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The 26 Best Horror Movies of the '80s

Nightmare on Elm Street/The Shining /Ghost

Ah, the 80s – this is probably its most memorable A decade on, its big hair, leg warmers and mullets — but let’s not forget the creepy, chilling and oh-so-horrifying horror movies that defined the genre for generations to come.

A Nightmare on Elm Street , a movie

still fueled our nightmares (and made us never wear striped sweaters again). Or Stanley Kubrick’s gore and masterpiece

The Shining.

(To this day we are afraid of long empty hallways.)

Who can forget the scariest holiday horror movie: Elf.

Horror 80’s movie, full of hurdles Plain, gory, and surprisingly twisty, it set the stage for the contemporary horror movies we love today. Freddy Kruger and Hockey Mask Jason from

Friday the 13th cements recurring killers that never seem to actually be stopped. There are also things like

Beetlejuice and

The American Werewolf in London showcases all the horror elements we love , but there were also some laughs along the way. For every gore movie of the ’80s, there’s another one that blends genre and creativity, using comedy, action, or sci-fi to show how many ways to make a creepy horror masterpiece.

Of course, modern Horror movies are great, but ’80s horror isn’t afraid to take risks, so join us on a horrific memory tour: Here are 26 of the best horror movies of the ’80s, from classics to weird and experimental ones that keep you under the covers .


Little Elf (1980)

When a bunch of troublesome Phoebe dolls are in What happens when Christmas terrorizes the town? This is what

Gremlins explores , we’re really glad our parents gave us the GI Joes we grew up with.

Streaming here


A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

This 80s Wes Craven movie spawned some A sequel that digs deep into people’s ultimate fear: What if our nightmares were real? What if there is no way to escape them? Freddy Kruger is still the goat of horror villains of the decade.

Play here


The Shining (1980)

A novelist and his family are tasked with guarding the Rocky Mountains during a particularly harsh winter A hotel of , as you probably know, this can get wildly insane. Working and not playing makes Jack a dull boy!

Streaming here


Haunted (1982)

A family is stalked by an otherworldly figure in their Casting a shadow at home (which also has the ability to contact them via their TV, another one of our worst fears).

Streaming here


Things (1982)

A group of American researchers in Antarctica witnessed a helicopter shoot at a sled dog entering their camp – it turned out the dog was Not

The friendly, snuggle kind . (We’ll save you from spoilers.)

Streaming here


Alien (1986)

Legendary for various reasons, but Mainly because the sequel somehow managed to get better

than the already great original. We Stan Sigourney!

Streaming here


Wicked Dead (1981)

A group of young college students arrives at an isolated cabin in the forest – all good things happen – and in this bloody met the ultimate demon figure in the movie.

Streaming here

8 Cujo (1983)

We have to

CujoMany feelings . Is this the best horror movie ever made? maybe not. But it’s super fun, and it’s even more fun when you realize that in some of the shots the dog is played by a mechanical dog and a stuntman.

Streaming here

9 Friday the 13th (1980)

When this classic movie was released, it was criticized. Still, it was a hit at the box office and spawned 11 (yes, 11) sequels. Everything starts here.

Streaming here

10 VCR (1983)

David Cronenberg’s special, VCR follows the president of a TV station who stumbles upon a show that tortures his character Discovered the dark web of TV. However, is this all fiction? (You can almost guess the answer.)

Streaming here


Children’s Games (1988)

There are a lot of villains on this list It’s worth fearing, but nothing scares us more than Chucky. This is where the Child’s Play franchise was born.

Streaming here

12 The Fly (1986)

Jeff Goldblum experiences the ultimate in this horror classic Transformation, we’re really excited to see him in any capacity.

Streaming here

13the shining, nightmare on elm street, gremlins Kristin (1983)

What if the villain is a bloodthirsty car that kills people without blinking an eye… No one ever said, Until Stephen King wrote a novel about it, which was later adapted into this horror classic.

Streaming here


Pet Academy (1989)

Yet another wonderful Stephen King adaptation, Pet Sematary

explores a family’s harrowing experience of losing their son – and what they would be willing to do to see him again.

Play here


Fright Night (1985)

When a vampire becomes your next door neighbor and goes after your mom and girlfriend what happened? We now know it’s thanks to this cult classic (also remade in 2011).

Play here


April Fool’s Day (1986)

College friends spend the weekend before April Fools at the mansion Pass. When one of the friends starts picking the others one by one, things start to go wrong. oops.

Streaming here

17 Son of the Corn (1984)

Based on Stephen King’s short story about a young couple trapped in a small town where children kill all the adults and now worship a A god named “the one who walks behind”.

Here Streaming

18 American Werewolf in London (1981)

Werewolves attack two American backpackers. When a man survives, he must figure out if he is a werewolf and what he is going to do. The horror/comedy won an Oscar for Best Makeup and had a (not great) 1997 sequel.

Streaming here

19 The Changeling (1980)

A composer moved to Seattle after the death of his wife and daughter. Little did he know…the house he bought was haunted. The film was nominated for two Saturn Awards.

Streaming here


Mist( 1980)

Starring Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis,

Mist tells the story of a small California town suddenly shrouded in fog, bringing back the vengeful ghost of a sailor who died there a century ago. Horror legend John Carpenter is at the helm of this cult classic.

Play here

21 Hell Knight ( 1987)

Adapted from Clive Barker’s A novel

heart of hell


Hell Knight

Follow a man and his family as they are targeted by extradimensional beings seeking physical pleasure (and pain) and use a mysterious box to recruit others.

Streaming here


Predation (1987)

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a paramilitary group tasked with rescuing hostages in this action-horror, but must also battle a terrifying alien hunt.The film’s popularity has spawned three sequels, a prequel, and a tie-in with another popular horror series

Alien ‘s crossover movie.

exist Streaming here

twenty three Beetlejuice (1988)

A must-see for any 80s horror or comedy fan,

Beetlejuice starring Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder and other well-known actors in this creepy film. A couple are stuck at home when they die in a tragic car crash. A new family moves in, but determined to keep their home, the ghosts summon Beetle Juice as a “biological exorcist” to exorcise the ghosts of their human roommates.

Streaming here

twenty four Day of the Dead (1985)

George A. Romero

Night of the Living Dead


Undead Festival

Follow a group of scientists and soldiers living in underground bunkers. As the mental state of the bunker residents deteriorated, the remaining sane members realized they needed to flee.

Streaming here


Creepshow (1982)

George A. Romero and Stephen King, two ’80s horror legends, team up in this five-story anthology film. Horror fans will find

Creepshow not only Just because of its variety of stories, Stephen King and Jo Hill (Kim’s son, now a prolific horror writer) stars can also be seen in the film.

Streaming here

26 Lost Boys (1987)

Lost Boy

is a film known for depicting young vampires, similar to

Interview with Vampires , showing humanoids in a more human form than beasts. When a teenager starts joining a biker gang, he realizes he’s turning into a vampire and enlists his brother to help him turn around before it’s too late.

Streaming here

Joshua ·Ocampo Josh Ocampo is a senior editor at Men’s Health.

Milan Polk

Milan Polk is editorial assistant for Men’s Health , who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, has worked for New York Magazine’s Condor and the Chicago Tribune.



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