Get ready to feel old—especially if you saw the majority of these chillers in the theater, like I did! If you need proof that the late 1980s was a Golden Age for horror, just look at the sheer number of classics turning 30 in 2017. What’s incredibly telling, though, is that the majority of the films on this list still hold up these decades later. Have a gander below and let us know what you think in the Comments section!
Evil Dead II (Directed by Sam Raimi)
Release Date: 13 March 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.
Legacy: Evil Dead II (often considered a re-do of the original Evil Dead) spawned Army of Darkness, 2012’s Evil Dead Remake, and the Starz megahit Ash vs. Evil Dead, which just concluded its second season in 2016.
The Lost Boys (Directed by Joel Schumacher)
Release Date: 31 July 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires.
Legacy: The Lost Boys was ahead of its time, making vampires “cool” decades before Twilight and The Vampire Diaries jumped on the bandwagon. There’s a Lost Boys TV series currently in the works at The CW.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Directed by Chuck Russell)
Release Date: 27 February 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: Survivors of undead serial killer Freddy Krueger – who stalks his victims in their dreams – learn to take control of their own dreams in order to fight back.
Legacy: The 3rd Chapter in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise launched Freddy Krueger into the mainstream and cemented his spot in horror history as an upper-echelon supernatural villain.
The Monster Squad (Directed by Fred Dekker)
Release Date: 14 August 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: A young group of monster fanatics attempt to save their hometown from Count Dracula and his monsters.
Legacy: The Monster Squad has amassed a huge cult following since its release in 1987; it’s a rare example of family-friendly entertainment that’s also a treat for hardcore Horror Freaks.
Hellraiser (Directed by Clive Barker)
Release Date: 18 September 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover; demons are pursuing him after he escaped their sadomasochistic underworld.
Legacy: Hellraiser spawned 8 sequels, with another, Hellraiser: Judgement, being released sometime this year. Pinhead was a unique villain in his heyday, an intelligent articulate fiend who stood in stark contrast to mute brutes like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees.
Near Dark (Directed by Kathryn Bigelow)
Release Date: 1987
Official Synopsis: A small-town farmer’s son reluctantly joins a traveling group of vampires after he is turned by a beautiful drifter.
Legacy: Kathryn Bigelow was a trailblazer as one of the few female horror directors to gain prominence in the 1980s. Near Dark is still regarded as an excellent example of neo-noir, and another film that featured traditional “bad guys” as sympathetic antiheros.
Creepshow 2 (Directed by Michael Gornick)
Release Date: 1 May 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: Three more bone-chilling tales that include a vengeful wooden Native American, a monstrous blob in a lake, and a hitchhiker who wants revenge and will not die.
Legacy: Creepshow 2 remains one of the most chilling horror anthologies ever assembled.
Prince of Darkness (Directed by John Carpenter)
Release Date: 23 October 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.
Legacy: Prince of Darkness is the 2nd installment of John Carpenter’s unofficial Apocalypse Trilogy, which includes The Thing and In the Mouth of Madness.
Predator (Directed by John McTiernan)
Release Date: 12 June 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior.
Legacy: Predator went on to spawn 2 sequels (Predator 2 and Predators) and a couple crossovers with the Alien Franchise; Shane Black, one of the actors in Predator, is currently helming a reboot: The Predator.
The Gate (Directed by Tibor Takacs)
Release Date: 15 May 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: Two young boys accidentally release a horde of nasty, pint-sized demons from a hole in a suburban backyard. What follows is a classic battle between good and evil as the two kids struggle to overcome a nightmarish hell that literally begins to take over the Earth.
Legacy: This forgotten cult classic will get a Blu-ray release in 2017 thanks to the folks at Vestron.
The Believers (Directed by John Schlesinger)
Release Date: 10 June 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: A New York psychiatrist finds that a satanic cult, which believes in child sacrifice, has a keen interest in his own son.
Legacy: Often disregarded for perceived racist elements, The Believers is a compelling time capsule of 1980s greed-culture, influenced by real-life cases of “Satanic Panic”.
The Stepfather (Directed by Joseph Ruben)
Release Date: 5 June 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: After murdering his entire family, a man remarries a widow with a teenage daughter in another town and prepares to do it all over again.
Legacy: The Stepfather spawned a remake in 2009.
Bad Taste (Directed by Peter Jackson)
Release Date: 1987
Official Synopsis: The population of a small town disappears and is replaced by aliens that chase human flesh for their intergalactic fast-food chain.
Legacy: Fans of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Trilogies are often shocked when they explore the lauded filmmaker’s horror roots. With subtexts exploring fast-food culture and consumerism, Bad Taste remains relevant 30 years after its release.
Nekromantik (Directed by Jörg Buttgereit)
Release Date: 1987 (West Germany)
Official Synopsis: A street sweeper who cleans up after grisly accidents brings home a full corpse for him and his wife to enjoy sexually, but is dismayed to see that his wife prefers the corpse over him.
Legacy: I’ve yet to experience this film personally, but Nekromantik remains an often cited example of extreme horror cinema, a disturbing romp that’s probably too shocking for most Horror Freaks to ever revisit.
Dolls (Directed by: Stuart Gordon)
Release Date: 29 May 1987 (USA)
Official Synopsis: A group of people stop by a mansion during a storm and discover two magical toy makers and their haunted collection of dolls.
Legacy: Fans of Stuart Gordon are coming back around to the director’s forgotten dark fairy tale, Dolls, thanks in no small part to a Blu-ray release from Scream Factory.