Opinion: 1980s horror movies are losing their shine


I’m going to be frank with you. The horror films of the 1980s were pretty good for those who lived through the era, but their time is fading faster than Aqua Net hairspray. 

The ‘80s were the highlight for horror films and the birth of a fanbase for horror. Everything was big and wild, so the horror films had to keep up with the kids, and the studios and production companies were tossing money at them like it was nothing. 

There were slasher films, monster movie remakes, like “The Fly” and “The Blob,” and sci-fi horrors that were a huge ripoff of “Alien.” Some ‘80s horror films were extreme on violence and nudity. And this time created the 10 basic rules for every horror film from the ‘80s onwards had to follow, such as saying “you’ll be right back,” when you probably won’t return. 

There were fabulous actresses whose careers blossomed because of it. Jamie Lee Curtis was considered the “scream queen” for movies like “Halloween” (1978) and “Prom Night” (1980). 

But with the ‘90s came a new wave of horror. The young fans had grown up and the newer generation wanted something dark and realistic. I was born in 1991, and when I was 7, I used to watch HBO’s “Tales from the Crypt” and “Elvira’s Movie Macabre.” 

The movies around that time were considered dark and had very little humor. These movies included “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Jacob’s Ladder” and others. Hollywood started to catch on to the horror movie theme in the late ‘90s. “The Silence of the Lambs” won several Academy Awards in 1992, adding it to the club of horror films that won major awards. 

Film critics who despised horror films in the ‘80s now praised the ‘90s horror films as “edgy” and “abstract.” Now don’t get me wrong, I love horror movies in general. I think the ‘80s horror films were great for their time. I think if we really need to be honest, it’s the die-hard fan base that keeps the ‘80s horror movie memories alive, and it’s not fair to the films that came out after. 

Even current movies are trying to make their films feel like those straight-to-video ones from the ‘80s, but they have million dollar budgets from studios or GoFundMe accounts. I get slightly annoyed when filmmakers feel the only way to make it big is to try and recapture the magic of ‘80s horror films, instead of being original.  

However, the 2015 horror film, “The Final Girls” made proper tribute to ‘80s horror flicks by being simple and straight to the point. This is in comparison to Rob Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses,” which only confused the ‘80s horror film fandom. 

Am I bitter because I feel like the ‘80s are trying to overshadow every other good horror film? Maybe. Do I feel like people are being biased because they think the ‘80s was a great decade for horror films, even though some were terrible? Yes. 

I think ‘80s horror movies are starting to lose their shine, and when you watch some of the ‘80s movies nowadays, some are still scary, while others aged very badly, like all of the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films. 

Some of these films need to be left alone and never be resurrected for the rest of time. But the fans and even some directors are not making this easy, since they keep trying to recapture their spirit in new films.

I think ‘80s horror is just oversaturated with gags and blood. Serious horror films like “The Hunger,” “Angel Heart” and “Hellraiser” are barely remembered. Fans will always go to Jason and Freddy instead. It got so bad, they made a cross over film in the mid 2000s called “Freddy vs Jason,” a film that stinks to high heaven. 

All in all, I think we need to move on from the glory days and focus on the future generation of directors who are making some really good screamers and have rebranded horror films in a new light. 

From “Bates Motel” to  2018’s “Halloween” and its future sequels, “Halloween Kills” and “Halloween Ends” today’s horror is great. But to some, it’s nothing but fillers and people who are remaking everything for money.

It’s ok to pay homage and respect to the ‘80s, but just try to be original. As for the fanbase of ‘80s horror films, cool your jets and just have fun looking at the younger generation who love ‘80s horror, and decided to spin it. Just enjoy other people’s work and just remember the good times, just don’t drag everyone down because of the ‘80s golden years of horror, you might just miss some great gems of today.