9/18/2020

The 10 Best Horror Movies of 1986

I thought that 1985 was an amazing year for the genre, but 1986 might actually beat it. The amount of legit classic movies contained in '86 is fucking staggering. While it is an absolutely and possibly definitive year for sci-fi/ horror (half the movies here fall under some type of film in this sub-genre), in particular, other styles and sub-genres of horror were also well represented. Plus, practical FX reach an all time high with much of the work I picked here, especially in terms of the top two movies.

Honorable Mentions:
Chopping Mall
Combat Shock 
Critters
Witchboard
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 

10. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives- Fast paced and with a sense of humor, this is easily the best of the Friday sequels. The character of Tommy Jarvis (Thom Matthews), the hotness of Jennifer Cooke and other babes, and great music by Alice Cooper add to the fun. Plus, the beginning is one of the best starts to any slasher flick. 


9. Psycho III- While, most tend to prefer the second film, when it comes to the sequels, I prefer this one. It's a fun little flick, with some good kills, and great acting, especially from Anthony Perkins (who also does a fine job directing this flick) and Jeff Fahey. 
8. The Hitcher- A violent, exciting, and intense mix of action, horror, and thriller, this flick is an intense, good time. It also features an excellently chilling performance by the late, great Rutger Hauer as the psychotic killer. It earns itself extra points by having one of the most brutal and memorable kills of the 80's without showing anything.  
7. Blue Velvet- David Lynch's haunting and disturbing genre bender, mixing elements of drama, neo-noir, and psychological horror, is one of the most unforgettable movies of the 80s. Its tale of evil and corruption lurking within small-town America became one of Lynch's favorite subjects, in particular with Twin Peaks. The acting is phenomenal, especially from a chilling and menacing Dennis Hopper as psychopath Frank Booth. This is one that will stay with you with well after the movie is done. 
6. From Beyond- Stuart Gordon's gruesome and excellently made sci-fi/ horror movies is his second best film. It has great acting from its cast and the amazing FX are jaw-dropping in quality (especially when you realize that is a low budget flick). Said FX help to deliver some excellent and gruesome gore. While, the beautiful Barbara Crampton provides some amazing eye candy, especially in a S&M outfit, that she famously wears.
5. Night of the Creeps- Fred (The Monster Squad) Dekker's cult classic has everything you could ever want from a genre flick. These being: horror homages (including naming characters after horror and sci-fi directors), aliens, killer slugs, quotable quotes, zombies, action, Tom Atkins (in what might be his best and most badass role), and nudity, including that of gorgeous, lead actress (a true horror rarity!) Jill Whitlow . It is a movie close to my heart, and one I can heavily relate to. And, it only gets better with age!
4. Class of Nuke 'Em High- To me, this sci-fi/ horror/ comedy splatterfest is Troma's best flick. Lloyd Kaufman's funny, wild, and fast paced classic is filled with all the things that make this kind of movie great: gore, slime, monsters, punks, nudity, and babes (my personal favorite being Theo Cohen playing bad punk hottie Muffey) galore. It's also uproariously funny with the kind of wonderfully unPC humor that only Troma can provide us with.
3. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer- John McNaughton's masterpiece is one of the most chilling, disturbing, and horrifically realistic serial killer movies ever made, as well as one of the finest movies in the entire genre. It's elevated to the stratosphere, thanks to the great acting from the three leads, especially Michael Rooker as the title character (inspired by real life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, of course). The hard to watch home invasion scene will haunt you forever. 
2. The Fly- To me, this is David Cronenberg's best film, which is honestly saying a lot, as well as being my favorite remake. This near perfect masterpiece has flawless acting (especially from Jeff Goldblum), a great script, expert directing (I mean it is fucking Cronenberg, after all!), and some of the greatest practical FX you will ever see. Said FX are stomach churning, yet the movie is also profound, moving, intelligent, fully enthralling, and, at times, nightmarish. Beyond its graphic gore, the movie achieves many other great moments, like Seth Brundle's (Goldblum) talk about "insect politics". Scenes like this rank among the finest of any horror or sci-fi movie. As a matter of fact, as great as the original is, this film is even better!


1. Aliens- This master classic from James Cameron is the rarest of the rare. For not only is it a superior sequel, but it is also a perfect movie. No movie in the history of cinema does a better job of mixing action, sci-fi, and horror. It's practical FX are some of the greatest ever, including what might be the greatest monster in all of horror (and beyond!): the Alien Queen. The score by James Horner is one of my all time favorites. Then, there is the excellent acting from the awesome cast, and the great character that they bring to life. Most especially amazing is Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, the greatest heroine/ final girl in ALL of horror cinema. The film is exciting, adrenaline pumping, scary, yet filled with heart and soul, it is fucking everything, and then some. I could go on and on, but you can read a further dive into my love for it here


Is 1986 the best year in the 80's (and beyond possibly) for horror? I think it is. Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments section below. Also, let me know your picks for the best of this year. And, check out my picks for the preceding years in the links below:

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