For many, the ’80s ranks high among the best decades for horror. It marked the rise and fall of the Golden Age of Slashers, a wealth in access and availability thanks to the VHS boom, and a glut of practical effects-driven horror thanks to significant advances. That meant that the decade offered no shortage of memorable and enduring horror.
The sheer volume in output also means that many titles became forgotten or overshadowed by more popular fare. This week’s streaming picks are dedicated to ’80s horror movies that don’t get near as much attention as they likely should.
From lesser discussed slashers to wild black magic tales, these titles have it all.
Here’s where you can stream them this week.
Dead & Buried – Prime Video
A sleepy seaside town has a dark secret in this horror movie by director Gary Sherman and Alien screenwriters Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. After a series of grisly murders committed by large groups of townspeople against tourists, the bodies begin returning to life. As Sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino) races to uncover what’s happening and why, he starts to notice peculiar behavior from those around him, including his wife. Eerie and atmospheric, Dead & Buried bides its time unveiling the skeletons in this town’s closet, but when it does, it packs a visceral punch.
Just Before Dawn – FlixFling
Five young people trek into the mountainous backwoods of Oregon to find rural property one of them has just inherited, despite being warned to stay away by the forest ranger. They find themselves stalked and hunted by a psychopath. Just Before Dawn may have a familiar premise to countless slashers, but its execution sets it apart. Directed by Jeff Lieberman (Squirm, Satan’s Little Helper), this slasher breaks the textbook Final Girl mold in many ways. Perhaps more thrillingly, it holds a few nasty tricks up its sleeves for its killer reveal and final confrontation.
The Queen of Black Magic – Shudder
Technically, thanks to Shudder and a recent remake, this 1981 Indonesian horror movie remains hidden no longer. Murni, played by Indonesian horror icon Suzzanna, gets left for dead after a profound betrayal by the man who promised to marry her. She’s taken in by a black magic practitioner, who teaches her the dark arts needed to unleash glorious revenge. If you’ve already caught up with the remake, also on Shudder, then be prepared for this to take a vastly different, bonkers approach. Murni will have you rooting for her as she eviscerates every single person responsible for harming her.
The Seventh Curse – Prime Video
Five years before director Lam Nai-choi ushered gory cult hit Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky into the world, he demonstrated a knack for extreme gore and grand spectacle insanity in The Seventh Curse. It’s a genre mashup that feels like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom meets Krull. After saving a young maiden destined for sacrifice, a young cop gets afflicted with a deadly curse. He returns to the jungle where it began to face off against an evil sorcerer and stop the curse from claiming his life. This movie has it all—epic battles, monsters, tons of bloodshed, martial arts, a wacky villain, and more.
The Slayer – Arrow, Tubi
Two couples head to an island for a vacation getaway but being that it’s off-season, they’re isolated and alone. The peace is interrupted by Kay, an artist plagued by nightmares that insist those nightmares will cause the group’s doom. Her friend Brooke is somewhat sympathetic; Kay’s husband David and brother Eric are positive her imagination is running wild. Sure enough, they start dying one by one. The body count may be low, but the filmmakers make it count thanks to gnarly effects by special effects makeup creator Robert Short (Chopping Mall, Beetlejuice, Legion tv series). It helps that the movie builds to an insane finale featuring a cool monster, marking a departure from usual slashers with an ambiguous ending.