10 Insane 80s Horror Movies And Their Equally Insane Cover Art
If you’re between the ages of around 25 to 40, you probably grew up heading to the video store on Friday nights taking home those transparent, dirty VHS boxes full of new releases. The more daring and curious kids most likely wandered towards the forbidden horror section, feasting their innocent eyes upon the horrors they could only hope to one day see.
Now, that the video store is on your TV and the concept of cover art has been replaced by Netflix stars and Reddit threads. Many of these films were produced by now-defunct movie studios and relied solely on original, eye-catching artwork to sell these straight-to-video disasters. Many of these movies and the VHS boxes they came in have been lost to the ravages of time and exist only on dusty basement shelves and in the memories of those who grew up in the horror section.
Horror movies aren’t what they were three decades ago. Gone are the days when audiences were satisfied with killer slugs, chainsaws, and high school gone bad (more on those later). Ridiculous plots, practical effects, and making anything a killer is what gives these movies a charm that is missing from the excessive torture and ironic slashers of today.
Revisit the aisles of a simpler time with these 10 insane 80s horror movies you might not have heard of:
10. Night of the Demons
This 1988 movie has become a cult classic, and for good reason. Despite the horrendous acting, Night Of The Demons is an atmospheric delight and still holds up thirty years later. Set on Halloween night, the token goth girl Angela throws a party in an abandoned funeral home. As the title implies, demons make their appearance.
Screen queen legend Linnea Quigley has a memorable role in this horror flick (along with some lipstick trickery). If you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about.
Spawning 2 sequels, a decent remake, and VHS cover art that has been burned into the minds of everyone who knows what “be kind, rewind” means, Night of The Demons is a memorable romp of 80s cheese.
9. Hard Rock Zombies
This practically out-of-print movie (a DVD is listed on Amazon for $58) is one that is long forgotten except by those who find themselves in the weird corners of YouTube. Hard Rock Zombies gives you exactly what you expect and more.
When a touring hard rock band stops in the town of Grand Guignol, they find werewolves, deviants, dictators, and other unsavory characters. When the band is murdered in a fight, the love interest of the lead singer revives her boyfriend and his band mates from the dead to seek their revenge.
Probably the worst movie on this list, it is completely cringe-worthy (and not in a cute way).
As the title implies, this movie is about obviously about killer slugs, one of the most unrealistic and impractical movie monsters ever. It takes more than salt to stop these mutants! Naturally caused by toxic waste dumping, Slugs could be interrupted as a metaphor for environmentalism. In reality, it gives you exactly the ridiculousness you want.
Based on a Spanish novel of the same name, Slugs is awful, yet has a small, dedicated cult following. This forgotten gem is exactly what you want from a forgotten 80s horror movie; a cheesy, gory creature feature.
7. Slumber Party Massacre 2
If you’re wondering why the original with the driller killer isn’t on the list, then you are unfamiliar with its sequel. The first installment of the trilogy is known for its dark humor and gore, while the second takes a hard left turn is an all-out campy fever dream that is kind of a musical.
You’re invited to a second slumber party with Courtney, a survivor of the first film, and her all-girl band. As the group spends the weekend together, our final girl keeps having visions of exploding zits, a bloody hand sandwich, and a rock star with a guitar/drill bit weapon who is trying to kill them.
Surprise! The killer, affectionately billed as The Driller Killer, who looks like Satan dressed like Elvis. The party don’t start until The Driller Killer walks in. And neither does the body count. This is the type of movie you find on at 2:00am in a hotel and can’t stop watching.
Fun fact: The Slumber Party Massacre trilogy is the only horror trilogy where every installment was directed by a woman.
6. Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers
Leatherface himself (Gunnar Hansen) naturally stars with our girl Linnea Quigley in this memorably bad-in-a-good-way horror comedy with what might have the best title ever.
“The Master” bosses around a cult of Hollywood-based chainsaw worshiping women, who are discovered by a private detective looking for a runaway girl. This movie might be the ultimate cult classic. Seemingly lost to time, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers is a bloody, fun romp.
5. Return to Horror High
Return to Horror High has some of the most memorable cover art ever. Who doesn’t love a skeleton cheerleader?
For some reason, the plot description on this movie’s Wikipedia page is 6 paragraphs long. To sum it up, a sleazy movie crew films a biographical documentary on location at a high school where several murders occurred years before. The movie-within-a-movie theme hits when killer returns to the site of the murders and the body count rises.
This one has a parody vibe to it which makes it more enjoyable in the “so bad it’s good way”. George Clooney stars what might be the most 80s horror movie ever.
4. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2
This is another sequel that went completely off the road from the original. This hilariously cheesy and fun sequel is a far cry from the original Jamie Lee Curtis disco slasher.
Mary Lou Maloney died at her high school prom in 1957. Thirty years later, her spirit is unleashed by an unsuspecting high school student when she opens up a trunk containing Mary Lou’s prom dress. Bad girl Mary Lou possesses good girl Vickie and wackiness ensues. This movie is genuinely entertaining and combines the best of 1950s teenage culture with 80’s horror.
3. Motel Hell
Motel Hell is one of those movies that makes you feel like you need to take a shower after watching, and it is equally disturbing and cheesy.
If you check into the Motel Hell, you won’t make it out alive, but will make it into Farmer Vincent’s famous sausage fritters! Cannibalism gets a pig-masked killer with a chainsaw vibe a la The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The film gets bonus points for the legitimately creepy scene of the human garden.
2. Microwave Massacre
Microwave Massacre is billed as “one of the worst horror movies of all time”. This film tells the touching story of a husband with simple tastes, whose wife bombards him with gourmet meals that he hates. He snaps, murders her, microwaves her head, and eats it, developing a taste for human flesh
Microwave Massacre is also the kind of movie that makes you want take a shower. Described as “grotesque enough in design and attitude to be fascinating, much like a car accident,” this one is not for the faint of heart.
1. Blood Diner
Blood Diner is the only movie that could top this list. Originally set to be a sequel to the 1963 gore fest Blood Feast, Blood Diner follows two brothers who open a vegetarian diner that serves human meat disguised as veggie burgers, all as a front to murder women as sacrifices to an ancient goddess.
Sounds pretty insane, right? Well, it only gets more so when the brothers resurrect their serial killer uncle Anwar from the grave and keep his brain (with eyeballs attached!) in a jar. Anwar’s sentient brain gives them orders for the “blood buffet”, a ritual sacrifice and cannibalism of a virgin.
This movie even has a disclaimer at the beginning warning the audience about the gore and ridiculousness that is about to take place. If only the other movies on this list came with the same warning.
What are some of your favorite twisted horror films of the 80’s? Are they as wacky and weird as the ones on our list? Let Your Geek Sideshow and tell us your picks in the comments!