Slashback Thursday: The Horror Films of 1986

Continuing to slash on through the years, 1986 is up and it was a stellar year for horror! You could throw a rock and hit several great and still enduring films. From Stuart Gordon’s From Beyond, Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive, musical horror classic Little Shop of Horrors, Psycho III, Night of the Creeps, Henry: Portrait of Serial Killer, and Deadly Friend. 1986 was one of those years that helped prove that the 80’s were the peak of horror goodness. Here’s a few of the MVP’s of that year.

Aliens – Often set as an example of the sequel surpassing the original, James Cameron’s Aliens set the tone of what and how a sequel should run. Through its faster pace continuum, Ripley is once again pulled back to LV-426 to battle xenomorphs, but this time it’s personal!

The Hitcher – Rutger Hauer as John Ryder masterfully crafts what a serial killer should be in horror. Starring C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hitcher is a classic cat and mouse game, with Howell’s character, Jim Hasely being stalked and then subsequently framed for Ryder’s murders. This film went through the remake mill in 2007, with little fanfare, although it was a better than expected remake in my opinion.

Critters -This film managed to craft a creature feature, alien bounty hunters and humor all into one classic horror film. Directed by Stephen Herek, Critters chomped its way through horror and it was a daily viewing of mine as a child. How could you not love small, cute, fluffy, alien creatures who were ferociously evil terrorizing a small town.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 – Tobe Hooper, took a more comical approach to Leatherface and his kin then it’s predecessor film. Rather than a group of friends being terrorized by Leatherface, it’s a radio DJ played by Caroline Williams. It still holds some great camp value and who doesn’t love Bill Mosley as ChopTop, who rocks a metal plate like no one’s business.

Poltergeist II: The Other Side – This sequel to the 80’s classic picks up where the original left off with the Freeling family moved into a picturesque neighbor, in the hopes of leaving their past homeowner problems behind. But, as we horror fans know, the supernatural never sleeps and they will always find you. This is a worthy sequel, which gave us a villain in the form of Julian Beck’s, Reverend Cain that I feel never got his full due.

Invaders From Mars – This film played continuously on HBO back in the day and I still have ingrained images of Mrs. McKletch (Louis Fletcher) eating frogs. The classic alien invaders flick, centers around David Gardner (Hunter Carson), who is trying to save his town from aliens that are brainwashing its residents. Director Tobe Hooper dialed up the camp value on this one and it really paid off, even after the millionth time I had seen it as a kid.

Manhunter – Directed by Michael Mann, Manhunter tells the story of FBI profiler Will Graham (William Petersen) and his hunt for a killer coined “The Tooth Fairy”. The film introduced us to the iconic Hannibal Lecter and was the original film to the later released Red Dragon. Although not as remembered for his role as Anthony Hopkins is, Brian Cox still put in a distinguished portrayal of everyone’s favorite cannibal and Tom Noonan as Francis Dollarhyde wasn’t too bad himself.

Did I miss one of your favorites of 86? Let me know @horrorevilqueen

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