Horror had been alive for decades, but the films of the 80s were a whole new beast; breathing a whole new life into the genre. Without a question, it was the decade of the slasher with the birth of the A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchises, but the genre was still left diversified with vampires, werewolves, killer vehicles and much more. The real die-hard horror nerds say that it was horrors golden age; the decade of the true horror film. Here are the top 60 horror films of the 80s.
60. The Beyond (1981)
Plot: A young woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana where after a series of supernatural 'accidents', she learns that the building was built over one of the entrances to Hell.
Stars: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck and Cinzia Monreale
59. City of the Living Dead (1980)
Plot: 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.
Stars: Christopher George, Catriona MacColl and Carlo De Mejo
58. Altered States (1980)
Plot: A Harvard scientist conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing him to regress genetically.
Stars: William Hurt, Blair Brown and Bob Balaban
57. Near Dark (1987)
Plot: A small-town farmer's son reluctantly joins a traveling group of vampires after he is turned by a beautiful drifter.
Stars: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright and Lance Henriksen
56. The Burning (1981)
Plot: 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.
Stars: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres and Brian Backer
55. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Plot: After his parents are murdered, a tormented teenager goes on a murderous rampage dressed as Santa, due to his stay at an orphanage where he was abused by the Mother Superior.
Stars: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick and Toni Nero
54. The Blob (1988)
Plot: A strange life-form consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.
Stars: Shawnee Smith, Kevin Dillon and Donovan Leitch Jr.
53. Ghoulies (1984)
Plot: A young man and his girlfriend move into an old mansion, where he becomes possessed by a desire to control ancient demons.
Stars: Lisa Pelikan, Peter Liapis and Michael Des Barres
52. Halloween 5 (1989)
Plot: One year after the events of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, the Shape returns to Haddonfield once again in an attempt to kill his now-mute niece.
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornell
51. Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)
Plot: Still haunted by his past, Tommy Jarvis - who, as a child, killed Jason Voorhees - wonders if the serial killer is connected to a series of brutal murders occurring in and around the secluded halfway house where he now lives.
Stars: Melanie Kinnaman, John Shepherd and Anthony Barrile
50. Christine (1983)
Plot: A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own and his nature starts to change to reflect it.
Stars: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell and Alexandra Paul
49. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Plot: A boat of graduating high school students bound for Manhattan pulls Jason Voorhees along for the ride. Look out, New York - here comes Hell in a hockey mask.
Stars: Jensen Daggett, Kane Hodder and Todd Caldecott
48. My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Plot: A decades-old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.
Stars: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier and Neil Affleck
47. Pet Semetary (1989)
Plot: Behind a young family's home in Maine is a terrible secret that holds the power of life after death. When tragedy strikes, the threat of that power soon becomes undeniable.
Stars: Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby and Fred Gwynne
46. Creepshow 2 (1987)
Plot: Three more bone-chilling tales that include a vengeful wooden Native American, a monstrous blob in a lake, and a hitchhiker who wants revenge and will not die.
Stars: George Kennedy, Lois Chiles and Domenick John
45. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Plot: Mrs. Voorhees is dead, and Camp Crystal Lake is shut down, but a camp next to the infamous place is stalked by an unknown assailant. Is it Mrs. Voorhees' son Jason, who did not really drown in the lake some 30 years before?
Stars: Betsy Palmer, Amy Steel and John Furey
44. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Plot: Ten years after his original massacre, the invalid Michael Myers awakens and returns to Haddonfield to kill his seven-year-old niece on Halloween. Can Dr. Loomis stop him?
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris
43. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Plot: Having revived from his wound, Jason Voorhees; now donning a new appearance, refuges at a cabin near Crystal Lake. As a group of co-eds reside there for their vacation, Jason continues his spree.
Stars: Dana Kimmell, Tracie Savage and Richard Brooker
42. Cujo (1983)
Plot: Cujo, a friendly St. Bernard, contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town.
Stars: Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh Kelly and Danny Pintauro
41. Halloween II (1981)
Plot: While Sheriff Brackett and Dr. Loomis hunt for Michael Myers, a traumatized Laurie is rushed to hospital, and the serial killer is not far behind her.
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence and Charles Cyphers
40. Critters (1986)
Plot: A race of small, furry aliens make lunch out of the locals in a farming town.
Stars: Dee Wallace, M. Emmet Walsh and Billy Green Bush
39. Silver Bullet (1985)
Plot: A werewolf terrorizes a small city where lives the paralytic Marty Coslaw, his uncle, and his sister, the story's narrator.
Stars: Gary Busey, Everett McGill and Corey Haim
38. From Beyond (1986)
Plot: 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.
Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton and Ted Sorel
37. Night of the Comet (1984)
Plot: A comet wipes out most of life on Earth, leaving two Valley Girls to fight the evil types who survive.
Stars: Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney and Robert Beltran
36. Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
Plot: At the snobby Crawford Academy, Virginia's group of friends start to go missing years after horrible events that happened to her as a child around her birthday.
Stars: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford and Lawrence Dane
35. Videodrome (1983)
Plot: A sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a very unusual fashion when he acquires a new kind of programming for his station.
Stars: James Woods, Debbie Harry and Sonja Smits
34. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)
Plot: Tommy Jarvis goes to the graveyard to get rid of Jason Voorhees' body once and for all, but inadvertently brings him back to life instead. The newly revived killer once again seeks revenge, and Tommy may be the only one who can defeat him.
Stars: Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke and David Kagen
33. Aliens (1986)
Plot: The moon from Alien (1979) has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn and Carrie Henn
32. The Fly (1986)
Plot: A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz
31. Poltergeist (1982)
Plot: A family's home is haunted by a host of ghosts.
Stars: JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke and Craig T. Nelson
30. Gremlins (1984)
Plot: A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.
Stars: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates and Hoyt Axton
29. Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Plot: Angela Baker, a traumatized and very shy young girl, is sent to summer camp with her cousin. Shortly after her arrival, anyone with sinister or less than honorable intentions gets their comeuppance.
Stars: Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten and Karen Fields
28. Creepshow (1982)
Plot: An anthology which tells five terrifying tales based on the E.C. horror comic books of the 1950s.
Stars: Hal Holbrook, Leslie Nielsen and Adrienne Barbeau
27. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Plot: Survivors of undead serial killer Freddy Krueger - who stalks his victims in their dreams - learn to take control of their own dreams in order to fight back.
Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund and Craig Wasson
26. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
Plot: Henry, a drifter, commits a series of brutal murders, supposedly operating with impunity.
Stars: Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold and Tom Towles
25. Maximum Overdrive (1986)
Plot: A group of people try to survive when machines start to come alive and become homicidal.
Stars: Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle and Laura Harrington
24. Child's Play (1988)
Plot: A single mother gives her son a much sought after doll for his birthday, only to discover that it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer.
Stars: Catherine Hicks, Alex Vincent and Brad Dourif
23. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Plot: Kids all over America want Silver Shamrock masks for Halloween. Doctor Daniel Challis seeks to uncover a plot by Silver Shamrock owner Conal Cochran.
Stars: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin and Dan O'Herlihy
22. Basket Case (1982)
Plot: A young man carrying a big basket that contains his extremely deformed Siamese-twin brother seeks vengeance on the doctors who separated them against their will.
Stars: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith and Beverly Bonner
21. The Fog (1980)
Plot: Legend says that Antonio Bay was built in 1880 with blood money obtained from shipwrecked lepers, which no one believes. On the eve of the town's centennial, many plan to attend the celebrations, including the murdered lepers.
Stars: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh
20. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Plot: When two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to rise again as zombies.
Stars: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa
19. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Plot: After being mortally wounded and taken to the morgue, murderer Jason Voorhees spontaneously revives and embarks on a killing spree as he makes his way back to his home at Camp Crystal Lake.
Stars: Erich Anderson, Judie Aronson and Corey Feldman
18. Evil Dead II (1987)
Plot: The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry and Dan Hicks
17. Hellraiser (1987)
Plot: An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover; demons are pursuing him after he escaped their sadomasochistic underworld.
Stars: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence and Doug Bradley
16. Motel Hell (1980)
Plot: A seemingly friendly farmer and his sister kidnap unsuspecting travelers and bury them alive, using them to create the "special ingredient" of their famous roadside fritters.
Stars: Rory Calhoun, Paul Linke and Nancy Parsons
15. Terror Train (1980)
Plot: A masked killer targets six college kids responsible for a prank gone wrong three years earlier and who are currently throwing a large New Year's Eve costume party aboard a moving train.
Stars: Ben Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis and Hart Bochner
14. The Howling (1981)
Plot: After a bizarre and near fatal encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.
Stars: Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee and Dennis Dugan
13. Friday the 13th (1980)
Plot: A group of camp counselors is 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.
Stars: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King and Jeannine Taylor
12. Night of the Creeps (1986)
Plot: Alien brain parasites, entering humans through the mouth, turn their host into a killing zombie. Some teenagers start to fight against them.
Stars: Jason Lively, Tom Atkins and Steve Marshall
11. The Thing (1982)
Plot: It's the first week of winter in 1982. An American Research Base is greeted by an alien force, that can assimilate anything it touches. It's up to the members to stay alive, and be sure of who is human, and who has become one of the Things.
Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley and Keith David
10. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Plot: Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.
Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp and Robert Englund
9. Day of the Dead (1985)
Plot: A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.
Stars: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander and Joseph Pilato
8. Re-Animator (1985)
Plot: A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus.
Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott and Barbara Crampton
7. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Plot: Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.
Stars: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter and Joe Belcher
6. Prince of Darkness (1987)
Plot: A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Lisa Blount and Jameson Parker
5. The Changeling (1980)
Plot: A man staying at a secluded historical mansion finds himself being haunted by the presence of a spectre.
Stars: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere and Melvyn Douglas
4. The Lost Boys (1987)
Plot: After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires.
Stars: Jason Patric, Corey Haim and Dianne Wiest
3. The Evil Dead (1981)
Plot: Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss and Richard DeManincor
2. Fright Night (1985)
Plot: When a teenager learns that his next door neighbor is a vampire, no one will believe him.
Stars: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale and Amanda Bearse
1. The Shining (1980)
Plot: A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd
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