15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked
Image credit: Legion-Media, globallookpress, DEG, MGM, Universal, Empire International Pictures

The 80s: a decade when horror films weren't just stories but events.

Whether it was masked killers, monstrous mutations, or supernatural scares, the 80s had it all. Films that not just frightened but also left an indelible mark.

15. The Thing (1982)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 1

The cold, the desolation, and...a parasitic extraterrestrial lifeform? Welcome to Antarctica, folks. John Carpenter, the maestro himself, paints a tale where trust isn't cheap. Researchers in a secluded station stumble upon something not of this world, something that imitates them. And boy, does it imitate well! Forget the monsters outside; here, the real terror might be sitting right next to you, mimicking your pal.

14. The Shining (1980)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 2

Step right into the Overlook Hotel, a lavish maze of opulence and, oh, perhaps a sprinkle of the supernatural. Jack Torrance thought taking up a winter caretaker gig here with his family would be smooth sailing. Little did he know that "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". And let's not forget the eerie twins or the mysterious Room 237. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this isn't just a haunted hotel story, it's an exploration of insanity. Remember, sometimes a closed door is best left unopened.

13. Poltergeist (1982)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 3

Suburbia. A typical family. A new house. What could possibly go wrong? Cue the spirits. Young Carol Anne starts conversing with unseen entities through the TV (remember when we had static screens?). Suddenly, she's pulled into an alternate dimension. Spielberg throws in vengeful ghosts, ghastly trees, and let's not get started on that clown doll. Ever heard the saying, "Don't build houses on ancient burial grounds"? Some lessons are learned the hard way.

10 Movies So Bizarre, They Make Sharknado Seem Like a Masterpiece

12. Hellraiser (1987)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 4

Fancy a puzzle box? Well, Frank does. And solving it unleashes Cenobites, otherworldly beings who have, let's say, peculiar definitions of pain and pleasure. Led by Pinhead, they're out for souls. Clive Barker delivers a masterclass in macabre aesthetics and dark desires. If you think Pandora's box had issues, you ain't seen nothing yet.

11. Evil Dead II (1987)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 5

Woods. Cabin. Evil spirits. Sounds familiar? Sam Raimi's sequel is less of a follow-up and more of a retelling with more flair. Ash, our leading man, confronts malicious entities, and let's face it, he's having a rotten day. His hand gets possessed and he replaces it with a chainsaw. You heard that right. Sometimes, when life hands you demons, make demon-ade?

10. Re-Animator (1985)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 6

Herbert West has a secret recipe, and it's not grandma's cookies. It's a serum to reanimate the dead. Sounds neat? Wrong! University labs, deranged experiments, and zany results. Director Stuart Gordon brings H.P. Lovecraft's tale alive, or should we say, undead? A dash of science, a sprinkle of the unholy, and a story that proves death is just a state of mind.

9. The Lost Boys (1987)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 7

Vampires and the 80s. Perfect combo, right? The Californian town of Santa Carla seems perfect, except for a minor vampire infestation. Two brothers, Michael and Sam, move in, and soon enough, one's hanging with the bloodsuckers and the other's hunting them. Joel Schumacher adds leather jackets, motorcycles, and a killer soundtrack. Because, why not? And remember, sleep all day, party all night. It's fun being a vampire.

8. Day of the Dead (1985)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 8

Zombies. Underground military bunkers. Tensions high as the sky. As the world's overrun by the undead, humans struggle. George A. Romero's third outing in his zombie series is claustrophobic and grim. You've got scientists vs. military, living vs. dead, and an intelligent zombie named Bub. Ever wondered about the morals of zombifying? You will now.

7. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 9

Two chaps, David and Jack, backpack across England. They're warned to stay off the moors, but do they listen? Nah. Cue the werewolf attack. John Landis fuses humor, horror, and groundbreaking transformation scenes. David's now a werewolf, and Jack? He's... well, let's call him a decomposing guide. If there's a takeaway, it's this: always heed local advice!

6. Child's Play (1988)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 10

Gift a kid a doll and you'd expect joy. Not in this case. Meet Chucky, not just any doll, but one possessed by a serial killer's soul. Tom Holland directs a tale where innocence meets pure evil. Young Andy knows the truth, but who'd believe a child? Next time you think of gifting a toy, maybe opt for a teddy?

5. The Blob (1988)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 11

Falling stars are pretty, except when they unleash an amorphous alien entity that consumes everything in its path. This remake takes a 50s classic and douses it with 80s flair. A town's under threat, and a few brave souls stand against this gelatinous menace. A gooey tale, proving sometimes danger comes in squishy packages.

4. The Fly (1986)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 12

Science experiments are cool, until they're not. Seth Brundle invents teleportation pods. Everything's peachy until a fly enters one. Now, Brundle's changing, merging with the fly. David Cronenberg explores transformation and decay like no other. Curiosity didn't just kill the cat; it turned the scientist into an insect.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 13

Drift with me into dreamland. But beware! Here lies Freddy Krueger, a ghastly figure with a razor glove. Teenagers on Elm Street have a teensy-weensy problem – dozing off could mean never waking up. Wes Craven, the guy behind the curtain, really outdid himself. One, two, Freddy's coming for you... got chills yet? Sleep's overrated anyway, they told me.

2. Friday the 13th (1980)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 14

Camp Crystal Lake: serene, scenic, and cursed? Counselors arrive to reopen the camp, unaware of its bloody history. Soon, they're picked off one by one. Who's the killer? The climax might just surprise you. Sean S. Cunningham crafts a slasher that gave birth to an iconic franchise with frankly insane staying power. Remember, always check camp legends before signing up.

1. Pet Sematary (1989)

15 Best Horror Movies from the 80s, Ranked - image 15

Sometimes, dead is better. The Creed family learns this the hard way. Moving next to a busy road and an ancient burial ground brings tragedies. Stephen King's eerie novel comes alive under Mary Lambert's direction. Resurrecting loved ones might sound tempting, but there are prices to pay. Love, loss, and lessons in letting go – and also, in unforgettable 80s horror vibes.