The 80s was one of the best decades in the horror genre. You can't even argue it when you think about how many of the best horror franchises in the world ended up being made at this point in history.
It was the decade that introduced the world to the twisted world of H.R. Giger's Alien monster, not to mention the decade where major creature features like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead, Friday the 13th, and Child's Play all first came to the silver screen.
With all the spooktastic cinema to have hit the screens, it's easy to see how some of the lesser-known films might have been swept under the rug. This is especially true with indie flicks, foreign films, and cult classics of the era.
As a horror fan, I'll be the first to tell you that the following grossly underrated horror films from the 80s deserve way more praise than they've gotten.
'The Lost Boys'
The Lost Boys might be a goth culture staple, but it'd be a boldfaced lie to say that it wasn't one of the most underrated horror films from the 80s. This classic horror flick had boy Corey Haim and Corey Feldman in it, and also had one of the best soundtracks of any horror movie in existence.
Whether you're a fan of Blutengel's "Cry Little Sister" or just love seeing the sexy vampires that DON'T sparkle, it's hard not to like this movie. The reason I'm calling it underrated, even though it is a hit film, is that movie producers literally waited for decades until they decided to turn it into a movie franchise.
30 years later, The Lost Boys remains one of the best-loved horror movies, even if you take vampires out of the picture.
'The Toxic Avenger'
Believe it or not, the entire creation of The Toxic Avenger came from a challenge: to make a good horror movie that took place in a gym. Director Lloyd Kaufman took that idea and ran with it, and created New Jersey's first real monster hero.
The Toxic Avenger may have spawned a huge series of movies and a cartoon series, but it's still considered to be one of the more underrated horror films from the 80s. The reason being that it was kind of, well, X-rated and heavy-handed on the campiness factor.
Troma's The Toxic Avenger wasn't trying to be classy; it was trying to be hilarious. It was gory, gruesome, and epic. And, at the end of the day, you really can't help but fall in love with Melvin as the Toxic Avenger.
'Tetsuo: The Iron Man'
Most of the most underrated horror films from the 80s came from the US, but not this one. Tetsuo: The Iron Man is now hailed as one of the best foreign sci-fi films ever made, and also still remains pretty horrific in its own right.
This entire movie follows a "metal fetishist" who is slowly melding his body with metal parts. It was an art movie that made a point of how ingrained tech was becoming. That alone makes Tetsuo a chilling statement on how inhuman society is becoming due to the constant barrage of tech.
Shocker was initially reviewed and seen as a knockoff of A Nightmare on Elm Street—and it totally was. The movie had the exact same premise, but did it in a goofy, campy way. The end result was a horror-comedy that wasn't quite scary but delivered a great time nonetheless.
These days, people see Shocker as a great tongue-in-cheek play on the entire 80s horror decade. Even if you're not into horror comedies, this is a flick that will have you getting as many laughs as you can hope for.
Shocker might just be one of the best horror comedies of the 80s you skipped out on. As such, it remains one of the most underrated horror films from the 80s—and we're happy to see it becoming a cult classic today.
Deadly Friend is one of those horror movies that could have only really been shot in the 80s. Its death scenes are grotesquely over-the-top, the premise of it sounds like it may have been sparked by a bit too much cocaine, and there's that classic weird sexual undertone that made the 80s horror genre so insane.
The fact is that Deadly Friend really didn't age well as a movie, but if you're looking for a slice of classic 80s cheese, you really can't get better than this. It has Wes Craven as a director, a lonely teenager who falls in love with a girl, and a subtle nod to Weird Science too. You really can't get more 80s than this!
Though many of the most underrated horror films from the 80s had a dystopian, sci-fi, or apocalyptic veneer to them. Silver Bullet is not one of the movies that focuses in on that kind of theme. Rather, it's a werewolf flick.
Corey Haim kills it in this horror film, and surprisingly, the special effects still remain pretty decent. Silver Bullet is one of those rare gems that manages to get better with age and still retain the chills and thrills of a damn good flick.
Microwave Massacre isn't really a horror movie that you should take seriously, per se. This is one of the most bizarre, ridiculous, and 80s camp-styled movies ever made. That's precisely what makes it one of the most underrated horror films from the 80s.
Crazy amounts of boobs, microwaved heads, and all sorts of disgusting gore make this a great horror movie—if only for the sheer spectacle that comes with this decade's insanity.
Of all the underrated horror films from the 80s, Street Trash has a particularly special place in my heart. It's a movie that is so campy and so filled with crustie and gutter references, anyone who appreciates the grimy side of life will fall in love with it.
Street Trash, on the horror side of things, is known as one of the last real super-gore movies of the decade. Expect to be grossed out—and to question if your wine is tainted halfway through the flick.
'The Lady in White'
As one of many horror films based loosely on urban legends surrounding the White Lady, The Lady in White had to prove a lot to make it stand out from the crowd. What the directors did in this 80s flick, though, definitely makes it worth a look-see.
The Lady in White turns the horror genre on its ear with a dark fantasy twist. The real-life horror of a childkiller gets blended in with paranormal entities, both good and bad. The overall effect is one that makes it incredibly noteworthy.
How people forgot about this film is beyond me.
Most slasher films involve killers breaking into houses. Yawn, right? The makers of Intruder sure as heck thought so, which is why they decided to make one of the most woefully underrated horror films from the 80s slasher genre.
Intruder takes place in a grocery store about to close, and that opened up the plot to a variety of different scene options. What they do with it is amazing.