Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1981
If you missed last week’s post, every week for the next ten weeks I will be posting 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 entries!
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Cronenberg takes on the topic of telepathy in Scanners. Pacing issues and a cheesy ending do hurt the film a bit but it is still a pretty interesting film with some great characters. The effects in this one are quite impressive and are really its best asset, and I always enjoy me some Michael Ironside! Definitely not my favourite Cronenberg but still a memorable entry.
#9 THE HOWLING
Directed By: Joe Dante
Having seen many werewolf films since, I must say The Howling werewolf transformations are still top-notch. The films biggest downfall is you have to wait too long for the first transformation. It has an interesting subplot and some very decent performances. Some might be disappointed at the action, especially for a werewolf flick, but I find The Howling damn entertaining!
#8 DEAD AND BURIED
Directed By: Gary Sherman
Dead & Buried is a great under-rated horror-thriller that has some impressive tension, a bit o’gore and a little dark humour. Unfortunate visitors end up dead in the quaint little town of Potters Bluff. Sherman does a great job of creating an atmosphere that will have you hankering to find out how it will all end.
#7 THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY
Directed By: Lucio Fulci
The House By The Cemetery has it all! It’s a horror sub-genre stew that covers the supernatural, mad scientists, zombies and slashers. Fulci serves up a delightful array of gore including impalements, decapitations, maggots and lots of blood. It takes a bit too long to get to the good stuff, it’s a bit illogical and at times is unintentionally funny (Dr. Freudstein…really?!) but it also has great atmosphere and a surreal hallucinatory vibe. It’s not perfect but when it gets going it is a shitload of fun!
#6 THE EVIL DEAD
Directed By: Sam Raimi
What can I say about The Evil Dead that hasn’t already been said? It’s the horror film that even half-hearted fans have seen. This first entry in the series was pretty much a straight-up horror intended to scare. There are a few laughs here and there but its pretty much horror first. Raimi was working with a pretty tight budget on this one but does one hell of a job. The makeup and effects are top notch particularly for the time. It’s gory, high energy, intense, creative as hell, and a gal gets raped by a tree! It’s a classic.
#5 THE ENTITY
Directed By: Sidney J. Furie
The Entity is absolutely fascinating. Barbara Hershey is a fucking revelation! Hershey’s portrayal of a woman raped again and again by an unseen “entity” is easily worth the price of admission. It has an amazingly creepy atmosphere and is an intensely personal and voyeuristic look into the life of a woman interrupted. A slow-burner that had me captivated from beginning to end.
#4 FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2
Directed By: Steve Miner
Admittedly I have leftover fond memories of childhood with this one. Friday the 13th Part 2 had nudity and gore and it was the introduction of Jason to the world before he became a hockey fan and was still hiding his face with a bag. I like the bag. Personally, after the balaclava and the stocking, I think the bag is my favourite stalker camouflage! He’s a kid that has been living in the woods foraging for berries for X amount of years. It’s amazing he even thought to cover his head at all. What’s more amazing is how he manages to find out where his mothers killer lives! Yeah, it’s illogical at times and yeah I’ve torn recent slashers a new asshole over less but what can I say? I’m a sucker for Jason.
#3 THE BEYOND
Directed By: Lucio Fulci
You just can’t summarize The Beyond in a few short sentences! The premise cut really short is one of the seven gateways to hell has been breached. This gateway lies beneath a hotel the main character inherits. Crazy shit happens, some of it’s illogical but every last bit is a fascinating, visual treat. People are nailed to walls, eaten by tarantulas, melted by acid, and of course there is classic Fulci eye trauma! And there are zombies! Beautiful, rotted wonderfully vial zombies! Don’t worry about a perfect logical narrative; just let the nightmare wash over you! Classic Fulci at his gory best!
#2 AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Directed By: John Landis
An American Werewolf In London is the perfect marriage of comedy and horror. The film has lots of laughs but still manages intensity and even a few shocks. The effects are amazing and the werewolf transformation, in my opinion has never seen its equal to this day. David Naughton and Griffin Dunne are the perfect duo and both deliver great performances. It continues to entertain the hell out of me even after multiple viewings!
Directed By: Andrzej Zulawski
Possession is a little known gem from the 80’s, and in my opinion is one of the best horror films to come out of the decade. At its core it is a love story, or more accurately an anti-love story full of sexual tension. Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani are both excellent. Zulawski’s direction is brilliant and although he clearly has much to say amongst the films many layers it is Anna’s monster lover that is the films biggest horror pay-off. It is relatively light on the blood and gore but what you get will stay with you long after the credits roll. Possession is a wonderfully moody, well-acted, intense horror film that oozes atmosphere from every pore.
Here are the rest of the films that made the shortlist: My Bloody Valentine, Cannibal Ferox, Absurd, Murder Syndrome, Happy Birthday To Me, The Funhouse, The Hand, The Burning, Halloween 2, The Prowler, Strange Behavior