By Peter Nielsen
Editor’s Note: This installment of the Spooky Flix Fest Top 10 brings us to a scary place (a VERY scary place) thanks to Peter. We wanted him to tell us the top 10 scariest places in 80s horror and he delivered in spades! Honestly, we’d rather camp in the middle of a deserted prison than visit any of these places. What do you think?
Haven’t we all watched a horror movie when all of a sudden we start looking at the location itself as being scary or creepy? Where just being there gives you the chills? It can be a mall, a train, a hospital or maybe a house or a boat, even. Have you ever walked down a darkened and quiet hospital-corridor? Yes? No? I’m not talking about the ones with all the patients, but the less populated ones? The connecting ones! Well, I have and let me tell you, those are some scary-ass corridors! If anyone opens a door or appears round a corner, it will make you shriek like a little girl AND piss your pants. Twice! You know what I mean, right? Or you look at a house and it looks beautiful with wonderful and lush surroundings and you think: “I’d like to live here!” Yeah, SURE… and then it gets dark and the lights dim, and the house takes on a more sinister look. But by then it’s most often too late!
When I first thought of this list I immediately wrote down the house from The Amityville Horror, the spaceship Nostromo from Alien and even the sweet, but oh so creepy house from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre… I then realized that, dammit, those movies are from the 70’s and didn’t belong here. The list below consists of places I think of as being scary and creepy from 80’s horror movies. It’s by no means a definitive list, so please feel free to add to it! Shall we begin? Ok, here goes…
10. The Park Plaza Mall from “Chopping Mall” (1986)
Imagine being trapped in a dark mall at night? With no means to get out of there, before it opens the next day? Not a pleasant thought, huh? It’s a huge place with lots of dark corridors and stores with mannequins in them! Not scary enough for you? Well, the high-tech security robots on a killing spree might make you change your underwear mind!
9. The house from “House” (1986)
Sure, it looks nice and cozy in the sunlight, but at night it takes on a slightly more sinister look. And all the various portals into different “dimensions” strewn around inside doesn’t make it any less creepy and it’s not really a place I’d like to spend the night. Oh, and you might want to stay clear of the zombie Vietnam soldier wandering around the premises. Just saying…
8. Camp Crystal Lake from “Friday the 13th” (1980)
It’s the summer vacation and you’re at camp with your friends, having a great time, right? Maybe you’re even thinking about getting laid, right? There’s nothing to worry about, right? WRONG!! You’re in the middle of the dark woods, there’s a lake close-by to drown in and there’s a murderous psycho on the rampage… Nothing to worry about, huh? Suuuuure… Have a great summer, pal!
7. The cabin from “The Evil Dead” (1981)
Now, this cabin really is in the middle of nowhere. It’s small and offers next to no protection at all from the darkness and all-encircling woods outside. It does have a cellar though, but… I wouldn’t recommend it! It’s a scary place to be alone in. Oh, wait… did I say alone? Hmm, maybe I should mention the demon roaming around in the woods…
6. Outpost #31 from “John Carpenter’s The Thing” (1982)
Do you like snow? No? Well, I do, but I still wouldn’t want to stay here. Not for a very long time, that’s for sure. I was thinking something in the line of a helicopter fly-over perhaps, because let’s face it… It’s cramped, it’s cold and dark, and there’s a shape-shifting alien here, which makes trusting anybody a bit difficult. Another “downer” is the fact that this is in the friggin’ Antarctic, ok! It’s not like you can just up and leave any time soon…
5. The house from “Paperhouse” (1988)
Let’s just ignore what goes on inside for a second and just look at the house itself, ok? It looks like it was drawn by a child and then brought to life, right? And you would be right in that assumption, because it is in fact a drawing which has come to life in a fantasy-world. Sure, it looks innocent enough on paper, but in “real” life it just makes you think that there’s something very, very wrong with it.
4. The Overlook Hotel from “The Shining” (1980)
Here’s another one of those snowy and isolated places, but instead of it being a single house, it’s a huge and menacing-looking building. I’ll agree that it looks good in the travel brochures, but once you’re actually there… it’s a whole different matter! There are lots of long, empty corridors and rooms for “something” to hide in. Would you want to spend a winter here? Alone? No? I didn’t think so…
3. The lighthouse from “The Fog” (1980)
It’s situated on the cliffs with a spectacular view of the ocean and it really is a beautiful spot. On a sunny day, that is! On the 21st of April, when the curse of Antonio Bay strikes, and the fog rolls in… Well, let’s just say that it’s not only the tens of thousands of steps leading down to it, that’s scary as hell! Although I must say that the presence of the gorgeous Adrienne Barbeau would help a little bit…
2. The mysterious black ship from “Death Ship” (1980)
Let’s put it this way… I’d actually rather take my chances with sharks and whatnot, and swim for land, than stay on board this nasty ship! It’s dark, eerie and claustrophobic and it has an ominous presence about it. It almost seems to be alive and very, very evil… and this is during the friggin’ daylight hours! When night falls, though… Holy Crap! Get me the hell away from it!
1. The mansion from “The Changeling” (1980)
The first time you set eyes on this impressive mansion you go: “Wow!! That is absolutely perfect!” The second thought, on the other hand, would be: “What? Are you insane? Why-why-WHY would you want to live here?” It’s a classic case of dimly lit corridors and dark winding stairs leading up to sealed-off rooms hiding terrible secrets. And I could actually do without that loud banging noise resonating through the entire building! The look of it in the dark, from the garden (which in itself is creepy), is terrifying, yet I still can’t help feeling drawn to it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why it’s number one on my list. Even though it makes you cry a little from fear, it still has the power to lure you in…
And there you have it… My list of scary places in 80’s horror movies! Do you approve or would you like to add to it? If so, please let me know your picks in the comment section below!