10 Horror Films That Will Make You Nostalgic For The 1980s

The darkest decade of horror the world has ever known.

Evil Dead 1
New Line Cinema

From The Wedding Singer to Stranger Things, audiences have been hung up on 80s nostalgia for several years now, the reason for which goes beyond gaping in wide-eyed astonishment at the technology and fashion choices.

The 80s is a great “time capsule” decade, and smart phones and Blu-ray players would’ve seemed like science fiction to the moral watchdogs who were worried about the effects of watching “Video Nasties.” Jump forward to the 90s, however, and you’re in an era when The X Files is on TV, Clinton is running for President and the new Batman movie divides audiences and critics.

If the present is a near facsimile of the past, what’s there to be nostalgic about?

Dodgy politics and all, we continue to cling to the 1980s, which if you’re a horror fan is A Good thing because there’s something to be said for a decade that began with Cannibal Holocaust and later gave us the likes of Basket Case, A Nightmare On Elm Street and The Evil Dead.

The genre later produced a ton of neutered, self-referential corporate product as the studios muscled in and wrested control from independent filmmakers like George Romero and Frank Henenlotter, but for a while there it seemed like movies were still driven by passion rather than the bottom line.

Here are 10 films to make you feel nostalgic for the days when make-up artists were rock stars and Linnea Quigley was a cover girl.

10. Tenebrae

Evil Dead 1
Arrow Films

Tenebrae is Dario Argento at the top of his game: a demented giallo full of arresting camerawork (by Luciano Tovoli, who also shot The Passenger) with an equally memorable synth-heavy music score composed by several former members of Goblin. In order to keep it from corrupting British viewers, it was unavailable in its uncut form until 2003.

In March 1984, the film was cited as one of the most offensive Video Nasties in the UK and subsequently banned. The major bone of contention was a 4-second shot where, after losing an arm to the killer’s axe, a woman’s bloody stump continues to spray crimson across her apartment.

When the movie finally returned to British screens in its original form, it arrived on DVD before the far more explicit Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (which was backed by Michael Bay and New Line Cinema) played uncut in UK cinemas. But that’s probably just a coincidence.

In this post: 
Posted On: 

Ian Watson is the author of 'Midnight Movie Madness', a 600+ page guide to "bad" movies from 'Reefer Madness' to 'Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.'