The Horror of the 80's
by Dan Greene

Okay, so this week we’re talking about the 80’s…. For some reason I am expected to keep this piece under twenty thousand words or so; that doesn’t leave me much room to maneuver between that decade’s highs and lows. So many unforgettable movies, for better or worse. So many works of art; so many car crashes.

burialground.jpgBurial Ground (Nights Of Terror) – 80

I talked about that one here. A group of rich folks travel to a tropical island to party. They don’t realize that they’ll be partying with a group of rather smart, and smartly dressed, zombies. The zombies actually strike me as smarter than the living people. They work well together anyway. Smoke enough dope and you’ll swear that this movie is about the evils of capitalism and the unstoppable force of communism. But the communists are already dead, and the capitalists are dropping like flies, so….. okay, maybe this movie is really about anarchy. And dressing well, no matter your political persuasion. I would love to know where I can get an ascot, just so I could say that I have one.

The Changeling – 80

I know I talked about this somewhere before. I was eight years old, I saw it in the theatre and I was scared out of my wits for months. Couldn’t go upstairs to take a leak without having someone wait outside the bathroom. I only started pissing alone when I learned that I could go down the steps three at a time without breaking my neck. Upstairs is an important place in The Changeling. The further up you go, the worse it gets. Everything comes down from upstairs. Watching it as an adult, it’s still creepy. But nothing on film has ever scared me the way The Changeling did when I was eight. If anything’s ever scared me more I must have repressed it. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Uncle Gerry.

Friday The 13th – 80

Just letting you know that yes, we are in the 80’s now. This one turned into a franchise and kept going and going. Still going today, in fact. For all the bad press these movies get, they can be a lot of fun to watch. The first of them is a good movie on its own merits anyway. I bet you haven’t seen it in a while either….

Other movies from 1980 that let you know what time it is: The Fog, The Howling, Nightmare City, Mother’s Day, The Shining.

Hell, I’ve hardly started here.

An American Werewolf In London – 81

Now here’s a good movie. Outstanding special effects, great story with very few holes; it’s got good jokes and good deaths. And Jenny Agutter. Nurse Alex. Jessica 6 for you sci fi fans. If that turns you off, well that’s okay because Jenny was also in Child’s Play 2.

Scanners – 81

ScannersExplodingHead.gifIt’s a David Cronenberg movie and that should be enough. If that’s not enough, then please be advised that a dude’s head explodes in one of the more famous horror scenes in history. Cronenberg is not your usual horror guy; you don’t need drugs to find cool societal statements. And if you’re not into that kind of thing then you can just watch the carnage.

Evil Dead – 82

I’m just sayin.

Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch – 82

This movie has nothing to do with anything related to the rest of the Halloween movies. A complete scam. In this movie, an evil company manufactures Halloween masks that…. well, they’re evil masks, I won’t ruin your fun. Mike Myers? Nowhere. Carpenter? Nope. Jamie Lee? She’s got a voiceover but that’s it. Still, some people love it. I thought it was good for a made for TV movie, but unfortunately it was not made for TV.

1982 also gave us Poltergeist, Slumber Party Massacre and The Thing.

Christine/Cujo/The Dead Zone – 83

videodrome.jpgStevie King got busy in 83, no? I have never seen Christine, I liked Cujo okay (cuz, you know, anything with Danny Pintauro is okay), but The Dead Zone was the best of this group. Martin Sheen, Christopher Walken, babies being used as shields…. The missiles are flying, hallelujah!

1983 also gave us Sleepaway Camp and Videodrome. Videodrome is another Cronenberg movie and it has Debbie Harry burning herself with cigarettes. James Woods is in it too, and he’s always cool.

C.H.U.D. – 84

Soup kitchens and sludge, poverty and poison. Urban degeneration leading to dehumanization of the masses. Go ahead, connect those dots. Pure 80’s.

Children Of The Corn - 84

When I first saw this movie, my sci fi geek of a brother (who is now a firefighter and has since been renamed Knuckles by his coworkers. Maybe I shouldn’t call him a geek) said it was good, but that he liked it better the first time, when it was a Star Trek Episode. I told him that the Star Trek episode was better the first time, when it was called Lord Of The Flies (I was no more right than he was). He then tied me to a chair, put my last Easter egg down the back of my pants to melt in my asscrack, went upstairs and played guitar for an hour or so. True story.

Return Of The Living Dead – 85

This is one of my favourite 80’s horror movies. Memorable characters, great imagination in the writing, some outstanding scenes and quotes, skinny ties and nekkid leddies. The sequel wasn’t quite as good but had a lot going for it as well, as I’ve blathered on about before. Return Of The Living Dead is played in my house, oh, once a month or so.

1985 also gave us Day Of The Dead, Fright Night and Demons.

Witchboard - 86

I thought this was released in 85 but I’ll go with what IMDB says. This time. Remember this one? It had Tawny Kitaen in it? And Stephen Nichols? Yeah, like you don’t know who Stephen Nichols is.t46343sia9w.jpg He played Patch on Days Of Our Lives. Don’t look at me like that, Patch is a completely relevant 80’s soap icon. Besides, I had to look up his name. You knew exactly who I was talking about.

In 86 we also had The Fly (Cronenberg again!), The Hitcher (apparently such a good bad movie that they had to remake it as a bad bad movie), April Fool’s Day (a great little ripoff movie, kind of like the Scary Movie series, but actually serious about the horror. Worth a look) and the shiniest nugget of crap in the bunch, Chopping Mall (robot security guards shoot lasers at high school kids after hours at the mall).

Angel Heart – 87

Alan Parker directed this (as well as The Commitments, The Wall and Fame) and adapted the screenplay from the book. It’s movies like this that really make me like horror movies. Good blood, a story that you really have to pay attention to, bloody nekkid Lisa Bonet covered in Mickey Rourke. Robert De Niro with eggs to spare. I know who I am….. I know who I am. And the last thing they show in the entire movie is the gears and shadows of an elevator. Yeah.

The Lost Boys – 87

Considered by many to be THE vampire movie of the 80’s, it has two Coreys. Near Dark came out the same year, but it didn’t have two Coreys. Weird Science’s Chet could not save Near Dark from The Lost Boys. I’m always reminded that saxophone was way too popular in the 80’s, and they were usually played by really muscular guys with greasy mullets. Go watch an old Tina Turner video and tell me I’m wrong.

87 also gave us Prince Of Darkness, a great movie that might have been a bit ahead of its time. It’s got Alice Cooper as a homeless guy who kills one of the characters with the front fork of a bike. Kinda cool there, buddy. Seeing as how Alice had long since stopped making albums like Killer and had started making albums like Hey Stoopid, homeless murderer probably seemed like a good career move – and probably helped when he applied for the part of Alice Cooper in Wayne’s World.

We also got Evil Dead 2 (nice one), Creepshow 2 (campy and not scary at all, unless wooden feet scare you), the Believers (Martin Sheen and voodoo) and oh yeah, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. I wish Barker would do something with David Cronenberg. That would scar me good and proper.

Child’s Play – 88

I hate that Andy Barclay kid. This one took a cue from the early 80’s and tried to beat an idea to death with multiple sequels. Then they let it rest for ten years or so, and resurrected it. At least I laughed watching Bride Of Chucky.

Dead Ringers – 88

Hey, looky here, another David Cronenberg movie. It’s been discussed a couple of times in the last month or so. Suffice it to say that I’m really happy not to be the only one on this site who loves this movie. Absolute genius.

The Serpent And the Rainbow – 88

Another movie I’ve learned is quite popular around here. Voodoo, live burials, Bill Pullman and some interracial lovin to show that alive or dead, we all want the same thing; A little lovin and not being buried alive.

We’ve got The Church (also known as Demons 3, a bit of a topical stretch but a fine movie), Return Of The Living Dead 2, and Sleepaway Camp 2 and 3. Yeah, they made two sequels in one year, but the third wasn’t released until 89.

Pet Sematary – 89

89 seemed like kind of a slow year for horror movies. At least we got Mr. King cranking them out for us, hey? I talked about Pet Sematary way back here. I love that scene with the foot and the scalpel.

The Fly 2 – 89

This is not Cronenberg and it shows. Some great gory scenes here but it’s just a B side, it’s leftovers, it’s filler, it’s Eric Stoltz. Still worth looking at but don’t get your hopes too high.

Puppet Master – 89

I saw this movie once and I hated it. I thought it was garbage, not scary, not entertaining. Camp at its worst. Seems I’m the only one. This movie has had sequels and even merged with Demonic Toys in 92 to provide us with twice the crap in one box. But you know what, it’s been about 15 years and there’s nothing on tonight, so maybe I’ll waste some money on the way home. I understand that people wasted money in the 80’s too.

Dan spent most of the 80s just looking for a good scare.



The 80's was the decade of slasher flicks. And I saw every one of them, including the worst ones like Prom Night and Terror Train (I think that was the name).

The movies that scared me the most in the 80's were The Changeling and Serpent and the Rainbow. Like I've said before, I like blood and gore for entertainment value. But the best horror movies are the ones that fuck with your head.


So many Cronenberg filcks, so little time. He's one of my favorite directors, but you can only watch so many of his movies at one time. But I think Videodrome is still my favorite. Man, what I would give to throw away all this CGI crap and go back to the kickass special effects of the old days...


Also Nighmare on Elm Street was in there somewhere.

And there was a really good satanic movie where he's coming to earth through a mirror or something like that. Well, it was good at the time anyway. Have not seen it in a long time...


I've only recently gotten into horror movies and I'm behind. Way behind. I've barely seen any of these. I guess I better get busy with Netflix.

Loved Child's Play, though. It was one of the only horror movies I watched when I was a kid. Considering how much I enjoyed it, as well as the sequels, I'm not sure why I didn't get into watching them more.


Where's Poltergeist?


So I see a pic from Videodrome, but nobody mentions it? Whats gives?

The Thing is likely was of the most perfect "monster" films ever. John Carpenter at his finest. Yeah, I liked it.


Hey Joel, don't get me wrong. I really dig the Child's Play series.... I wasn't very clear on that. I haven't seen number 3 in years though.

But I fucking hate Andy Barclay.

Ernie, you got it buddy, congratulations. You found the one I left out, you found Waldo. Nice one!


Poltergeist and Videodrome are both in there, but I only had so much space. The 80's was huge for horror.

I hit Poltergeist before, like a lot of these, and I'm hitting all the Cronenberg stuff soon enough. For sure.


I hear you on the kid, Dan. He was pretty damn annoying.

One of the few things I remember from number three was the scene that really disturbed me, which was when one of the kids jumps on the grenade to keep it from killing everyone else. Nothing particularly impressive about it, just at the time, being pretty young, it struck me as a terrible way to die.


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