1980s Horror Movies: Cult Films That Stuck in the Imaginary

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The Success of Horror Films in the 1980s

The 1980s saw the return of studio films, after the New Hollywood rebellion of directors of the ’80s 70, in which many were made film masterpieces. By contrast, 1980s movies had to be easy to understand and had cinematic plots that could be summed up in a couple of sentences. Hollywood blockbuster is the most popular film trend of the 1980s. Producer Don Simpson is credited with developing the top-tier projects of the blockbuster Hollywood hit. In the mid-1980s, a wave of British filmmakers consisting of Ridley Scott, Alan Parker, Adrian Lyne and Tony Scott introduced a new blockbuster series using their skills as UK TV commercial directors.

have 1980s horror movies been a popular category, with several significant franchises. Among the most popular franchises were Child’s Play, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, and Poltergeist. Aside from these films, the B-grade horror film principle spawned a wide variety of cult horror movie. An example of this is the 1981 film The Evil Dead, which marked the launch of Sam Raimi’s directing. Highly commercial and mainstream horror comedy films such as Beetlejuice and Gremlins have also acquired cult status.

The expansion of home video to VHS indicated that films had a market outside of cinemas for the first time, and rental shops appeared around the world. Direct-to-video ended up being a legitimate method of launching movies, and many people wanted to take advantage of the growing horror trend. In fact, some of the more scary horror movies were made in the 1980s, along with cult oddities and hidden gems from these vibrant years.

The Shining (1980)

Launched the exact same month as the first Friday the 13th, The Shining isn’t just an 80s horror movie. It is a film that has left an indelible mark, like almost all of the maestro’s films Stanley Kubrick. An arthouse film as well as a ghost film with extraordinary photography, the skill of stars Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson. It is the only horror film made by Kubrick in his career. The Shining remains a haunting and chilling cult film with a big impact on modern cinema.

The Changeling (1980)

George C. Scott plays a recently widowed dad in The Changeling, an original version of the subgenre of ghost movie that is still downright scary. The story takes place on a remote and empty Victorian estate, where John Russell (Scott) retires after losing his wife and child in a car accident. If you feel that a large Victorian house is the stereotypical place to see ghosts, you are right, however this avoids making The Changeling a must-see movie, thanks to the exceptional craftsmanship of director Peter Medak.

Dead & Buried (1981)

A dreamlike version of the zombie legend, Dead & Buried is among the most unusual scary movies of the 1980s.’s second film Gary Shermanis set in a seaside town where packs of residents kill unwary travelers, only those travelers who are seen wandering the city. A film forgotten for years before being discovered as a cult classic.

Possession (1981)

Emerging from obscurity to become a cult classic, Possession by Andrzej Żuławski is among the most interesting and particular visions of horror cinema. From a certain point of view, it is a arthouse film stunning and disturbing. Deeper it’s a painful parting film. Even more deeply, it is a psychological thriller about a woman losing her grip on reality, with a touch of Cold War era political satire. Bleak, uncompromising and anchored in star Isabelle Adjani’s memorable performance, Possession is a film that is hard to forget.

The Beyond (1981)

Film of Lucio Fulci are a guarantee. Once they are known, little else satisfies the horror movie fan in the same way. The Beyond is the second and best film in Fulci’s “Gates of Hell” trilogy about a woman who arrives at a seedy hotel in the middle of Louisiana only to find out that she is cursed and there is hell in the basement. The Beyond is a gore film yet it is also something more: a psychedelic miasma of slowly moving zombies that confuses and hypnotizes.

The Evil Dead (1981)

The early 1980s saw Video Nasty in the UK distribute many horror films that were banned for obscenities, and distributors and directors were prosecuted . The bootleg VHS cassettes of “Video Nasties” were underground, broadcast clandestinely among passionate collectors and fans. “The Evil Dead” was one such movie. There is a lot in this guerrilla cinema, which really gets a lot out of a non-existent budget. “The Evil Dead” shows all the brands that Sam Raimi would become known for; vibrant footage, insane speed and design, and a comic-like perception.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Thanks to An American Werewolf in London, the tradition of violent transformation images and inhospitable pubs began, copied in countless subsequent films. For a director with a rich heritage in comedy, “An American Werewolf in London” fits perfectly with John Landis.  It’s a horror movie with a big, black comic heart, rising above the titles of the same years. To audiences, Rick Baker’s monstrous moonlight change from David to werewolf was a revelation. It was not a sophisticated transformation, but a brutal and agonizing act in which the bones rearranged and the skin stretched to the point of tearing. It is a horror film with a real depth, faithful to the custom of monsters, but with an innovative cut, as well as being a moving tragedy. 

The Thing (1982)

Among the number of horror arthouse films directed by John Carpenter, The Thing was not appreciated by critics or audiences during its initial release. Forty years later, it is the most popular horror cult in cinewa history. Directors are still studying Rob Bottin’s unique, gruesome and innovative effects, whose excess contrasts with the rigor of directing. 

Creepshow (1982)

Integrating the stories of author Stephen King, the talent of director George Romero and artist Tom Savini, Creepshow is among the best horror episodes, not just of the ‘ 80, but always. Influenced by the scary CE King comics of the 1950s, the 5 episodes that make up Creepshow have many macabre twists, unusual paranormal beings, and amoral characters getting their well-deserved supernatural punishment. The film is a tribute to the youthful fears that inspired these scary icons.

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

The only 1980s horror movie franchise written and directed entirely by women, The Slumber Party Massacre changed the subgenre while still in training . Directed by Amy Holden Jones from a film script by lesbian feminist author Rita Mae Brown, The Slumber Party Massacre was written as a parody, however the producers firmly insisted that Jones film it as a scary slasher movie. His irony came however, hitting scary tropes with creative visual gags and a comically large power drill.

Basket Case (1982)

Frank Henenlotter has an uncommon directorial ability: the ability to cover every frame of a film with an intangible layer of dirt. During its short but renowned career, New York has actually been a character in his films as much as all the wacky characters and monsters. “Basket Case” is a love letter to the Big Apple like anything Woody Allen did, however it focuses on the rotten core of the city: the seedy side of the metropolitan area. “Basket Case” is a story about a boy and his deformed mutant brother, however it is the humans in the film who are the real beasts. Some of his special effects are ridiculous however, just like the rest of Henenlotter’s work, there is a particular charm. “Basket Case” follows a drift more towards the black comedy and anything but scary.

Videodrome (1983)

Denying the stereotype that Canadians are naturally meek individuals, David Cronenberg’s 1983 body horror film Videodrome mixes restlessness and amusement, violence with entertainment and human awareness with pixelated broadcasts from a world of propaganda. James Woods plays a sleazy TV executive seeking TV audience supremacy, alongside Blondie’s Debbie Harry as the sexy woman hosting the title broadcast.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

This horror movie from the 80s provided immense impact. Is a horror film inspired by a true story. Wes Craven adapted a story about a headache-afflicted Cambodian refugee into this cult movie, with the mythical and scary character of Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a bloodthirsty burn victim armed with blades, and Johnny Depp.

Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter (1984)

The original 1980 film generated 9 follow-ups, a remake and a lot of rip-offs. Friday the 13th Part IV is the film par excellence, the best of Friday the 13th. Mislabeled as “The Final Chapter”, Part IV does whatever is expected of an ’80s slasher, in particular, put a bunch of lewd boys in a hut and let Jason Voorhees kill them one by one. . And it does it well, with creepy scenes, extraordinary characters, a rare thing in the Friday the 13th series. And there’s also an absolutely crazy ending that includes a young Corey Feldman.

Night of the Comet (1984)

Valley women’s culture was over in the 1980s and 2 of the most enticing characters to come out of this mall-obsessed teen cult appear in 1984’s Night of the Comet. Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney play Regina and Samantha, teenage sisters seeking survival in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, with shopping breaks, after a passing comet transformed most of the population into zombies. Filmed with bright colors and good-natured humor, this fun sci-fi hybrid isn’t an art film but it’s interesting.

Fright Night (1985)

With some great old-fashioned thrills and a rock and new age music, Fright Night is a comedy timeless cult horror. Starring Roddy McDowall as a scary TV host facing the supernatural in reality, Tom Holland stars William Ragsdale as Charley Brewster, a horror-obsessed teenager who ends up being convinced that his neighbor is a vampire.

Return of the Living Dead (1985)

The story takes place in Louisville, Ky., Where a group of punk teens celebrating in a cemetery come face to face with the aftermath of 2 drug addicts who inadvertently kicked a barrel in a secret federal government center. That barrel had a lot of gas that turns people into zombies, which can only imply one thing: the carnage begins.

Re-Animator (1985)

Sleazy, silly, filthy, vibrant and a lot of fun, Re-Animator is a classic of 1980s horror movies. Directed by Stuart Gordon from a short story by HP Lovecraft, Jeffrey Combs plays Herbert West, a medical trainee obsessed with bringing the dead back to life. They don’t teach principles at Miskatonic University, so Herbert’s experiments end up being stuff for psychopaths, luring 2 of his fellow interns (Barbara Crampton and Bruce Abbott) into his manic orbit.

Day of the Dead (1985)

This movie of George Romero is path from political criticism and dark vision of society as other movies of director. The story arrives in a military bunker in the Everglades, where the last survivors of humanity have gathered in search of safety; part splatter film and part meditation on the threats of mad science, Day of the Dead is an inspiring and sobering version of genre of zombies.

The Fly (1986)

Another remake that is much better than the first film, “The Fly” by David Cronenberg which reaches its peak with one of his most cult films. The story, an extraordinarily faithful adaptation of the 1958 film, is perfect for the director of body degeneration, mutation, entropy and disease. “The Fly” is a hybrid: one love story and horror body. What begins as a compelling love between Veronica and Jeff Goldblum’s charming but eccentric researcher Seth Brundle turns into something much darker. Launched during the height of the AIDS epidemic, the film gained importance over time. A mix of advanced prosthetics and animatronic work, Brundle’s degeneration from man to fly is heartbreaking. While the opening film saw the researcher separated into 2 entities Cronenberg shows them merged into one.

Aliens (1986)

James Cameron’s starting point for “Aliens” is said to have actually started with him writing the title on a whiteboard and including the S to the end as a dollar sign : “Alien $”. Could it be true? Moving the main location from a haunted house to the Vietnam War, “Aliens” has its strength in telling the character of Ripley as much as the opening film. Simply increase the range and scale. The Xenomorphs are back, but this time they brought their mom. Thanks to a deleted scene from “Alien”, the life cycle of the ferocious beasts has never been fully discovered. Here comes a much scarier monster: the Alien Queen. “Aliens” is also a perfect script, without a wasted frame or line of dialogue.

Opera (1987)

Some might argue that Italian horror legend Dario Argento was already in its prime by the time the 1980s arrived. Opera, however, is a good film on the same level as its previous filmography. Opera shows a psychopathic fan terrorizing a young soprano (Cristina Marsillach) during a production of Verdi’s Macbeth. The film ranks among the serial killers the most beautifully shot and devilishly innovative

Hellraiser (1987)

Queer horror icon Clive Barker makes his most popular production, Hellraiser, one of the supernatural movies of the 80s. Adapted from Barker’s novel The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser focuses on a magical box called Lament Configuration that evokes the Cenobites, sadomasochistic beings who live in discomfort and suffering. In Morocco, Frank Cotton, a hedonist, buys a board game that seems to open the doors to the supernatural world. At home Frank solves the puzzle in the box and monstrous beings with deadly hooks suddenly emerge. 

Near Dark (1987)

Blending western models with punk-rock mentality, director Kathryn Bigelow puts a luscious twist on rockabilly mixed with the cinematic vampire subgenre in Near Dark, one of the best and bloodiest ’80s vampire movies. Adrian Pasdar plays Caleb Colton, a provincial kid who joins a band of traveling vampires after being bitten by a stranger he meets in a bar. Bill Paxton plays Severen, the craziest of this undead team, whose sex appeal is matched by his thirst for violence.

Evil Dead II (1987)

Basically a remake of Sam Raimi The Evil Dead (1981) with a larger spending plan and a comic and grotesque style that blends with horror , Evil Dead II is one zombie horror film set in a cabin in the woods as the first film in the series. Bruce Campbell returns as Ashley “Ash” Williams, who defends her life against demons in an even more bloody, and very comical, this time around. The appeal of Evil Dead II is that it is both really scary and really fun, producing a roller coaster ride of emotions. A film that never takes itself seriously but that at times is really scary.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

“Killer Klowns from Outer Space” doesn’t work and the idea is absurd but for some mysterious reason this 1980s horror film has remained in the public consciousness more longer than he ever deserved. There is a crazy, campy B-movie energy to the whole film, which is successful by having a main cast who take the whole thing seriously. Any clowning occasion is insane: giant spaceship, monstrous popcorn and death for custard pie. It’s a film that does exactly what it sets out to do. Noteworthy is John Massari’s energetic score and the song by the 70s punk band The Dickies.

They Live (1988)

The best cult movie of the 80s, by horror master John Carpenter, They Live is a horror satire of science fiction whose comment on senseless consumerism. With Rowdy as a drifter discovering a pair of sunglasses that show an alien plot to dominate humanity through occult power, They Live is a cutting edge social critique with elements of an action movie, a reflection on illusory reality and on propaganda created by a world elite against humanity.

The Blob (1988)

“The Blob” is simply one of several remakes on this list, all following the exact same concept; make it bigger and much better. Steve McQueen’s initial is a B movie highly rated sci-fiThe remake is a fantastic piece of 80s body horror that time seems to be doing its best to forget. Like Tom Savini’s outstanding remake of “Night of the Living Dead”, the remake plays with the concepts of the first film by adapting them for a contemporary audience. The athlete who appears to be the protagonist dies in the first act, author Frank Darabont and director Chuck Russell violate the main rule of the Hollywood screenwriter: don’t touch the protagonist. It all fits in perfectly with the 1980s fascination with government conspiracies. 

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

You may believe you’ve seen it all, however that’s not true until you’ve seen Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto takes cyberpunk to some extraordinary brand new places, using innovative low-budget effects to tell the surreal story of a “metal fetishist” whose death in a car and truck crash sets off an outrageous chapter in human progress.

Society (1989)

The 1980s were great years for satirical horror comedies, and Brian Yuzna is one of the best of the subgenre. Beverly Hills’ manicured courtyards and nouveau riche styles form the ideal backdrop for this unusual declaration of wealth decay, with Billy Warlock as a wealthy teenager who believes his mother and father belong to a cannibal cult. Everything culminates with a prolonged orgy of body Horror that strikes the viewer’s imagination.

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