(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: 58662%
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: 60237%
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: 58417%
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: 63074%
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: 57616%
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: 60442%
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: 61263%
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)
61%

#83
Adjusted Score: 61231%
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: 61401%
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: 62327%
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: 33179%
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: 62706%
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: 61281%
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: 64253%
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: 64253%
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)
61%

#75
Adjusted Score: 63668%
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: 64499%
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: 64819%
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: 64448%
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: 62653%
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: 66059%
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)
67%

#69
Adjusted Score: 66148%
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: 66455%
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: 66047%
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: 63957%
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: 66721%
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: 67008%
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)
67%

#63
Adjusted Score: 66024%
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: 66993%
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: 68432%
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: 68506%
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)
68%

#59
Adjusted Score: 69676%
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: 68198%
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: 70950%
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: 71365%
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: 72017%
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: 72538%
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)
71%

#53
Adjusted Score: 72841%
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: 73300%
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: 74060%
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: 75921%
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: 74457%
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: 74881%
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: 75801%
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: 76410%
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: 76295%
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: 75857%
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: 76627%
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: 71512%
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: 77238%
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: 77537%
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: 77952%
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: 56390%
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: 77462%
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)
78%

#36
Adjusted Score: 79436%
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: 76560%
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: 80138%
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: 57165%
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: 81277%
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)
80%

#31
Adjusted Score: 81140%
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)
77%

#30
Adjusted Score: 81626%
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)
78%

#29
Adjusted Score: 82402%
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: 83461%
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)
82%

#27
Adjusted Score: 84707%
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: 84997%
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: 85763%
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)
81%

#24
Adjusted Score: 85530%
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: 89494%
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: 89030%
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: 89460%
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: 89169%
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: 88740%
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: 88818%
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: 91135%
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: 90053%
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: 91799%
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: 92642%
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)
82%

#13
Adjusted Score: 88509%
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: 88960%
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: 94388%
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: 93083%
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: 94705%
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: 94422%
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: 93380%
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: 98044%
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: 98230%
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: 98490%
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: 99955%
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: 100024%
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: 104458%
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

(Photo by New Line, 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

All 21 David Cronenberg Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Over the course of six decades, David Cronenberg has built a bloody, slimed-over, and warped throne of flesh and bone to sit upon as the king of body horror. His first two films, Stereo and Crimes of the Future, are little-seen, ready for Cronenberg fans to re-discover and find that his obsession with pushing the boundaries of science, sexual perversity, and our oh-so-tenuous grasp on our physical self was present from the beginning.

Rabid and The Brood made more of a squeamish splash with general audiences. And in the ’80s, Cronenberg came into his own: Scanners was all over horror magazines for its legendary exploding head sequence. The Dead Zone contributed to a hot streak of Stephen King adaptations happening across the industry, following Carrie and The Shining. The Fly was the rare excellent remake and had the good sense to parade Jeff Goldblum around in his underwear (and vomit). And Videodrome seemed to best express Cronenberg’s vision of how the self can be utterly compromised by sinister forces.

The ’90s saw Cronenberg experimenting with an expanded dramatic palette (M. Butterfly, Naked Lunch) with varied results, which would pay dividends in the following decade. That’s when he released A History of Violence, which would become his highest-grossing movie, be nominated for two Oscars, and mark the start of a fruitful collaboration with Viggo Mortensen. The actor was nominated for the Oscar in their follow-up Eastern Promises, which boasts a bath house fight that’ll please those who think the tighty-whities Goldblum wore in The Fly were too much clothing. The third Viggo movie was A Dangerous Method, a kinky yet classy flick of psychology that brought in Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender.

And you know how Robert Pattinson is your new favorite actor, especially after you had written him off for those Twilight movies? You can thank Cronenberg for giving Pattinson the opportunity to do weird roles to shake up his image, in movies like Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars. Cronenberg has appeared to have retired in recent years with the shifting movie and media landscape. If that’s the case, then it’s been an impressive, influential, and gross – really, really gross – career, which we’re celebrating now with all 21 David Cronenberg movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#21

M. Butterfly (1993)
43%

#21
Adjusted Score: 43035%
Critics Consensus: David Cronenberg reins in his provocative sensibility and handles delicate material with restraint, yielding a disappointing adaptation that flattens M. Butterfly into a tedious soap opera.
Synopsis: René Gallimard (Jeremy Irons) is a diplomat from France who has been sent to Beijing. While acclimating to life in... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#20

Crash (1996)
63%

#20
Adjusted Score: 66300%
Critics Consensus: Despite the surprisingly distant, clinical direction, Crash's explicit premise and sex is classic Cronenberg territory.
Synopsis: "Crash" is about the strange lure of the auto collision, provoking as it does the human fascination with death and... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#19

Stereo (1969)
60%

#19
Adjusted Score: 43534%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scientists perform surgery which allows humans to communicate through telepathy.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 36166%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man (Ronald Mlodzik) takes a bizarre journey while searching for a kidnapped 5-year-old girl.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 67126%
Critics Consensus: Narratively unwieldy and tonally jumbled, Maps to the Stars still has enough bite to satisfy David Cronenberg fans in need of a coolly acidic fix.
Synopsis: Driven by an intense need for fame and validation, members of a dysfunctional Hollywood dynasty have lives as dramatic as... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#16

Cosmopolis (2012)
66%

#16
Adjusted Score: 72800%
Critics Consensus: Though some may find it cold and didactic, Cosmopolis benefits from David Cronenberg's precise direction, resulting in a psychologically complex adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel.
Synopsis: A 28-year-old billionaire (Robert Pattinson) senses his empire collapsing around him as he takes a limo ride across Manhattan to... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#15

Naked Lunch (1991)
69%

#15
Adjusted Score: 70136%
Critics Consensus: Strange, maddening, and at times incomprehensible, Naked Lunch is nonetheless an engrossing experience.
Synopsis: Blank-faced bug killer Bill Lee (Peter Weller) and his dead-eyed wife, Joan (Judy Davis), like to get high on Bill's... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#14

Rabid (1977)
76%

#14
Adjusted Score: 77784%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Surgery leaves a Montreal motorcyclist (Marilyn Chambers) with a bloodsucking appendage in her armpit.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#13

eXistenZ (1999)
74%

#13
Adjusted Score: 76805%
Critics Consensus: Gooey, slimy, grotesque fun.
Synopsis: Video game designer Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh) has created a virtual reality game called eXistenZ. After a crazed fan... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#12

Scanners (1981)
70%

#12
Adjusted Score: 72538%
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

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 85271%
Critics Consensus: A provocative historical fiction about the early days of psychoanalysis, A Dangerous Method is buoyed by terrific performances by Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, and Viggo Mortensen.
Synopsis: In 1904 a Russian woman named Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) arrives at Carl Jung's (Michael Fassbender) clinic, seeking treatment for... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#10

Videodrome (1983)
78%

#10
Adjusted Score: 82402%
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

#9

The Brood (1979)
84%

#9
Adjusted Score: 85545%
Critics Consensus: The Brood is a grotesque, squirming, hilariously shrill exploration of the bizarre and deadly side of motherhood.
Synopsis: A mad doctor (Oliver Reed) tries psychoplasmic therapy on a raging woman (Samantha Eggar) soon to be a mother.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#8

Dead Ringers (1988)
83%

#8
Adjusted Score: 85763%
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

#7

Spider (2002)
85%

#7
Adjusted Score: 88341%
Critics Consensus: Ralph Fiennes is brilliant in this accomplished and haunting David Cronenberg film.
Synopsis: Released after decades in a sanitarium, schizophrenic Dennis "Spider" Cleg (Ralph Fiennes) moves into Mrs. Wilkinson's (Lynn Redgrave) halfway house... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 95695%
Critics Consensus: A History of Violence raises compelling and thoughtful questions about the nature of violence, while representing a return to form for director David Cronenberg in one of his more uncharacteristic pieces.
Synopsis: When a pair of petty criminals attempt to rob his small-town diner, Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) quickly and easily kills... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#5

Shivers (1975)
85%

#5
Adjusted Score: 85817%
Critics Consensus: Shivers uses elementally effective basic ingredients to brilliant effect - and lays the profoundly unsettling foundation for director David Cronenberg's career to follow.
Synopsis: After a scientist living in a posh apartment complex slaughters a teen girl and kills himself, investigators discover that the... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#4

Fast Company (1979)
88%

#4
Adjusted Score: 28773%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After his sponsor replaces him with his archrival, a race-car driver decides to steal the car and race it himself.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#3

Eastern Promises (2007)
89%

#3
Adjusted Score: 97618%
Critics Consensus: David Cronenberg triumphs again, showcasing the Viggo Mortensen's onscreen prowess in a daring performance. Bearing the trademarks of psychological drama and gritty violence, Eastern Promises is a very compelling crime story.
Synopsis: Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen), who is both ruthless and mysterious, has ties to one of the most dangerous crime families in... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#2

The Dead Zone (1983)
90%

#2
Adjusted Score: 93083%
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

#1

The Fly (1986)
93%

#1
Adjusted Score: 98490%
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

As much as we all love the movies around here, there’s nothing quite like binge-watching a fresh batch of well-made serial entertainment, and this weekend, Netflix is serving up one of the year’s most highly anticipated new seasons. We’re talking, of course, about Stranger Things — and in honor of its return, we decided to dedicate this feature to a look at some of the many films that helped inspire the streaming service’s ’80s-set horror hit. Toast up some Eggos, because it’s time for Total Recall, Stranger Things style!


Alien (1979) 98%

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

Stranger Things‘ setting of Hawkins, Indiana is clearly quite different from the reaches of deep space where we meet the crew of the Nostromo in Alien. Still, it’s easy to see how the Duffer brothers took inspiration from Ridley Scott’s sci-fi/horror classic — most obviously in the way those imprisoned in the Upside Down are forcibly used as incubators for the offspring of its monstrous denizens, and in the way the Demogorgon’s nightmarish face opens like the world’s worst flower (or a xenomorph’s egg). Given the way poor Will yarfed up a nasty remnant of his time in captivity, we’re guessing we’ve seen far from the last instance of Alien‘s body horror influence on the show.


Altered States (1980) 85%

(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)

The first time Eleven is plunged into her sensory deprivation tank in order to access the Upside Down, film buffs saw a clear parallel to this 1980 cult classic, in which William Hurt plays a psychologist who uses a similar apparatus to explore the theory that human consciousness is far more vast and complex than we’re able to understand in our waking hours. Using a combination of drugs and sensory deprivation, he undergoes a series of progressively more profound transformations, until — like Eleven — crossing the line between realities threatens to consume him altogether. Stranger Things hasn’t given us primitive man or a many-eyed goat yet, but as the second-season teasers have shown us, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the Upside Down.


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 99%

Steven Spielberg’s classic 1982 hit is a lot of things, but underneath everything, it’s the story of a group of kids banding together to protect their powerful yet vulnerable — and decidedly unusual — new friend from an encroaching adult menace. It’s a fight that comes with no small amount of peril, and one that’s destined to demand some heartbreaking sacrifice before it’s over, but our brave protagonists still insist on standing up for what’s right, and doing it largely without (deliberate) assistance from the unwitting adult authority figures in their lives. And okay, so Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) never made a bike fly across the night sky, but she did flip a freakin’ van with the power of her mind — and just like E.T. loved his Reese’s Pieces, she can’t get enough Eggo waffles.


Firestarter (1984) 37%

This is a little bit of a cheat, because although the Duffer brothers were clearly influenced by Firestarter — along with an assortment of other Stephen King stories, including IT — they took their inspiration from the bestselling horror master’s books rather than their film adaptations. Still, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the story of young Charlie McGee (Drew Barrymore), a young girl whose growing pyrokinetic powers are the inherited result of a shadowy government program… and very much desired by the men in pursuit of Charlie and her dad, who’ve fled their captors’ grasp and are determined to live in freedom rather than be forced to use their gifts for potentially nefarious purposes. Eleven did a pretty bang-up job of evading Dr. Brenner during Stranger Things‘ first season, but if she ends up back on the run in season two, Charlie’s adventures might offer a few tips for staying a step ahead of special agents.


The Gate (1987) 60%

(Photo by New Century Vista Film courtesy Everett Collection)

You never know what’ll be waiting when you open a portal to another dimension, but it’s always a pretty safe bet that at least one nasty surprise will be waiting on the other side. We’ve seen it happen in sci-fi over and over again for years, and 1987’s The Gate offers a perfect (and perfectly ’80s) example of those dangers in action. Like the foolhardy crew at Hawkins National Laboratory who coerce poor Eleven into mucking around with the Upside Down, the boys in The Gate (played by Stephen Dorff and Louis Tripp) end up getting more than they bargained for when they poke a hole in the barrier between worlds — heck, we even see the old “stretching wall” trick in action.


The Goonies (1985) 77%

(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)

Long before Stranger Things rounded up a gang of junior misfits to tell a tale of adventure with horror overtones, dozens of directors made memorable use of that familiar dynamic for films that thrilled audiences while making them nostalgic for their misspent youth (or, for younger filmgoers, sent them home with dreams of doing anything half as cool as the stuff they’d just seen). But given the Duffer brothers’ fondness for all things ’80s, we’re inclined to point to The Goonies and The Monster Squad as two of the show’s more obvious sources of inspiration. Like the Goonies, our Hawkins heroes aren’t the coolest kids in school — and like the Monster Squad, they’ve experienced stuff that would send many of the adults in their lives straight into therapy. Strength in numbers always counts for a lot, but it’s even more meaningful during the years before you get your driver’s license.


The Manhattan Project (1986) 50%

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

The post-Watergate years were great for paranoid, politically tinged thrillers — particularly in the early ’80s, when rapidly advancing technology mingled with Cold War fears to produce cinema that imagined computer-driven conspiracies lurking behind even the most innocuous-seeming suburban landscapes. That paranoia fueled 1986’s The Manhattan Project, in which a government scientist’s top-secret lab is disguised as a medical company in upstate New York… and a particularly smart kid ends up bogarting plutonium from the facility so he can build a bomb for his big science fair project. The kids in Stranger Things haven’t had to defuse a warhead yet, but the secret misdeeds going on inside the Hawkins National Laboratory could end up being far more explosive.


A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) 95%

(Photo by New Line Cinema)

The Demogorgon doesn’t have a razor-clawed glove, a fedora, or a ratty striped sweater. Still, there are some clear parallels between A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Freddy Krueger and Stranger Things‘ big bad from the Upside Down — first spotted in the second episode of the first season (titled “The Weirdo on Maple Street”), during which the wall of Will Byers’ room is seen stretching with the strain of something trying to get in, Krueger style. In the season climax, Jonathan and Nancy decide to do battle against the Demogorgon by outfitting the Byers home with booby traps and luring the monster in — much the same way Freddy met his (first) demise in the original Nightmare.


Poltergeist (1982) 87%

(Photo by MGM)

After poor Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) gets trapped in the Upside Down, and his mom Joyce (Winona Ryder) struggles to communicate with him — first via freaky phone connection, then through messages sent by Christmas lights — it is, like much of Stranger Things, both scary and poignant. But it’s also kind of familiar, at least to anyone who’s ever watched Poltergeist: poor Carol Anne Freeling (Heather O’Rourke) spends much of the movie separated from her desperate parents, held captive by a supernatural evil and only able to reach out through the static on the family TV. And like Carol Anne, Will is ultimately drawn back to life by the power of his mother’s love — although it isn’t enough to prevent lingering traces of the other side from coming with him.


Scanners (1981) 70%

To see the influences exerted by some of the movies on this list, you need to have a fairly observant eye. Not so David Cronenberg’s 1981 sci-fi horror classic Scanners, which — like Stranger Things — involves a shadowy group of powerful people determined to maintain control over a powerful telepath. Stranger Things has included a lot less head-exploding action thus far, but hey — we’re only up to the second season so far. You never know what might happen next.


Stand by Me (1986) 91%

(Photo by Columbia Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)

It would be easy enough to draw parallels between Stranger Things and any classic movie about kids on a potentially life-threatening adventure. Still, Stand by Me stands out as one of the more obvious points of reference — not least because it was adapted from a Stephen King story. And while there may not be a straight line between Stranger Things and King’s tale of four friends braving local bullies to catch a glimpse of a dead body, there are a number of visual references, and there’s still plenty of overlap; both are period pieces, albeit set in different eras, and both delve into the darker elements of that fraught area between childhood and the adult world. (Also, they both boast a killer soundtrack.)

This week on home video, we’ve got an animated sequel, a puzzling sci-fi tale, and the second season of a much buzzed-about BBC America TV series. Beyond that, we’ve got a handful of notable smaller movies, as well as two excellent choices from the Criterion Collection. Read on for details:



Rio 2

48%

Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway reprise their voice roles as Blu and Jewel, the pair of blue macaws who found love in Fox’s 2011 animated film Rio, in this sequel, which follows them as they pursue the trail of another recently spotted macaw. Along the way, Blu, Jewel, and their three kids clash with an illegal logging operation in the Amazon, reunite with Jewel’s family, and run into some trouble in the form of an old nemesis. Unfortunately, critics weren’t as smitten by the colorful couple’s antics this time around, saying Rio 2 felt simply like a bigger, busier retread of its predecessor and rewarding its efforts with a 46 percent on the Tomatometer. Nevertheless, it may serve as a colorful distraction for your little ones, especially considering the special features include an extensive playlist of both sing-along and dance-along songs, among other things.



Under the Skin

84%

Those of you looking to hunker down with a copy of Under the Skin this week purely because “it’s the movie where Scarlett Johansson gets naked” might end up with more than you bargained for (don’t worry; we know that’s not really why you’re watching it). Jonathan Glazer’s (Sexy Beast) third film, an adaptation of Michel Faber’s eponymous sci-fi novel, is the stylized account of an alien who takes the form of a woman (Johansson) to seduce men and, ultimately, absorb their innards. Over time, the alien’s predatory instincts give way to curious observation, but to what end? Critics mostly agreed that Under the Skin‘s visual themes and narrative ambiguity might not be accessible to all viewers, but they also praised Johansson’s performance and the film’s haunting, heady ideas, making the film Certified Fresh at 86 percent. Available on DVD and Blu-ray this week, special features include a little over 42 minutes’ worth of featurettes on topics ranging from the casting and music to the production design and visual effects.



Orphan Black – Season Two

BBC America’s hit sci-fi series has been a coming out party for its star, Tatiana Maslany, who acts opposite herself in multiple roles and has earned a Golden Globe nomination for her efforts (no Emmy nom, though, much to the dismay of fans). After a first season that slowly drew an increasingly larger audience by word of mouth, Orphan Black returned for its second season back in April, expanding its narrative to include more characters, more twists, and more evidence why Maslany deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the show’s Certified Fresh 97 percent Tomatometer. For those of you looking for some extra clone goodness, the season two Blu-ray that hits shelves this week includes a number of making-of featurettes, including an extended version of the four-clone scene (dance party, woohoo!) and clone character profiles.

Also available this week:

  • Wrinkles (96 percent), an animated film about life in a retirement home, with voice work from Martin Sheen and Matthew Modine.
  • Israeli import Bethlehem (77 percent), a Certified Fresh drama exploring the complex relationship between an Israeli Secret Service agent and his Palestinian informant.
  • Road to Paloma (70 percent), a road movie about a Native American who flees across the country after he avenges his mother’s murder, starring, written by, and directed by Jason Momoa.
  • The Face of Love (42 percent), starring Ed Harris and Annette Bening in a dramedy about a widow who meets and falls in love with a man who looks exactly like her deceased husband.
  • Season three of Hell on Wheels, starring Anson Mount in a Western drama about a former Confederate soldier who becomes a foreman in the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad.
  • And of course, two more choices from the Criterion Collection: David Cronenberg’s breakout 1981 thriller Scanners (79 percent) is available in a first-time Criterion edition, and Robert Bresson’s 1959 classic Pickpocket (97 percent) is available in a new DVD edition and a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack.

You guys! Check it out! You aren’t going to believe this, but…it’s a news item about a remake!

What’s getting the do-over treatment this time? Why, it’s David Cronenberg‘s The Brood, the 1979 horror classic starring Oliver Reed as a psychotherapist whose, um, unorthodox techniques cause Samantha Eggar to “give birth” to a small army of creepy kids who act out her repressed anger.

The new Brood, according to Variety, will be written by Cory Goodman and released through Spyglass Entertainment, and is reflective of what Variety refers to as “something of a renaissance” for Cronenberg; aside from the critical praise enjoyed by his most recent projects, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, his earlier films are becoming trendy remake subjects — in development alongside The Brood is a Darren Lynn Bousman-directed update on Scanners.

Source: Variety

It’s easy to remake old horror movies with newfangled CGI effects. Recapturing their spirit is another story. That’s what David Goyer hopes to do with his script for "Scanners," originally David Cronenberg‘s telepathic exploding head movie from the ’80s.

"’Scanners’ is a great movie but it’s also very dated to a certain extent," said Goyer. "Largely in socio-political terms it’s very dated. Cronenberg’s movies are always very political and very specific. That original film had a lot to do with corporate America and the Reagan years and all of that stuff and that’s not what’s happening now. So my whole thing was, and I love that movie and I don’t want to ruin that movie, so it’s not a slavish remake. It’s kind of taking the best stuff from that and trying to apply the same sociopolitical template."

One need only turn on the news to find material for telepathic warriors. "Read about all the stuff that’s going on in Iraq, or the stuff that’s going on in the Justice department or Guantanamo Bay and all the rights that are being trampled on. That’s what I’m trying to deal with in the remake of that."

And exploding heads, of course. "Of course we’re going to blow up a head but we have to go further than blow up a head because we’re 20 years down the line. With ‘Scanners,’ it’s just fun to know I can just go for it and I don’t have to do the toned down version of it."

As a fan of the original, Goyer does hope Cronenberg approves. "I figured the best way to do it would be finish it and send it to him and either get his blessing or take my lashings."

He’s written some of the most popular movies of the past few years, but writer/director David S. Goyer isn’t slowing down. His remake "The Invisible" hits screens soon, he’s got a cool-sounding project called "Super Max" on the horizon, and he’s planning to remake a well-regarded David Cronenberg flick called "Scanners."

Yep, "Scanners," the movie in which Michael Ironside makes human heads explode just by thinking about it (and concentrating real hard). Mr. Goyer is taking the smart route with this remake, being careful to praise Mr. Cronenberg’s very influential work while mentioning how he’d like to ‘modernize’ the story.

"I’m a huge Cronenberg fan, and ‘Scanners’ was definitely one of my favorite films as a kid," Goyer said. "What we’re trying to do is take all the best elements of that. … He obviously made it on a shoestring budget, so this time hopefully we can expand upon what he did," is what Goyer had to say, among other things.

Darren Lynn Bousman looks to be on board as the new "Scanners" director. Production on the remake is supposed to get rolling in early 2008.

Source: Sci-Fi Wire

Darren Lynn Bousman, director of "Saw 2," "Saw 3," and the upcoming "Saw 4," will soon be helming a remake of David Cronenberg‘s "Scanners" for Dimension Films. They also signed a pretty good screenwriter for the gig…

…and that writer is David S. Goyer, whose flicks include "Dark City," "Blade," "Blade 2," and "Batman Begins."

For those who don’t remember the original "Scanners," click right here to check out the now-famous "exploding head" sequence. (It’s a pretty cool old Cronenberg flick, one that’d make for a great double feature with the man’s "Videodrome.")

Sources: IGN Movies, Variety

Directors Bryan Singer and Richard Donner were on stage together for the "Superman Returns" Q&A, but before that, Singer showed a blooper reel. Oh the things coming out of the cast’s mouths.

I won’t give it away here, but don’t worry, Singer assures us it’ll be on the DVD for those of us who can’t attend Comic-Con. Read on for the highlights of this panel and my one-one-one with the director. Also got a little preview of the "Snakes on a Plane" 10-min clip.

Superman Returns Sequel, X-Men and Logan’s Run
The "Superman Returns" sequel will have more action, director Bryan Singer reveals, but he probably won’t get around to it until 2009. He plans to either take a rest or do a smaller movie next, citing the tolls in doing movies like "Superman Returns" and "X-Men."

When asked if he’ll return to direct another "X-Men" movie, director Richard Donner answered for Singer that he will. Given Singer’s close relationship with Richard Donner and the producer of the "X-men" movies is Donner’s wife…it may happen.

"Logan’s Run" remake is on hold at the moment. Another director may take over should Singer ultimately passed, according to producer Joel Silver, whom I spoke to earlier.

Snakes on a Plane
A ten minutes clip of the movie was shown, with director David R. Ellis, Samuel L. Jackson, and snake handler Jules Sylvester on hand afterward to Q&A. The clip is as bad-assed as one can expect from a picture like this. Check out my description of the clip or watch it here.

Author: Binh Ngo, RottenTomatoes.com

Moviehole shares some interesting news and insight regarding the potential remake of David Cronenberg‘s cult classic "Scanners": "Artisan announced their interest to redo the film in 2002, but now that Lions Gate has taken over the company – it’s their baby. Pierre David, René Malo and Clark Peterson will serve as producers on the film. Cronenberg’s not keen on the idea saying previously that ‘I’d prefer that they not [revisit my earlier work].’"

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