Top 25 Best '80s Horror Films

by Dennis_Alink | created - 18 Oct 2013 | updated - 22 Mar 2015 | Public

Best Horror Films of the '80s.

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1. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

63 Metascore

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Votes: 751,092 | Gross: $44.02M

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

R | 91 min | Horror

76 Metascore

The monstrous spirit of a slain janitor seeks revenge by invading the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his untimely death.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, John Saxon

Votes: 179,699 | Gross: $25.50M

3. The Evil Dead (1981)

NC-17 | 85 min | Horror

71 Metascore

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker

Votes: 165,471 | Gross: $2.40M

4. Poltergeist (1982)

PG | 114 min | Horror, Thriller

79 Metascore

A family's home is haunted by a host of demonic ghosts.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke, Craig T. Nelson, Beatrice Straight

Votes: 125,320 | Gross: $76.61M

5. The Thing (1982)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

57 Metascore

A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur

Votes: 320,142 | Gross: $13.78M

6. Opera (1987)

R | 107 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A young opperata is stalked by a deranged fan bent on killing the people associated with her to claim her for himself.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson, Urbano Barberini, Daria Nicolodi

Votes: 12,102

7. Friday the 13th (1980)

R | 95 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

22 Metascore

A group of camp counselors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child's drowning.

Director: Sean S. Cunningham | Stars: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan

Votes: 102,066 | Gross: $39.75M

8. Re-Animator (1985)

Unrated | 105 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

After an odd new medical student arrives on campus, a dedicated local and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue.

Director: Stuart Gordon | Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale

Votes: 48,135 | Gross: $2.02M

9. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1989)

Unrated | 83 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

80 Metascore

Henry, a drifter, commits a series of brutal murders, supposedly operating with impunity.

Director: John McNaughton | Stars: Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold, Tom Towles, Mary Demas

Votes: 27,476 | Gross: $0.61M

10. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Unrated | 95 min | Adventure, Horror

22 Metascore

During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.

Director: Ruggero Deodato | Stars: Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, Luca Barbareschi

Votes: 45,138

11. City of the Living Dead (1980)

Not Rated | 93 min | Horror

A reporter and a psychic race to close the Gates of Hell after the suicide of a clergyman caused them to open, allowing the dead to rise from their graves.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo, Antonella Interlenghi

Votes: 13,613

12. The Howling (1981)

R | 91 min | Horror

68 Metascore

After a bizarre and near deadly encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone

Votes: 27,046 | Gross: $17.99M

13. The Beyond (1981)

R | 87 min | Horror

A young woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana where, following a series of supernatural "accidents", she learns that the building was built over one of the entrances to Hell.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John

Votes: 17,514 | Gross: $0.12M

14. Videodrome (1983)

R | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

60 Metascore

When he acquires a different kind of show for his station, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a terrifying new reality.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: James Woods, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky

Votes: 72,486 | Gross: $2.12M

15. The Burning (1981)

R | 91 min | Horror

A former summer camp caretaker, horribly burned from a prank gone wrong, lurks around an upstate New York summer camp bent on killing the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement.

Director: Tony Maylam | Stars: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer, Larry Joshua

Votes: 13,095

16. Day of the Dead (1985)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror, Thriller

60 Metascore

A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato, Jarlath Conroy

Votes: 56,616 | Gross: $5.80M

17. Silver Bullet (1985)

R | 95 min | Horror

26 Metascore

A werewolf terrorizes a small city where lives the paralytic Marty Coslaw, his uncle, and his sister, the story's narrator.

Director: Daniel Attias | Stars: Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Corey Haim, Megan Follows

Votes: 20,263 | Gross: $5.40M

18. Brain Damage (1988)

R | 84 min | Comedy, Horror

One morning, a young man wakes to find that a small, disgusting creature has attached itself to the base of his brain stem. The creature gives him a euphoric state of happiness but demands human victims in return.

Director: Frank Henenlotter | Stars: Rick Hearst, Gordon MacDonald, Jennifer Lowry, Theo Barnes

Votes: 7,675

19. Fright Night (1985)

R | 106 min | Horror, Thriller

A teenager discovers that the newcomer in his neighborhood is a vampire, so he turns to an actor in a television horror show for help dealing with the undead.

Director: Tom Holland | Stars: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall

Votes: 51,756 | Gross: $24.92M

20. Maniac (1980)

R | 87 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

22 Metascore

A psychotic man, troubled by his childhood abuse, loose in New York City, kills young women and takes their scalps as his trophies. Will he find the perfect woman in a photographer, and end his killing spree?

Director: William Lustig | Stars: Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Abigail Clayton, Kelly Piper

Votes: 11,976

21. From Beyond (1986)

R | 85 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A group of scientists have developed the Resonator, a machine which allows whoever is within range to see beyond normal perceptible reality. But when the experiment succeeds, they are immediately attacked by terrible life forms.

Director: Stuart Gordon | Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ted Sorel, Ken Foree

Votes: 18,609 | Gross: $1.26M

22. The New York Ripper (1982)

Not Rated | 85 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A burned-out New York police detective teams up with a college psychoanalyst to track down a vicious serial killer randomly stalking and killing various young women around the city.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Jack Hedley, Almanta Suska, Howard Ross, Andrea Occhipinti

Votes: 7,873

23. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Horror

60 Metascore

Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.

Director: John Landis | Stars: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher, Griffin Dunne

Votes: 79,434 | Gross: $30.57M

24. The Hitcher (1986)

R | 97 min | Thriller

32 Metascore

A young man who escapes the clutches of a murderous hitch-hiker is subsequently stalked by the hitcher and framed for his crimes.

Director: Robert Harmon | Stars: Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn

Votes: 38,328 | Gross: $5.84M

25. Demons (1985)

Not Rated | 88 min | Horror

A group of random people are invited to a screening of a mysterious movie, only to find themselves trapped in the theater with ravenous demons.

Director: Lamberto Bava | Stars: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny, Fiore Argento

Votes: 17,250



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