14 Underrated Horror Movies From The '80s That Every Fan Should Watch
Created by Dan Auty on
From '70s possession movies inspired by The Exorcist to the wave of found footage films sparked by The Blair Witch Project, horror has long been marked by the popularity of sub-genres that follow a big box office hit. As the 1980s dawned, the huge success of John Carpenter's Halloween and Sean S. Cunningham's Friday the 13th led to dozens of interchangeable slasher movies, before the craze died out by the middle of the decade. This was the era of the horror franchise, with the commercial power of the Friday the 13th, Halloween, and in particular the Nightmare on Elm Street series cementing the idea that there was no limit to the number of sequels that audiences would turn up for.
The '80s were also marked by the rise of the comedy horror. Gone were the serious, gritty movies of the '70s--mainstream American horror of this era was frequently played for laughs, with some classics (Re-Animator, Evil Dead 2), but many more movies that were neither funny nor scary. There is no better illustration than the change in the decade's biggest horror icon--Freddy Krueger--who, over a few years, was transformed from a terrifying, loathsome child killer in the original Nightmare on Elm Street to the wisecracking cartoon villain of the later Elm Street movies.
But while Freddy and Jason might be the first things we think of when it comes to '80s horror, they're far from the whole story. Some the genre's great directors continued to put out impressive work, with the likes of David Cronenberg, Wes Craven, and John Carpenter delivering some of their best movies. The rise of VHS also meant that there was an incredible amount of horror available to watch easily, allowing some fascinating movies to find an audience that they otherwise might not have. There are many terrific '80s horror movies that tried to do something different, some within the popular subgenres of the era, some from way outside. So here's 14 underrated '80s horror movies well worth rediscovery.