It’s been quite some time but I’m back today with the next of my Top 5 Horror Films lists. Today I’m tackling 1987 and as always it’s a difficult task. I never really remember just how many flicks come out in a given year until I look at the full list of releases. You can check out my previous lists below:
1986 | 1985 | 1984 | 1983 | 1982 | 1981 | 1980
I’m absolutely loving putting these lists together. It’s giving me an opportunity to go back and revisit some beloved films from my childhood and to re-discover films that I’d completely forgotten about. If you’re interested in my non-horror version of the 1987 list you can see it here.
Chewie’s Top 5 Horror Films From 1987
All of these films received their US theatrical release within calendar year 1987. If you want to see the full list of all films eligible for this list you can view it here. After my first pass I had 21 films on the list for consideration. I’m a film and horror nerd so picking between these is sort of like choosing which of my children to send to Camp Blood for the weekend. Keep in mind, these aren’t necessarily what I’d consider the “best” movies and they certainly aren’t ranked based on box office sales. They are what I consider my “favorite” films. Sometimes there’s a very big difference.
I imagine people will be expecting to find Evil Dead II on this list. Prepare to be disappointed. I came to the Evil Dead franchise late in life. In fact I may have even seen the 2013 version before the others in the franchise. I’m sure that had I seen them earlier in life they’d hold a special place in my heart but as it stands I’m just not a fan.
Now, if you want to talk about a truly horrific flick from 1987 you need to look no further than Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. But I’m not going to go there.
Summer School – directed by Carl Reiner starring Mark Harmon as a high school gym teacher who is forced to teach a remedial English class during the summer. It co-stars Kirstie Alley and Courtney Thorne-Smith. This isn’t even a horror flick at all but makes the honorable mention list due to the strength of two characters Francis “Chainsaw” Gremp (Dean Cameron) and Dave Frazier (Gary Riley) who are HUGE horror buffs. I got to meet Dean at HorrorHound Weekend last weekend! Super cool dude and was pumped to have had the opportunity.
Predator – A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior. Certainly not your traditional horror flick either, but hey… it’s my list. And honestly I do think there’s a case that can be made that this is a horror film especially with the bad ass creature that the Predator himself is. It spawned two sequels, Predator 2 (1990) and Predators (2010), as well as two crossover films with the Alien franchise, Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007). Even with all of that none holds a candle to this original starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura.
Jaws 4: The Revenge – Many critics (and fans alike) consider this one of the worst films ever made. That’s actually tough to argue but this makes my list solely based on the fact that I’ve seen it a zillion times and it has one of the greatest characters (Bruce the shark – or at least this version of him) in horror history.
The Top Five
This is an interesting top five. Demons, anthologies, thrillers, vampires and warriors. Oh my.
#5 – The Gate
Two young boys accidentally release a horde of nasty, pint-sized demons from a hole in a suburban backyard. What follows is a classic battle between good and evil as the two kids struggle to overcome a nightmarish hell that literally begins to take over the Earth. Starring Stephen Dorff, Louis Tripp and Christa Denton and directed by Tibor Takács this is one of those films that you turn on and just never want to turn off.
#3 – Creepshow 2
Live-action and animation together in a horror comedy anthology film directed by Michael Gornick. What can I say, I like anthology films and while it may not be quite as good as its 1982 predecessor it is still a super strong flick. The screenplay here was written by George A. Romero who directed the original and they’re once again based upon stories by Stephen King. It contains three stories: Old Chief Wooden Head, The Raft, and The Hitchhiker. It stars the likes of Lois Chiles, George Kennedy, Dorothy Lamour and the one and only Tom Savini.
#4 – Fatal Attraction
A married man’s one-night stand comes back to haunt him when that lover begins to stalk him and his family. Some may not consider this a true horror film and would put it more in the thriller camp. Let me tell you… as a married guy this is a horrific film. Michael Douglas makes the colloasal mistake of cheating on his wife with Glenn Close and then things go from bad to worse. If there was ever an origin for the phrase “Bitches be crazy” it’s this film. Keep your friends close.. but keep your bunnies closer.
#2 – The Lost Boys
Starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Corey Feldman, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrmann, Alex Winter, Jamison Newlander, and Barnard Hughes it is a film about two Arizona brothers who move to California and end up fighting a gang of young vampires. I’m generally not a huge fan of vampire movies but this one is an exception. I remember this being creepy as hell especially when you realize that these “kids” come across as completely normal until the fangs come out. There’s an exceptional scene where Kiefer Sutherland’s character David has given Jason Patric’s Michael some of his wine. What David neglected to tell Michael is that this wine was actually his blood. Michael begins to hallucinate as he fights off becoming a full fledged vampire. It doesn’t hold up perfectly and the sequels were pure horse shit but as a stand alone vampire movie this one is tough to top.
Sort of a no-brainer here. The third film in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise was directed by Chuck Russell, written by Wes Craven. It starred Craig Wasson, Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund and Patricia Arquette in her first role. This entry holds a special place in my heart for a variety of reasons including when Pip and I got to meet the cast at last year’s HorrorHound Weekend.
Picking up the Elm Street chronology, survivors of Freddy Krueger learn to take control of their own dreams in order to fight back. The deaths here are top notch, the story is the best in the franchise (after possibly the original) and Freddy here is at his best. He’s got a little bit of that clever attitude that was missing from the original but hasn’t turned into the campy joke of a hero / villain that we get in later installments. Trapjaw reviewed Dream Warriors back in 2013. I hope if you’re reading this list you’ve already seen this one but if not do yourself a favor – go watch it.
Did I leave off your favorite horror film from 1987? Leave a comment with your thoughts!