Horror 1980 - 1989

An American Werewolf In London Call it the decade of transition or decade of repetition, repetition. From the well-loaded early part of the decade through to the sparse closing years, the 1980s initially expanded-upon the solid horror foundation of the 1970s, briefly, before quickly drifting in to repetitive and forgettable sequel-laden (thirteen visits from a Krueger or Voorhees) mode.

Ah, to live in horror world the early 80s again, however. The first half of the decade produced no less than ten all-time horror classics, featuring a slew of heavyweight directors and producers. Coming out of the gate, Wes Craven's legendary collaborator on The Last House on the Left (1972) producer Sean Cunningham (now a legendary remake-artist sellout, unfortunately) introduced to the world to Jason Voorhees (or more accurately, his vengeful mother) in Friday the 13th (1980). A year later in true 80s style, the saga continued with a bag-faced Jason exacting his first cut of revenge in Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981).

Stanley Kubrick, like DePalma four years earlier with Carrie (1976), showed the world how brilliant and truly terrifying Stephen King's material can be when transferred to celluloid with The Shining (1980). John Landis made his debut in the horror world with his darkly comedic and terrifying An American Werewolf in London (1981). George Romero took a break from satirical zombies to team up with Stephen King to craft the funny and scary anthology Creepshow (1982). Over in Italy, Lucio Fulci continued pushing the limits of gore and terror with his most polished work to date, The Beyond (1981).

Sam Raimi introduced himself to the horror world, creating two brilliantly entertaining entries, The Evil Dead (1981) and Evil Dead 2 (1987) - two versions of the same story, or a movie and a sequel, or not a sequel, whatever... John Carpenter continued his string of horror home runs with The Thing (1982), and Jaws and Leatherface got together to craft Poltergeist (1982). Not one to miss the party, Wes Craven introduced the world to the thing of true, inescapable nightmare with A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). As the decade thinned run down, James Cameron took Ridley Scott's lead and slathered it with all the gore and horror space could handle in Aliens (1986), and across the pond in England, Clive Barker exploded his own novel (The Hellbound Heart: A Novel) to the big screen and introduced the world to the third great horror monster of the decade, Pinhead, with Hellraiser (1987).

The 1980s started gloriously, slowed through the middle and ultimately fizzled, proving to be the perfect lead-in to the near-baron 1990s that followed. But looking at and judging the decade as a whole, the 1980s stand-up against almost any other ten year period in horror. The 1980s gave us legendary and classic villians, monsters and madmen, colored by explosion of blood, guts and technical merit unlike anything previously imagined. It also greatly advanced the horror/comedy sub-genre with two of the finest entries in that realm - The Return of the Living Dead (1985) , and The Lost Boys (1987).