373 of 554 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies#77 of 115 The Best Horror Movie Franchises

  • 23
    The Lost Boys is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    193
    109

    The Lost Boys

    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman

    Released1987

    Directed byJoel Schumacher

    The Lost Boys is a 1987 American teen horror film starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Kiefer... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Child's Play is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    183
    106

    Child's Play

    Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks

    Released1988

    Directed byTom Holland

    Child's Play is a 1988 American horror film directed by Tom Holland, written by Tom Holland,... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Re-Animator is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Scariest Movies of the 1980s
    80
    93

    Re-Animator

    Barbara Crampton, Jeffrey Combs

    Released1985

    Directed byStuart Gordon

    Re-Animator is a 1985 American science fiction horror comedy film loosely based on the H. P.... more on Wikipedia

    More Re-Animator 

    #206 of 314 The Funniest '80s Movies#84 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

FilmsFilmEntertainmentHorror1980stop 5080s MoviespollBest MoviesHorror Movies and TVGraveyard Shift