The 80’s Horror Movie Movement: Freddy Approves This Message

The magical 80’s Horror Flicks

The horror genre is as old as the movie industry itself. Horror movies have evolved significantly over the years from the in-your face scary monsters of the 1920’s to the more cerebral fare of the 1960’s which saw some excellent movies such as Psycho and The Exorcist in the 70’s. This was the time when the horror genre moved mainstream from its largely B grade status.

The 80’s

The horror genre reached its pinnacle in 1980’s and 1990’s with classics such as Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th and The Evil Dead. The 80’s saw computer generated special effects seep into horror flicks. The trend probably began with Dawn of the Dead in 1978 or Alien a year later. But thanks to liquid foam latex and animatronics, movie makers were able to stretch human figurines into bizarre and distorted shapes. The 1980’s can be regarded as a golden era for the horror genre, with several movies attaining cult status. The movies had such an impact on the audience that even to this day you can find at least one Jason Vorhees or a Michael Myers in any given Halloween party! Though the movie Halloween came out in 1978, the Michael epidemic carried on throughout the 80’s to this very day. The scary movies of the 1980’s portrayed spine-chilling horror in a different light. With newer technology seeping into the movie industry, all the monsters that lurked the shadows in the 1950’s and the 1960’s were brought out into the light.

And Now

By the middle of the 80’s, horror movies for the most part became hokey and obvious. We went to a horror movie to root for the bad guy. Freddy, Jason and Michael had become our heroes in a bazaar way. Fast forward to today. Horror movies today or better still, the past 10 or 15 years, are downright scary. From the creepy-walking girl in The Ring (2002) or the non-scene ghosts in The Paranormal Activity series. We don’t find ourselves idolizing them, in fact, all said and done, we don’t want to think of them as we are climbing into bed at night. Although I didn’t particularly find the Paranormal Activity movies all that great, I have to admit, they kept me glued to my seat until the anticipated, climatic endings. Horror movies re-gained what they had lost in the 80’s, the scare factor. Movies don’t need big knives to be considered horror movies, they need to scary people.