Each week Mike will look back to the decade of decadence and provide a list of eight things – from movies to music to memorable moments and everything in-between. Keep in mind, this isn’t a TOP 8 list and any numerical notations are included to merely designate one item from another. Because, frankly, how can rate one thing over another when it came from a decade as totally tubular as the 80’s?

    This week, Mike looks at HORROR MOVIES; some of the very best ones to emerge from the 80’s.

    8. The Shining (1980)

    The Shining has seemingly been interpreted more times than the bible and while it’s not in my personal top 8 (or 80) horror movies, there’s no denying that this beautifully shot, incredibly creepy and oft-times scary movie is one of the best eight horror movies that the 80s had to offer.


    7. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986*)

    Raw and ugly are two words that could be used to describe Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and they’d be compliments. This isn’t a slick production and nothing about it is aesthetically pleasing and that’s what makes this such an effective and cringe worthy horror film.

    6. Fright Night (1985)

    Not just a top 8 horror movie of the 80s, Fright Night is – in my opinion – one of the top 8 vampire movies of all time. It’s a perfect mix of horror and humor that works on every level with memorable characters, tense moments and a pretty good soundtrack.


    5. Evil Dead 2 (1987)

    Buckets upon buckets of blood, some great levity to lighten up a pretty darn dark story, nice SFX work and, of course, Bruce Campbell all add up to that rare breed: a sequel better than the original (although a case could be made that Evil Dead 2 a bit of a remake as well).

    4. The Thing (1982)

    John Carpenter’s second most scary movie is one of those films that defies being pigeonholed into one genre, like Jaws and Alien (which both could be argued are horror sub-genre slasher movies), it’s part sci-fi, part horror and part locked room mystery (with a big room and a rigged ‘whodunnit’ since the alien can change bodies). The Thing is tense and horrific with good old fashioned practical effects that work better than any CGI could.

    3. The Hitcher (1986)

    I don’t have facts or figures, but I’m willing to bet that the success rate of getting a ride with your thumb outstretched dipped dramatically after The Hitcher hit the silver screen. It gets a little crazy at the end, but the endless cat and mouse game that plays out beforehand is nerve racking, scary stuff.

    2. Return of the Living Dead (1985)

    Practically a sequel to George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, RotLD features a great mix of dark humor and horror. The only ding against it (if you want to call it that) is that it’s responsible for the misconception that zombies want to eat brains. You genuinely want the heroes to survive, the zombie effects are great and the story itself works pretty well with a bit of retconning to work it into Romero’s world of the dead.

    1. Poltergeist (1982)

    Maybe one of the scariest movies ever and not just of one decade, Poltergeist works chiefly because it starts so innocently that when all hell breaks loose it’s like having someone you thought was a friend turn around and stab you in the back. It’s creepy, tense and covered in a sense of dread like a prickly blanket. And we’re not even going to mention that scene with the clown.

    * = It didn’t get an actual theatrical release until 1990, but it did play festivals during the latter half of the 80s.
    Mike Imboden
    Mike had the honor of growing up during the 70s and 80s and as a result he's got a wide range of "old school" pop culture knowledge. Because of this, he enjoys too many things to call just one a favorite. He currently resides in rural Maryland in an area he likes to refer to as "within the Ft. Detrick contamination zone" with his wife, two adult sons and badger-fightin' dachshund named Remo.

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