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Forgotten Films: 12 Scary Movies From The 80’s, Plus Bonus!

October 29, 2009

Do you remember these movies?  I certainly do.  As I often say, there is something about films from that 80’s era.  Maybe they aren’t great movies.  I dunno.  I think they are.

To all those ’80 haters and those who are simply too young to remember…Once upon a time, we had cartoons that didn’t curse on T.V., now we have stinkin’ South Park.

Once upon a time we had real music, not people sampling other people’s music on their albums.

Once upon a time, we had cheesy special effects made with cheap latex, not just some guys clicking mice in CGI labs.

Once upon a time, we had silly scary movies.  Everything didn’t have to be the next “Saw” or “Hostel”.

What I remember about all the movies below is that they all scared me, but it wasn’t an overt horror like the “Saw” franchise.  These movies were simple.   Simple characters.  Simple plot. Simply done.  Simply scary.


Set Around Halloween

Trick or Treat (1986): Ever so often I remember this movie because a friend of mine used to work at Blockbuster Video when they actually had VHS tapes, you know, those old heavy black box looking things. One of the perks, of course, was free video rentals.  So, this was one that I gambled on and it was a hit.  It didn’t change the world, but as far as an 80’s horror movie goes, it’s a B-movie classic.

Night of the Demons (1988): It took my sister and I a few years to find this movie on the IMDB because we could only remember pieces of it and no title.  What we remembered is that it was scary.  We loved it and it has quite a cult following.  Try watching it in the dark.  I promise you’ll at least want to leave to bathroom light on.

Halloween 3 (1983): I am so glad Michael Meyers blew up in “Halloween 2”, but it’s too bad that John Carpenter made such an impact with the Halloween franchise that no one would forgive him for producing “Halloween 3″.  I love this movie and to this day, my mind tries to come up with new ways of saving all the children.  See, that’s why it’s better to just paint your face and not wear a mask.  For those of you that have seen the movie know what I am talking about, for those of you that have not seen the movie,”Waaaatch…!”

Once Bitten (1985):  A 27-year-old James Carrey starred as a virginal high school student that is nothing but ‘Cougar-bait’.  When he meets and older woman and spends the night with her, she changes his life with one little nibble in the right place.  BTW, that’s Jim Carrey…In case you’re wondering.  Loved the movie and, yes, it serves up more laughs than scares, but fits on our list.  Jimmy was a hottie back in the day.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

This movie scared me on more than one level.  Without spoiling the film, it has some elements of the movie ‘Pumkinhead’, without the Pumpkinhead.  Revenge is a dish best served around Halloween.  Don’t let the fact that it was a made-for-T.V. movie stop you from enjoying it.  Even to this day, it can hold a tall candle to some modern thrillers and holds a special place in my heart for scaring the living daylights out of me.



Lady Beware (1987)

This tiny thriller wasn’t a big hit, but Diane Lane is the actress who is known for her creative talents rather than some early box-office successes.  This fills that bag.  Diane stars in this soft sexy film about a woman who is  stalked by a truly sick psycho.  It’s a simple story, but no Diane Lane roll is as linear as it looks.  Great as a thriller!

Wes Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

The preview freaked me out enough to not see this movie in the theatre.  I totally waited for this to come out on VHS.  Wes Craven is one of the ‘Maestro of horror’ and I was not going to allow him to scare me to death with this one!  A freaky thriller that will leave you feeling helpless as Bill Pullman’s character travels down the voodoo lane.  Not for the squeamish.

Wes Craven’s Shocker ’89:

This movie didn’t scare me to death, but there are some close calls.  Another Craven flick.  He makes the bad guy a really bad guy and campy at the same time.  Touching on some of the similar elemts of the thriller, “Fallen”, with more silly and some seriously shocking moments.


Monster Squad

This movie is like ‘The Goonies” meet Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein and all the rest.  They had all the typical characters…The brave young boy, older thug kid, the fat kid, bratty sibling and Mary Ellen Trainor, who played the “mom” in “The Goonies”, too.  Having said that, I loved the movie and what a romp.  You might even feel your heartbeat speed up during some of the scary scenes.  We don’t wanna see the kids hurt, right?

Fright Night ’85: Before “Jennifer’s Body”, there was a kid named “Evil Ed”, a character that was left alive to help kill others for the evil leader in the movie Fright Night.  This movie still remains an original and touches on a simple story that no one believes.  That’s why this movie works.  We see all of the dynamics between the characters, but we are helpless and get a grave sense the hopelessness the characters feel and can only hope the heroes prevail.  Scary and fun at the same time.

Night Of The Comet ’85

Comet zombies and Valley Girls.  What more could you want in a great B-horror movie?

Killer Klowns From Outer Space ’88

This movie had me curious as a kid just with the title alone.  The “klowns” are really creepy and I would never want to see them anywhere on earth.  A wonderfully unique movie with a serious cult status, as most of the films on this list has. 


What’s the bonus?

Let’s go back an explore a film that is simply perfect and I hope they never remake it.  It’s a thriller set during Halloween starring a young Jodie Foster who behaves well beyond her years on-screen.

The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane from 1976 is the story of a young woman who is fighting to protect her family secrets from a pervert, cop and a snoop.  Can she do it?  Why is she doing it?

Jodie is one tough actress and I can’t think of any actress with the chops to play this role today.

It’s a great film and tops most of the modern junk that the studios release.


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