80s Horror Movies Collage

A journey through some 80s Horror movie classics

by Jane Duncan, freelance writer

Aug 23rd 2019

I’m sure very few people would deny that some of the best horror movies of all time came out of the 80s decade. You only have to think of Bona fide classics such as The Shining, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Thing, Poltergeist, or a family favourite such as the Gremlins to be convinced of this fact! And who could forget Michael Jackson’s extended Thriller video, described by The Library of Congress as “The most famous music video of all time”. This article will take a journey through 80’s cinema and take a closer look at some of the best horror movies of the decade.

The Shining (1980)

Despite the fact that the film deviates quite considerably from the original Stephen King novel, Stanley Kubric’s epic horror film The Shining is utterly terrifying. The oppressive and claustrophobic atmosphere in the snowed in hotel, and the slow, nail biting descent into madness has you on edge for the whole film. The film features an unforgettable performance by Jack Nicholson and no shortage of classic lines such as ‘Heeeere’s Johnny!’ and ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. This is definitely one of those 80’s horror classics that merits repeated viewings.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

This classic and original American slasher film changed the face of horror movies in the 1980’s, and it still causes nightmares to this day. Despite the many sequels to the film, none of them could ever quite live up to the success of the original, and to this day it remains one of the highest rated horror films ever produced. The film features a group of teenagers being terrorized in their dreams by the formidable character Freddy Krueger, with his deformed face and knife blades attached to each finger, he is undoubtedly one of the most unforgettable horror movie characters. The lucid and surreal dream states where Freddy Kruger pursues his victims are full of suspense and tension and some bizarre special effects. All in all, this film delivers some real, good old scary fun.

Poltergeist (1982)

If paranormal activity is more your bag, then this is the 80’s horror film for you. Released around the same time as Spielberg’s magical Sci-Fi classic E.T, this film depicts the dark side of Spielberg’s California suburban track homes. Masterful in its slow building of tension and suspense, very strange occurrences start to happen around what appears to be a normal Surburban family home, and the sense and presence of paranormal phenomena in the home becomes oppressive as things slowly start to spin out of control. The feeling of terror that the film inspires will linger long after the film is finished, and you won’t look at your home in the same way again.

Gremlins (1984)

"Don't expose him to bright light. Don't ever get him wet. And don't ever, ever feed him after midnight." This sound advice is predictably ignored midway through the film, making for devastating consequences, and not to mention, highly entertaining viewing!

I mean, who hasn’t seen the Gremlins? No list of 80s horror classics would be complete without revisiting this film. These tiny fluffball like creatures are at once cute and terrifying, popcorn is a must for this special effect’s heavy and somewhat quirky family favourite.