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Added by Grisly Atoms

on 27 Jun 2012 12:17

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1110 Views 4 Comments

Trebek's Top Ten Slasher Films of the 80s

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People who added this item 216  Average listal rating (116 ratings) 7.1  IMDB Rating 6.5 
1. Maniac (1980)


Directed by:
William Lustig
Written by:
C.A. Rosenberg, Joe Spinell
Starring:
Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro and Abigail Clayto
Cinematography by:
Robert Lindsay
Score by:
Jay Chattaway

I warned you not to go out tonight


This film is a little disturbing. Spinell's performance is what makes this movie, I think. This may sound weird, and it is, I guess, but Spinell plays one of the best psychopathic slashers I have yet seen. And then to top off his performance, we have some great effects from Tom Savini, as well as an atmospheric score, and haunting theme, by Jay Chattaway, and some stylish cinematography by Robert Lindsay. Plus I like the gritty New York setting. One of Lustig's best, I think, and easily one of the better slashers to emerge from the 80s slasher craze.
Grisly Atoms's rating:

People who added this item 1300  Average listal rating (816 ratings) 6.3  IMDB Rating 6.5 
2. Friday the 13th (1980)


Directed by:
Sean S. Cunningham
Written by:
Victor Miller
Starring:
Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King and Jeannine Taylo
Cinematography by:
Barry Abrams
Score by:
Harry Manfredini

They were warned...They are doomed...
And on Friday the 13th, nothing will save them.


Credited by a lot of people for really kicking off the 80s slasher binge, this movie is actually one of the better of the bunch. Not a great film, by any means, but the score, and in particular the main theme, by Harry Manfredini, is iconic. Plus it's got some nice twists. Many a slasher afterward would use the "alone in the woods, with a maniac" theme. A few are in this list, actually.
Grisly Atoms's rating:

People who added this item 2363  Average listal rating (1489 ratings) 7.1  IMDB Rating 7.5 
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)


Directed by:
Wes Craven
Written by:
Wes Craven
Starring:
Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp and Robert Englund
Cinematography by:
Jacques Haitkin
Score by:
Charles Bernstein

If Nancy Doesn't Wake Up Screaming
She Won't Wake Up At All


Reinvented the tired slasher formula by introducing some fantasy into it. A very good example of a fantasy / horror film. This is the one that got me interested in slasher films. Obviously known best for creating the iconic Freddy Kreuger, this film also boasts one of my favourite horror scores of all time, by Charles Bernstein. In terms of 80s slasher synth scores, this is the cream of the crop, I think. It adds a lot of atmosphere to the film. Overall not a great movie or anything, but will always be one of my favourites.
Grisly Atoms's rating:

People who added this item 121  Average listal rating (78 ratings) 6.6  IMDB Rating 6.4 
4. The Burning (1981)


Directed by:
Tony Maylam
Written by:
Harvey Weinstein, Tony Maylam, Peter Lawrence, Bob Weinstein
Starring:
Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres and Brian Backer
Cinematography by:
Harvey Harrison
Score by:
Rick Wakeman

A legend of terror is no campfire story anymore!


I'm sure everyone thinks this is just a knockoff of Friday the 13th, but it's more than that. In fact, according to the director, the screenplay for this movie existed before Friday the 13th came out, but it wasn't made until after. I'm sure many people pass this one up thinking it's just a knockoff, but it's worth a watch. It has a great score by Rick Wakeman, of Yes fame, and some occasionally stylish cinematography, by Harvey Harrison. Plus the effects are done by Tom Savini. The acting is all pretty solid as well, and it even features a young Jason Alexander (George, from Seinfeld), with a full head of hair!
Grisly Atoms's rating:

People who added this item 160  Average listal rating (112 ratings) 6.2  IMDB Rating
5. Maniac Cop (1988)


Directed by:
William Lustig
Written by:
Larry Cohen
Starring:
Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell and Laurene Landon
Cinematography by:
James Lemmo, Vincent J. Rabe
Score by:
Jay Chattaway

You have the right to remain silent... Forever.


Grisly Atoms's rating:

People who added this item 58  Average listal rating (27 ratings) 6.6  IMDB Rating 6.3 
6. Just Before Dawn (1981)


Directed by:
Jeff Lieberman
Written by:
Mark Arywitz, Jeff Lieberman, Jonas Middleton
Starring:
George Kennedy, Mike Kellin and Chris Lemmon
Cinematography by:
Dean King, Joel King
Score by:
Robert Q. Lovett

The nightmare has begun -- Just Before Dawn


Grisly Atoms's rating:

People who added this item 49  Average listal rating (28 ratings) 5.9  IMDB Rating 4.9 
7. Christmas Evil (1980)


Directed by:
Lewis Jackson
Written by:
Lewis Jackson
Starring:
Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn and Dianne Hull
Cinematography by:
Ricardo Aronovich
Score by:
N/A

This Christmas you better believe in Santa... or he'll slay you.


Grisly Atoms's rating:

People who added this item 35  Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.6  IMDB Rating 5.3 
8. Madman (1982)


Directed by:
Joe Giannone
Written by:
Joe Giannone, Gary Sales
Starring:
Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish and Harriet Bass
Cinematography by:
James Lemmo
Score by:
Stephen Horelick

They thought they were alone.


Grisly Atoms's rating:

People who added this item 187  Average listal rating (122 ratings) 6.4  IMDB Rating 6.2 
9. My Bloody Valentine (1981)


Directed by:
George Mihalka
Written by:
Stephen A. Miller, John Beaird
Starring:
Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier and Neil Affleck
Cinematography by:
Rodney Gibbons
Score by:
Paul Zaza

There's more than one way to lose your heart...


Grisly Atoms's rating:

People who added this item 224  Average listal rating (134 ratings) 6.5  IMDB Rating 6.2 
10. Sleepaway Camp (1983)


Directed by:
Robert Hiltzik
Written by:
Robert Hiltzik
Starring:
Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten and Karen Fields
Cinematography by:
Benjamin Davis
Score by:
Edward Bilous

...you won't be coming home!


Grisly Atoms's rating:


 

Work in progress.


This list is subject to change, as I haven't seen every slasher flick ever made - and probably never will - and there may be better ones out there that I haven't seen yet.

My top 10 slasher choices from the heyday of slasher films, the 1980s. I will attempt to explain why I chose each one.

Most of these will share at least a couple of things in common, such as a good score, and / or good cinematography. I am a sucker for both, and even more so in combination.

Related lists:


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Comments

Posted: 2 years, 3 months ago at Jul 21 23:29
Christmas Evil is one underrated flick!
Posted: 2 years ago at Oct 5 22:31
Nice to see Maniac at the top of the list. That's one hell of a film. For '80s slashers it'd sit right under Nightmare on Elm Street for me (the film that inspired my interest in horror & slashers). Savini on effects is always a good thing in my book, so glad to see love thrown his way a couple times here.

I'd love to see your notes on the rest of these, especially since I've seen the ones that currently have them. :)
Posted: 2 years ago at Oct 6 9:03
Nice list! And yeah, the giraffe pretty much covered anything else I had to say about it. So get goin on the rest of those notes :)
Posted: 2 years ago at Oct 6 20:58
Just Before Dawn just might be the best all around slasher of the 80s. Cool list.

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