The 10 Best 80s Hollywood Horror Movies
Here are our 10 top picks for the best 1980s horror films, along with information on where you can view them.
Thanks to films like The Shining, Poltergeist, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, the 1980s were a terrific decade for horror films.
Here at Dexerto, we adore horror because of its dark humour, social comedy, and spine-tingling capacity. The best non-scary horror films, the best terrifying movies from 2022 thus far, and the most undervalued horror movies are all on our rankings.
01. ALIENS (1986)
- Critics Consensus: While Alien was a marvel of slow-building, atmospheric tension, Aliens packs a much more visceral punch, and features a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver.
- Directed By: James Cameron
- Synopsis: One of the best horror films of the 1970s was Alien. With Aliens, James Cameron expanded on what Ridley Scott had done with the concept while keeping the scares intact.
- Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser
02. THE EVIL DEAD (1981)
- Critics Consensus: This classic low budget horror film combines just the right amount of gore and black humor, giving The Evil Dead an equal amount of thrills and laughs.
- Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, Hal Delrich
- Directed By: Sam Raimi
03. EVIL DEAD 2 (1987)
- Critics Consensus: Evil Dead 2‘s increased special effects and slapstick-gore makes it as good — if not better — than the original.
- Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Denise Bixler
- Directed By: Sam Raimi
04. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)
- Critics Consensus: Wes Craven’s intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
- Starring: John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss
- Directed By: Wes Craven
05. RE-ANIMATOR (1985)
- Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator‘s gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.
- Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale
- Directed By: Stuart Gordon
06. THE FLY (1986)
- Critics Consensus: David Cronenberg combines his trademark affinity for gore and horror with strongly developed characters, making The Fly a surprisingly affecting tragedy.
- Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel
- Directed By: David Cronenberg
07. THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985)
- Critics Consensus: A punk take on the zombie genre, The Return of the Living Dead injects a healthy dose of ’80s silliness to the flesh-consuming.
- Starring: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews
- Directed By: Dan O’Bannon
08. LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986)
- Critics Consensus: Remixing Roger Corman’s B-movie by way of the Off-Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors offers camp, horror and catchy tunes in equal measure — plus some inspired cameos by the likes of Steve Martin and Bill Murray.
- Starring: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Steve Martin, Vincent Gardenia
- Directed By: Frank Oz
09. AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)
- Critics Consensus: Terrifying and funny in almost equal measure, John Landis’ horror-comedy crosses genres while introducing Rick Baker’s astounding make-up effects.
- Starring: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine
- Directed By: John Landis
10. HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (1986)
- Critics Consensus: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is an effective, chilling profile of a killer that is sure to shock and disturb.
- Starring: Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold, Tom Towles, Anne Bartoletti
- Directed By: John McNaughton