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June 22, 2011

The Mike's 31 Favorite 1980s Horror Films: No. 10 - 6

Excluding the other 21 movies I've listed so far, there are about 4,793 '80s horror films left. And I had to pick only 10 of 'em to fill this Top 10. was pretty easy to narrow down which films are my favorites of the decade.  But putting those films in order was a big chore.  Alas, submitted for your approval, here are numbers 10 - 6 in this countdown of goodness.

Previously on The Mike's 31 Favorite 1980s Horror Films....
#31-#26     #25-#21     #20-#16     #15-#11

10. The Fog
(1980, Dir. by John Carpenter.)
You probably saw this coming, considering I've used that image of the famed pirate ghosts as the header of every single list I've made this month.  The Fog has always been a movie I've liked, but it's also been one that has steadily risen from "Yeah, that's good." to "Oh man, you gotta see The Fog." to "Oh my gosh, I'm in mad love with The Fog!" over the years.  Just a couple of years ago I might not have listed Carpenter's second horror film this high, but it's kind of timeless.  Who knows where it'll rank in a few more years?

9. Prince of Darkness
(1987, Dir. by John Carpenter.)
I've always felt like I might be Prince of Darkness' biggest fan, and I'm quite OK with that.  Yeah, I know it's completely ridiculous and has Liquid Satan and stuff, but it still manages to a) make me think it's awesome and b) creep me the heck out. I'm not sure why, considering the fact I know this movie's like the silliest thing ever, it gets under my skin at times, but I'm betting it has something to do with Carpenter's awesome score, great sound effects, and willingness to completely sell out for his silly plot.  That darn Lisa Blount always gets to me!

8. Poltergeist
(1982, Dir. by Tobe Hooper.)
If you've ever watched a sports draft (OK, it's a stretch for most of you, but stay with me here), you'll often hear the talking heads talking about a player who might not have the most talent or the brightest future, but who is so sound and so well trained that he's a "safe pick" for the team that's choosing their future star.  When it comes to '80s horror films, Poltergeist kind of seems like the "safe pick" to me.  It's never been my favorite and I don't watch it as often as many other films on this list.  But whenever I do pick it up, it's exactly what I expect it to be and it never disappoints.  And that's the kind of movie you need every once in a while.

7. The Monster Squad
(1987, Dir. by Fred Dekker.)
Scary? Nope.  Filled with horror icons? Yep!  Charming and totally fun? Of course!

And, perhaps most importantly, The Monster Squad was probably the first '80s horror film I ever saw.  At the time, it did the amazing by helping little me get interested in the "classic monsters" of years gone by.  But, unbeknownst to me it also was one of the films that really introduced me to the cheesy goodness that can come from the right '80s horror film.  And in the long run, it's simply one of the most fun movies I know of.

6. The Shining 
(1980, Dir. by Stanley Kubrick.)
When I finally got this list narrowed down as far as I could - which was no easy task, there were six films that I was left with to consider atop the list.  Each of these six films was a strong contender for the number one spot on this list, starting with The Shining.  I doubt I really need to make much of an argument on the film's behalf, so let's spin it the other way....why didn't I rank The Shining higher on this list.

If I had to answer that question, I might say that the truth of the matter is that The Shining isn't really an '80s horror film to me.  Sure, it was released during the decade, but Kubrick's loose adaptation of the Stephen King novel was produced before the slasher craze took over horror cinema and seems more like a product of the '70s - which it technically was, since most of the filming took place in 1979.

Does it really matter what decade the movie came out in when I'm talking about my favorite horror movies? No.  In fact, if I were just listing favorite horror movies, this one might be above some films I will mention in the Top 5.  But if I'm listing the horror movies that are my favorites specifically in relation to this decade....then I guess The Shining gets the slight bump down the list.  Sorry Stanley and Jack, you're still awesome.

What say you all?  Are you shocked?  Are you surprised?  What do you expect will round out the Top 5?  Well, you'll find week.  Don't worry, we'll have plenty of '80s horror goodness before then to keep you rockin' in the free world!...just like these guys!


Marvin the Macabre said...

Great picks, man. I didn't even realize The Shining was released in the 80's, mostly because, like you said, it really has the feel of a 70's film.

Hell yeah Poltergeist. I can point out a dozen problems I have with the movie, but you're right-it never disappoints.

Hell Hell yeah Monster Squad. I saw that one in its original theatrical run. My friends and I obsessed about it for a long time after.

The Fog gets better every single time I see it, and makes the remake look worse and worse.

I'll have to check out The Prince of Darkness again and see what I missed.

therealphoenixanew said...

I also agree that The Shining is more 70s than 80s.

On one hand I feel bad when I read your list because you're just reminding me of so many films I haven't seen yet. On the other, I have no idea what to expect when you post these, so that makes it a little more fun. :)

EegahInc said...

Prince of Darkness! Yes!!! If I were to make a similar list, it would probably place even higher than you put it. I champion this movie ad nauseam to anybody who listen.

The Mike said...

Thanks all!

Eegah - AWESOME. A friend of Prince of Darkness is always a friend of FMWL!