HorrorWeb's Top 5 Most Underrated 80's Horror Films

The fiends at HorrorWeb are in perpetual debate of all things horror - ok, it's not always horror, some discussions are complete random, like how on Earth do platypus give milk to their young without nipples??? Today's discussion topic begin as a decade breakdown of, you guessed it, horror's best 5 flicks (someone gut me already). It didn't take long for the topic to quickly become banal in biblical proportions, as the films chosen were pretty obvious and widely known. However, the discussion eventually distilled to a different ranking, one that is vastly more important than a "best of" in my opinion. Our new list was the top 5 most underrated horror movies of each decade. This particular blog focuses on our 80's list.


Why is this list important? Well, a simple answer is because horror-lovers are cinephiles by nature, and they are always in search of new flicks to get the blood gushing. As the decades pass and our bodies rot with age, young horror fans will need to know about these incredible underdogs of the industry and the role the played in founding/perpetuating the horror genre, oftentimes without gratification. To this end, we decided to approach this list as if the following question had been asked; If a millennial asked you to name 5 movies they have never heard of that are a must watch from a given decade, what would they be?


The tendency for any person in such rankings is to prioritize the films according to their personal impact. I'll admit, it was hard to step outside myself here. But an agnostic and more grueling ranking would establish priority of these horror underdogs by their positive impact on the movie genre. This is the quantitative measure we decided to use when determining this chilling list. Of course, what one thinks is impactful can still be relative.


Note that, according to our measure, we have left out films that are not just overrated, but are and have been historically well marketed - i.e. every millennial has heard about Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. We instead focus on those flicks often called "cult classics".


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#5 - NIGHT OF THE DEMONS

Night of the Demons (1988)

Night of the Demons is a 1988 American supernatural horror film directed by Kevin Tenney, and written and produced by Joe Augustyn. The film stars Amelia Kinkade, Cathy Podewell, Linnea Quigley, William Gallo, and Hal Havins as high school seniors partying inside Hull House, an isolated funeral parlor. When they conduct a seance as a party game inside, they unknowingly release a demon locked in the crematorium which begins to possess the party-goers. The film was shot in South Central Los Angeles for two months. It was released on October 14, 1988, where it grossed $3 million. Although initial reviews were negative, its reception grew considerably more positive and has become a cult film since its release.


#4 - BASKET CASE

Basket Case Movie Cover

Basket Case is a 1982 American horror flim written and directed by Frank Henenlotter and produced by Edgar Ievins. Kevin Van Hentenryck stars as a normal-looking person who seeks vengeance for the unwanted surgery that separated him from his deformed conjoined twin brother. The film gained an audience in the 1980s due to the advent of home video and has been considered a cult film. The film spawned two sequels, Basket Case 2 (1990) and Basket Cast 3 (1991), which were also directed by Henenlotter.


#3 - TOXIC AVENGER

Toxic Avenger (1984)

The Toxic Avenger is a 1984 American superhero comedy splatter film directed by Michael Hertz and Lloyd Kaufman (credited as Samuel Weil) and written by Kaufman and Joe Ritter. The film was released by Troma Entertainment, known for producing low budget B-movies with campy concepts and gruesome violence. Virtually ignored upon its first release, The Toxic Avenger caught on with filmgoers after a long and successful midnight movie engagement at the famed Bleeker Street Cinemas in New York City in late 1985. It now is regarded as a cult classic.


#2 - NIGHT OF THE COMET


Night of the Comet (1984)

Night of the Comet is a 1984 American science fiction horror comedy film written and directed by Thom Eberhardt. It stars Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Beltran, and Kelli Maroni as survivors of a comet that has turned most people into either dust or zombies. Night of the Comet grossed $14.4 million in the US on a $700,000 budget. It has a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 83% and has since become a cult film, influencing the creation of Buffy Summers, the bodacious babe from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


#1 - NIGHT OF THE CREEPS

Night of the Creeps (1986)

Night of the Creeps is a 1986 American science fiction horror comedy film written and directed by Fred Dekker, starring Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall and Jill Whitlow. The film is an earnest attempt at a B movie and a homage to the genre. While the main plot of the film is related to zombies, the film also mixes in takes on slashers and alien invasion films. Night of the Creeps did not perform well at the box office, but it developed a cult following. Dekker went to write and direct another one of our 80's favorites here at HorrorWeb, The Monster Squad!

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There you have it folks! Of course, had each of us here at the HorrorWeb headquarters created our own top 5, each would have been slightly different. That said, we all feel this is a pretty solid list for the most impactful and unknown 80's horror movies.


Thanks for reading,

Gory Corey

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