Horror in the 1980s: A Time For Crazy Husbands, Burnt Pedophiles, and Creepy Haunted Cabins

At the height of horror movies, the 1980s delivered more classic titles than any other decades

The decade of practical effects, the ’80s made a lot of strides in that very department. Now, horror movies were gorier and had better effects. Monsters could be created out of latex or animatronics. This lead people wanting bigger and better villains as well as gory deaths. The scares were done using scary imagery instead of the popular “fear of the unknown” in the ’70s. The killers were most likely deformed or had striking creepy features to their faces. This was meant to make the audience feel uneasy and get scared just by looking at them. Killers also had more personality than in the ’70s. Usually, they had their defining trait that was scary or disturbing. This was crucial for the ’80s.

The ’80s gave us a lot of good movies like The Thing, Poltergeist, An American Werewolf in London, Aliens and The Burning. Unfortunately, I had to narrow it down to the four most influential and film horror movies of the 80s, and I was left with A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Shining, The Evil Dead, and Friday the 13th. To see which one was most popular, I asked you guys to vote on the poll or tweet me your favorite horror movie of the good ol’ 80s. Here are some of the tweets I got:

Some like Kubrick just as much as me:

While some liked Wes Craven more:

And some were sad that other 80s horror movies weren’t on the list:

Before revealing the 80s king, let’s look at the contestants:

Friday the 13th (1980)


Following the trend of other slasher movies, Friday the 13th glorified the rules that Halloween started. It proved to be very popular among horror fans and is one of the longest horror franchise. The first one was more of a whodunnit mystery, and it turned out to be effective. Others in the franchise tried to go back in those footsteps but ultimately failed. While it was popular with horror fans, a lot of critics didn’t think it belonged in the realm of Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street. They found it a much inferior slasher movie than other previous slashers. However, I’m sure it’s still superior to some terrible 90s slasher films.

The Shining (1980)


Kubrick’s version of The Shining is quite controversial. Stephen King has publically shame it, but critics seem to like it more than King’s TV movie. It’s no surprise that King would hate the movie version because Kubrick had changed a lot from the book. He changed the metaphors and added his signature style. He brought an artsy style to the horror genre while still being scary. That should be commended!

The Evil Dead (1981)


Not a lot of people know that The Evil Dead was an indie movie. It was made on a budget of 350,000 and Raimi even had to stop production to raise some more money. It wasn’t supposed to make the money it did; no one saw that coming. But it did, and it is now a favorite title with a strong cult following. The Evil Dead is liked because of its uses of practical effects and shocking imagery (branches anyone?). The lasting effect of Evil Dead can be seen today with the movie parody The Cabin in the Woods. It also proved those low-budget movies can be popular.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)


Wes Craven made a name for himself in the 70s with movies like The Last House On The Left and The Hills Have Eyes. I’ll be the first to admit that those movies were trying to be shocking instead of being scary. Craven revamped himself up by creating a killer that was both creepy and funny. That very sense of creepy and weird is what influenced other killers. Before, the killers were more the mysterious, monotonous villains like Michael Myers. A Nightmare On Elm Street spawned killers like Ghost Face which had more of a personality. All of a sudden, it proved that killers can still be scary even with a personality.

You may be wondering who won the battle of the 80s horror…

…well Kubrick’s magic is still well and alive because The Shining clearly won this fight


Kubrick is my favorite director, and The Shining is one of my favorite movie of all times. I’m glad that people came around and saw what the movie was – a masterpiece. It forever changed the pace of horror films. It didn’t have lots of special effects like other 80s horror movie had, but it still managed to scare its audience. It will forever be a classic and it greatly deserves it.

What is your favorite horror movie of the 1980s? And if you didn’t vote, don’t worry you can still vote in the upcoming polls. 

Vote or tweet me with the #HorrorByDecade and you could be featured in the next article and stay tuned for a special announcement in the coming weeks. 


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