The Best 80s Horror Movies [Updated 2022]


The best 80s horror movies are ones that have stayed in our memories for decades. These obscure 80s horror movies were the films that you couldn’t watch alone and had to wait until it was dark outside to even think about watching them. I’m sure many of you can remember being absolutely terrified by these movies when you were younger.

Here are the 80s best horror movies.

Aliens (1986)

Director: James Cameron

Writer: James Cameron

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Hennessy

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

Ripley is rescued and awakens from her hypersleep to find that fifty-seven years have passed since she was first brought on board the Nostromo. Her story of survival against all odds attracts a team of scientists eager to hear about life in the outer reaches of space. However, what they don’t know is that there’s another alien stalking the members of this team, leaving death and terror in its path.

The Shining (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writer: Diane Johnson, Stanley Kubrick,  Stephen King

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

A family plans to vacation during the Winter and stays at an isolated hotel. Little do they know, the hotel is home to an evil entity that’s going to break all hell on the family. What happens next? Ensure to watch the movie.

The Thing (1982)

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: Bill Lancaster, John W. Campbell Jr., Christian Nyby

Cast: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

An otherworldly presence arrives at a research station in Antarctica, trapping the crew inside as they are slowly killed off by an evil force that follows them everywhere. How does it go? Ensure you watch the full movie to see the events that fold.

Possession (1981)

Director: Andrzej Żuławski

Writer: Andrzej Żuławski, Chris Bernard

Cast: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

In this movie, a woman begins to suffer from a split personality disorder. One of her personalities is that of a violent killer, while the other is more docile and passive. Her husband must figure out which one he can believe in order to save their marriage before she hurts him or herself.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Wes Craven

Cast: John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

A young woman begins to have nightmares about a man in her dreams who is trying to kill her. She soon discovers that it’s not just a dream and she must stay awake or else the man will kill her and the people around her. Does the man kill her? Make sure you watch the movie.

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Scott Spiegel

Cast: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks

IMDb Rating: 7.7/10

This movie is a sequel to the original Evil Dead and follows Ash as he fights off demons in an abandoned cabin. This is after reading from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. How does it go? Let’s not squeeze the juice that much. Get it by watching the full movie.

The Fog (1980)

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: John W. Campbell Jr, Dan O’Bannon, Debra Hill

Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh

IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

A small coastal town prepares to commemorate its centennial when a mysterious stranger convinces the town’s priest that something terrible will happen in the fog that is coming in. Does that happen? What goes on? Ensure to watch the full movie.

Videodrome (1983)

Director: David Cronenberg

Writer: David Cronenberg

Cast: James Woods, Sonja Smits, Debbie Harry

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

A cable-TV programmer starts to experience unusual events around him when he decides to get a new kind of station program. So how does everything go on after this? Make sure you watch the full movie, a classic from the 80s.

Tenebre (1982)

Director: Dario Argento

Writer: Dardano Sacchetti, Franco Ferrini, Dario Argento

Cast: Anthony Franciosa, John Saxon, Daria Nicolodi

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

A novelist stumbles upon a murder while researching his next book, only to find himself the main suspect. Who is the main suspect, and how does it go from here? You should not wait any longer to watch this awesome movie from the 80s.

Near Dark (1987)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Eric Red, Kathryn Bigelow

Cast: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright

IMDb Rating: 7.0/10

A young drifter in the American Southwest finds love with a member of an unusual family. His new girlfriend’s family are vampires, and she wants him to join them. Does he join the family? or what happens? You need to watch this movie to get the full story.

The Fly (1986)

Director: David Cronenberg

Writer: George Langelaan, Charles Edward Pogue

Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

A scientist has a horrific accident when he tries to use his newly invented teleportation device. Although he survives the process itself, the side effects are disastrous. So which were the side effects?

Poltergeist (1982)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Writer: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, Mark Victor

Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Jo Beth Williams, Heather O’Rourke

IMDb Rating: 7.3/10

A family’s home is haunted by a host of ghosts who abduct the youngest daughter and plan to return her only if they are released from the human world. How does it go? Does it happen? Ensure you watch the movie to the end.

Gremlins (1984)

Director: Joe Dante

Writer: Chris Columbus, Charles S. Haas, Victor Salva

Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton

IMDb Rating: 7.3/10

In this movie, a strange little creature falls to earth in a spaceship and is discovered by a boy. The extraterrestrial proceeds to create mischief that can only be stopped by the town’s inventor, according to an old legend. You need to watch the movie for the full story.

Maniac Cop (1988)

Director: William Lustig

Writer: Larry Cohen

Cast: Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Lauren Landon

IMDb Rating: 6.0/10

This movie stars Bruce Campbell as Jack Forrest, an alcoholic cop who’s hunting down Matt Cordell (Tom Atkins), a former detective turned notorious vigilante known as Maniac Cop after being framed by corrupt cops. How does it go?

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Director: Robert Hiltzik

Writer: Robert Hiltzik

Cast: Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tierston, Karen Fields

IMDb Rating: 6.3/10

A very shy and quiet teen is sent to summer camp with her cousin. Shortly after arriving at Camp Arawak, she becomes a target of the cruel campers and the rage of Angela, a strange girl who was also sent to a camp.

The Evil Dead (1981)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel

Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods and accidentally unleash evil spirits. One by one, they fall prey to demonic possession – which turns them into homicidal maniacs. A lone survivor must battle the demons and attempt to survive a night of horror in this low-budget cult classic. This classic inspired two sequels, video games, and a 2013 remake from director Fede Alvarez.

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Director: Amy Holden Jones

Writer: Rita Mae Brown, Karen Lutz, Louise Fox

Cast: Michelle Michaels, A.J. Simon, Rabin Stille

IMDb Rating: 5.7/10

After accidentally killing her boyfriend with a machete during sexual activity while high on Quaaludes and vodka, a teenager struggling with sexual identity heads to her best friend’s slumber party, she is confronted by an escaped mental patient dressed in drag who begins killing the partiers one at a time.

Re-Animator (1985)

Director: Stuart Gordon

Writer: Dennis Paoli, William J. Norris, Stuart Gordon

Cast: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

Herbert West has developed a serum that brings dead tissue back to life. The only problem is he needs human bodies, and stealing them from the morgue doesn’t quite cut it. He manages to convince his college roommate, who also happens to be their professor, into using himself as the first test subject for this new miracle drug. Unfortunately, the drug comes with predictably gruesome results. Watch the movie for the story.

Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

Director: J. Lee Thompson

Writer: Elissa Ladd, Barbara Siegel, Peter Bobbin

Cast: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane

IMDb Rating: 6.1/10

A mentally unstable young woman begins to have nightmares about a classmate’s murder right after she starts celebrating her birthday with an extravagant party thrown by her rich parents. She suspects that she herself may have committed the crime. You need to watch the movie and see what happens.

Maniac (1980)

Director: William Lustig

Writer: Joe Spinell, C.A. Rosenberg

Cast: Caroline Munro, Abigail Clayton, Joy Spinell

IMDb Rating: 6.5/10

An insane serial killer, institutionalized since childhood for the murder of his mother, escapes and stalks a sex worker whose boyfriend is an ex-flame detective on the NYPD. How does it go? Make sure you watch the full movie.

Friday the 13th (1980)

Director: Sean S. Cunningham

Writer: Victor Miller, Ron Kurz

Cast: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor

IMDb Rating: 6.4/10

This classic horror film tells the story of a group of teenagers who are murdered one by one while attempting to re-open an abandoned campground where a young boy once accidentally drowned. How many are killed? What else goes on? Make sure you watch the full movie.

Prince of Darkness (1987)

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter, Dan O’Bannon

Cast: Donald Pleasence, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount

IMDb Rating: 6.7/10

This chilling tale of satanic possessions and evil finds a group of graduate students struggling to stop a mysterious force from taking over the world. Their research leads them to a church where they discover that an ancient evil is being unearthed. If it comes into contact with humans, it. Nevertheless, he will awaken something even more terrifying. Does it contact humans? Make sure you watch the movie.

Hellraiser (1987)

Director: Clive Barker

Writer: Clive Barker, Peter Atkins

Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Lawrence

IMDb Rating: 7.0/10

This frightening tale is about an unfaithful wife who has an affair with a man hiding dark secrets. When they become moved in the mysterious Cenobite world, her life becomes more terrifying than she could ever imagine. What happens? You need to watch the movie.

Creepshow (1982)

Director: George A. Romero

Writer: Stephen King, George A. Romero

Cast: Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Laslie Nielsen

IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

This anthology film is composed of five short stories that are all written by the master himself – Stephen King. To add to the fun, each tale is separated into five segments by a story featuring a crazed father and son who run an antique store. You need to watch all these stories.

The Beyond (1981)

Director: Lucio Fulci

Writer: Dardano Sacchetti, Roberto Gianviti, Lucio Fulci

Cast: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cincia Monreale

IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

This story follows a young woman who inherits an old hotel in Louisiana, but her plans to re-open the business are thwarted when she discovers that it is home to numerous ghosts and other strange creatures. Does she go on with her plans? Get the full story by watching the full movie.

The Stepfather (1987)

Director: Joseph Ruben

Writer: Donald E. Westlake, Caroline Lefcourt

Cast: Terry O’Quinn, Meg Foster, Shelley Hack

IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

After recently losing his entire family in a house fire that he started, a man moves to another town and marries a single mother with the sole intention of being near enough to her children so that he can eventually kill them. Does he manage to kill the children? Why not watch the movie for the whole story.

The Changeling (1980)

Director: Peter Medak

Writer: Russell Hunter, Peter Medak, William Gray

Cast: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

This terrifying film follows a composer who relocates to Seattle with his daughter in an effort to recover from the tragic death of his wife and son in a car accident. However, when he moves into an old Victorian-style home there, things take a turn for the worse as spirits begin terrorizing him each night with vicious attacks.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Director: Ruggero Deodato

Writer: Gianfranco Clerici, Giorgio Stegani

Cast: Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Pierry Pirkanen

IMDb Rating: 5.8/10

This horror film is about a group of documentary filmmakers who venture into the Amazon jungle to make a film about cannibal tribes. Shortly after arriving, all but one of them are killed, and their footage is left behind for others to find and broadcast back home as if it were real.

The Stuff (1985)

Director: Larry Cohen

Writer: Larry Cohen, Michael Zam

Cast: Michael Moriarty, Garrett Morris, Andrea Marcovicci

IMDb Rating: 5.9/10

This campy film is about a dangerous substance that begins appearing in random places, and people are gobbling it up without knowing its consequences. The more people eat, the hungrier it makes them, and soon, they’re willing to do almost anything for a fix. What happens next? Watch the movie for more.

The Hitcher (1986)

Director: Robert Harmon

Writer: Eric Red, Jeffrey Reddick

Cast: Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Lason Leigh

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

This thriller follows a young man as he makes his way across the country and picks up someone along the way who wants nothing more than to see him dead. However, the young man is not going down without a fight, and when he realizes that someone has been manipulating them from afar, it becomes his mission to catch this mysterious figure.

The Stuff (1985)

Director: Larry Cohen

Writer: Larry Cohen, Michael Zam

Cast: Michael Moriarty, Garrett Morris, Andrea Marcovicci

IMDb Rating: 5.9/10

This campy film is about a dangerous substance that begins appearing in random places, and people are gobbling it up without knowing its consequences. The more people eat, the hungrier it makes them, and soon they’re willing to do almost anything for a fix. Is it a drug? Watch the movie for more.

The Howling (1981)

Director: Joe Dante

Writer: John Sayles, Terence H. Winkless

Cast: Dee Wallace Stone, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan

IMDb Rating: 6.6/10

This horror film follows a television newswoman who moves to Los Angeles and begins noticing strange things happening around her, like people changing into werewolves after they are bitten by one. She then learns that she is the only person who can stop them and goes on a mission to save herself, her friends, and her family before it’s too late. Does she manage? Watch the movie.

Opera (1987)

Director: Dario Argento

Writer: Dario Argento, Bernardino Zapponi

Cast: Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson, Urbano Barberini

IMDb Rating: 7.0/10

This horror film is about a young woman who becomes the lead in an opera that her mother used to star in but was murdered for. However, as her success rises and the show gets closer to opening night, strange things begin happening around her, like people turning up dead or worse – turned into hideous creatures.  You need to watch this movie.

Fright Night (1985)

Director: Tom Holland

Writer: Marti Noxon, Tommy Lee Wallace

Cast: William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Amanda Bearse

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

This horror film follows a teenager who begins noticing strange things happening around his new neighbor, and when he tries to convince his mother and everyone else, no one will believe him. But, when he finds out that the neighbor is actually a vampire who comes out at night to find new victims, it becomes up to him to save those around him before it’s too late.

Day of the Dead (1985)

Director: George A. Romero

Writer: John Russo, George A. Romero

Cast: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

This sequel to the original “Night of the Living Dead” films is about a group of scientists and soldiers who are fighting off hordes of zombies and must find a way to survive in this new world where they are the only remaining people alive. Watch the movie to see what happens.

Pet Sematary (1989)

Director: Mary Lambert

Writer: Stephen King, David Kessler

Cast: Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne

IMDb Rating: 6.6/10

This horror film is based on the novel written by author Stephen King. It follows a family that moves to a new home in the countryside, and when tragedy strikes, they discover a pet cemetery that has the ability to bring dead animals back to life. However, these new creatures are not like their originals, and soon, more people die in very twisted ways.

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Director: John McNaughton

Writer: Richard Fire, John McNaughton

Cast: Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold, Tom Towles

IMDb Rating:7.0/10

This horror film follows Henry, who is in prison for killing two people. However, when he gets out, he begins working at a diner and becomes obsessed with one of the waitresses, who is completely unaware of his past life. But when she starts to get too close to someone else, Henry’s worse side comes out in horrific ways that no one could have ever imagined.

Pumpkinhead (1988)

Director: Stan Winston

Writer: Lance Henriksen, Gary Gerani, Stan Winston

Cast: Lance Henriksen, Kim Sonderholm, Jeff East

IMDb Rating: 6.2/10

This horror film follows a man whose son is killed by drunk drivers and when he learns that the same people who killed his son are not going to be punished. So he seeks out a demon called Pumpkinhead to take revenge for him. How does it go? Watch the movie.

Joshua Garner

Joshua calls himself nerd+geek who is also passionate about football. He enjoys comics, animes, and science fiction. He finds his comfort in writing about suspense, thrillers and science fiction shows and movies.

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