horror in the eighties
It was a time where the air was filled with toxic hairspray, neon parachute pants were somehow the trending craze and the alcoholics of Cheers had set the bar for ensemble comedies- that was the Eighties. It was the era where Michael Jackson was still donning his thriller fame, hair was being permed in all sorts of confidence and unexpectedly a seemingly random fear of clowns struck the modern world.
Whether it was the eerie draw of Stephen King adaptions or the psychological slasher films movie goers suddenly yearned for- the Eighties certainly left its mark on cinematic history, giving birth to such cult classics like The Shining, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the Thirteenth. Yet despite being known as the era of free range youth, the eighties suffered some hard times, so much so that everyday folks unknowingly wanted a distraction from reality and found it the blood stained horror films that at the time seemed so unbelievably vicious it gave reality a not so bad name.
Cinema has always subtly reflected society in some way or another- just like how in ten or so years from now the movies of today will undoubtedly show tales of progressive feminism and technological growth, the eighties cinema story will always be remembered for breakfast club like teenage angst and its reinvention of the horror genre.
The 1980’s was a decadent time in history where many fixated their worried eyes on television screen nervously watching the news continually unravel stories of trials and national tribulation. The Iran hostage crisis sparked a prejudiced hate across the western world, radical environmentalism was being introduced and the global stage of the cold war was shaking the already tense nerves of common folk. People ran to the cinemas wanting to believe that there was worse out there, that there could be things more horrible than what was actually happening outside the cinema doors- at the time people almost wanted to be afraid of and scared by the absurd than the reality that was scarily unfolding.
Nowadays horror films are seemingly not as thrilling as they once were thirty years ago, in the latest trend of reviving classic movies into modern day- most if not all Hollywood remakes of notoriety horror films have fallen short of the high bar the predecessors have set. People are no longer afraid of axe wielding men in masks let alone care to sympathise with psychotic vampires anymore but instead fear religion and the supernatural. Unlike the 1980’s viewers now need their villains to be more than just angry people, whilst back then all directors had to do do was put a mask on some willing actor, add a weak storyline and another money maker would be made.
With the exception of the religious fearful themes and of course the iconic Human Centipede (whom will probably be remembered for other factors than the actual horror) in a couple years from now no one is going to care about the slasher and psychological horror films of today- they have all been seen before and it is no longer a new experience for viewers whereas in the eighties where the concept was still new Horror films were the Marvel movies of their time.
There is no denying that cinema changes with each new decade. The golden age of cinema with the likes of Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind happened in the 1930’s, the 1940’s were the height of the film noir genre where new waves of subtle story telling were being introduced through the works Orson Welles and Frank Capra, the fifties- television was newly introduced forcing movie makers to make big budgets spectacles such as Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments to keep both the movie experience and careers alive, the sixties were filled with the romantic idea of gentlemen swooning over beautiful women like Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews, the 1970’s captured the brutality of masculine men with Rocky and the Godfather whilst the Eighties gave birth to horror films scaring both children and adults into sleeping with the lights on and baseball bats at the sides of their bed just in case their neighbour may possibly be the cliché murderer the town was looking for, and even then nightmares were still stop safe from Freddy Kruger.
Horror was the Eighties.