There's no denying the impact of the 1980s — Stranger Things made that point abundantly clear back in 2016. From iconic hairstyles and makeup looks to legendary sports records and music anthems, the influential decade delivered memorable pop culture moments that remain relevant. The '80s also transformed the genre of horror movies, giving notorious villains and monsters from slasher flicks of years past a breath of fresh air, spawning follow-ups that still top the box office charts when they're released. It also ushered in new sub-genres as well. The best '80s horror movies still reign supreme as top contenders for scary movie marathons all these years later.
Are you a horror movie buff who can recite iconic movie quotes verbatim? Maybe you're a newbie looking for the villain origin story of the infamous characters you've heard about on TikTok? Horror movies from the '80s are the perfect entry point into some of the most famous spooky movies of all time. In fact, classic scary movie villains like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kreuger, and Chucky all got their start in the 1980s. The beloved decade also gave way to classic horror musicals like Little Shop of Horrors and slasher comedies such as Gremlins and Elvira.
Ready to take a trip back to the 1980s? Read ahead for a frightening list of the best '80s horror movies, along with details about where you can stream them.
Friday the 13th (1980)
With 12 slasher films, it's safe to say Friday the 13th is a legendary franchise. The first installation of the series followed a group of camp counselors who run into a mysterious killer while they attempt to reopen Crystal Lake summer camp.
Prom Night (1980)
This movie is proof that the past will always come back to haunt you. After four kids cause the death of a young girl several years ago, they're now being stalked as high schoolers by someone who knows their dark secret.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
The makeup effects in this movie are AMAZING — Rick Baker even took home the Oscar for Best Makeup at the 1982 Academy Awards.
When two college students backpack through Britain, they get way more of an adventure than they anticipated. After a wolf attacks them, one of the guys is killed while the other escapes, but now he fears he's turning into a werewolf.
The Beyond (1981)
Bloody Birthday (1981)
Three kids who were born during a total eclipse of the sun suddenly turn into killers ten years later. They keep getting away with their crimes because no one in town thinks a few 10-year-olds are homicidal maniacs.
The Burning (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
A fun night away in a cabin turns into chaos after a couple and three of their friends reawaken the dead when they read an old book aloud.
Halloween II (1981)
Michael Myers is back with a vengeance after unsuccessfully attempting to kill one of his earlier victims.
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Supernatural alum Jensen Ackles starred in the 2009 remake, but the OG movie is such a classic.
Teenagers in a town that avoids Valentine's Day for fear a vicious killer will strike in retaliation change things up one year and celebrates the holiday. But when bodies start dropping, people realize they've made a grave mistake.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
The only Halloween film that doesn't feature the series villain, Michael Myers, Halloween III follows a shop owner after he's targeted by mysterious men in suits with jack-o-lantern Halloween masks.
Ghosts hidden in a television set commune within the souls of an average family from California.
The Thing (1982)
A helicopter pilot and camp doctor team up with a group of American research scientists in a gory battle after saving a dog that transforms into the shape of its victims in remote Antarctica.
A salesman unleashes a gang of mysterious creatures after being told never to expose a gift for his son to bright light or water or to feed it after midnight.
An unpopular nerd becomes obsessed with a vintage 1958 Plymouth Fury that he names Christine. The car begins to kill off its new owners after they attempt to restore it.
A bat bites a beloved dog turning it from man's best friend to his mortal enemy.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
A killer goes on a murderous rage at a sleepaway camp made strictly for teens. The twist in this movie will make your jaw drop all the way to the floor.
Children of the Corn (1984)
A team of former college scientists stumble upon a gateway to another dimension and wage a high-tech battle against the evil that comes through the portal.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Freddy Krueger, a disfigured slasher, attacks teens in their dreams, ultimately killing them IRL.
Jasmine Washington is an Assistant Editor at Seventeen, where she covers celebrity news, beauty, lifestyle, and more. For the past decade, she has worked for media outlets, including BET, MadameNoire, VH1, and many others, where she used her voice to tell stories across various verticals. Follow her on Instagram.
Stacey Grant is a senior editor at Seventeen who runs the brand's Snapchat Discover channel. She also covers entertainment topics specializing in nostalgia, such as classic '90s and '00s Disney Channel and Nickelodeon content.
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