There’s no denying that the 80s gave us some of the most iconic horror films of all time and recent movies seem to be returning to the decade. We’re detailing out why the 80s horror style is making a comeback.
Written by: Reb Czukoski – October 14th, 2021 4:31 pm pst
If you’re a true horror fan, you’ve definitely dabbled in creature features, thrillers, and classic slasher films like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare On Elm Street, or the Slumber Party Massacre trilogy. What do all of these classics have in common? They were born in the 80s! Old styles from these movies are being taken and revamped into new films, contributing to the rising popularity of horror movies that use 80s elements.
The 1980s were a booming time for horror because this was right after the time in which special and visual effects were revolutionized. The 1970s brought us Jaws and Star Wars, two of the most popular films of their time, and for decades afterward. George Lucas set the tone by developing his own special effects production company, Industrial Light & Magic, where they practiced different animation techniques, special makeup, matte painting, and computerized camera controls.
Although not all of the horror movies of the 80s had the budget to push the limits of visual effects, they utilized lots of special effects makeup. Tom Savini, the makeup artist for Friday the 13th, portrayed all of the brutal murders at Camp Crystal Lake and is now a household name in the special effects makeup field.
The Creepy Mask Ethan Hawke Wears in ‘The Black Phone’ Was Designed By Tom Savini (@THETomSavini) and His Team! https://t.co/598xnWHqmO
— Bloody Disgusting (@BDisgusting) September 27, 2021
Just because there were a lot of 80s horror movies doesn’t mean all of them looked good, and we have a lot more advancements within VFX and SFX nowadays, so why would present-day horror films want to resemble those from 40 years ago?
The abundance of horror films produced in the 80s was astronomical, just like how the 90s were dominated by disaster films and romcoms or the early 2000s was the sci-fi and fantasy era. As consumers, we have associations with these time periods, but those don’t last because we see resurgences of genres all the time.
Horror subgenres that are almost 80s specific like creature features, slashers, and thrillers are being refurbished for new audiences. Some modern movies that fall under these categories are the new Scream, the Fear Street trilogy, Happy Death Day, and Freaky.
We are so equipped with CGI and 3D motion technology, that it would be a shame to not put it to use. Since there was a hyper-specific mode of effects during the peak of our horror subgenres, it’s still new and fresh to use new effects with old themes. It even makes lots of these movies scarier than they would have been before.
God of War: Performance motion capture vs. in-game footage! pic.twitter.com/gBvKZWkP5A
— GameSpot (@GameSpot) October 7, 2021
In addition to utilizing new skills that weren’t available prior, making new horror movies with 80s conventions creates a sense of nostalgia for the adults who lived through the 80s film period and younger audiences that love the classics.
Relatability isn’t the sole factor for intrigue either. The 80s was peaceful and to imagine any time before mobile phones and social media is baffling for new generations. The simplicity of the 80s and the inability to contact people in times of distress make the films that much more realistic. After all, everything is scarier set in the 80s.
There’s no denying that modern horror likes to play with the 80s and it’s been seemingly popular, so there’s no point in stopping now. Just how fashion trends come and go, film also gets chances to reinvent itself and I think every time a genre regains popularity there’s so much room for improvement and to blow their audiences away.
About The Author:
Reb Czukoski is an intern with AfterBuzz TV and a senior at Emerson College studying visual media arts with a focus in animation and minoring in peace and social justice. They are currently pursuing a career in animation and graphic design, with an interest in movies, music, and social media.