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Monday Discussion: What’s Your Favorite Decade of Horror?

Horror decadesSomeone said to me once, "The '70s is the only decade worth a damn for horror, everything after that sucked." And it struck me…he was right.

There were plenty of worthwhile horror films that came out in the ensuing decades. But if you look at quality, voice and history, the '70s delivered. That decade, for me, screamed the loudest and shaped the genre in so many ways. For that aforementioned colleague I was talking to, the '70s were it. It was his favorite decade and the one he considered the best in horror.

The '80s are hands-down my favorite decade, however.

I respect the '70s, but I adore the '80s. And much of that simply has to do with my genre upbringing and my formative years of horror. From beginning to end, the '80s delivered films that I find no trouble watching repeatedly.

The '70s fall into second place followed by a split between the 1930s/1940s in third place – both of those decades gave so much in the world of classic horror.

So, how about you? What is your favorite decade of horror? What was the criteria behind your selection? Use our comment boards below to weigh in!

  • Eizzy IceBorne

    For me, it is clearly the decade from 1970 to 1980. In no era before and after, so many intense classics came out that I adore still today.

    Alien, Omen, Jaws, The Exorcist, Halloween, Carrie, Suspiria, The Shining, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, Last House On The Left, Friday the 13th, Dawn Of The Dead, Mark Of The Devil, Nosferatu, Piranha, Vampire Circus, Audrey Rose . . .

    Holy Goth! There are so many many classics that are still present today and so many sub-genres had been born in 1970s. There is absolutely no other choice for me: the 70s are the one special decade of Horror!

    • Sinful Celluloid

      Definitely agree. For me though, its 70′s Euro horror. So many classic themes were explored and imagined. Also the films were serious, sexier, and atmospheric. I’ll take all that any day.

  • Tyrannosaurus Ren

    I would have to go with the 60′s. It’s a decade full of classics, and I feel like it played the biggest part in shaping horror as a genre. Not only did we get timeless movies like Rosemary’s Baby, Psycho, and The Birds, but we also had great TV shows like The Twilight Zone (the bulk of it) and The Outer Limits which are not only influential beyond measure, but impossible to measure up to.

    • Juan Asilo

      hey it started there

    • Gabbi Cordero

      whereas i don’t personally agree with your decade of choice, i do certainly respect your selection. what really brings point home is your astute observation that “it played the biggest part in shaping horror as a genre”. a lot of the directors who would go on to cement their legacies and craft the 80′s (the carpenter’s, the craven’s, etc) were heavily influenced by the output from the genre that they grew up with.
      what serves as a an additional boon to your perspective is not only naming such groundbreaking hallmarks as the twilight zone and outer limits but also acknowledging their far reaching impact and a quality impossible to replicate. (1) i read an article last week on ign of 5 sci-fi tv shows they want rebooted and they listed the twilight zone. HA! they even had the gaul to mention that it’s been rebooted twice before so “hopefully the third time is the charm”. what the editor failed to mention is that each reboot lasted shorter than the one previous. (2) i laugh whenver people remark that horror is experiencing a rennaissance on tv because most of it is neither scary nor thought provoking and half of it isn’t even good. as much as i like hannibal, will look into bates motel, and look forward to penny dreadful, grimm is no good, nbc’s dracula sucks (and not in a good way), american horror story has been on a steady decline, it’s sophomore slump extending into two seasons, and walking dead is overrated (just see this week’s episode). my intention is not to end on a rant but rather to highlight how groundbreaking the TV offering was for the genre that it could have such a legacy 50 years removed and had played its part to elevate the genre instead of ride its coattails.

    • comicbookal

      Have to agree with you on everything that you mentioned especially both the Twilight Zone and the original classic Outer Limits (my favorite!) along with Thriller which was hosted by none other than Frankenstein himself, Mr. Boris Karloff.

  • J Jett

    for me it’s the 70′s and a good chunk of the 80′s.

    THE CHANGELING, THE FOG, TERROR TRAIN, THE BROOD, AMITYVILLE HORROR, PHANTASM, F13, HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE, HAPPY B-DAY TO ME, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, etc, etc, etc.

  • Conrad DeWitt II

    60′s-80′s

  • Coronerslab

    Definitely the 80′s. It’s the zenith of special effects in horror. No other decade can match the special effects that was displaced in the 80′s (Friday the 13th, The Thing, Day of the Dead) It was the decade of campyness (Night of the Comet, Evil Dead 1 & 2, Return of the Living dead) and the decayed(pun) of the best horror icons (Jason, Ash Williams, Freddy Kruger, Pinhead, Chucky, Alien Queen, Predators, Herbert West (movie form), Toxic Avenger, Tarman)

  • shutcheson

    Its the 80′s for me. even though I was too young in the 80s I caught all the movies on VHS and TV in the early 90s. My favorite movies come from that decade. I am still finding movies that I haven’t seen that I love from the 80s.

  • Dustin

    I’m gonna be the rule-bending prick and say from 1972-1984 was the highlight of pure classic horror.

    • MyTwoCents…

      If only you had extended that to 1985 you could have included Day of the Dead and Reanimator, my 2 favorites from the 80s.

      • Dustin

        Love Re-Animator, but feelings for Day of the Dead always change. It’s a love/hate relationship. Every time I watch, I either find something more to love or dislike.

        • MyTwoCents…

          Really? My initial reaction to Day Of The Dead was slight disappointment. It was supposed to be the final part in a trilogy so young, naive me expected a fairly tidy conclusion.
          Over time the seasoned-film-veteran me has grown to love it as one of the great modern horror movies. I could crap on endlessly about the things I love about this movie but there’s one overriding factor that puts this movie so high on my favourites list: it’s an almost perfectly paced film. George was on a hot streak having directed Martin, Dawn…, Creepshow and Knightriders and seemed to just breeze through this with complete confidence. This is also one of the few Romero movies he didn’t edit himself and I believe handle editing over to Pasquale was a great decision. We end up with 98 minute film that moves at just the right pace. We get a good balance between horror and comedy and we also get what is perhaps the greatest zombie of all time, Bub. The Clockwork Orange reference when Bub listens to Beethoven’s Ninth is one of my favourite moments of any of Romero’s “Dead” movies.

  • Killyoself Asap

    Either the 70′s or 80′s for sure. I’ll take either one. In fact, I think the best films in every genre came out in that timeframe. 90% of the films that come out know suck. I did like ‘Nurse’ though..

  • Gabbi Cordero

    As much as I try never to follow the crowd, I’m afraid, for this particular article, I will have to defer to popular opinion. The 80’s, to me and clearly many others, is the favored decade of horror. An interesting kick-off recently mentioned in the Bloodcast was how 1981 played host to the werewolf trinity of The Howling, Wolfen, and of course An American Werewolf in London (while not the granddaddy is the undeniable definitive film of that sub-genre). Just two years later we would feast our eyes to what John Landis’ work had inspired in “Thriller” (short film).
    I believe it telling that two of our most iconic haunted house/ghost stories touched down within two years of one another in the decade opening with The Shining and Poltergeist. Furthermore, especially in regards to modern cinema, in a six year period we were treated to The Thing, The Fly, and The Blob, the sci-fi horror remake trifecta that crafted the blueprint for what remakes (especially for today) should be.

    For evidence as to how defining this decade was, one need not look any further than the fact that it introduced us to half of our Boogeymen: Jason, Chucky, Freddy, and Pinhead (the latter two often confused for slashers), earlier including Leatherface and Myers, and to be completed by Candyman and Ghost Face. Despite mishandled throughout, these ten years debuted not just two of Horror’s Titans of Terror, but also hosted their decisive sequels in Friday the 13th 6 and Dream Warriors (not just my favorite of the series, but also my favorite movie monster alongside with the xenomorph.) Speaking of, here is where we received the one two punch of Aliens ’86 and Predator the year after (it can still work, read the comics).

    To me, the greatest asset in the arsenal of fear is the many forms it comes in. This facet was on full display during the 80’s. Whether evil wore the face of a supernatural prince of darkness (Warlock), the expression of a psychological thriller (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), or was hardwired into a technological terror (The Terminator), whether the threat came from high above (Lifeforce) or adorned “the new flesh” (Video Drome), Scary Movies were free to spread their wings to cover more ground and gather more disparity beneath its shadow.

    This ten year span explored not only the full range of Horror’s celebrated sub-genres but also run the gamut in terms of mood by dabbling in various tones: I enjoyed a madcap romp like Gremlins (which Ryan aptly labeled as a “looney tunes” brand of Horror in his 12 Days of Killmas episodes) every bit as much as I feared what lurked within The Fog, and cheered on the political satire Robocop. The Company of Wolves was just as welcome in my home as a Creepshow.
    Growing up I even enjoyed smaller fare like Critters (new line’s answer to gremlins), Elvira (need I explain?), Pumpkinhead, Serpent and the Rainbow, and Scarecrows (don’t judge).

    *****

    Despite the rise of the Slasher Bubble that would ultimately burst in the decade the proceeded it, it was still enjoyable watching my tv screen run red with all the exploitation that erupted in the wake of Halloween and Friday. Principally the rise of the pseudo genre of Holiday Horror (Don’t Open Till Christmas, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Christmas Evil, New Year’s Evil, nearly all reviewed in the 12 Day of Killmas). Even some of the offerings from the genre that I don’t consider classics I still acknowledge are enjoyed by many as cult classics. 1985 gave yet another trio of classic movie monsters: Vampires (once bitten), zombies (return of the living dead, and werewolves (silver bullet). The 80’s were also a time that gave rise to the adaptations to the works of two prolific writers: Re-Animator and From Beyond (lovecraft) // Children of the Corn, Christine, Cujo, Pet Semetary (Stephen King)

    • MyTwoCents…

      That was a great sentence, Bill…

  • Todd Nichols

    1970s !! – I do love all Horror from the silent era to present, but the 70s seemed to be a decade where horror was all over the map in the best way possible.
    You had the great late night fun horror films like Dr. Phibes, Count Yorga, Incredible Two-Headed Transplant, It’s Alive, Squirm, Octaman, Frogs, The Omega Man, The Freakmaker to name just a few.
    Then you had your major Iconic films like Last House On The Left, Exorcist, Jaws, Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, Alien, The Omen, I Spit on your Grave, Amityville Horror, Phantasm, etc.
    Let’s not forget this was the end of Hammer films going out with such greats as Vampire Circus, To The Devil A Daughter, Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde, Dracula AD 1972, Lust For A Vampire, Countess Dracula, Horror Of Frankenstein, Twins Of Evil !!
    Also, the beginning of the slasher genre with Centerfold Girls, Three On A Meathook, Black Christmas, A Bay of Blood, Town That Dreaded Sundown, The Toolbox Murders and so on.
    Great Euro-Horror flicks Female Vampire, Mark Of The Devil, Torso, The Bloody Judge, Grapes Of Death, Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, Jean Rollins Vampire Trilogy, the Paul Naschy / Leon Klimovsky films, the Blind Dead series, Paul Naschy’s fantastic werewolf films, and many, many more !!
    All those wonderful gritty Anthology films…Tales From The Crypt, House That Dripped Blood, Asylum, Tales That Witness Madness, From Beyond The Grave, Vault of Horror…the days when Amicus ruled !!
    Even the networks ran some great made for TV horror films back then, Salem’s Lot, Frankenstein The True Story, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Night Stalker, Night Strangler, Moon Of The Wolf, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Norliss Tapes, Satan’s School for Girls, The Stranger Within, Trilogy of Terror…and on and on.
    We combined Martial Arts with Horror…Devil’s Express, Legend Of The Seven Golden Vampires !!
    The Excellent creepy Toho vampire trilogy – Lake of Dracula, Vampire Doll and Evil of Dracula !!
    Zombies actually started to eat people (thanks George !!) with Zombie, Dawn Of The Dead, The Dead Are Alive, Garden Of The Dead, etc.
    And don’t forget people eating people with Cannibal Holocaust, Make Them Die Slowly, Mountain Of The Cannibal God, Jungle Holocaust and more.
    Bizarre crazy Gore flicks like Wizard of Gore, Blood Freak, Gore Gore Girls, Pigs, Deranged, Corpse Grinders, Doctor Gore, Scream Bloody Murder (aka: Claw of Terror) and many more !!
    Awesome Blaxploitation Horror…Blacula, Scream Blacula Scream, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Black, Blackenstein, Ganja & Hess, Sugar Hill, Petey Wheatstraw the Devil’s Son-In-Law !!
    AND…we got THE coolest film titles ever – Werewolves on Wheels, Incredible Melting Man, Mardi Gras Massacre, Bloodthirsty Butchers, Blood Orgy of the She Devils, Grave of the Vampire, Invasion of the Bee Girls, Blood of Ghastly Horror, Young Hanna Queen of the Vampires, Zoltan Hound of Dracula, Brain of Blood, Lady Frankenstein, Virgin Witch, Legend of Hell House, Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave, Driller Killer, Dr. Jekyll vs. the Werewolf, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, Giant Spider Invasion, Creeping Flesh, Headless Eyes, Horror of the Blood Monsters, Thirsty Dead, Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks, Lust for a Vampire, Blood On Satan’s Claw, Kingdom of the Spiders, Superbeast, Devil’s Wedding Night, Flesh for Frankenstein, Hatchet for the Honeywoon, Don’t Look In the Basement, Psychomania, Blood Sucking Freaks, Asylum of Satan, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, Kiss of the Tarantula, Brotherhood of Satan, Vampire Hookers, Legend Of Blood Castle, Race with the Devil, Horror Rises from the Tomb, Nude Vampire, Phantom Of The Paradise, I Drink your Blood, Silent Night Bloody Night, Taste the Blood Of Dracula, Scream and Scream Again, Redeemer of Satan, Beast In the Cellar, Brides Wore Blood, Spawn of the Slithis, Velvet Vampire, Scream of the Demon Lover, Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, Thing with Two Heads, Possession Of Nurse Sherri, Raw Meat, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Dr. Jekyll’s Dungeon of Death, House on Skull Mountain, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, Boy Who Cried Werewolf, Hunchback of the Morgue, A Virgin Among the Living Dead, And Now the Screaming Starts, Vampires Night Orgy, Shriek of the Mutilated, House Of Seven Corpses, Satan’s Black Wedding, Werewolf and the Yeti, Demon Witch Child, Milpitas Monster, Virgin Slaughter, Satan’s Cheerleaders, Nightmare In Blood….I really could go on with these wild titles…and by the way I do own all of the above titles…sick huh??

    • Todd Nichols

      After I posted this I noticed 2 things 1) It was kinda long, and 2) How many titles have the word “BLOOD” in it ???

  • comicbookal

    For me it definitely was the 1950′s (with the 1960′s not to far behind) with these “gems” many of which that combined sci-fi elements with horror such as The Thing From Another World, Them, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Return Of Dracula, The Revenge Of Frankenstein, Horror Of Dracula, Behemoth, The Sea Monster, Creature From the Black Lagoon (and it’s two sequels!), The Werewolf, The Monster That Challenged The World, Curse Of Frankenstein, Curse Of The Undead, The Thing That Couldn’t Die, Cult Of The Cobra, Corridors Of Blood, The Black Sleep, I Bury The Living, I Was A Teenage Frankenstein ( and Werewolf!), It, The Terror From Beyond Space, The Haunted Strangler, The Tingler, House On Haunted Hill, The Mummy, The Undead, The Vampire, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Horrors Of The Black Museum, The Man Who Could Cheat Death, The Quatermass X-periment
    (known In the U.S. as “The Creeping Unknown”), Enemy From Space,The Crawling Eye, Terror Is a Man, Voodoo Island, The She Creature, Curse Of The Faceless Man, Caltiki- The Immortal Monster, Blood Of The Vampire, Blood Of Dracula, A Bucket Of Blood, Attack Of The Crab Monsters, Frankenstein 1970, Earth Vs. The Spider, The Four Skulls Of Jonathon Drake, The Son Of Dr.Jekyll, Night Of The Demon (Curse Of The Demon In The U.S.), The Fly, Return Of The Fly, The Leech Woman, The H-Man, Rodan, House Of Wax, The Mad Magician, The Blob, The Black Scorpion, From Hell It Came, 4D Man, Godzilla, The Hideous Sun Demon, Donovan’s Brain, The Man Without a Body, The Brain Eaters, The Screaming Skull, The Daughter Of Dr. Jekyll, and The Abominable Snowman. Now, granted that many of these films are pretty cheesy but they are still fun to watch and scared the dickens out of me when I saw many of them at the local drive-in or on television in the ’60′s……..