Welcome back, fright fiends! We’re back with a new installment of I GOT 5 ON IT! This week, we’re diving into the start of, what I believe, the best decade period for horror films. That’s right, folks….the 1980s. Horror cinema really took shape and became the undying entity that it is today during the 80s. A decade that cemented legends, pushed the boundaries for directors and writers and just downright rocked socks. So, here at Glynn Avenue Massacre, I thought we’d honor the beginning by counting down my top 5 favorite films to be released in the golden year of 1980. Here, we, go.
When I decided to tackle this list, I thought to myself, “Self, this list is already made for you”. Huge, big named, classic films that people adore to this day came out in 1980. Then, I started the research. Gathering information about all the fright films that were released this year and I ran into a little bit of a pickle. Narrowing it down to 5 was a lot more difficult than I originally thought. So what’s the best way to cheat? To have a top 5 list and also mention a few extras? Honorable Mentions. Now, I enjoyed all of these films and I really hated leaving them off of the list, but when it comes to the TOP 5, I’m thinking about the films that I could watch over and over again, whether for a good time or to spot something new…or to quote from beginning to end. Let’s get started.
The gritty, no nonsense mockumentary that is considered the Alpha of the extreme sub genre. It was hard not to put this film at #1, in all honesty. When it comes down to it, though, this film is definitely not one I could watch on a regular basis. To this day, scenes from this film straight up give me the chills. Deodato made one of the most powerful, gut-churning films of all-time and deserved recognition on this list for doing so.
When talking about exploitation films, this has to be mentioned in the conversation. All in all, this is just a nasty film. William Lustig took a micro-budget and made this goop of disgust that will be talked about for years to come. It makes me want to take a shower after every viewing. Because of how this film sticks with you after watching, it was, again, tough to leave this off of the list, but once every few years is about all I need to watch it.
I can’t help it. I really love this movie. Kevin Conner’s masterpiece (I use that term lightly) has moments of real dread…but it all comes out as pretty hilarious. An awesome film to drink to, but not an awesome film. Regardless…don’t f*ck with Farmer Vincent.
5. The Children
This little nugget of gold takes me back to childhood. It’s a fun little B movie that is as great as it is cheeseball. A bus full of children drives though a cloud of nuclear waste caused by a leak at a nearby plant. The cloud turns the kids into little mutant zombies that proceed to hug the life out of adults. In the grand scheme of things, this film is far from brilliant. It’s just a fun, 80s, cake icing film.
4. Friday the 13th
The one that started the legend; Sean S. Cunningham took a few kids into the woods to make a “killer at a camp” movie and came out with the beginning of an icon. Now, in my opinion, this is far from the best in the franchise (I’ll get to that later) but it has held up pretty well and worth the #4 spot by name alone. Pamela for life.
3. City of the Living Dead
Gore, gore, gore. The films of Fulci make my face smile. The Beyond is a masterpiece. The House by the Cemetery is great. City of the Living Dead (The Gates of Hell) fits right in between. Not only is it one of my favorite zombie films (my least favorite sub-genre), but the last 15 minutes is so dreadful, it literally made me sick. That’s the kind of film that I can sink my teeth into. If you want a gorefest and don’t mind “nightmare logic”, then any of Fulci’s splatter films will do the trick.
2. The Fog
As I get older, I’m finally settling into the fact that Halloween is not the only masterpiece of John Carpenter’s. Not saying I only liked Halloween for a majority of my life, but I’m beginning to really take notice of Carpenter as a director. The film that really made me take note of his genius was The Fog. It’s a ghost story that seems like much more than that. The remake…stay far away from the remake. Revisit this one if you haven’t in awhile.
1. The Shinning
Carpenter is a genius. Kubrick is a god. All of his work deserves to be watched multiple times. The Shining deserves to be studied. This film is the definition of cinema. The small details, the theories, the obsession…films like this are what we as film lovers strive to find. I have my own ideas about this film (maybe I’ll write about it someday) but I could talk to twenty other film fans and none of us have the same thoughts. It’s an enigma. It’s a question mark. It’s a masterpiece.
Well, that’s all the time we have on the year 1980. Let us know what you think. Agree with the list? What are your favorite of the year? Are you a Death Ship fan and feel outraged that I left it off? Tell me about it. Until next time, keep it creepy and stay spooked.