22nd Oct2020

Ten Best: Perfect 80s Horror Films for Halloween

by Chris Cummings

Everyone who loves horror movies also loves Halloween, right? I mean, aside from the creepy and spooky decor that appears on store shelves across the globe, and all the fun candy that is suddenly available in the shape of brains or eyeballs or the withered hand of a zombie, there’s also the wonderful sales on horror movies, or the various stuff that starts popping up on streaming services and television. The horror that we love all year is suddenly way easier to find, way more accepted, and much more prominent. It’s fair to say, also, that the 1980s are one of the finest and greatest times for the genre, a time where countless horror classics were released, where franchises hit their pinnacles, where icons of horror were born. It’s a fantastic decade, and so I thought it might be fun, this year, to take a look at just ten 80s horror movies that are absolutely perfect to watch during the Halloween season. The films on this list may not be set during the Halloween time of year, but each one is definitely a great option for viewing in October. So, let’s get to it, boils and ghouls…

10) Child’s Play (1988)

What’s more Halloweeny (that’s a word. I swear) than a doll coming to life and trying to kill a bunch of people with a knife? NOTHING! THAT’S WHAT! Well, some things are, which is why this is only number 10 on the list, but this is still a great pick for a Halloween-time horror treat. A classic in the genre that is always worth revisiting, especially during the season of good chills. Chucky, is, afterall, a mascot for silly terror. Ah… Silly terror… the best kind of terror.

9) Fright Night (1985)

One of the best vampire movies of the 1980s, Fright Night is an homage to the camp-vamp genre, with wonderfully OTT performances, a genuinely creepy moment or three, and a tone that fits perfectly with the Halloween season. I adore this flick, and along with The Lost Boys, it sits at the top of 80s Vamp Horror for me. If you watch any vampire flick this Halloween, invite Charley Brewster and Jerry Dandridge into your home (maybe not the last one, you should never invite a vampire into your house). Fantastic.

8) Pet Sematary (1989)

I don’t know what’s cooler about Pet Semetary. Is it the fact that Herman bloody Munster is the neighbour across the street? Is it the demonic cat? Is it the creepy and super-80s tone? I don’t know. I do know, however, that this Stephen King adaptation is a blast, and one that I love to pop on during Halloween season whilst sitting on my porch and watching speeding trucks pass by. Good times. LOOK OUT!

7) Return of the Living Dead (1985)

I think this might be my favourite movie on this whole list. Return of the Living Dead is an absolute riot. It’s funny (on purpose), cool, punk rock, daft and gory. It is full of quotable moments and wonderfully iconic scenes (Tarman, anyone?). The comic-book cartoonishness also helps it feel like an ideal choice for October. A definite treat!

6) Creepshow (1982)

I mean, come on now. A Romero and Stephen King collaboration. An Eerie Comics style horror anthology movie. This is a classic, and one of those must-watches during this season. The cool thing about this is that you don’t just get one tale for your money, but five of them, and they all have something fun to offer. I love Creepshow (and even the sequel). Get it on!

5) House (1985)

The whole House franchise could be on this list, but I went with the first film from 1985. I mean, it’s so silly, and funny, and yet still has those jump scares and gory creature effects that make it a little bit creepy too. There’s some wonderful moments here. It’s a haunted house creature-feature comedy-horror and it does everything it sets out to do in a successful way. I really love this movie.

4) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Could I really leave this out. Now, this is my favourite movie on this list, but it lands a little lower as far as a perfect watch for Halloween. Still, it’s on my pile to watch, and should be on yours. It’s iconic, it’s fun, it’s the birth of a franchise that has so many high’s, and it never stops being scary. This is when Freddy was genuinely creepy, and when Elm Street as a series was full-on horror. It works brilliantly as a Halloween option, too, because it brings in all those things you want at this time of year. Scares, silliness, blood and Johnny Depp being turned to liquid on a bed. Done.

3) Night of the Demons (1988)

A bunch of teens have a bloody Halloween shindig in a funeral parlour. What could go wrong? Everything. That’s what could go wrong. This is such a classic Halloween horror film, and so much fun. If you want a chilled-out good-time horror flick, then look no further. There’s a reason this sits so high on this list. It’s one of the greatest horror movies to be set in the Halloween season, and a joy to watch over and over. Schlocky, silly and super enjoyable. This is daft 80s horror done well.

2) The Changeling (1980)

George C. Scott acts his butt off in this wonderfully creepy, atmospheric and traditionally toned haunted house tale. They don’t make ghost stories like this anymore, and this is one of the last truly horrifying examples of a genre that became packed with CGI and jump scares. The intensity and eerie cloud that hangs over the film is fantastically spooky in the most genuine way, which makes this a great choice for Halloween viewing. It’s dark and serious and unnerving, all the things that many Halloween films aren’t. A nice change of pace, then, and a must.

1) Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982)

This may be a controversial choice for many, but I think it deserves its spot at the top of this list, because it is so unashamedly, absolutely, unequivocally a Halloween film, and a love letter to the season. It flopped and dropped back in 1982, with most fans wanting to see the return of Michael Myers, and not a tale of a small-town plot to take over the world by killing children with Halloween masks. It’s unique, fun, creepy and has, over time, become a cult classic in the deep annals of horror. If you watch any horror film this Halloween night, this is the pick. It’s not the best Halloween franchise flick, and may not even be the best movie on this list, but as far as a film that feels so deeply rooted in the season, it’s perfect.


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