10 Great 1980s Horror Movies That Still Need Sequels

By Alexander Valentino Published 15 hours ago

While the 1980s spawned many iconic horror franchises, some of the decades best scary movies never got a chance to expand on their story with sequels.

10 Great 1980s Horror Movies That Still Need Sequels


  • Not every 80s horror hit birthed a slew of sequels — some standalone gems carved out their own niche in terror.
  • Clashing expectations and unique storytelling kept some films from spawning sequels, leaving audiences clamoring for more.
  • From Videodrome to The Burning, these one-hit wonders of terror left an indelible mark on 80s horror landscape.


The 1980s were famous for spawning horror film franchises, but the decade had a significant number of great standalone scary movies that, surprisingly, never got a direct sequel. Few decades can contest with the amount of massive film series spawned by the 80s, with the horror realm in particular exploding in popularity in this time period. From the most iconic slashers, like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street, to moody supernatural classics like The Shining and Children of the Corn, few of the best 80s horror movies haven't had a sequel or follow-up of some kind.

There are a few reasons why some of the 80s greatest horror movies were able to slip through the cracks with no follow-up film even forty years later. Oftentimes, horror movies of the era were critically panned at the time of their release, only becoming cult classics later on far past the point of their life cycle in which developing a sequel would've been feasible. In other cases, individual horror films simply stand on their own so well that to ideate on a sequel would be an exercise in futility, the original already existing in perfect stasis as a self-contained concept.

10 Videodrome


Close Director David Cronenberg Release Date February 4, 1983

Coming out of Canada, Videodrome sprung from the mind of body-horror icon David Cronenberg, whose name has become synonymous with grotesque imagery and monstrous practical effects. However, Videodrome shifted the focus from biology to technology, chronicling the story of a TV station president who unravels a nightmarish conspiracy. Featuring the acting talents of a young James Woods and fever-dream imagery that merges the human body with machinery in creatively sickening ways, Videodrome was a box office bomb that was only fully appreciated as time went on.

9 Near Dark


10 Great 1980s Horror Movies That Still Need Sequels

Director Kathryn Bigelow Release Date October 2, 1987

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, known better for her Oscar-winning work in films like The Hurt Locker, Near Dark is a moody and atmospheric horror story that creatively unionizes vampires with Western themes and imagery. The story tracks a young man from a small town who falls in with a nomadic biker gang of vampires after being bitten. Featuring talented performances navigating a unique landscape that makes the most of vampiric world-building, Near Dark juggles horror, romance, and comedy with astounding skill, making it all the harder to believe the film never expanded into a series of any kind.

8 The Thing


10 Great 1980s Horror Movies That Still Need Sequels

Director John Carpenter Release Date June 25, 1982

One of John Carpenter's all-time best films, The Thing needs little introduction as the filmmaker's magnum opus. The chilling horror of the Antarctic research base's isolation combined with the disgusting and insidious machinations of the titular life-form to consume all organic matter in its path makes for an unforgettable experience. While The Thing did inspire hoardes of comic book and video game sequels and a prequel film of the same name in 2011, it curiously never received a direct second installment, leaving audiences to forever wonder if Kurt Russell's MacReady or Keith David's Childs were infected.

7 Dead & Buried


10 Great 1980s Horror Movies That Still Need Sequels

Making waves with its release in the early 80s by being briefly banned in the United Kingdom for obscene material, Dead & Buried is a unique horror masterclass never truly appreciated in its time. The film trails a Sheriff investigating a concerning string of murders plaguing a small town, only to uncover a sinister secret. The tense conspiracy that blinds the protagonist and visceral gore creates an irreplicable blend of thriller suspense and full-throttle horror that may have put the film in an awkward critical position, too plot-driven for gore chasers but too violent for heady mystery lovers.

6 The Changeling


10 Great 1980s Horror Movies That Still Need Sequels

Director Peter Medak Release Date March 28, 1980

A classic haunted house movie, The Changeling is a chilling ghost story that follows a composer who moves into a haunted mansion after his family is killed in an accident. The film provides a surprisingly thought-out series of events, presenting audiences with a smart horror protagonist that goes about dealing with his ghost-infested domicile as reasonably as anyone could. Of course, beyond the competency of George C. Scott's John Russell, the film still doesn't fail to slowly boil its viewer with an exponentially-blooming sense of supernatural dread. Screenwriter Russell Hunter apparently based the story off of his own spooky experiences.

5 They Live


Close Director John Carpenter Release Date November 4, 1988

Another certified classic from John Carpenter, They Live may toe the line between action and horror, but there's no mistaking that the sinister black-and-white glares of the film's skull-faced aliens as genuinely terrifying, even today. They Live uncovers the tale of a drifter who stumbles upon an insidious secret — The human population is being controlled by aliens, hiding in plain sight while bombarding the planet with subliminal messages. At once a brainlessly-enjoyable action romp and a scathing social commentary, it's tragic that They Live never got the chance to expand on its horrific universe.

4 Opera


10 Great 1980s Horror Movies That Still Need Sequels

Director Dario Argento Release Date December 19, 1987

A modern-day re-imaginaning of the classic Phantom of the Opera, Opera was a terse slasher that helped define the genre of Giallo horror films to come out of Italy. Opera presents audiences with a hopeful opera understudy gearing up for a rendition of The Scottish Play, only to be stalked by a deranged serial killer hidden within the theater. As classic of a horror premise as they come, Opera manages to convey its themes of obsession, voyeurism, and twisted artistic pride with vivid detail.

3 Possession


Close Director Andrzej Zulawski Release Date May 25, 1981

Another 1981 horror film to garner controversy for being heavily censored, Possession is a high-concept horror film that fuses espionage thrillers and political drama with Lovecraftian horror. The film centers around the tumultuous divorce of a husband and wife, one of whom happens to be a German spy. The film is a kaleidoscope of seemingly incompatible elements, from relationship drama to romance, noir style, and supernatural elements. Yet all of these aspects of Possession blend together in a swirling nightmare of psychological horror whose censorship unfairly gutted its chances at a sequel.

2 Night Of The Comet


10 Great 1980s Horror Movies That Still Need Sequels

Director Thom Eberhardt Release Date November 16, 1984

Exercising the concept of a mystical comet trail effecting the Earth far better than Stephen King's abysmal directorial debut, Maximum Overdrive, Night of the Comet follows a pair of sisters in their attempt to survive the fallout of a cosmic event that disintegrates most of humanity, turning most survivors into brainless zombies. Satirizing valley-girl culture while freshening up its well-worn zombie premise with a striking coat of neon colors, the low-budget sci-fi horror romp deserves more recognition, ripe with opportunity for exploring its post-apocalypse further with a sequel.

1 The Burning


10 Great 1980s Horror Movies That Still Need Sequels

A forgotten entry in the overpopulated slasher lineup of the 80s, The Burning could've easily been the one to reap a franchise of sprawling sequels over contemporaries like Friday the 13th. Admittedly, The Burning's premise is lifted fairly note-for-note from Jason's movies, telling the story of a disfigured summer camp caretaker who gets his revenge on sex-positive teenagers. If it can be viewed in a vacuum, The Burning has some of the most gut-wrenching gore and pulse-pounding tension of any slasher, making it a compelling horror movie in its own right, even if it wore its influences on its sleeve.

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