The Best 80's Horror Movies part 4
As I look at my top 30, so far, list I noticed I missed a few key films with some glaring omissions. It's been difficult to make a top 50 list without forgetting some great ones. So the order is not going to be as important as the over all list. Anyway I could change the order up a 100 times and still not be satisfied. So here is part 4, hope your Halloween month is going well.
31) Humanoids from the Deep (1980)
How the hell did I forget this movie? Humanoids from the Deep AKA Monster is a great trashy horror/sci-fi movie. It is the king of Monster Rape films, that really is a sub genre. Directed by someone named Barbara Peeters, super producer Roger Corman looked at the finished product and decided it needed more skin, and he hired a second director to ensure the film's monster "killed all the men and raped all the women". These additional monster rape scenes were shot after it wrapped, and many of the cast were upset their names were attached to trash like this.
Once you get past the monster rape Humanoids from the Deep actually has a progressive (for it's time) environmental theme. Also it deals with native Indian rights and racism. Inspired by both 50's monster movies like Creature from the Black Lagoon, and silly 50's beach movies. The special effects are great, by Rob Bottin (The Thing).
The final scene is pretty epic with lots of death. The blu ray contains deleted scenes with even more monster rapes. Despite all the violence and sleaze, this movie is still loads of fun.
32) The Shining (1980)
Another "how did I forget this?" This Stephen King written, Stanley Kubrick directed film is a masterpiece. Some horror movies on this list are not scary, some are just funny. The Shining is terrifying. A young family take a job watching over an old Colorado hotel, that happens to be haunted. And the kid has psychic powers and is always communicating with his invisible friend, who gives him horrific bloody visions of what has happened in the hotel in the past.
There is a documentary called Room 237 the covers a wide range on conspiracy theories surrounding the movie, lots of them far out nonsense. It's worth a look and the book is worth reading too. It explains this disturbing scene:
I heard Mr King didn't like the film, while it's his baby and he can think whatever he likes, I love the Shining. It just gives off the creepiest vibe. There are significant changes from the book, but I like the changes, I think following the book too closely would have been a bad move.
Also check out the documentary called Film worker about Kubrick's right hand man who shares lots of insight into the making of The Shining.
33) Terror Train (1980)
Terror Train doesn't get enough love from horror fans. Its the standard prank goes horribly wrong and creates a killer deal, okay maybe not that original. Its got some decent kills, cool costumes and the only cinematic appearance to date of magician David Copperfield.
It was filmed in Canada, i'm sucker for these things, basically a tax write off to make a cheapo horror movie in the great white north. Nothing in Terror Train is revolutionary, but it looks good, and it has Jamie Lee Curtis, who I understand doesn't like to talk about it. As the 80's went on they had slashers in cabins, in schools, in nightclubs etc. It was only a matter of time before there was a killer on a train. This train is full of college students on an end of the year costumed booze voyage, only they forgot to invite a certain student who they had treated horribly. What are the odds that student is hiding all deformed in a costume?
34) Prom Night (1980)
Prom Night gets a lot of hate. It tells you who the killer is in the first few minutes so there is no real suspense. But it has Jamie Lee Curtis (she was in everything) busting some serious dance moves, and she can actually dance. 1980 was a big disco year, and I imagine real proms looked a lot like this one. Prom Night in the VHS days was notoriously dark and hard to see, it's been restored and now looks pretty great. Filmed in the Toronto area
Leslie Neilson is in Prom Night, and he's dancing!
35) The Fog (1980)
The Fog is a film that probably should have been higher up the list. To be honest I just forgot. It was directed by John Carpenter between Halloween and Escape from New York, two epic huge movies. Sometimes it just get overlooked. Today it probably ranks quite high on people's lists of JC directed movies. Adrienne Barbeau (Creepshow, Swamp Thing ), Jamie Lee Curtis (she's in everything!) and her mom Janet Leigh (Psycho) and Tom Atkins (Halloween 3) star in this one.
A hundred years after a ship sank in a California bay, the crew of the ship comeback to haunt the town that guided them into the rocks and stole their gold booty. The sins of your ancestors coming back to haunt you, that must suck. Not overly violent or gory, The Fog has an ambiance that makes up for it. It is a genuinely creepy movie.
I think there is a remake, but I hate remakes.
36) The Howling (1981)
Based on a novel of the same name The Howling was directed by the great Joe Dante (Gremlins). A news anchor is left traumatized by a near death encounter with a serial killer and he therapist suggests a rural retreat to sooth her nerves. Unfortunately the resort is populated by a group of werewolves. Effects were done by Rob Bottin and are pretty great for the pre CGI era. The Howling is full of in jokes and references to other horror movies, and was generally well received at the time, it spawned seven sequels, some better than others. It this one that is a classic though.
37) Day of the Dead (1985)
George Romero's third film in his Living Dead series after Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of Dead isn't quite as good as the previous films. It is in my opinion the last dead film worth watching. Taking place some time after Dawn it focuses on a group of survivors living in a compound in Florida, half of them are military and the rest are scientists and general survivors. The theme of the remaining humans being the real monsters gets played out again in this one. It does show the zombies beginning to get more intelligent, an idea the rest of series explores.
Day of the Dead is the first of these films to have a zombie that is an actual character, before this they are just there to shoot and eat people, and that is it. Day introduces the zombie named Bub, who the humans have caught and are trying to train. A Doctor, nic named "Frankenstein" is trying to teach Bub new tricks
The problem is you need to reward the zombie, and the only thing they want is human flesh, so where is Doctor Frankenstein getting the food? This movie is bleak, even for a zombie flick, but its still quite watchable. It was censored in Canada, and it has so great gore effects.
38) Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Friday the 13th part two is notable for being the first Jason movie (his mom was the killer in the first one) and also being pre hockey mask, he gets that in part 3. Jason Vorhees has survived drowning and now lives in the woods of Camp Crystal Lake, killing campers to avenge his mom's death.
When I was growing up I loved this movie. Its a great flick. Steve Miner directed this one, and it is known for it's high level of violence. Stan Winston did the effects. Several cuts were made to ensure it got an R rating. Critical reception was negative, and many people saw the escalation in violence and gore as a bad sign that viewers were getting desensitized. Notable kills in this one include a couple who get a spear thru both them while having sex, almost certainly a homage, or ripoff, of a kill in the Mario Bava film Bay of Blood
39) The Stuff (1985)
The Stuff was directed by Larry (God Told Me To, Q) Cohen and it was his most successful film. Michael Moriarty, Garrett Morris, and Paul Sorvino star in this tale of an unethical company that releases a product to the public they know is addictive. It also turns people into monsters.
The film may be viewed as a straight horror film, but it is also a satirical take on modern consumer society. The effects are awesome, for instance Garret Morris's transformation
Overall the Stuff is pretty fun. I watch it about once a year.
40) The Funhouse (1981)
This Tobe (Texas chainsaw) Hooper directed film seems pretty much forgotten these days, and that is shame. The poster, or VHS box, back in the day led me to believe it was some kind of slasher clown flick, but this guy isn't even in the damn thing
Okay so its not a slasher, it is however a great little monster movie. I think one the problems is the teen characters are such total scumbags that you are pretty much hoping they get killed. It doesn't have the huge body count of many other 80's movies, it has a great sense of style though, and the carnival atmosphere is detailed and it looks real.
I will always have a fondness for this one. I love movies set in a carnival and this plays up all the stereotypes, the fortune teller is a prostitute, the guy in the mask is really a monster, and carnies have no problem killing everyone and moving on to the next town. The Funhouse is good old fashioned fun.
Thanks for reading.