(Photo by New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection)

84 Best ’80s Horror Movies

Welcome to Camp Rotten! We’ve got lakes for skinny dipping, Necronomicons for candle-lit reading, and your esteemed camp counselors: A finer breed of spurned psychos, unstable writers, and sarcastic undead you’ll never meet. That’s right, wastoid, they’re all here and more in our list of the 84 Best 1980s Horror Movies!

After the 1970s blew the doors open on horror for mass appeal, and New Hollywood directors became, well, Hollywood, the industry started cranking the movies out by the bloody bucketload. During this hallowed decade of spandex and Spandau Ballet, slashers hit critical bloat (Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp), as guffaws mixed in with the guts (Return of the Living Dead, Evil Dead 2). Horror directors who made their name in the ’70s, like John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper, put up valiant fights with The Thing and Poltergeist. And when in doubt, Hollywood just twirled the rolodex to that subtle off-white card with Stephen King’s number on it (The Shining, The Dead Zone). The only stipulation for a movie to be considered for this list was a Fresh rating from at least 10 reviews, before we ranked them all by Adjusted Tomatometer.

Alright you sportos, motorheads, geeks, zeeks, bloods, dweebies, and head bangers: See who’s really bad with the best scary 1980s movies that did blast ever so bodaciously from the theaters and out your VCR!

100 Best ’70s Horror Movies | 40 Best ’90s Horror Movies
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150 Best Horror Movies of All Time | Best & Worst Horror Movies of 2019

#84

Lifeforce (1985)
60%

#84
Adjusted Score: 61.226%
Critics Consensus: Brazenly strange and uneven in its execution, Lifeforce is an otherworldly sci-fi excursion punctuated with off-kilter horror flourishes.
Synopsis: When alien vampires terrorize London, it's up to a determined police inspector and an astronaut to stop them. American and... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#83

Vampire's Kiss (1989)
61%

#83
Adjusted Score: 62.086%
Critics Consensus: He's a vampire! He's a vampire! He's a vampire!
Synopsis: Peter Loew, a sleazy NYC literary agent, prowls the bars in the evening looking for some action. One night he... [More]
Directed By: Robert Bierman

#82

Pulse (1988)
62%

#82
Adjusted Score: 62.15%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Household appliances are generally useful and beneficent items, and most of us who own them take them for granted, but... [More]
Directed By: Paul Golding

#81
Adjusted Score: 62.133%
Critics Consensus: True terror and typical Disney wholesomeness clash uncomfortably in Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Synopsis: After a carnival comes to Green Town, the good citizens are compelled to follow their deepest desires, caught under the... [More]
Directed By: Jack Clayton

#80

Dolls (1987)
64%

#80
Adjusted Score: 64.325%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Young Judy Bower (Carrie Lorraine) is spending the summer with her stupid, abusive father, David (Ian Williams), and nasty stepmother,... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#79
Adjusted Score: 62.403%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This is supposedly a horror movie and, when you listen to the story line, it sounds like it would be... [More]
Directed By: Steve Miner

#78

The Hitcher (1986)
61%

#78
Adjusted Score: 63.886%
Critics Consensus: Its journey is never quite as revelatory as it could be, but The Hitcher stands as a white-knuckle vision of horror, bolstered by Rutger Hauer's menacing performance.
Synopsis: This routine slasher film is greatly enhanced by the ethereal quality of its evocative cinematography and a haunting score that... [More]
Directed By: Robert Harmon

#77
#77
Adjusted Score: 63.862%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Also known as The Church, this Italian supernatural shocker comes from Dario Argento aficionado, Michele Soavi (the two men wrote... [More]
Directed By: Michele Soavi

#76

Cujo (1983)
61%

#76
Adjusted Score: 63.968%
Critics Consensus: Cujo is artless work punctuated with moments of high canine gore and one wild Dee Wallace performance.
Synopsis: Cujo is a frightening, but uneven horror tale of a rabid St. Bernard dog who terrorizes a woman and her... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Teague

#75

The Blob (1988)
60%

#75
Adjusted Score: 61.211%
Critics Consensus: The Blob can't replicate the B-movie charms of the original, though its fast pace and gory thrills pack enough of a punch to make it a worthwhile update.
Synopsis: After the phenomenal box-office and critical success of David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly, a series of big-budget remakes... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#74

Inferno (1980)
64%

#74
Adjusted Score: 64.48%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An American college student in Rome and his sister in New York investigate a series of killings in both locations... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#73

Cat People (1982)
61%

#73
Adjusted Score: 64.892%
Critics Consensus: Paul Schrader's kinky reimagining of Cat People may prove too grisly and lurid for some audiences, but its provocative style and Natassja Kinski's hypnotic performance should please viewers who like a little gasoline with their fire.
Synopsis: In this loose adaptation of the 1942 horror classic of the same name, a 2001-style opening montage establishes some sort... [More]
Directed By: Paul Schrader

#72
#72
Adjusted Score: 65.798%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An anthropologist heads a rescue party into the South American jungle to find a missing film team making a documentary... [More]
Directed By: Ruggero Deodato

#71
Adjusted Score: 67.976%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana where after a series of supernatural 'accidents', she learns that the... [More]
Directed By: Lucio Fulci

#70
Adjusted Score: 67.219%
Critics Consensus: Although it's occasionally overwhelmed by excessive special effects, The Serpent and the Rainbow draws on a chilling atmosphere to deliver a intelligent, politically informed story.
Synopsis: Somewhat based on the true-life experiences of ethnobotanist Wade Davis, this provocative horror outing is set in Haiti and offers... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#69
Adjusted Score: 66.299%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Taken from Bram Stoker's last novel, Ken Russell adds his artistic flair to this campy horror comedy. While staying at... [More]
Directed By: Ken Russell

#68

Friday the 13th (1980)
64%

#68
Adjusted Score: 68.816%
Critics Consensus: Rather quaint by today's standards, Friday the 13th still has its share of bloody surprises and a '70s-holdover aesthetic to slightly compel.
Synopsis: One of the longest-running horror film series began with this gory shocker from director Sean S. Cunningham, who had previously... [More]
Directed By: Sean S. Cunningham

#67

Street Trash (1986)
67%

#67
Adjusted Score: 67.295%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This shocker will most likely appeal to fans of pitch-black beyond-bad-taste comedy. Others may find it highly offensive and gory... [More]
Directed By: Jim Muro, James Muro

#66

Lady in White (1988)
69%

#66
Adjusted Score: 69.415%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Young Lukas Haas is visited by the ghosts of ten children, all of whom had been molested and murdered. Haas... [More]
Directed By: Frank LaLoggia

#65
Adjusted Score: 67.361%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A remake of Roger Corman's 1964 adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe tale was produced by Corman but directed by... [More]

#64

The Funhouse (1981)
67%

#64
Adjusted Score: 67.694%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This low-budget horror film about teenagers trapped in a carnival funhouse with a freakish monster is pretty standard stuff. Director... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 65.367%
Critics Consensus: A fun '80s adventure with a slightly scary twist, The Monster Squad offers tween-friendly horror with just enough of a kick.
Synopsis: A quintet of classic movie monsters invades a small town looking for a lost amulet that will help them rule... [More]
Directed By: Fred Dekker

#62
Adjusted Score: 68.404%
Critics Consensus: An effective if knowingly silly Stephen King anthology that combines comedy and terror.
Synopsis: Three tales, with a feline as the catalyst. Drew Barrymore, James Woods, Alan King, Kenneth McMillan, Robert Hays. Sally Ann:... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Teague

#61

Pumpkinhead (1988)
68%

#61
Adjusted Score: 68.945%
Critics Consensus: With effects work and solid direction from Stan Winston -- and Lance Henriksen adding welcome gravitas -- Pumpkinhead is a creature feature that stands a cut above.
Synopsis: After his son is killed in a motorcycle accident, a farmer invokes the powerful demon Pumpkinhead in his quest for... [More]
Directed By: Stan Winston

#60

Bad Taste (1989)
68%

#60
Adjusted Score: 68.996%
Critics Consensus: Peter Jackson's early low-budget shocker boasts a disgusting premise - aliens harvesting humans for fast food - that gives the budding auteur plenty of room for gross-out visuals and absurd cleverness.
Synopsis: Extraterrestrial fast-food franchisers come to earth to pick up food supplies-in this case, human flesh. After wiping out a few... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#59

Brain Damage (1988)
69%

#59
Adjusted Score: 69.15%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young New Yorker becomes enthralled to the will of an evil disembodied brain in this cult horror-comedy. With the... [More]
Directed By: Frank Henenlotter

#58

The Stuff (1985)
69%

#58
Adjusted Score: 69.158%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Former NBC-TV scriptwriter Larry Cohen directed this surreal, violent horror spoof that features a sweet-tasting white confection that looks like... [More]
Directed By: Larry Cohen

#57

Child's Play (1988)
71%

#57
Adjusted Score: 74.244%
Critics Consensus: Child's Play occasionally stumbles across its tonal tightrope of comedy and horror, but its genuinely creepy monster and some deft direction by Tom Holland makes this chiller stand out on the shelf.
Synopsis: Child's Play seems to have been concocted by a parent who went berserk after standing in line for hours on... [More]
Directed By: Tom Holland

#56

Dead and Buried (1981)
73%

#56
Adjusted Score: 73.411%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The sheriff of a small town in New England (James Farentino) is investigating a series of gruesome tourist murders around... [More]
Directed By: Gary Sherman

#55

Swamp Thing (1982)
67%

#55
Adjusted Score: 69.829%
Critics Consensus: Unabashedly campy -- often to its detriment -- Swamp Thing is not without its charms, among them Adrienne Barbeau as the damsel in distress.
Synopsis: Historia de suspenso escrita y dirigida por Wes Craven sobre el resultado monstruoso de un experimento fracasado. Louis Jourdan, Adrienne... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#54

Q (1982)
69%

#54
Adjusted Score: 70.765%
Critics Consensus: Q's campy charms may be lost on audiences who want their monsters frightening, but a game cast and lovingly retrograde visual effects give this kaiju romp some majesty.
Synopsis: "Q" stands for Quetzalcoatl, the legendary Aztec flying serpent. The pesky, four-clawed aerial lizard has been uprooted from its Mexican... [More]
Directed By: Larry Cohen

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 70.872%
Critics Consensus: A silly and ribald superhero spoof, Toxic Avenger uninhibited humor hits more than it misses.
Synopsis: In a crazy spoof of heroic monster movies that spawned two sequels, The Toxic Avenger is about the transformation of... [More]

#52

Hellraiser (1987)
71%

#52
Adjusted Score: 74.26%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by writer-director Clive Barker's fiendishly unique vision, Hellraiser offers a disquieting - and sadistically smart - alternative to mindless gore.
Synopsis: The directorial debut from horror novelist Clive Barker stars Sean Chapman as a man who buys a strange Chinese puzzle... [More]
Directed By: Clive Barker

#51

The Howling (1981)
71%

#51
Adjusted Score: 73.199%
Critics Consensus: The Howling packs enough laughs into its lycanthropic carnage to distinguish it from other werewolf entries, with impressive visual effects adding some bite.
Synopsis: This groundbreaking, darkly comic horror film from director Joe Dante changed the look and feel of werewolf movies in ways... [More]
Directed By: Joe Dante

#50

Motel Hell (1980)
71%

#50
Adjusted Score: 72.538%
Critics Consensus: Eerie and satirical, Motel Hell has no vacancy when it comes to low-brow horror gags.
Synopsis: People come from far and wide to sample Farmer Vincent's distinctively flavored dried, smoked sausages, but one might well ask... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Connor

#49

Christine (1983)
69%

#49
Adjusted Score: 71.028%
Critics Consensus: The cracks are starting to show in John Carpenter's directorial instincts, but Christine is nonetheless silly, zippy fun.
Synopsis: She was born in Detroit... on an automobile assembly line. But she is no ordinary automobile. Deep within her chassis... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#48

Tenebre (Unsane) (1982)
75%

#48
Adjusted Score: 76.127%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Despite the lurid slasher-movie trappings of his output, filmmaker Dario Argento has always been able to attract "name" actors to... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#47

From Beyond (1986)
75%

#47
Adjusted Score: 75.727%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The production team responsible for the twisted cult classic Re-Animator -- including director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna --... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#46

Creepshow (1982)
73%

#46
Adjusted Score: 75.935%
Critics Consensus: It's uneven, as anthologies often are, but Creepshow is colorful, frequently funny, and treats its inspirations with infectious reverence.
Synopsis: Two of the most venerable names in the horror field, author Stephen King and director George A. Romero, present this... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#45

Wolfen (1981)
75%

#45
Adjusted Score: 76.258%
Critics Consensus: Police procedural meets werewolf flick in Wolfen, a creepy creature feature with a surprisingly profound side.
Synopsis: Based on the novel by Whitley Strieber, a wealthy land developer and his wife are viciously murdered in the South... [More]
Directed By: Michael Wadleigh

#44
Adjusted Score: 76.314%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors offers an imaginative and surprisingly satisfying rebound for a franchise already starting to succumb to sequelitis.
Synopsis: The best of the Elm Street sequels, this creepy, surreal fantasy features terrific effects, a fine young cast, and an... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#43

Basket Case (1982)
76%

#43
Adjusted Score: 77.659%
Critics Consensus: While Basket Case definitely delivers all the gonzo gore promised by its cracked premise, it's really set apart by its rich vein of genuine pathos.
Synopsis: A strange young man arrives in the city with a basket under his arm, which turns out to hold his... [More]
Directed By: Frank Henenlotter

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 76.159%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three points for that title alone! But Night of the Creeps has a lot more going for it; this maiden... [More]
Directed By: Fred Dekker

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 79.27%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An hour-long feature from Japanese director Shinyu Tsukamoto, Tetsuo (also known as Tetsuo: The Iron Man) tells a horrific, cyberpunk-influenced... [More]
Directed By: Shin'ya Tsukamoto

#40

The Hidden (1987)
77%

#40
Adjusted Score: 78.462%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A cop discovers that there's something unusual about his new partner in this unusual sci-fi thriller. A seemingly well-mannered stock... [More]
Directed By: Jack Sholder

#39
Adjusted Score: 79.034%
Critics Consensus: Killer Klowns from Outer Space's title promises darkly goofy fun -- and more often than not, the movie delivers.
Synopsis: This low-budget cult classic horror spoof has one of the great movie titles of all time. Mike (Grant Cramer) and... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Chiodo

#38

Scanners (1981)
74%

#38
Adjusted Score: 76.293%
Critics Consensus: Scanners is a dark sci-fi story with special effects that'll make your head explode.
Synopsis: The title of this David Cronenberg sci-fi horror film refers to a group of people who have telekinetic powers that... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 78.603%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Similar to the theme about the young woman with psychic powers in Stephen King's Carrie, this above-par occult horror film... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 78.901%
Critics Consensus: Valley Girl culture satire Night of the Comet gets lots of mileage out of its slapstick sci-fi zombie approach.
Synopsis: In this sharp-witted sci-fi disaster outing, a comet smashes into California leaving a pair of Valley girls and a few... [More]
Directed By: Thom Eberhardt

#35

The Lost Boys (1987)
76%

#35
Adjusted Score: 81.343%
Critics Consensus: Flawed but eminently watchable, Joel Schumacher's teen vampire thriller blends horror, humor, and plenty of visual style with standout performances from a cast full of young 1980s stars.
Synopsis: In this hit '80s hybrid of the horror movie and the teen flick, a single mom and her two sons... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 80.404%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After hearing her grandmother's stories about dangerous men, a 13-year-old girl has nightmares that transform her into Little Red Riding... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#33

The Fog (1980)
74%

#33
Adjusted Score: 79.979%
Critics Consensus: A well-crafted return to horror for genre giant John Carpenter, The Fog rolls in and wraps viewers in suitably slow-building chills.
Synopsis: A weather-beaten old fisherman tells an ancient tale of betrayal and death to fascinated children as they huddle together by... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#32

Dead of Winter (1986)
77%

#32
Adjusted Score: 77.403%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Despite its relative failure at the box office, this is a worthwhile thriller from the director of Bonnie and Clyde.... [More]
Directed By: Arthur Penn

#31

Sleepaway Camp (1983)
82%

#31
Adjusted Score: 83.297%
Critics Consensus: Sleepaway Camp is a standard teen slasher elevated by occasional moments of John Waters-esque weirdness and a twisted ending.
Synopsis: When Angela (Felissa Rose) and her cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tierston) go off to the dilapidated Camp Arawak for a summer... [More]
Directed By: Robert Hiltzik

#30

The Changeling (1980)
83%

#30
Adjusted Score: 84.432%
Critics Consensus: George C. Scott's somber performance gives this haunted house horror a moving soul to go along with its harrowing scares.
Synopsis: Peter Medak's The Changeling is among a handful of films, including The Haunting (1963), Ghost Story (1981), and Lady in... [More]
Directed By: Peter Medak

#29

Alligator (1980)
84%

#29
Adjusted Score: 85.009%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Lewis Teague directed this sly horror-comedy from a script by John Sayles, which plays off the old urban legend about... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Teague

#28

Videodrome (1983)
80%

#28
Adjusted Score: 84.221%
Critics Consensus: Visually audacious, disorienting, and just plain weird, Videodrome's musings on technology, entertainment, and politics still feel fresh today.
Synopsis: Videodrome is a pulsating science fiction nightmare about a world where video can control and alter human life.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#27

Dead Ringers (1988)
83%

#27
Adjusted Score: 85.537%
Critics Consensus: Dead Ringers serves up a double dose of Jeremy Irons in service of a devilishly unsettling concept and commandingly creepy work from director David Cronenberg.
Synopsis: Based extremely loosely on a true story, Dead Ringers stars Jeremy Irons and Jeremy Irons. You read right--Irons essays the... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#26

Predator (1987)
81%

#26
Adjusted Score: 84.544%
Critics Consensus: Predator: Part sci-fi, part horror, part action -- all muscle.
Synopsis: Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has a code of honor which he will not violate, even when his life depends on it.... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#25

Day of the Dead (1985)
81%

#25
Adjusted Score: 83.295%
Critics Consensus: Day of the Dead may arguably be the least haunting entry in George A. Romero's undead trilogy, but it will give audiences' plenty to chew on with its shocking gore and scathing view of society.
Synopsis: Flesh-eating zombies close in on a handful of soldiers and scientists holed up in an underground bunker. Final chapter of... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#24
Adjusted Score: 87.193%
Critics Consensus: Blending genres as effectively as it subverts expectations, Possession uses powerful acting and disquieting imagery to grapple with complex themes.
Synopsis: Usually misattributed to the horror genre, this challenging and highly unusual drama stars Isabelle Adjani as a young woman who... [More]
Directed By: Andrzej Zulawski

#23

Santa Sangre (1989)
85%

#23
Adjusted Score: 87.719%
Critics Consensus: Those unfamiliar with Alejandro Jodorowsky's style may find it overwhelming, but Santa Sangre is a provocative psychedelic journey featuring the director's signature touches of violence, vulgarity, and an oddly personal moral center.
Synopsis: Santa Sangre is the surreal horror story about a young man, Fenix (Axel Jodorowsky) who has grown up in a... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Jodorowsky

#22

Altered States (1980)
84%

#22
Adjusted Score: 87.758%
Critics Consensus: Extraordinarily daring for a Hollywood film, Altered States attacks the viewer with its inventive, aggressive mix of muddled sound effects and visual pyrotechnics.
Synopsis: In this 1980 sci-fi horror film, William Hurt plays Eddie Jessup, a scientist obsessed with discovering mankind's true role in... [More]
Directed By: Ken Russell

#21

Beetlejuice (1988)
84%

#21
Adjusted Score: 88.04%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly bizarre and overflowing with ideas, Beetlejuice offers some of Michael Keaton's most deliciously manic work - and creepy, funny fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Thanks to the carelessness of a cute little dog, newlyweds Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are killed in a freak... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#20

Gremlins (1984)
84%

#20
Adjusted Score: 89.551%
Critics Consensus: Whether you choose to see it as a statement on consumer culture or simply a special effects-heavy popcorn flick, Gremlins is a minor classic.
Synopsis: "Don't expose him to bright light. Don't ever get him wet. And don't ever, ever feed him after midnight." This... [More]
Directed By: Joe Dante

#19

The Thing (1982)
84%

#19
Adjusted Score: 89.807%
Critics Consensus: Grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950s take, John Carpenter's The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller rife with compelling tension and some remarkable make-up effects.
Synopsis: John Carpenter's The Thing is both a remake of Howard Hawks' 1951 film of the same name and a re-adaptation... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#18

The Stepfather (1987)
88%

#18
Adjusted Score: 90.03%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man who at first seems to be the ideal husband proves to be a psychotic serial killer searching for... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Ruben

#17

They Live (1988)
86%

#17
Adjusted Score: 90.659%
Critics Consensus: A politically subversive blend of horror and sci fi, They Live is an underrated genre film from John Carpenter.
Synopsis: A homeless drifter discovers a reason for the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor: a conspiracy by non-human... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#16

Poltergeist (1982)
85%

#16
Adjusted Score: 90.488%
Critics Consensus: Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and -- most importantly -- consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic.
Synopsis: With Poltergeist, directed by Tobe Hooper, Steven Spielberg had his first great success as a producer. Released around the same... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#15
Adjusted Score: 90.987%
Critics Consensus: Terrifying and funny in almost equal measure, John Landis' horror-comedy crosses genres while introducing Rick Baker's astounding make-up effects.
Synopsis: While wandering the English moors on vacation, college yanks David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) happen upon a quaint... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#14

Opera (1987)
90%

#14
Adjusted Score: 90.988%
Critics Consensus: The Opera house location gives plenty to work with for director Dario Argento, who hits his decadently bloody high notes here.
Synopsis: An obsessed fan stalks a young opperata and kills those who are closest to her.... [More]
Directed By:

#13

Near Dark (1987)
88%

#13
Adjusted Score: 91.639%
Critics Consensus: Near Dark is at once a creepy vampire film, a thrilling western, and a poignant family tale, with humor and scares in abundance.
Synopsis: A roving band of contemporary vampires travel across the American West in search of the human blood they crave in... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#12
Adjusted Score: 92.693%
Critics Consensus: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is an effective, chilling profile of a killer that is sure to shock and disturb.
Synopsis: Although the title makes Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer seem like a cut-rate slasher flick, the movie is actually... [More]
Directed By: John McNaughton

#11
Adjusted Score: 92.651%
Critics Consensus: A punk take on the zombie genre, Return of the Living Dead injects a healthy dose of '80s silliness to the flesh consuming.
Synopsis: When a mysterious military chemical gets into the atmosphere it ends up soaking into a cemetery down in bayou land... [More]
Directed By: Dan O'Bannon

#10

Fright Night (1985)
91%

#10
Adjusted Score: 93.117%
Critics Consensus: Fright Night deftly combines thrills and humor in this ghostly tale about a man living next to a vampire.
Synopsis: Classic Vampire film about a teenager who learns that his next door neighbor is a vampire, and no one will... [More]
Directed By: Tom Holland

#9

The Shining (1980)
84%

#9
Adjusted Score: 92.728%
Critics Consensus: Though it deviates from Stephen King's novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness -- exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson.
Synopsis: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" -- or, rather, a homicidal boy in Stanley Kubrick's eerie... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 94.505%
Critics Consensus: Remixing Roger Corman's B-movie by way of the Off-Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors offers camp, horror and catchy tunes in equal measure -- plus some inspired cameos by the likes of Steve Martin and Bill Murray.
Synopsis: It started as a 1960 Roger Corman horror comedy, filmed in two days; it then inspired a lavish 1982 Broadway... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#7

The Dead Zone (1983)
91%

#7
Adjusted Score: 94.699%
Critics Consensus: The Dead Zone combines taut direction from David Cronenberg and and a rich performance from Christopher Walken to create one of the strongest Stephen King adaptations.
Synopsis: A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic detective ability.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#6

The Fly (1986)
92%

#6
Adjusted Score: 97.908%
Critics Consensus: David Cronenberg combines his trademark affinity for gore and horror with strongly developed characters, making The Fly a surprisingly affecting tragedy.
Synopsis: Considered fairly gruesome in its day, the original 1958 The Fly looks like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood compared to this 1986... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#5
Adjusted Score: 97.867%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: A group of teenagers are terrorized by "Freddy Krueger", an evil being from another world who gets to his victims... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#4

Re-Animator (1985)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 97.343%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.
Synopsis: Scientist Herbert West has discovered a fluid which brings living tissue back to life. After the death of his professor,... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#3

The Evil Dead (1981)
95%

#3
Adjusted Score: 99.646%
Critics Consensus: This classic low budget horror film combines just the right amount of gore and black humor, giving The Evil Dead an equal amount of thrills and laughs.
Synopsis: This auspicious feature debut from Sam Raimi -- shot on 16mm in the woods of Tennesse for around $350,000 --... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#2
Adjusted Score: 101.586%
Critics Consensus: Evil Dead 2's increased special effects and slapstick-gore makes it as good -- if not better -- than the original.
Synopsis: This sequel is better, funnier, scarier and superior to the first indie gore-fest. Never before has there been such an... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#1

Aliens (1986)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104.096%
Critics Consensus: While Alien was a marvel of slow-building, atmospheric tension, Aliens packs a much more visceral punch, and features a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver.
Synopsis: Big-budget special effects, swiftly paced action, and a distinct feminist subtext from writer/director James Cameron turned what should have been... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

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