The eighties were a golden age for horror movies. Changes in social attitudes and the movie rating system, along with the proliferation of VHS players in homes and the explosion in video rental businesses, made many horror movies household names.

The genre also became much more varied. From surreal psychological horror to blood-soaked horror movies. If you’re looking for something to give you the creeps, here are ten of the best horror movies of the 1980s.

10.Motel Hell

1980s Motel Hell is a unique blend of comedy and horror. Directed by Kevin Connor, the film follows Vincent and Ida Smith. Two farmers who own a smokehouse and a hotel. However, the meat products are not all they seem, as they are actually made by the people the couple kidnapped and stored in their garden.

A funny yet chilling satire on other horror movies and ’80s society, Motel Hell is a bizarre movie that is still very effective today. Its haunting scenes and surprisingly funny comedy make it the perfect movie for movie night. Hell Motel feels like the stereotype you think of when you imagine an eighties horror movie.

9. Possession

Written and directed by art house legend Andrzej Żuławski, 1981 Possession is a unique film that stands out from the crowd. Żuławski’s only English-language film follows a couple going through a painful divorce. However, it quickly becomes clear that something more supernatural is at play.

Extremely Disturbing Possession is a very different kind of horror movie that mixes the horror of human obsession with dark supernatural elements. It’s very unlike anything ever produced, and certain moments will live in your nightmares long after the credits roll.

8. Tenebrae

Dario Argento is often called the master of suspense, and 1982 Tenebrae is a fantastic example of Argento’s skills as a writer and director. Tenebrae is a return to the giallo horror subgenre that Argento popularized in the 1970s. It follows Peter Neal, a horror writer who travels to Italy to promote his new book. Tenebrae . However, things quickly turn dark when a serial killer uses Tenebrae as the base of a horrific crime frenzy, forcing Peter to solve the gruesome crimes.

Exciting and terrifying Tenebrae keeps you on the edge of your seat every time. The film is filled with the horror and surrealism that Argento is known for, making it more than your average serial killer thriller.

7. Videodrom

David Cronenberg’s 1983 sci-fi horror film Videodrome quickly became a cult hit with its dark satire on the television industry. Max Renn is the president of a UHF television station that shows controversial content to attract viewers. One day Max is shown a Malaysian channel called Videodrome. This channel shows various victims who are terribly tortured and then killed. However, Max quickly realizes that Videodrome is not all it seems when he is obsessed with the canal and its origins.

6. Friday the 13th

The 1980s Friday the 13th spawned a mammoth franchise that continues to this day. This first installment, however, is a very different beast from the movies that would come later, as it doesn’t feature Jason Voorhees as the villain. Camp Crystal Lake is your average American summer camp until the death of a child forces it to close. When Crystal Lake reopens in 1980, a strange force begins hunting down the camp counselors, taking them down one by one.

5. Halloween III: Season of the Witch

1982 Halloween III is the black sheep of the Halloween franchise. This is because it was made when Halloween should be a series of unrelated anthology movies. However, fans expected Michael Myers and the movie flopped.

However, those who can overlook Myers’ lack will be in for a very unique supernatural horror film. He is followed by Ellie Grimbridge and Dr. Daniel Challis as they examine Conal Cochran. Cochran owns Silver Shamrock Novelties, which heavily advertises his line of Halloween masks. However, the pair quickly discover that Conal has very sinister motives and a dark plan.

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Before Freddy Krueger became the fun pop culture sensation he is today, he was a very different monster. In 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street Nancy Thompson and her friends are haunted by a strange man in her dreams. But they soon realize that the injuries they receive while they sleep are also in the real world on their bodies and are quickly picked up by the evil Freddy Krueger.


Written by Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, and Mark Victor, the 1982 Poltergeist follows Steven and Diane Freeling and their children. When Diane sees her youngest daughter on television, she is confused. However, when strange ghostly events occur, the family is attacked by some angry ghosts, one of which tries to kidnap her youngest daughter.

Filled with spooky imagery, including a shockingly chilling ending sequence. 

2. The Shining

The gloss has fallen into disrepute for its success and its behind-the-scenes story. Famous for pissing off the original writer of the story, Steven King, and for abusing Stanley Kubrick’s female lead Shelley Duvall, entire books have been written about this 1980s classic.

When Jack Torrance agrees to be the caretaker of an old hotel in hopes of overcoming writer’s block, he and his family are quickly put in danger as Jack’s sanity begins to unravel.

1. The thing

John Carpenter’s 1982 film The Thing is a masterpiece that has stood the test of time. When a US team is sent to a research base in Antarctica, they discover that all the people are missing or dead and they have to find out what happened. 

The Thing is a very atmospheric and exciting movie that will keep you in the hot seat. The practical effects used on the creature are brilliantly disturbing and still look great today. The Thing is a horror classic that many movies have tried to emulate, but none have ever surpassed it.