There is perhaps no decade more chock full of outlandish horror movies than the 1980s. It was the decade of Child’s Play‘s killer Good Guys doll and the shapeshifting The Thing, but there are examples that pushed the genre forward in even more extreme and unexpected ways.
Several threads on Reddit are devoted to finding the most niche fright flicks from the era, with many users specifying one quality they find particularly appealing: strangeness. Some are classics while others have gone on to develop a cult following, but all of the Redditors’ suggestions skew weird.
Possession was a French-German psychological horror drama starring Jurassic Park‘s Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani. The plot follows Anna and Mark, a married couple on the outs. Anna has admitted to an affair and even owns a second apartment. However, what’s in that second home is both unbelievable and terrifying.
On a thread looking for the weirdest ’80s horror movies, LowHangingLight wrote “The answer is Possession.” The movie was then mentioned in the next post. Poeticspider wrote “Possession is the weirdest horror movie of all time. And one of the best.”
Amityville II: The Possession (1982)
The first sequel in the Amityville Horror franchise was the most straightforward demonic possession movie of the bunch. Closer to The Exorcist than its own preceding film, Amityville II: The Possession is a worthy addition to an ’80s horror fan’s collection.
Several Redditors gave the sequel praise, starting with SqwashSilver, who wrote that it was a “Very underrated movie and definitely the best of the Amityville movies. This movie scared the s*** out of me as a kid.” Nephilim_fields then stands up for the potency of its tone: “Beat me to it. There’s some wonderfully nightmarish stuff in this film, far better than you would expect from this series.”
After going missing for three years, Sam Phillips returns home to a different dynamic. His wife, Rachel, is with someone else and his son, Tony, begins to notice his odd behavior. It soon becomes obvious that the Phillips patriarch was abducted by aliens. Xtro is a movie with some legitimately horrifying imagery, which has gained the movie some fans on Reddit.
Sarigar put it like this: “Xtro is gruesome, creepy, and unsettling, like watching someone else’s drug-fueled nightmare about aliens. Not a superb film, but it has a lot of imagery that will stay with you for a long time.” Snoitanicullah brought up the movie in a separate thread, calling it a “Weird as f*** sci-fi/horror,” to which crispssmiff added “Truly berserk.”
One of the ’80s best horror sci-fi films, Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator is a unique film and an excellent capturing of H.P. Lovecraft’s unique style. It goes for a more comedic mood than the writer’s work, which Redditors feel has given it longevity.
FedoralOver69 summed up the movie’s tone well: “Re-Animator is totally ridiculous and over the top, it has a guy running around with his own head….” On a separate thread, gmntres shared their personal reaction to the film: “Re-Animator blew me away.”
After he directed Friday the 13th Part 2 and Part III, Steve Miner helmed a forgotten yet terrifying haunted house movie. House is a comparatively innocuous film when lined up with hard-R ’80s horror movies, spending as much time shooting for laughs as it does screams.
The Miner movie was brought up in several ’80s horror threads. On one looking specifically for weird horror, a now-deleted user wrote “House (the 1985 one with George Wendt) is one of the craziest movies I’ve seen and not a lot of people remember it. I highly recommend checking it out, it’s entertaining as hell.”
The Stuff (1985)
The late Larry Cohen’s satirical sci-fi horror movie featured an alien, The Blob-like substance that starts to take over the world not by consumption, but via being consumed. Soon, the dessert is turning happy customers into zombified drones.
A now-deleted user recommended The Stuff, saying “Absolutely ridiculous but good special effects.” Both descriptions are true of Cohen’s film, a director who always specialized in the practical effects-driven ridiculous. Mackinacsfuriousclaw corroborated the deleted user’s love for the film, writing “The Stuff is amazing.”
Chopping Mall (1986)
Possessing a silly tone and several memorably outlandish death scenes, Chopping Mall is also the owner of a very vocal fanbase.
Chopping Mall is frequently mentioned on threads devoted to niche ’80s horror. Thepapifuego was particularly effusive, writing, “I JUST SAW CHOPPING MALL RECENTLY AND OHMYGOD feels like a really weird softcore porn!! BUT LOVED IT.” Mysterious_Gemini then replied with a corroborating summarization of the movie’s appeal: “Lol! It is weird, it’s one of those movies that are so bad it’s good…a guilty pleasure.”
Prince Of Darkness (1987)
Prince of Darkness was John Carpenter’s penultimate ’80s film, followed up by the equally bizarre consumerism satire They Live. But Carpenter’s church-set chiller received more shoutouts on Reddit threads for outlandish horrors from the decade.
For instance, PoeticMilk wrote “Prince of Darkness (Alice Cooper cameo!)” in reference to the rock icon’s appearance as a possessed homeless man. Or, as stevenw84 put it, “Prince of Darkness is pretty f***ing weird.” It’s also a suitably creepy apocalyptic slasher with several terrific performances from Carpenter favorites like Donald Pleasance and Victor Wong.
Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)
Killer Klowns from Outer Space isn’t all that scary, but it is a lot of low-rent, nostalgic fun. The movie delivered on the promise of its title for most Redditors, as it’s featured on just about every thread devoted to cult films.
JaffaCakeLad couldn’t recommend it highly enough, writing “If you haven’t watched Killer Klowns from Outer Space yet, do so. It’s top-grade camp.” That’s a perfect description for Killer Klowns, which manages to be so absurd it’s rewatchable…preferably in a room full of people who have yet to see it.
Return Of The Killer Tomatoes (1988)
Return of the Killer Tomatoes has the distinction of featuring George Clooney in an early role, but little else. While it does hold a rare 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie did receive at least one mention on Reddit.
SimsalaWim brought it up by simply saying the title, with several other users agreeing with them that it deserved inclusion on the thread. Then, cliff2014 added “After revisiting the movie, I have to say that the humor was really ahead of its time. Someone could watch this today and crack up because all of the social commentaries are still relevant.”
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