A few years ago I started compiling a list of my top ten horror movies decade by decade. I didn’t get beyond the 50’s and didn’t publish the list. In the latest edition of Film don’t Hurt Kia suggests that the 80’s were a great time for horror movies, so I thought I would post my top ten in response:
The Shining (1980): Stephen King doesn’t like Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his novel because it isn’t faithful to his original story. Who cares, it is an amazing movie.
Near Dark (1987): Modern day western? Road movie? Metaphorical parable? Whatever you may think it is, Kathryn Bigelow’s vampire movie is probably my favourite vampire movie.
Hellraiser (1987): Gory, horrific and disturbing, it is both ahead of its time and totally within the traditions of horror, it is also Clive Barker’s best movie.
Aliens (1986): Although essentially a sci-fi movie, Ridley Scott’s original film Alien (1979) just as much a monster movie, slasher movie and a haunted house movie. James Cameron’s sequel introduces a more action but retains a sense of dread, fear and desperation.
The Thing (1982): John Carpenter’s The Thing falls somewhere between an remake and a sequel to The Thing from Another World (1951). A traditional monster movie utilising the best in 80’s effects.
The Evil Dead (1981): Sam Raimi’s low budget classic is seminal in horror history. Although not the best film on this list it is probably the most influential.
Scanners (1981): I could have filled half the list with David Cronenberg movies, I decided to just go with my favourite. Not as sexual as his earlier work or as abstract as his later work but forming a link between the two. And who can forget the iconic exploding head scenes.
An American Werewolf in London (1981): Probably the best werewolf movie ever made, and as you would expect from John Landis it is also very funny.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): Wes Craven’s seminal horror hasn’t actually aged that well but it is still an import milestone in horror and Freddy Krueger is a great villain/monster.
Spoorloos aka The Vanishing (1988): Forget the crappy Hollywood remake, the Dutch–French original is a classic. More a psychological mystery thriller than a true horror, but it is disturbing enough to make the list.
I might get around to finishing the other decades one day!
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