The Best Horror Movies of 1981: 80s Horror Movie Memories

In this feature-length episode of Horror Movie Memories, we look at the best horror movies of 1981.

If you subscribe to JoBlo Horror Originals (which you should!), you’ve probably caught our series 80’s Horror Movie Memories. In this show, we highlight all of our favourite horror movies from arguably the greatest decade for horror, with tons of very special guests. The decade started with a bang, with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the first instalment in the Friday the 13th series, John Carpenter’s The Fog, and more. Check out our feature-length examination of 1980 here, but this week, we’re looking at 1981. 

While some may think the year pales compared to 1980, they might be underestimating what’s a pretty significant year for horror. Arguably, one would call it the year of the werewolf, with the year dominated by the best werewolf movies of all time, John Landis’s An American Werewolf in London and Joe Dante’s The Howling. While those might have been the biggest horror movies of 1981, there were some other huge classics, all of which we dig into in this special, feature-length episode dedicated to that very influential year in horror. 

Some of the best horror movies of 1981, which we cover in-depth, include:

The Funhouse: Tobe Hooper’s first major studio film was a financial flop but is now considered an atmospheric delight.  

The Burning: One of the most gruesome horror movies of the decade, this was slammed by critics initially but is now a cult classic.

Friday the 13th Part 2: The second instalment and the entry in the series that introduced the world to Jason Vorhees.

My Bloody Valentine: A grimy Canadian exploitation flick that was a cult cable hit for kids of the 80s.

Halloween II: A controversial, violent sequel that is loved as much as it is hated.

The Evil Dead: Sam Raimi’s classic ranks among the most influential horror movies of the decade and was a landmark indie to boot.

Plus, we dig into the rise of classic horror hosts Elvira and Joe Bob Briggs. In this episode, we chat with Darren Lynn Bousmann (the Saw series), Steve Johnson (Species), Doug Jones (Hellboy, The Shape of Water), Sandy King (Vampires, They Live), Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine 3D, Greg Nicotero (horror makeup legend), Eric Red (The Hitcher, Bad Moon) and Matt Winston (Amazing Stories, Invaders from Mars). 

Check out all the episodes of Horror Movies Memories here!

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