25th Jun2024

Ten Best: Slasher Movies (1980 – 1988)

by George P Thomas

To celebrate the release of 80s slasher classic Madn man on 4K UHD from Arrow Video, here’s a list of the ten best slasher movies released between 1980 and 1988… showcasing the best of the genre’s golden age, offering a mix of iconic killers, inventive kills, and unforgettable scares!

1. Friday the 13th (1980)

One of the most iconic slasher films of all time, “Friday the 13th” introduced audiences to Camp Crystal Lake and the vengeful killer who lurks there. With its shocking twist ending, the film set the stage for a long-running franchise and established many of the genre’s classic tropes.

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Wes Craven’s horror masterpiece introduced Freddy Krueger, a terrifying figure who haunts the dreams of teenagers. With its inventive concept and blend of surreal horror, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” stands out as one of the most creative and enduring slasher films of the decade.

3. Halloween II (1981)

Picking up immediately after the events of John Carpenter’s original “Halloween,” this sequel continues the terrifying story of Michael Myers as he stalks Laurie Strode in a hospital. Directed by Rick Rosenthal, “Halloween II” solidifies Myers’ status as a relentless force of evil.

4. My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Set in a mining town with a dark history, “My Bloody Valentine” is notable for its eerie atmosphere and inventive kills. The film’s masked miner killer has become an iconic figure in slasher lore, and its thematic focus on Valentine’s Day adds a unique twist to the genre.

5. The Burning (1981)

Based on a popular urban legend, “The Burning” follows the revenge spree of a disfigured camp caretaker named Cropsy. Known for its impressive practical effects and gruesome kills, the film is a cult favorite among slasher enthusiasts and features early performances by future stars like Jason Alexander and Holly Hunter.

6. Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

Blending psychological thriller elements with traditional slasher fare, “Happy Birthday to Me” centers on a young woman with a troubled past who is targeted by a mysterious killer. Its intricate plot and memorable death scenes make it a standout in the genre.

7. Prom Night (1980)

Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, the “Scream Queen” of the era, “Prom Night” is a suspenseful tale of revenge set against the backdrop of a high school prom. The film’s blend of teenage drama and slasher horror, along with its memorable disco soundtrack, has made it a cult classic.

8. Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Famous for its shocking twist ending, “Sleepaway Camp” takes the summer camp slasher formula and adds a disturbing psychological dimension. The film’s blend of campy humor and genuine scares has earned it a loyal fanbase.

9. Pieces (1982)

A gory and exploitative entry in the genre, “Pieces” is a Spanish-American slasher film known for its over-the-top violence and bizarre plot. Its campy charm and relentless pace have made it a favorite among fans of grindhouse cinema.

10. Hell Night (1981)

Starring Linda Blair of “The Exorcist” fame, “Hell Night” follows a group of college students who must spend a night in a haunted mansion as part of a fraternity initiation. The film combines supernatural elements with slasher thrills, creating a unique and eerie horror experience.

Whether you’re revisiting these classics or discovering them for the first time, they’re sure to provide plenty of thrills and chills.


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