Top 10 Underrated Horror Movies of the 1980s
Every year, I have shared some double features to get you through Halloween. This year, I am going with something a little different and sharing a list of the ten most underrated horror films of the 1980s. During that decade, scary films of all shapes and sizes made their way into the world thanks to the invention of home video. These ten movies are some of the best that you have likely never heard of and deserve a second look, especially on the scariest night of the year. If you think I missed a movie that should have made the cut, let me know in the talk backs below.
Wes Craven tried to kickstart a new horror franchise with SHOCKER. Instead, the horror comedy was met with tepid reviews. In hindsight, it is pretty derivative of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, but that is not such a bad thing. SHOCKER is a gory and goofy film that has almost as many laughs as it does murders. This is definitely on the lighter end of the horror spectrum but a worthy slasher.
There was a time when holiday themed movies were not romantic comedies but rather horror films. While APRIL FOOL'S DAY may be one of the least remembered of these flicks, it is one of the more restrained and scary horror films of the 1980s. Definitely not the best made film out there, but this movie has a pretty well structured plot and some well executed kill scenes.
While the original CREEPSHOW may be the superior movie, CREEPSHOW 2 is a vastly underrated anthology film. From the creepy tale of a living cigar store Indian to a terrifying tale about a hitchhiker, this collection is pretty damn, well, creepy. But, if you only watch one segment, make it The Raft which is gory, brutal and will stick with you for days.
Another Wes Craven flick, DEADLY FRIEND is a ridiculous tale of a boy who plays Dr. Frankenstein with his next door crush and a robot. It sounds idiotic, but this is a fun and scary movie that features one of the most brutally over the top death scenes put to film. This movie has not aged very well but is still a very fun watch.
This Canadian slasher film has become a cult classic in recent years thanks in part to the brilliantly executed ice skating scene featuring the mask seen in the image above. The movie itself is fairly formulaic but relies on some cool kills and a lot of tits and ass. Can't go wrong with any of those, right?
One of the most underrated Stephen King adaptations, SILVER BULLET is steeped in the 1980s and served as partial inspiration for Netflix series Stranger Things. Starring Corey Haim and Gary Busey, this is a werewolf tale that is without peer. The special effects still hold up pretty well but it is the cast of characters that really sells this story.
Horror aficionados know the name of director Dario Argento but most mainstream audiences are unfamiliar with the Italian filmmaker's body of work. Outside of SUSPIRIA and PHENOMENA, the other film audiences should see of Argento's is INFERNO. Probably his best movie, it is a creepy thriller and mystery tale with some hard to watch gore. This is a well made movie that is likely superior to the recent Tom Hanks film of the same name and with twice as many bulging, gouged eyeballs.
This is a great movie. Dan O'Bannon, screenwriter of ALIEN, was credited with writing this film which features early effects by the legendary Stan Winston. The film itself is a phantasmagoria that feels like part H.P. Lovecraft and part John Carpenter. It is haunting and surreal and will make you rub your eyes when you see the above scene in action. It may seem a little dated in the style and design of the film, but it is well worth seeking out.
Featuring Scott Glenn, Gabriel Byrne, and Ian McKellen, THE KEEP is one of Michael Mann's most underrated movies. Set during World War II, this film features Nazis and supernatural monsters all set at an abandoned castle. It is truly a weird movie and showcases some innovate special effects along with a very affecting plot that deserves to be more widely recognized. This is a film connoisseur's horror movie.
If this movie didn't exist, we likely would never have gotten Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The original comedy about ditzy girls fighting the supernatural, NIGHT OF THE COMET is part ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING, part DAWN OF THE DEAD, and part awesome action horror film. There are few words to describe how hilariously great this movie is but if you get a chance to check it out, you will not be disappointed.