Halloween is over and we keep on trucking with the 1986 edition of my Top 10 lists. I hope to have these finished by the end of the year. There are three more years in the 1980s and then we move to the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s (so far). I do now have enough from the 1940s to complete that list as well. So, seven or eight more of these before I get to the grand Finale, my Top 100 Horror films of all-time. That may be my first post of 2023. I also plan to release a top 50 of the 1980s as well.
1986 was a fun year in horror, horror comedies were coming around more in 1985 and then in 1986 we get some really good horror and horror comedies. This was also the year I began my dark decent into horror. My very first two horror films I’d watch here in 1986, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 Freddy’s Revenge (1985), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Children of the Corn (1984). Once my mom saw I loved these and shared a love for horror, she went to the local VHS rental house “Box TV” and rented the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Re-Animator (1985) and Friday the 13th (1980). It really was a trial by fire. Re-Animator really got to to me, I think it had to do with dead people coming back to life. For a very long time my only caveats when it came to horror were dead people coming back to life and flesh eaters, thanks to once scene in Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978).
Back in 1986, we had to wait a long time to see movies that we saw previews for, my mom wasn’t much for seeing movies in the theater then, my sister was 4 and taking me to the theater at 6 was probably a chore. So, the next 10 movies were scene over the next few years or, even longer. But, one of my absolute favorites of the decade is from 1986, actually a few of them.
10. Psycho III (1986)
I don’t know where anyone stands on the Psycho sequels, but they are better than you’d think. Psycho III is a good follow up to the second film and has one of my favorite characters from the series. Jeff Fahey as Duane Duke, who was scarier? Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates or Jeff Fagey as Duane Duke? I’ll let you decided, but Fahey is out of control in Pyscho III and it is a delight.
9. Poltergeist II The Other Side (1986)
I just wrote an article on why I think Poltergeist II is underrated. To me, it adds to the story and we get to revisit the family we loved from the 1982 film. New characters are added and they are some of the best for the franchise. Reverend Kane and Taylor are great, but Kane himself becomes a central figure in the film and he is terrific!
8. Terrorvision (1986)
For those who have seen this kind of low budget MTV type of science fiction horror film…this scared me as a kid. It actually induced at fever dream when I was sick. Looking at it now, it’s silly and fun. It is kind of a kids horror film with adult tones. It borders on being a Troma film. But having Diane Franklin in the film classes it up a bit.
7. Night of the Creeps (1986)
This is a love letter for horror. Most of the character last names are from horror directors. This is Alien meets Night of the Living Dead and Tom Atkins is amazing. Night of the Creeps is all about fun, so much that James Gunn made a similar movie, Slither in 2006…Thrill Me.
6. From Beyond (1986)
Jeffery Combs is usually enough to get me interested in a movie, add Barbara Crampton and Ken Foree, now I’m excited. There are many things to love, Jeffery Combs sucking on people’s eye balls, Dr. Pretorius being a sex maniac or Barbara Crampton in that tight leather get up. This is a blast, Stuart Gordon brings another Lovecraft story to life and adds his own spin.
5. House (1986)
House is one of those I saw when I was younger. I’ll never forget being terrified Demon Sandy popped up. Big Ben was always the standout in this movie when I was younger. As an adult, this movie is very silly and still fun. William Katt is good as Roger and has some great scenes, like beating Kane Hodder with a shovel while Kane is in a trash bag.
4. Demons 2 (1986)
I am in an extreme minority here. I love Demons 2 way more than the first movie. While, I do love the first movie, this one focuses on being in a high rise and a teenage Sally becoming a Demon and following her around. I love Sally, I do, she looks awesome and her transformation always makes laugh. Demons two is in a high rise apparent and I wonder how Evil Dead Rise will be, kind of the same idea.
3. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
Some put this higher than the original when they rank the Chainsaw films. I don’t, but I have tons of love for TCM 2 as we call it. Dennis Hopper plays Lefty and he is kind of a wild card. When he and Stretch are together it is gold. But, as all know we come for, no not Leatherface, we come for Choptop. Bill Moseley is insane and 100% steals the show. He is such a maniac, he makes me laugh every time he is on screen. There is no other character in the series that even matches Choptop. I will also mention, I love the cook in this one too. Remember Nubbins has one of them fuck you Charlies.
2. The Fly (1986)
David Cronenberg’s masterpiece. Well, maybe not, but damn the Fly is amazing. The effects are top notch and watching Seth Brundle slowly transform to Brundlefly is insane, gross and beautiful. Some may look at the Fly as a monster, but I am very sympathetic to his story and at the end what he wants. It’s really a sad story in the end.
1.Friday the 13th Jason Lives (1986)
The best Friday the 13th film to date. Jason Lives has everything! I mean everything, kids at the camp, gore, an awesome Jason resurrection, the return of Tommy Jarvis and the best script. CJ Graham is terrific and never gets the credit he deserves as Jason. Thom Mathews is the best version of Tommy Jarvis and that says a lot, John Sheppard was good and Feldman was great. I love this movie and it is simply one of my favorites of all-time in horror.
That is the list for 1986. What are your favorites? 1987 is next and we are into the final few from the 1980s and we will move on to one list for the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and the 2020s…so far. I’ll likely do a Top 50 of the 80s as well. Rayzor’s Top 50, with no outside influences.
Thanks for reading, see you next time.