The 24 Best Horror Movies of 1981

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1). The Evil Dead (1981)

Score: 8/10 IMDB: 7.5/10 Trailer Review
Five college students take time off to spend a peaceful vacation in a remote cabin. A book and audio tape…
Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Scott Spiegel, Sam Raimi, Josh Becker

2). Possession (1981)

Score: 7.85/10 IMDB: 7.4/10 Trailer
During a secretive business trip away, Mark learns that his wife Anna is growing restless in what he believed was…
Director: Andrzej Zulawski
Stars: Sam Neill, Shaun Lawton, Isabelle Adjani, Barbara Stanek, Ilse Trautschold

3). An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Score: 7.65/10 IMDB: 7.6/10 Trailer Review
Two American college students are on a walking tour of Britain and are attacked by a werewolf. One is killed,…
Director: John Landis
Stars: Frank Oz, John Landis, Harry Fielder, Jenny Agutter, David Schofield

4). The Burning (1981)

Score: 7.55/10 IMDB: 6.5/10 Trailer
A janitor at a summer camp is accidently burned severely from a prank. Years later, he is released from an…
Director: Tony Maylam
Stars: Larry Joshua, Fisher Stevens, Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter, J.R. McKechnie

5). The Howling (1981)

Score: 7.18/10 IMDB: 6.6/10 Trailer Review
In a red light district, newswoman Karen White is bugged by the police, investigating serial killer Eddie Quist, who has…
Director: Joe Dante
Stars: Dee Wallace, Dick Miller, Robert Picardo, Mick Garris, Robert Hammond

6). Dead & Buried (1981)

Score: 7.05/10 IMDB: 6.6/10 Trailer
Sheriff Dan Gillis has a nice life with his wife, the teacher Janet Gillis, in the small coastal and friendly…
Director: Gary Sherman
Stars: Robert Englund, Glenn Morshower, Lisa Marie, Barry Corbin, Lisa Blount

7). Strange Behavior (1981)

Score: 6.75/10 IMDB: 5.7/10 Trailer
Widowed John Brady is the Chief of Police in small town Galesburg, Illinois, where he has lived most of his…
Director: Michael Laughlin
Stars: Mark Hadlow, Michael Murphy, Louise Fletcher, Marc McClure, Dey Young

8). The Monster Club (1981)

Score: 6.7/10 IMDB: 5.9/10 Trailer
A writer of horror stories is invited to a "monster club" by a mysterious old gentleman. There, three gruesome stories…
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Pat Roach, Fred Wood, Barrie Holland, Stuart Whitman

9). The Beyond (1981)

Score: 6.68/10 IMDB: 6.9/10 Trailer Review
The cellar of an old hotel is built on top of the door to the beyond. Bloody zombies roam there.…
Director: Lucio Fulci
Stars: Michele Mirabella, Al Cliver, Roberto Dell'Acqua, Lucio Fulci, Catriona MacColl

10). Wolfen (1981)

Score: 6.46/10 IMDB: 6.3/10 Trailer Review
A city cop is assigned to solve a bizarre set of violent murders where it appears that the victoms were…
Directors: Michael Wadleigh, John D. Hancock, Rupert Hitzig
Stars: Corey Burton, Roy Brocksmith, Caitlin O'Heaney, Tom Noonan, Peter Michael Goetz

11). The Funhouse (1981)

Score: 6.4/10 IMDB: 5.9/10 Trailer
The teenager Amy Harper dates Buzz Dawson for the first time and they go to the carnival with their friends…
Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Kevin Conway, Shawn Carson, Largo Woodruff, Jeanne Austin, William Finley

12). Night of the Werewolf (1981)

Score: 6.07/10 IMDB: 6.1/10 Trailer Review
An evil witch brings back to life the infamous Elizabeth Bathory, who was executed several hundred years previously for murdering…
Director: Paul Naschy
Stars: Rafael Hernández, Pilar Alcón, Rafael Hernández, Luis Barboo, Pilar Alcón

13). The Prowler (1981)

Score: 6.05/10 IMDB: 6.1/10 Trailer
The film begins with the return home of a wwII veteran who was the recipient of a "Dear John Letter".…
Director: Joseph Zito
Stars: Ralph Garman, Thom Bray, Lawrence Tierney, Jonathan Sachar, Timothy Wahrer

14). Suddenly in the Dark (1981)

Score: 5.97/10 IMDB: 6.7/10 Trailer
Kang Yu-jin, a wealthy biology professor doing a butterfly field study, takes in a new housemaid; the young woman, Mi-ok,…
Director: Young Nam Ko
Stars: Il-bong Yun, Yeong-ae Kim, Ki-seon Lee, Hye-ri Han

15). Scanners (1981)

Score: 5.86/10 IMDB: 6.8/10 Trailer Review
Darryl Revok is the most powerful of all the scanners, and is the head of the underground scanner movement for…
Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Michael Ironside, Chris Britton, Robert A. Silverman, William Hope, Leon Herbert

16). Halloween II (1981)

Score: 5.75/10 IMDB: 6.6/10 Trailer Review
After Doctor Samuel Loomis shoot's Michael Myer's Six Times and falls off a Balcony. Michael escapes and continues his massacre…
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dick Warlock, Nancy Stephens, Jeffrey Kramer

17). Midnight Offerings (1981)

Score: 5.74/10 IMDB: 6.3/10
Vivian has magic powers. She doesn't hesitate to save her boyfriend David from failing in school by murdering teachers. However,…
Director: Rod Holcomb
Stars: Dana Kimmell, Gary Dubin, Robin Klein, Jeff MacKay, Curt Ayers

18). Hell Night (1981)

Score: 5.7/10 IMDB: 5.8/10 Trailer
Before being able to join Alpha Sigma Rho fraternity and its sister sorority, four pledges must spend the night in…
Director: Tom DeSimone
Stars: Linda Blair, Peter Barton, Carey Fox, Vincent Van Patten, Kevin Brophy

19). Heavy Metal (1981)

Score: 5.63/10 IMDB: 6.7/10 Trailer Review
An astronaut brings home a glowing green orb for his daughter. However, the green orb wipes him out and corners…
Directors: Gerald Potterton, John Bruno, John Halas …
Stars: Vlasta Vrana, Rodger Bumpass, Harold Ramis, Jackie Burroughs, Don Francks

20). Venom (1981)

Score: 5.5/10 IMDB: 6.0/10 Trailer
International terrorists attempt to kidnap a wealthy couples child. Their plan comes unstuck when, a deadly Black Mamba sent by…
Director: Piers Haggard
Stars: Michael Gough, David Sterne, Alan Ford, Klaus Kinski, Eric Kent

21). Mystics in Bali (1981)

Score: 5.46/10 IMDB: 5.8/10 Trailer
Researching a book that takes her to Bali and the black magic cult of Leák, Cathy meets an evil witch…
Director: H. Tjut Djalil
Stars: Nyoman Trisnawati, Ilona Agathe Bastian, Emri Margono, Yos Santo, Guru Mangku

22). Just Before Dawn (1981)

Score: 5.34/10 IMDB: 6.3/10 Trailer
Five campers arrive in the mountains to examine some property they have bought, but are warned by Forest Ranger Roy…
Director: Jeff Lieberman
Stars: Gregg Henry, George Kennedy, Mike Kellin, Chris Lemmon, Ralph Seymour

23). Madhouse (1981)

Score: 5.29/10 IMDB: 5.5/10 Trailer
Julia, a teacher in a school for the deaf, has a hideously deformed and deranged twin sister that resides in…
Director: Ovidio G. Assonitis
Stars: Michael MacRae, Richard Baker, Edith Ivey, Allison Biggers, Jerry Fujikawa

24). My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Score: 5.2/10 IMDB: 6.3/10 Trailer
Valentine's Day is coming around and the young people of the small mining town of Valentine's BLuffs are organising a…
Director: George Mihalka
Stars: Don Francks, John MacDonald, Alf Humphreys, Helene Udy, Keith Knight

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24 List of 1981 Horror Films Worth Watching!

Best Horror Movies of 1981

Looking for the best 1981 horror movies? At the top of our list of the best horror movies of 1981 are "The Evil Dead (1981), Possession (1981), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Burning (1981), and The Howling (1981)." Our top list is an average of our review scores, Hell Horror viewers, and a few other sources.

The best horror film of 1981 is The Evil Dead (1981) scoring 8/10 stars with our combined scores. IMDB already has over 164,510 votes for this movie. Starring in The Evil Dead (1981) is Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Scott Spiegel, Sam Raimi, and Josh Becker. Director Sam Raimi did a phenomenal job treating us with this 1981 best horror film which was remarkable.The Evil Dead (1981) is in Horror, Thriller, and Fantasy movie genres.

Next Best Horror Movies of 1981 The next best 1981 horror movie is Possession (1981) with a score of 7.85/10 stars. Sam Neill, Shaun Lawton, Isabelle Adjani, Barbara Stanek, and Ilse Trautschold star in "Possession (1981)". Possession (1981) is directed by Andrzej Zulawski and has over 18,930 IMDB votes. You can find Possession (1981) in Horror, and Drama movie genres.

These are the best horror films of 1981, and we hope you enjoy the 56 movies on our list of good 1981 horror movies sorted best to worst.

Please let us know if there is a movie that you think belongs on our list that we missed.

More Horror Movies 1981 Lists: Wikipedia, Movieweb