Saturday, October 13, 2012

Horror in the Eighties (Top Ten)

The Eighties were a great decade for horror. Anything resembling torture-porn was either underground or years away. Creativity was high and, even though endless sequels were churned out, new ideas were everywhere. Remakes were seldom seen. Here is one offering at a top ten list for the decade in the genre:

10. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” Wes Craven (1984) 

Before the studio turned it into one of the dumbest horror franchises, this property was a highly philosophical, highly creepy, and highly original movie. Maybe even the best of the decade in all three of those categories.

9. “Fatal Attraction” Adrian Lyne (1987) 

Maybe this is more thriller than horror in your book but it is my list. I haven’t seen this film in decades, but as I recall it was scary, both in the jumps and implications departments. In horror as morality play, this is a pound the pulpit type sermon.

8. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” Jack Clayton (1983) 

This may be Disney, maybe too tame for some, and might be a good candidate for something we often don’t want: a remake. However, it is a good story and a good film with a great feel and a great message.

7. “The Fly” David Cronenberg (1986)

If you like your horror gruesome, you can’t do better in the eighties than this study of the dangers of scientific hubris. The sequel is not nearly as good a film, but has some interesting things to say as well.

6. “Aliens” James Cameron (1986) 

I sometimes think that this is the best entry in this franchise. Does that make me less of a film snob?

5. “Ghostbusters” Ivan Reitman (1984) 

If not, then ranking this higher than “Aliens” on a list of best horror movies might. I hope to explore the themes of this film later this month.

4. “Labyrinth” Jim Henson (1986) 

It may only be horror if you are a kid, but it is creepy fantasy at any age and it is an astounding work of art. The visuals, the concepts, the music, and the message are all top notch.

3. “Lost Boys” Joel Schumacher (1987) 

This may be eighties teen culture overload, but it is nothing like the current decade’s crop of “Twilight” and the wannabes.

2. “Beetlejuice” Tim Burton (1988) 

Back before Burton ran out of original ideas and started becoming a pale imitation of himself, he made crazy stuff like this.

1. “Fright Night” Tom Holland (1985) 

One of the best vampire parables out there, and a film original rather than an adaptation.


  1. Nice list! I remember seeing a double show of The Fly and Aliens in Temuco - brilliant!


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