31 Greatest 1980s Horror Films: Page 3 of 9

25. The Lost Boys (1987)

"One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach... all the damn vampires."

As the first of only two vampire movies to grace this countdown, The Lost Boys reminds us of a better time when those creatures of the night preferred partying and causing mayhem over moping around and sparkling in the sunlight.  Although chock-filled with campy performances, especially by Corey Feldman, The Lost Boys is a spectacle well deserving of its status amongst horror fans.

The title of the movie references the stories of Peter Pan, except these "lost boys" are a rugged band of supernatural teenage hooligans.  Led by charismatic David (Kiefer Sutherland), the undead gang frequents the boardwalk in the laid-back California villa of Santa Carla, occasionally pulling one of its patrons into the shadows and draining him like a Capri Sun.  New to the neighborhood, brothers Sam and Michael Emerson (Corey Haim and Jason Patric) team up with vampire experts Edgar and Alan Frog (Feldman and Jamison Newlander) to square off against the blood-hungry menace.  One of the shiniest spots on director Joel Schumacher's resume (which includes Batman & Robin and The Number 23), The Lost Boys still entertains as a "vamped out" 80s horror classic.


24. The Shining (1980)

"Wendy?  Darling?  Light of my life!  I'm not gonna hurt ya.  You didn't let me finish my sentence.  I said, I'm not gonna hurt ya.  I'm just gonna bash your brains in!"

Stanley Kubrick built a reputation for himself as one of the most perverse directors in Hollywood's history.  With genre-bending films Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange already under his belt, Kubrick took a Stephen King novel and birthed it onto the big screen -- a truly terrifying experience highlighted by an astonishing performance by Jack Nicholson.

Nicholson beat out Robert De Niro and Robin Williams to earn the role of Jack Torrance, a floundering writer trying to provide for loyal wife (Shelley Duvall) and weirdo son (Danny Lloyd).  The family takes a vacation, holing up in a deserted mountainside hotel so that Jack can chip away at his newest book in peace.  Naturally, a monster snowstorm hits, cutting the struggling family off from the rest of the world.  Cabin fever sets in, and as junior communicates with ghosts roaming the halls, Jack starts to lose his mind to the worst case of writer's block ever.  The climactic cat-and-mouse game featuring Jack stalking his wife and son through the snow-ravaged hedge maze still sends chills up the spine, making The Shining one of the creepiest Stephen King adaptations yet.


23. Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

"We saw this shooting star and we decided to go look for it.  But instead of finding the shooting star, we saw this... this circus tent.  That's when we went inside, and that's when we saw those people in those... pink, cotton candy cocoons. It wasn't a circus tent.  It was something else..."

"In space, no one can eat ice cream."  The tagline of Killer Klowns From Outer Space pays tribute to 1979's Alien, but don't expect to see any slimy xenomorph-like extraterrestrial life forms in this go-around.  Although this cult favorite is largely played for laughs, if you're coulrophobic, nothing causes as much paralyzing fear as killer klowns... from outer space.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space was the brainchild of Charles, Edward and Stephen Chiodo and remains as the only feature film the brothers ever made, but at least their lone accomplishment lives on as a morbidly hilariously homage to alien invader movies of the 1950s and -60s.  The Chiodo brothers centers the plot around a horde of space beings who crash-land on Earth and blast away with their ray guns, turning humans into giant bulbs of cotton candy so that they can easily be consumed by the face-painted mutants.  Why the creatures resemble clowns is never explained, but you'll be too wrapped up in the ridiculousness to care.  The Chiodos are rumored to be releasing a long-awaited sequel next year.  Hopefully, they aren't just clowning around.


22. Pet Sematary (1989)

"A man grows what he can, and he tends it.  'Cause what you buy is what you own, and what you own... always comes home to you."

Yet another Stephen King novel adaptation, this one sticking much closer to the source material than The Shining.  This was the first time King penned the screenplay to translate one of his own books to the big screen, resulting in a nightmarish story sure to raise goosebumps aided by the haunting direction of Mary Lambert (of the 2011 SyFy Channel original Mega Python vs. Gatoroid).

Dr. Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) moves his family to the quaint town of Ludlow, Maine, and befriends shaky geezer Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne).  Ol' Jud wastes little time instilling the doc with tales of local folklore -- namely, a nearby graveyard that allegedly restores life to any corpse buried under its mystical soil.  When their cat is hit by a truck, Dr. Creed tests the legend by laying the feline to rest in the cemetery.  Sure enough, key-key comes back, a beast possessed by the forces of evil.  The doctor loses it when his loved ones start dropping like flies, causing him to resurrect each of them with deadly results.  An obligatory remake of Pet Sematary is in the works, but if there's anything this movie teaches us, it's that everything loses its luster the second time around.


21. Creepshow (1982)

"What's the matter, Mr. Pratt?  Bugs got your tongue?"

Stephen King's involvement in two of the last three entries should demonstrate both the author's literary dominance in the 80s as well as his aptitude when it comes to translating his works to the film medium.  Creepshow is widely considered one of the greatest horror anthology movies ever made thanks in part to the top-notch combination of screenwriter King and director George Romero.

The film consists of five separate "Jolting Tales Of Horror" -- "Father's Day" revolves around a family of sleezebags getting their desserts when their murdered daddy returns from the grave; "The Lonesome Death Of Jordy Verrill" stars King as a hillbilly infected by rapidly-spreading space-born vegetation; a zombie-fied Ted Danson avenges his murder at the hands of a pre-Naked Gun Leslie Nielsen in "Something to Tide You Over;" "The Crate" involves a barbarous beast bent on escaping its wooden prison.  "They're Creeping Up On You!" brings Creepshow to a nasty close as a swarm of cockroaches terrorize a cranky businessman during a widespread blackout.  The effects by Tom Savini are both phenomenal and icky, one more reason why Creepshow deserves multiple viewings.

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