These movies listed have charm, cheese, and many screams to delight fans. The criteria is that they can either be so bad that they are good (the '80s was a good era for that) or that they are just plain good because of the story, effects, or acting.
So if you're looking for something to add to your movie night or bored with the usual fare in the '80s horror realm, you'll then find something that will keep you entertained and of course horrified. Here is a list of 15 of the best horror movies you haven't seen from the 1980s.
Turning an old funeral home into a bed and breakfast is never a good idea, especially when your guests start disappearing. It's a lesson that a young woman and her grandmother soon learn enough. It's a mix of a Gothic tale (young woman in peril visiting relatives) and a slasher (crazed lunatic killing off people).
So if you are into low-budget and Canadian horror, you really should check out Funeral Home. Kay Hawtrey gives a standout performance as the grandmother with secrets darker than the old family recipes. Also for those who are looking for something tamer, you will find that Funeral Home leans more toward atmosphere than graphic violence.
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Night School is an urban slasher, so there's no summer camp here! The killer's victims of choice are college coeds. Considered a video nasty in England, this early entry into the slasher genre will give you second thoughts about traveling to an aquarium and going on merry-go-rounds.
Night School was Rachel Ward's screen debut too, so fans of hers will want to check it out. The highlights are in its pacing and the shocking killer reveal at the end.
#99 on The Best Movies of 1981see more on Night School
Possession is perhaps Andrej Zulawski's most well-known film, and for several good reasons. Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill are at the top of their games here, portraying a couple whose relationship is unraveling - but unfortunately, their minds are unraveling as well. One of the best cinematic depictions of the descent into madness out there, with a fantastic synth score, gorgeously bleak cinematography, and a story as insane as its characters, Moreover, the film is set in crumbling, squalid West Germany, and thus it provides an historical document to the Berlin Wall and Germany's former division.
For fans of psychological body horror, Possession is a must see.
#99 on The Best '80s Horror Movies
#61 on The Best Movies of 1981see more on Possession
Madman came around the time as Friday the 13th and The Burning, and thus it was overshadowed by its more famous brethren. But genre fans should seek this one out, as it features one of the more brutal slashers, Madman Marz, who may or may not be just an urban legend (though his body count certainly is palpable). Plus, the main theme music (featured in the above trailer) is classic horror synth fare, as good as anything John Carpenter ever composed. see more on Madman
This is a totally berserk supernatural gore-fest in the same vein as Lucio Fulci's The Beyond and Sam Raimi's Evil Dead films. It was initially released straight-to-video in 1982, but became so popular among horror movie tape-renters that it enjoyed a brief theatrical stint in 1984 under the title of The Witch. It was targeted by police during the "video nasty" craze, and though it enjoyed a fully uncut second video release in 1986, the film fell into relative obscurity. Here's hoping it will enjoy a spiffed-up Blu Ray special editioin in the near future.
#41 on The Best Movies of 1982see more on Superstition
Be warned: the above trailer is quite NSFW (lots of boobs).
Microwave Massacre isn't a "good" film necessarily, but because of its absolute (and intentional) ridiculousness combined with its gory, goofy special effects, it's a great midnight movie. You might also recognize the killer's voice—the actor playing him, Jackie Vernon, provided the voice of the beloved titular character in Frosty the Snowman. So if nothing else, it's worth the watch just to see "Frosty" turn into a nasty cannibal.
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The Demons of Ludlow was made three years after The Fog, and while John Carpenter's follow-up to Halloween is definitely the better film, this one has its own eerie charm. The similarities between Demons and The Fog are noticeable - instead of ghost pirates, the villains ore demonic pilgrims; both films are set in coastal towns celebrating anniversaries; and both towns seem haunted by a deadly past. Despite all this, Demons doesn't feel derivative, and its a great entry into the supernatural, atmospheric horror canon.
Devil Fish is also known as Monster Shark. The acting is pretty bad, but there is a lot worse out there. There are two big reasons to watch this one: it was directed by genre favorite Lamberto Bava, and it actually offers a pretty solid story. Besides a giant fish monster attacking people, the plot also features a vicious hitman protecting the secrets of a government agency. Fans of intentionally campy B-movies like Sharknado and Sharktopus will definitely like this one. Think of it as Jaws on acid.