IF the Seventies proved a fertile time for imaginative horror filmmakers, the 1980s very much represented a new age of plenty, a span wherein every idea that had worked in a movie once before was hauled out a second, third and sometimes fourth time.
And because of the home video revolution and VHS technology, new filmmakers had the opportunity to get their movies seen by more eyes than ever before.
In terms of the decade’s horror then, there was more of everything to enjoy: more slasher films, more Jaws films, and more holiday-themed horrors too.
And once again the marketers writing copy for horror movie posters broached the unenviable task of selling films that otherwise might not have merited audience attention if judged by quality alone. Sometimes, a great tag-line could still fill a theater, or make the difference at a rental store counter.
So without further prologue here are ten ridiculous and yet utterly brilliant horror movie taglines from the 1980s, the great decade of excess:
Beyond Evil (1980): “You’ve made your bed. Now die in it.”
This film starring John Saxon has nothing to do with beds and nothing to do with dying in them.
Blood Beach (1980): “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, you can’t get to it.”
This tag-line for Blood Beach (also starring John Saxon…) is a great twist on the Jaws (1978) tag-line and a funny inversion on it as well. Here the water is safe, the sand deadly. Too bad the movie is really terrible…
Final Exam (1981): “Some may pass the test…God help the rest.”
And just think, this was before the Common Core curriculum.
Basket Case (1982): “The tenant in room 7 is very small, very twisted, and very mad.”
And he’s not Johnny Depp, either.
Pieces (1983): “You don’t have to go to Texas for a chainsaw massacre.”
Gee, what famous horror movie title could this tag-line be referring to?
Spasms (1983): “You scream. You expand. You explode.”
I know MSG is bad for you, but really…
Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984): “T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…they were all dead.”
Because the 1980s needed another Christmas-themed horror film as a companion piece to Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)…
Ghoulies (1985): “They’ll get you in the end.”
The Housekeeper (1985): “She cooks. She cleans. She kills.”
Who says good help is hard to find?
Maniac Cop (1988): “You have the Right to Remain Silent…Forever.”
Still one of the greatest horror movie tag-lines ever…