(Photo by New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection)

80 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, before we sorted by a ranking formula that factors a movie’s number of reviews and release year.

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!

90 Best ’70s Horror Movies | 40 Best ’90s Horror Movies
80 Best 2000s Horror Movies | 140 Best 2010s Horror Movies
200 Best Horror Movies of All Time | Best Horror Movies of 2021

#90

Lifeforce (1985)
57%

#90
Adjusted Score: 58417%
Critics Consensus: Brazenly strange and uneven in its execution, Lifeforce is an otherworldly sci-fi excursion punctuated with off-kilter horror flourishes.
Synopsis: When a space mission involving American and British astronauts encounters an alien craft, the humanoids within are brought aboard the... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#89
#89
Adjusted Score: 57990%
Critics Consensus: The Twilight Zone: The Movie suffers from the typical anthology-film highs and lows; thankfully, the former outnumber the latter.
Synopsis: This tribute to the beloved supernatural TV show has four episodes. In the first, racist Bill Connor (Vic Morrow) is... [More]

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 58512%
Critics Consensus: Prince of Darkness has a handful of chillingly clever ideas, but they aren't enough to put John Carpenter's return to horror at the same level as his classic earlier outings.
Synopsis: Poking around in a church cellar, a priest (Donald Pleasence) finds an otherworldly vial filled with slime. Frightened, he brings... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#87

Demons (1985)
64%

#87
Adjusted Score: 34470%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Patrons (Natasha Hovey, Urbano Barberini) of a sneak preview see others zombie-fied to heavy-metal music in a Berlin theater.... [More]
Directed By: Lamberto Bava

#86

The Gate (1987)
60%

#86
Adjusted Score: 53442%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When Al (Christa Denton) and Glenn's (Stephen Dorff) parents (Deborah Grover, Scot Denton) leave town for the weekend, Al uses... [More]
Directed By: Tibor Takács

#85

Dolls (1987)
60%

#85
Adjusted Score: 43433%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A group of motorists, including young Judy Bower (Carrie Lorraine), her horrible father (Ian Patrick Williams), her evil queen of... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#84

Society (1989)
62%

#84
Adjusted Score: 36319%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Beverly Hills teen (Billy Warlock) discovers his parents are part of a gruesome orgy cult for the social elite.... [More]
Directed By: Brian Yuzna

#83

Vampire's Kiss (1989)
58%

#83
Adjusted Score: 59250%
Critics Consensus: He's a vampire! He's a vampire! He's a vampire!
Synopsis: The life of white-collar New Yorker Peter (Nicolas Cage) seems to revolve solely around making as much money and sleeping... [More]
Directed By: Robert Bierman

#82
#82
Adjusted Score: 57227%
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: Members (Andre Gower, Robby Kiger) of a monster fan club meet Count Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein, the Mummy and Gill Man.... [More]
Directed By: Fred Dekker

#81

The Blob (1988)
62%

#81
Adjusted Score: 62106%
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: In a tiny California town, high school students Brian (Kevin Dillon), Meg (Shawnee Smith) and Paul (Donovan Leitch) discover a... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#80

The Church (1989)
64%

#80
Adjusted Score: 34463%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Tourists are trapped in a cathedral cursed since the Crusades by the mayhem of German knights.... [More]
Directed By: Michele Soavi

#79

Psycho II (1983)
60%

#79
Adjusted Score: 60649%
Critics Consensus: Although it can't hold a cleaver to the classic original, Psycho II succeeds well enough on its own merits to satisfy horror fans.
Synopsis: Two decades after the original murders at the Bates Motel, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) completes his treatment at a mental... [More]
Directed By: Richard Franklin

#78
Adjusted Score: 61426%
Critics Consensus: True terror and typical Disney wholesomeness clash uncomfortably in Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Synopsis: Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce) brings his traveling carnival to a small Midwestern town and grants wishes, for a price.... [More]
Directed By: Jack Clayton

#77

Brain Damage (1988)
64%

#77
Adjusted Score: 64134%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A boy (Rick Herbst) grows addicted to psychedelic jolts from an eel-like brain-eating monster called Elmer.... [More]
Directed By: Frank Henenlotter

#76

Pulse (1988)
64%

#76
Adjusted Score: 43240%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A boy (Joey Lawrence) tries to warn his father (Cliff De Young) and stepmother (Roxanne Hart) about their unsafe household... [More]
Directed By: Paul Golding

#75

Cat People (1982)
62%

#75
Adjusted Score: 65775%
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 sensual and violent horror tale, Irena Gallier (Nastassia Kinski) has a dark family secret, one that resurfaces dramatically... [More]
Directed By: Paul Schrader

#74

Inferno (1980)
64%

#74
Adjusted Score: 44568%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young man (Leigh McCloskey) returns from Rome to his sister's (Irene Miracle) satanic New York apartment house.... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#73
#73
Adjusted Score: 64725%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A professor (Francesca Ciardi) finds the remains of a film crew in the Amazon and brings the camera footage back... [More]
Directed By: Ruggero Deodato

#72

Cujo (1983)
62%

#72
Adjusted Score: 64206%
Critics Consensus: Cujo is artless work punctuated with moments of high canine gore and one wild Dee Wallace performance.
Synopsis: In this tale of a killer canine, man's best friend turns into his worst enemy. When sweet St. Bernard Cujo... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Teague

#71

The Hitcher (1986)
62%

#71
Adjusted Score: 62786%
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: While transporting a car from Chicago to San Diego, Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) picks up a hitchhiker named John... [More]
Directed By: Robert Harmon

#70

Pumpkinhead (1988)
65%

#70
Adjusted Score: 65863%
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 dies in a hit-and-run accident, Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen) seeks revenge against the teenagers responsible. With the... [More]
Directed By: Stan Winston

#69

Street Trash (1987)
62%

#69
Adjusted Score: 61160%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A case of contaminated alcohol has a debilitating effect on the vagabonds haunting the streets and junkyards of Brooklyn.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Muro

#68
Adjusted Score: 66398%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A dying millionaire (Herbert Lom) throws a castle costume party that's a killer.... [More]
Directed By: Alan Birkinshaw

#67
Adjusted Score: 65754%
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: In a time of social and political unrest in Haiti, anthropologist Dennis Alan (Bill Pullman) travels to the torn country... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#66

Swamp Thing (1982)
62%

#66
Adjusted Score: 61882%
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: On the verge of a breakthrough in his quest to wipe out world hunger, altruistic botanist Dr. Alec Holland (Ray... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#65

The Funhouse (1981)
67%

#65
Adjusted Score: 66643%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Rebellious teen Amy (Elizabeth Berridge) defies her parents by going to a trashy carnival that has pulled into town. In... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#64

The Beyond (1981)
67%

#64
Adjusted Score: 63478%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Gruesome deaths occur when a woman (Katherine MacColl) inherits a hotel that is one of seven gateways to hell.... [More]
Directed By: Lucio Fulci

#63

Cat's Eye (1985)
69%

#63
Adjusted Score: 68145%
Critics Consensus: An effective if knowingly silly Stephen King anthology that combines comedy and terror.
Synopsis: Stephen King tales follow a cat into a smokers clinic, onto a penthouse ledge and into a girl's (Drew Barrymore)... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Teague

#62

Friday the 13th (1980)
63%

#62
Adjusted Score: 66694%
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: Crystal Lake's history of murder doesn't deter counselors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. Superstitious locals... [More]
Directed By: Sean S. Cunningham

#61

Lady in White (1988)
69%

#61
Adjusted Score: 68296%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Locked in the cloakroom after school as a Halloween prank, Frankie (Lukas Haas) meets the ghost of a young neighborhood... [More]
Directed By: Frank LaLoggia

#60
Adjusted Score: 68268%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On a farm owned by Eve Trent (Catherine Oxenberg) and her sister Mary (Sammi Davis), young archaeologist Angus Flint (Peter... [More]
Directed By: Ken Russell

#59

Motel Hell (1980)
65%

#59
Adjusted Score: 65271%
Critics Consensus: Eerie and satirical, Motel Hell has no vacancy when it comes to low-brow horror gags.
Synopsis: Vincent Smith (Rory Calhoun) and his sister Ida (Nancy Parsons) run a rural hotel, but they earn most of their... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Connor

#58

Christine (1983)
69%

#58
Adjusted Score: 68334%
Critics Consensus: The cracks are starting to show in John Carpenter's directorial instincts, but Christine is nonetheless silly, zippy fun.
Synopsis: Unpopular nerd Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) buys a 1958 Plymouth Fury, which he names Christine. Arnie develops an unhealthy obsession... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#57
#57
Adjusted Score: 70821%
Critics Consensus: A silly and ribald superhero spoof, Toxic Avenger uninhibited humor hits more than it misses.
Synopsis: A 98-pound nerd (Mark Torgl) from New Jersey lands in a vat of toxic waste and becomes a benevolent monster... [More]
Directed By: Michael Herz, Samuel Weil

#56

The Stuff (1985)
71%

#56
Adjusted Score: 45523%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A private detective investigates a new consumer taste treat that's absolutely delicious and just possibly lethal.... [More]
Directed By: Larry Cohen

#55

Bad Taste (1987)
71%

#55
Adjusted Score: 71870%
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: Gun-toting assassins try to wipe out a group of aliens that wants to use humans in New Zealand for food.... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#54

Scanners (1981)
70%

#54
Adjusted Score: 72385%
Critics Consensus: Scanners is a dark sci-fi story with special effects that'll make your head explode.
Synopsis: Scanners are men and women born with incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers. There are many who exercise the benefits of... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#53

Q (1982)
72%

#53
Adjusted Score: 73766%
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: A fleeing gangland flunky (Michael Moriarty) finds the New York nest of Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl, the man-eating flying serpent.... [More]
Directed By: Larry Cohen

#52

Child's Play (1988)
71%

#52
Adjusted Score: 72888%
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: Gunned down by Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon), dying murderer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) uses black magic to put... [More]
Directed By: Tom Holland

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 76175%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fraternity pledges (Jason Lively, Steve Marshall) pull a prank with a frozen body and let sluglike creatures loose on campus.... [More]
Directed By: Fred Dekker

#50

The Howling (1981)
73%

#50
Adjusted Score: 75742%
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: In Los Angeles, television journalist Karen White (Dee Wallace) is traumatized in the course of aiding the police in their... [More]
Directed By: Joe Dante

#49
Adjusted Score: 73390%
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: During a hallucinatory incident, young Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has her wrists slashed by dream-stalking monster Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#48

The Hidden (1987)
73%

#48
Adjusted Score: 73413%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An FBI agent (Kyle MacLachlan) and a homicide detective (Michael Nouri) hunt the current human host of an orally exchanged... [More]
Directed By: Jack Sholder

#47

Hellraiser (1987)
72%

#47
Adjusted Score: 75460%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by writer-director Clive Barker's fiendishly unique vision, Hellraiser offers a disquieting - and sadistically smart - alternative to mindless gore.
Synopsis: Sexual deviant Frank (Sean Chapman) inadvertently opens a portal to hell when he tinkers with a box he bought while... [More]
Directed By: Clive Barker

#46

Dead of Winter (1986)
77%

#46
Adjusted Score: 48319%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Struggling actress Katie McGovern (Mary Steenburgen) is approached by the mysterious Mr. Murray (Roddy McDowall) and invited to an upstate... [More]
Directed By: Arthur Penn

#45

Wolfen (1981)
75%

#45
Adjusted Score: 71058%
Critics Consensus: Police procedural meets werewolf flick in Wolfen, a creepy creature feature with a surprisingly profound side.
Synopsis: New York City police investigator Dewey Wilson (Albert Finney) is trying to solve a series of grisly deaths in which... [More]
Directed By: Michael Wadleigh

#44

Creepshow (1982)
74%

#44
Adjusted Score: 76724%
Critics Consensus: It's uneven, as anthologies often are, but Creepshow is colorful, frequently funny, and treats its inspirations with infectious reverence.
Synopsis: A compendium of five short but terrifying tales contained within a single full-length feature, this film conjures scares from traditional... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#43

Dead and Buried (1981)
76%

#43
Adjusted Score: 54327%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A sheriff (James Farentino) and his wife (Melody Anderson) realize the town coroner (Jack Albertson) has been creating an army... [More]
Directed By: Gary A. Sherman

#42

Phenomena (1985)
76%

#42
Adjusted Score: 75179%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An American (Jennifer Connelly) at a Swiss finishing school calls on insects to help a paralyzed scientist (Donald Pleasence) fight... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#41
Adjusted Score: 77025%
Critics Consensus: Killer Klowns from Outer Space's title promises darkly goofy fun -- and more often than not, the movie delivers.
Synopsis: When teenagers Mike (Grant Cramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) see a comet crash outside their sleepy small town, they investigate... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Chiodo

#40

Basket Case (1982)
76%

#40
Adjusted Score: 76206%
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: Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) checks into a sleazy hotel with a wicker basket containing his telepathic Siamese twin.... [More]
Directed By: Frank Henenlotter

#39

From Beyond (1986)
78%

#39
Adjusted Score: 77959%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Obsessive scientist Dr. Pretorius (Ted Sorel) successfully discovers a way to access a parallel universe of pleasure by tapping into... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 57523%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A "metal fetishist" (Shin'ya Tsukamoto), driven mad by the maggots wriggling in the wound he's made to embed metal into... [More]
Directed By: Shin'ya Tsukamoto

#37

Unsane (1982)
77%

#37
Adjusted Score: 77502%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Visiting Rome on a promotional tour for his new novel, writer Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) is pulled into a murder... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#36

Sleepaway Camp (1983)
79%

#36
Adjusted Score: 80402%
Critics Consensus: Sleepaway Camp is a standard teen slasher elevated by occasional moments of John Waters-esque weirdness and a twisted ending.
Synopsis: Bunks and the showers are a mad stabber's beat at a summer camp strictly for teens.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Hiltzik

#35

The Burning (1981)
80%

#35
Adjusted Score: 39794%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: At summer camp, some teenagers pull a prank on the camp's caretaker, Cropsy (Lou David). But the joke goes terribly... [More]
Directed By: Tony Maylam

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 78641%
Critics Consensus: Valley Girl culture satire Night of the Comet gets lots of mileage out of its slapstick sci-fi zombie approach.
Synopsis: After a rare comet sighting, teen sisters Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Samantha (Kelli Maroney) find that they're among the... [More]
Directed By: Thom Eberhardt

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 63375%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Wolves and werewolves lurk throughout the dreams of young Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson), who imagines that she must journey through a... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#32

The Fog (1980)
75%

#32
Adjusted Score: 80900%
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: Strange things begin to occurs as a tiny California coastal town prepares to commemorate its centenary. Inanimate objects spring eerily... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#31

Alligator (1980)
83%

#31
Adjusted Score: 83334%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A herpetologist (Robin Riker) helps a detective (Robert Forster) track her flushed-away pet, now a king-size mutant called Ramone.... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Teague

#30

The Lost Boys (1987)
75%

#30
Adjusted Score: 80146%
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: Teenage brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) move with their mother (Dianne Wiest) to a small town in... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#29

Videodrome (1983)
79%

#29
Adjusted Score: 82207%
Critics Consensus: Visually audacious, disorienting, and just plain weird, Videodrome's musings on technology, entertainment, and politics still feel fresh today.
Synopsis: As the president of a trashy TV channel, Max Renn (James Woods) is desperate for new programming to attract viewers.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#28

The Changeling (1980)
83%

#28
Adjusted Score: 83334%
Critics Consensus: George C. Scott's somber performance gives this haunted house horror a moving soul to go along with its harrowing scares.
Synopsis: Composer John Russell (George C. Scott) is vacationing with his family when a car accident kills his wife and daughter.... [More]
Directed By: Peter Medak

#27

Predator (1987)
80%

#27
Adjusted Score: 82810%
Critics Consensus: Predator: Part sci-fi, part horror, part action -- all muscle.
Synopsis: Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a soldier of fortune, is hired by the U.S. government to secretly rescue a group of politicians... [More]
Directed By: John McTiernan

#26

Day of the Dead (1985)
83%

#26
Adjusted Score: 85824%
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: The living dead regroup above while humans (Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato) sweat it out below in a Florida... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#25

Dead Ringers (1988)
83%

#25
Adjusted Score: 85402%
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: Elliot (Jeremy Irons), a successful gynecologist, works at the same practice as his identical twin, Beverly (also Irons). Elliot is... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#24

Near Dark (1987)
82%

#24
Adjusted Score: 86422%
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: Cowboy Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar) meets gorgeous Mae (Jenny Wright) at a bar, and the two have an immediate attraction.... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#23

Possession (1981)
88%

#23
Adjusted Score: 89305%
Critics Consensus: Blending genres as effectively as it subverts expectations, Possession uses powerful acting and disquieting imagery to grapple with complex themes.
Synopsis: After Anna (Isabelle Adjani) reveals to her husband, Mark (Sam Neill), that she is having an affair, she leaves him... [More]
Directed By: Andrzej Zulawski

#22

Altered States (1980)
85%

#22
Adjusted Score: 88769%
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: Respected scientist and psychology professor Edward Jessup (William Hurt) decides to combine his experiments in sensory deprivation tanks with powerful... [More]
Directed By: Ken Russell

#21

Beetlejuice (1988)
85%

#21
Adjusted Score: 89022%
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: After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#20

The Stepfather (1987)
88%

#20
Adjusted Score: 88938%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Jerry Blake (Terry O'Quinn) is a family man, but he happens to have a series of families, with each one... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Ruben

#19

Holy Blood (1989)
86%

#19
Adjusted Score: 88541%
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: In Mexico, the traumatized son (Axel Jodorowsky) of a knife-thrower (Guy Stockwell) and a trapeze artist bonds grotesquely with his... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Jodorowsky

#18

They Live (1988)
85%

#18
Adjusted Score: 88265%
Critics Consensus: A politically subversive blend of horror and sci fi, They Live is an underrated genre film from John Carpenter.
Synopsis: Nada (Roddy Piper), a wanderer without meaning in his life, discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#17

Gremlins (1984)
85%

#17
Adjusted Score: 90473%
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: A gadget salesman is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Dante

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 90094%
Critics Consensus: The Opera house location gives plenty to work with for director Dario Argento, who hits his decadently bloody high notes here.
Synopsis: A hooded figure forces a young diva (Cristina Marsillach) to watch as he murders performers in a production of Verdi's... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#15

Poltergeist (1982)
87%

#15
Adjusted Score: 91391%
Critics Consensus: Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and -- most importantly -- consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic.
Synopsis: Strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings -- Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenaged... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#14
Adjusted Score: 92658%
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: David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), two American college students, are backpacking through Britain when a large wolf attacks... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#13

The Thing (1982)
83%

#13
Adjusted Score: 88162%
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: In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#12
Adjusted Score: 90020%
Critics Consensus: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is an effective, chilling profile of a killer that is sure to shock and disturb.
Synopsis: Henry (Michael Rooker) is released from prison following his mother's murder. He supplements his job as an exterminator with a... [More]
Directed By: John McNaughton

#11
Adjusted Score: 94188%
Critics Consensus: A punk take on the zombie genre, The Return of the Living Dead injects a healthy dose of '80s silliness to the flesh-consuming.
Synopsis: When foreman Frank (James Karen) shows new employee Freddy (Thom Mathews) a secret military experiment in a supply warehouse, the... [More]
Directed By: Dan O'Bannon

#10

The Dead Zone (1983)
90%

#10
Adjusted Score: 92805%
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: When Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) awakens from a coma caused by a car accident, he finds that years have passed,... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#9

Fright Night (1985)
92%

#9
Adjusted Score: 94460%
Critics Consensus: Fright Night deftly combines thrills and humor in this ghostly tale about a man living next to a vampire.
Synopsis: Teenage Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is a horror-film junkie, so it's no surprise that, when a reclusive new neighbor named... [More]
Directed By: Tom Holland

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 94542%
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: Meek flower shop assistant Seymour (Rick Moranis) pines for co-worker Audrey (Ellen Greene). During a total eclipse, he discovers an... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#7

The Shining (1980)
85%

#7
Adjusted Score: 92856%
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: Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block.... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#6

Re-Animator (1985)
94%

#6
Adjusted Score: 97645%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.
Synopsis: A medical student (Jeffrey Combs) brings his headless professor back from the dead with a special serum.... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#5
Adjusted Score: 97748%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: In Wes Craven's classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#4

The Fly (1986)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 98716%
Critics Consensus: David Cronenberg combines his trademark affinity for gore and horror with strongly developed characters, making The Fly a surprisingly affecting tragedy.
Synopsis: When scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) completes his teleportation device, he decides to test its abilities on himself. Unbeknownst to... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#3

Evil Dead 2 (1987)
95%

#3
Adjusted Score: 99530%
Critics Consensus: Evil Dead 2's increased special effects and slapstick-gore makes it as good -- if not better -- than the original.
Synopsis: The second of three films in the Evil Dead series is part horror, part comedy, with Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell)... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#2

The Evil Dead (1981)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 99658%
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: Ashley "Ash" Williams (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend and three pals hike into the woods to a cabin for a fun... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#1

Aliens (1986)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104590%
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: After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team.... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

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