The 15 Scariest '80s Movies Ever, From ‘The Shining’ To ‘Poltergeist'

It's October, so you know what that means: It's time to watch horror movies. Every era seems to have its own favorite type of scary flick. From the monster movies of the '40s and '50s to the teen slashers of the '90s and the found footage bonanza of the 2000s, the horror genre has gone through many changes. But if you ask me, it reached its zenith in the 1980s. Some of the scariest movies ever came from the '80s, and any one of them would make for great viewing this Halloween.

The types of horror found in the decade vary greatly, with slasher films, supernatural horror, body horror, modern monster movies, and psychological horror all getting their moment in the sun. The '80s were also the decade when several of the all-time great horror auteurs were at the top of their game. Like Netflix's Stranger Things ? Three of that show's biggest influences were Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and John Carpenter, all of whom put out their best work in the 1980s; with lots of it in the horror genre. The decade also featured seminal works by Stanley Kubrick, Wes Craven, Sam Raimi, and other giants of the industry. So take a look at the 15 scariest movies of the '80s, and enjoy a totally rad Halloween.

1. The Shining

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Based on the Stephen King novel and directed by Stanley Kubrick, this classic consistently shows up on lists as one of the scariest ever made.

2. The Thing

John Carpenter's scariest movie, and light years ahead of both of the other versions of the same film.

3. A Nightmare On Elm Street

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One, two, Freddy's coming for you...

4. Poltergeist

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While he didn't *technically* direct the film, Spielberg's fingerprints are all over this, the scariest movie he ever worked on by far.

5. The Fog

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Another classic from Carpenter, you'll never look at mundane weather events the same way again.

6. The Evil Dead

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A lot of '80s horror franchises ended up becoming campy, like this one, but their original installments are always terrifying.

7. Hellraiser

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A portal to hell is opened up, and torture by the terrifying cenobites ensues. Deeply unsettling.

8. Friday The 13th Part 2

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Part one is plenty scary, but it doesn't feature Jason Voorhees as the villain. Since he's gone on to become one of the most legendary movie monsters of all-time, I had to go with his introduction over the original.

9. Pet Sematary

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One of Stephen King's creepiest. "Sometimes dead is better."

10. The Howling

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Quite possibly the scariest werewolf movie of all-time.

11. An American Werewolf In London

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What can I say? The '80s were all about good, scary werewolf movies.

12. Child’s Play

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The Chucky franchise is another that became super campy, but the original story of an evil doll is still horrifying.

13. Children Of The Corn

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Creepy kids make for the ultimate scary movie villains — now imagine an entire town full of them.

14. The Fly

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Just when you thought it was safe to watch a Jeff Goldblum movie.

15. Creepshow

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Horror masters Stephen King and George A. Romero teamed up for this anthology film, inspired by the horror comic books of the 1950s.

These '80s movies are all terrifying in different ways, and they should prove once and for all that there was no scarier time than the Reagan Era.

Images: Warner Bros.