I’ve always had a weakness for cheesy, gory, delightfully ridiculous 1980s slashers. Maybe it was because I was born in the 80s. Maybe it’s an offspring of my undying desire to be a final girl. Or, perhaps, it’s just that I have a much more twisted, sinister personality than my innocent-looking face implies, but for whatever reason, there will always be a special place in my heart for the most outrageous, campy B-movies I can find. Below, I’ve listed a few of my personal favorites that will undoubtedly receive a watch or two during this glorious season. Feel free to use this list for your own personal viewing, and even recommend a few of your own favorite titles!
Prom Night (1980)
After losing her sister at a very young age, Kim tries to move on with her life, and is declared Prom Queen. However, a mysterious figure has plans to ruin her perfect evening with a trail of bodies. Jamie Lee Curtis is my favorite Scream Queen of all time (if you hadn’t noticed already by how many times I’ve mentioned this very fact on my blog). I fell for this survivor girl after watching John Carpenter’s Halloween for the very first time, and have been obsessed ever since. If a film has her in it, horror or not, I’ll watch it at least once. Prom Night, however, has graced my T.V. screen at least a dozen times. Between the disco dancing, the obscene calling, and the prom night fiasco, I’m hooked.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Poor little Angela lost her father in a tragic boating accident. Now, so traumatized that she ceases to speak, Angela attends a summer camp with her cousin Ricky. Unfortunately, this trip is only the start of her troubles. The psychopathic, Brady Bunch wannabe that is Angela’s Aunt Martha is so over-acted by Desiree Gould, that she alone makes this movie worth watching. I don’t know what exactly went down on set, but somewhere along the line, she turned into a surprised China doll that has to speak to herself constantly. Aside from that, there are some creative death scenes that utilize the camp’s setting very effectively, and the image of the twist ending will stick in your mind for days.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
“PUNISH!” I watch this movie year-round, but I always make sure to revisit it a few days before Christmas. The idea of a guy dressing up as Santa Claus, roaming around in a fit of rage, chopping up naughty twenty-somethings for the sake of the holiday is pure brilliance, and totally hilarious. From start to finish, this movie is creepy, funny, bloody, and downright offensive. Everything a worthwhile B-movie should be.
Friday the 13th (1980)
You can’t have a list of 1980s slashers without including the king of the B-movies, Friday the 13th. Top-notch special effects by Tom Savini, the innovative use of a camp, a killer score, and the essential third act shocker combine to make this movie not only one of the best 80s flicks, but one of the most influential horror movies of all time. Not to mention, this film spawns an entire series, and one of the most iconic serial killers in the horror genre.
The House on Sorority Row (1983)
The sisters of Theta Pi decide to play a prank on their strict head mistress after she tells them that they can’t have their highly anticipated party. When the joke goes sour, and the matron winds up dead in the swimming pool, the girls decide to proceed with their plans, and delay removing the body until a more convenient time presents itself. But when they start to be picked off one by one, it’s up to these Greeks to figure out who the killer is, before it’s too late. With such an absurdly abstract ending and brutal kills, what’s not to love?