1984 was an amazing year for metal, but not so much for horror movies. Sure, you had a few bigs ones including A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, but not too many that flew under the radar. In addition to the aforementioned films, 1984 was also known for Children of the Corn and Gremlins.
Take a look at some of the underrated horror movies from 1984.
A bizarre series of murders in New York City seems to point toward the existence of a race of mutant cannibals living under the streets.
Director: Douglas Cheek
Writers: Shepard Abbott (story), Parnell Hall (screenplay)
Stars: John Heard, Daniel Stern and Christopher Curry
“C.H.U.D.” is an acronym for “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller,” and may be most notable for being the film debut of Jay Thomas who went on to have roles in over 80 other films. Make sure that you get the full version of the film as the original version was only 7 minutes shorter, but the full version had a few scenes that made a lot of the film make sense whereas the story seems a little disjointed in the original cut. It is not the best made film ever, but personifies cheesy 80s horror pretty well.
The Company of Wolves
A bag full of symbolic folklore about werewolves, or, rather, their sexual connotation. Granny tells her granddaughter Rosaleen strange, disturbing tales about innocent maidens falling in love with handsome, heavily eyebrowed strangers with a smoldering look in their eyes; about sudden disappearances of spouses when the moon is round & the wolves are howling in the woods; about babies found inside stork eggs, in a stork nest high up a tree; etc., etc. Of course the story of Little Red Ridinghood is also present, with a very handsome he-wolf! (And of course this he-wolf consumes Grandmother, but ‘consumes’ Little Red Ridinghood). All the stories are somehow reducible to loss of innocence, and fear of/hunger for (a newly acquired sense of) sexuality; their Freudian character is mirrored in their dreamlike shapes. This movie is not really a horror movie; it’s more a multiple tale about growing up into adolescence.
Director: Neil Jordan
Writers: Angela Carter (screenplay), Neil Jordan (screenplay)
Stars: Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury and David Warner
It is hard to believe that this is same director who directed The Crying Game, but it is. This is also the same director of In Dreams, which is simply awesome as well as Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and you know how I feel about Anne Rice’s work. Overall, The Company of Wolves is a well-made film with a lot of smarts. This is a must-see.24
Silent Night, Deadly Night
After his parents are murdered, a young tormented teenager goes on a murderous rampage dressed as Santa, due to his stay at an orphanage where he was abused by the Mother Superior.
Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Writers: Paul Caimi (story), Michael Hickey
Stars: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick
I could really go either way on Silent Night, Deadly Night. It is not my favorite film, but definitely one worth watching. The movie was made infamous by outraged parents who wanted it pulled from theaters because of the theme of the movie. The film is sleazy and dirty and the acting is laughable for most of the film, but any true horror fan has to watch this at least once.
A patient escapes from a mental hospital, killing one of his keepers and then a University professor after he makes his way to the local college. Next semester, the late prof’s replacement and a new group of students have to deal with a new batch of killings.
Director: Richard W. Haines
Writers: Michael Cunningham (story), Richard W. Haines (story)
Stars: Forbes Riley, Ric Randig and Dick Biel
Director Richard W. Haines went on to direct Class of Nuke ‘Em High after this one just a couple of years later, but Splatter University was his directorial debut. With Splatter University, most people either love it or hate it. I am on the fence with this one. It is a slasher, so that is a plus for me, but a lot of this film is silly.