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Bill Bergeman


The 10 Scariest Movies from My Childhood

There's a lot of talk these days about Stranger Things, the 80s throwback series on Netflix. While a quality series with good writing, it only apes the original scary movies from that decade. If you want the real deal, you need to watch the originals.

Below is a list of the ten movies that scared the daylights of out me as a child growing up in the 80s.

    1. Ghost Story (1981).

    This movie scared the sh*t out of me as a little kid.

    It stars aging Hollywood super-legends Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman, and the great Fred Astaire. The elderly men harbor an old secret from their youths that returns to haunt them in a frightening way.

    2. The Thing (1982).

    Forget the 2011 remake, which is a weak imitation.

    The original, directed by horror movie king John Carpenter, stars Kurt Russell in his typical brash, hero-esque role, and a solid performance by the great Wilford Brimley.

    Imagine being trapped in a station in Antarctica and you discover a sinister alien force that can imitate any creature on earth. Who do you trust?

    3. Prince of Darkness (1987).

    Hand to heart, the end of this movie haunted me for years.

    Prince of Darkness is another John Carpenter classic, but arguably darker than any of his other horror masterpieces. It stars Donald Pleasance as a college physics professor who takes a group of his students to a Catholic monastery in Los Angeles to investigate a mysterious cylinder that contains the greatest evil the world has known...and it wants to come out.

    4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

    The original. No list of great horror movies is complete without it. I literally couldn't sleep for days after watching it.

    5. The Shining (1980).

    Based on a Stephen King novel, directed by Stanley Kubrick, and starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, The Shining is arguably the greatest horror movie of all time...and guaranteed to give you nightmares about twins.

    6. Poltergeist (1982).

    If you want to scare the hell out of children, this is a great film to have them sit down and watch. I'm forever grateful that television stations no longer cut to static late at night.

    Poltergeist is the quintessential ghost movie, preying on the primal fears of every suburban homeowner and parent.

    7. Cujo (1983).

    Cujo is another Stephen King classic, though often overshadowed by the many other great 80s horror movies based on the writing from this prolific author.

    Have you ever encountered a vicious dog hell-bent on attacking you? Has one ever trapped you inside your car, not allowing you to escape lest you be chewed alive? Probably not, but that's what happens to a mother and her son in this cult classic.

    8. The Fly (1986).

    The film that put Jeff Goldblum on the path to stardom, the lead portrays a brilliant scientist who believes he just invented teleportation. In order to prove it works on humans, he decides to make himself the first person to try it...not realizing what might happen if another creature joined him for the ride.

    Absolutely fu$king terrifying.

    9. The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988).

    Loosely based on a true story (!), The Serpent and the Rainbow was another one of those films that completely messed with my head as a kid. It's as much of a psychological thriller as it is a horror flick.

    Bill Pullman stars as a Harvard professor who is sent to Haiti by a pharmaceutical company that wants to research a drug that reportedly creates the living dead. Unfortunately, he finds out that it's real.

    10. The Twilight Zone (1983).

    An anthology produced by Steven Spielberg in the spirit of the original television series. The Twilight Zone offers four short horror stories with twists for endings that will keep you up at night.

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