Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1980

Every week for the next ten weeks I will be posting my top 10 favourite horror films for each year of the 1980’s. The 1980’s were an important decade for me as a horror fan. As a kid I watched tons of Sci-Fi and monster flicks on TV and once in a while my parents would let me stay up late on the weekend to watch a Hammer or Corman film. My dad was a pop culture junkie and loved this stuff. I loved it too, at least until I read my first Stephen King novel in my pre-teens. Salem’s Lot rocked my world and soon monster flicks and Hammer Films weren’t enough. Unfortunately I wasn’t old enough to see most horror films in the theatre yet. It really wasn’t until video stores became a mainstay in the early 80’s that my thirst for horror would be truly quenched. Video rentals would be responsible for draining my part-time paycheck and warping my mind in the most wondrous of ways! So without further ado, here is my list of favourite horror films from the year 1980 and a few others that made the shortlist…

#10 THE FOG
Directed By: John Carpenter

The Fog is a decent supernatural thriller, with an impressively creepy atmosphere and memorable performances. There are a few thrills to be had and some nice tension building early but I always found the ending a bit anti-climatic.

#9 DRESSED TO KILL
Directed By: Brian De Palma

Dressed To Kill is a horror-thriller that is surprisingly intense and occasionally amusing. DePalma’s interesting style provides great visuals, and some decent thrills and chills. The film felt a bit redundant in sections due to the overuse of specific techniques but it doesn’t mess much with the films overall effectively voyeuristic vibe.

#8 CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST
Directed By: Ruggero Deodato

Cannibal Holocaust is a well-made, fascinating, brutal and disturbing film. I think it’s the best of the cannibal films and one of the most biting films to come out of Italy during the period. If the film didn’t contain the brutal and graphic killing of animals I would definitely rate it higher. To read my review click here.

#7 THE GATES OF HELL (City of The Living Dead)
Directed By: Lucio Fulci

Lucio Fulci’s The Gates Of Hell features some creative kills, great sets and props and some stylish direction that conjures up some impressive atmosphere. The film is not without its flaws but is nonetheless an enjoyable romp particularly if you enjoy the gore. To read my review click here.

#6 DR. BUTCHER M.D. (Zombie Holocaust)
Directed By: Marino Girolami

Zombie Holocaust is a beautiful gory mess. I mean how can you go wrong with zombies AND cannibals in the same movie? Its story is illogical, the dialog is awful, the acting is iffy but it moves along at a rapid clip delivering unintentional laughs and a hearty helping of gore! Good times!

#5 FRIDAY THE 13th
Directed By: Sean S. Cunningham

Friday the 13th inspired countless clones, and spawned a crapload of sequels and proved that horror was a marketable commodity. The gore seems a bit tame today but it was a big deal back then. I always preferred part two but this 1980 original was one of the first slashers I ever seen and introduced me to the concept of a multiple body count and creative death sequences and will always hold a special place in my heart.

#4 INFERNO
Directed By: Dario Argento

Inferno is a visual extravaganza. The cinematography, lighting, fantastic surreal sets and beautifully bizarre and nasty images linger in the mind for days on end. The film is truly a feast for the eyes, sit back and let it wash over you and expect dream logic.

#3 THE CHANGELING
Directed By: Peter Medak

The Changeling has a perfect mood and atmosphere, amazing sets, solid acting and is a well-written effective ghost story. The scene where the child’s rubber ball comes bouncing down the staircase after George C. Scott throws it into the water chilled my shit the first time I seen it!

#2 MANIAC
Directed By: William Lustig

I love how gritty and grimy Maniac looks and feels, it always makes me feel like I need a shower. Joe Spinell is one of the creepiest, sweatiest stalkers of all time! Plus, this film has one of the best endings…EVER! Classic slasher sleaze.

#1 THE SHINING
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

Jack Nicholson is great, the pitch-perfect mood and top-notch tension are aided in no small way by the remarkable location! It may not be 100% faithful to its source material, or what Stephen King envisioned for his book, but I think the film stands on its own as a highly visual experience that stays with you long after it has ended.

Here are the rest of the films that made the shortlist: Eaten Alive, Fade to Black, Macabro, Stage Fright, Motel Hell, Terror Train, House on The Edge Of The Park, Prom Night, Altered States, and Mother’s Day.

15 Responses to “Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1980”

  1. bizarre_eye Says:

    Interesting list GG – certainly some good choices you’ve made, and some would definitely appear on mine too.

    No love for Lenzi’s Nightmare City though?! 😉

    • goregirl Says:

      Happy humpday B-eye! It’s been quite a while since I seen Nightmare City, so I can’t really be very specific about what my issues were, but my last viewing was 2001 and I gave it a 2.5/5.

  2. goregirl Says:

    You’ve never met a cannibal film you didn’t like! A blog I read a lot (Anything Horror) had a review for a newish cannibal film that sounds like lots of fun called Isle of The Damned. You should definitely check it out! No love for The Fog huh?

    That site of yours is taking forever!

  3. The Film Reel Says:

    Man, they were playing Dr. Butcher at the new theater in Toronto but I couldn’t go because I had the kids with me this weekend! Curses! Instead I saw Toy Story 3, still good but just not the same kind of good.

  4. The Film Reel Says:

    I was wrong, Dr. Butcher is playing this coming Friday so I may actually get to see it on the big screen! I’m crossing my fingers now so I can pull it off because I should really be working on other things and not going out to the movies.

    • goregirl Says:

      You’ve got to go! Seeing this on the big screen would be great, but seeing it with a ton of people who really appreciate a film like this would be awesome fun!

  5. […] my top 10 favourite horror films for each year of the 1980′s. To see the list for 1980 click here. Now on to 1981, a banner year with some killer […]

  6. The Fog is a real disappointment; I remember feeling that way as a kid and also watching it on DVD about 5 or 6 years ago. Ugh.

  7. […] posting my top 10 favourite horror films for each year of the 1980′s. I have already posted 1980 and 1981 and this week I take on 1982. Graceland is open to the public, Andy Kaufman is voted off […]

  8. Fully agree with your number 1 choice. The Shining is one of the greatest films ever made. I’m also pleased to see The Changeling appear on teh list – a terrific ghost stor that doesn’t get talked about enough. I wrote a review of it years ago – might dig it out and repost it. I’m also a huge fan of Dressed To Kill.

    Of the others – I haven’t seen a couple but I do hate Cannibal Holocaust with a passion. Awful film.

    • goregirl Says:

      I actually enjoyed Dressed To Kill considerably more than I recalled. I think some of the film was lost on me when I was younger.

      You are certainly not alone on the Cannibal Holocaust. It is just one among an extensive list of films I love that others detest.

  9. […] it is one of the best. I was shocked by the similarities to William Lustig’s Maniac; one of my favourite horror films from the 80s. While not nearly as graphic as Maniac, its nudity and violence was very risqué for the time. A […]

  10. Holy shit… Joe Spinell, as in Willie Cicci from the Godfather movies? Nice!

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