From the earliest days of cinema, horror has proved enduring in its popularity, yet also an endless cause of controversy. There have always been those who complain loudly that films which explore the dark side of the human experience can only have a damaging effect on audiences. At the same time, though, there are few more surefire ways to sell movie tickets than for someone on a high horse to declare that you shouldn’t go see it.
As restrictions on film content relaxed from the late 60s onward, horror movies responded accordingly. Such shockers as The Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre went to far greater extremes in their depiction of bloodshed and brutality than cinema had ever gone before, ushering in a new era of fright flicks that prompted even greater alarm from opponents of the genre. However, the massive success of The Exorcist and Jaws also proved that there was big money in shocks and gore.
By the end of the 70s, hits like Halloween, Dawn of the Dead and Alien set a template that countless filmmakers would imitate in the decade that followed. Advances in make-up and visual effects allowed for increasingly ambitious and outrageous visions. Masked slashers, marauding zombies and all manner of monstrosities came blasting forth onto the screen, often accompanied by neon lighting and screeching synthesizers. (It was the 80s, after all.)
We’re sure you’ll agree that many of the best scary movies ever made come from the 80s. We invite you to vote up your favourites below, and if you think we’ve missed any then feel free to add them at the bottom of the screen.