10 Horrifying ’80s Movies Similar To Stephen King’s IT
For years, Stephen King’s classic story It has terrified readers and viewers alike. These other ’80s gems are sure to win over its fans.
You Are Reading :10 Horrifying 80s Movies Similar To Stephen Kings IT
From the original novel to TV and film adaptations, Stephen King’s iconic horror tale IT has terrified audiences for years. Yet fans don’t have to look beyond the decade in which the novel was published to find similarly terrifying films. IT’s emphasis on childhood friendship, a shapeshifting monster, and small-town conspiracies are all central tenets of the story.
Similarly, several ’80s horror movies also explore the power of camaraderie in the face of unimaginable evil, the horrors of an ever-changing enemy, and the sinister evil of hidden conspiracies. Regardless of what fans take away from IT, they are sure to find something they like in classic scary movies from the ’80s.
10 Friday The 13th – Streaming On Starz, Spectrum
This iconic slasher from 1980 introduced horror fans to the legend of Jason Voorhees, as well as his murderous mother who targets the teens of Camp Crystal Lake in vengeance for her son’s drowning. IT fans may be drawn to Friday The 13th’s focus on local legend as a source of horror.
Similar to how the town of Derry’s past features prominently in the story of IT’s mission to hunt down the Losers Club, the story of Jason’s death at Camp Crystal Lake leads to Mrs. Voorhees’ killing spree. While the Friday the 13th’s final girl and its other teen counselors are older than the Losers Club, a sense of youthful camaraderie is present in both tales.
9 Killer Klowns From Outer Space – Streaming On Cinemax, Spectrum, DirecTV
One of IT’s most famous forms is that of the sinister clown Pennywise, whose taunting of the Losers Club has become a iconic part of the story. While the 1988 film Killer Klowns From Outer Space takes a more comedic approach to horror, its grotesque alien clowns are still quite terrifying.
Fans who are drawn to IT’s use of clown imagery to create horrifying scenarios will likely also be drawn to these killer clowns as they invade and terrorize a town. This small-town element, as well as the clowns’ extraterrestrial origins, are also akin to IT’s cosmic origins and desire to feed on Derry.
8 Christine – Streaming On Starz, Spectrum, DirecTV
Based on a novel by Stephen King, 1983’s Christine focuses on a group of teens whose lives are forever changed when their friend purchases a demonic car. Combining the over-the-top premise with a genuinely chilling transformation in main character Arnie, Christine is a King classic.
As such, it has a lot in common with IT, not only being written by the same author but also dealing with the transformation of a group of young characters by a supernatural force. The main characters of Christine are older than the kids in IT, but fans of the latter will love this movie’s terrifying take on youth culture.
7 Society – Streaming On AMC+, Shudder, Kanopy
Premiering in 1989, the body horror film Society has become a cult classic for its depiction of a teen named Bill who investigates his rich parents’ participation in a sinister cult. The film’s gruesome and bloody special effects are well regarded for their potential to both scare and gross out audiences.
While Society deals with a cult of the wealthy, IT’s conspiratorial side has a lot in common with the movie, itself dealing with a conspiracy of privilege and age that the Losers Club uncovers. Also, IT may not be a body horror movie in the same way that Society is, but both stories have their fair share of gruesome imagery.
6 Poltergeist – Streaming On HBO Max
The original version of Poltergeist, released in 1982, is well-known for its many memorable moments, such as the TV static scene, carving its place in horror history. In the film, a family is haunted by an increasingly malevolent and violent spirit who kidnaps their daughter, Carol Anne.
One major link between Poltergeist and IT is the clown doll scene in the former, which draws on similar fears as Pennywise the Dancing Clown does in IT. More broadly, both Poltergeist and IT are intensely focused on the horror of supernatural events encroaching on seemingly wholesome spaces (a suburban home and a small town, respectively).
5 The Lost Boys – Streaming On AMC+
In this classic horror film, a pair of teens uncover a vampiric conspiracy in their new town after moving to California. Released in 1987, The Lost Boys is remembered for its iconic quotes. It also brought a new, younger vision of vampires to horror fans, breaking up the image of the older, more formal vampire story.
Much like IT, The Lost Boys deals heavily with young heroes discovering the supernatural conspiracy that underlies the friendly image of their town. The emphasis on youth culture in both cases will also appeal to fans, as the vampires of The Lost Boys are signifiers of ’80s cool in the same way the Losers Club are not.
4 The Shining – Streaming On HBO Max
In 1980, the classic Stephen King novel The Shining was adapted into this iconic film following one family’s harrowing stint as the caretakers of an empty, haunted hotel in the Colorado mountains. While IT and The Shining have many differences on the surface, their shared King DNA links them.
In both films, supernatural forces transform into beings related to different historical events connected to a single place (Derry, Maine, and the Overlook Hotel). Also, both The Shining and IT use supernatural circumstances to reflect the more grounded trauma the protagonists experience.
3 My Bloody Valentine – Streaming On Hulu, Paramount Plus, Epix
The 1981 cult classic Canadian slasher My Bloody Valentine is known for its memorable kills. The movie centers on a killer in mining gear who terrorizes a town where a mining accident drove him to extreme violence. Harry Warden, also known as The Miner, has become an iconic figure among diehard horror fans, much like Jason, Freddy, or Pennywise.
In My Bloody Valentine, much of The Miner’s lore is focused on the small town of Valentine Bluffs, its traditions, and its industry, which is echoed by IT’s focus on Derry’s history and culture. Fans of IT will also be familiar with the slasher’s focus on a group of young people whose interpersonal drama runs alongside the horror.
2 The Thing – Streaming On Starz, Spectrum, DirecTV
Featuring the only shapeshifting monster in horror fiction arguably more well-known than IT, 1982’s The Thing follows its titular monster as it hunts American scientists in Antarctica. The Thing is notable for its ability to assimilate and transform into other lifeforms, meaning that any one of the characters could be the monster at any time.
Besides their similarly ambiguous titles, both IT and The Thing share a focus on the horrors of being forced to question reality, as IT uses illusions to terrify and The Thing disguises itself among the human crew. The shapeshifting nature of both creatures also connects them in horror fans’ minds.
1 A Nightmare On Elm Street – Streaming On Peacock
Kicking off a major horror franchise, 1981’s A Nightmare On Elm Street introduced audiences to the horrifying supernatural killer Freddy Krueger. In the movie, the undead Freddy terrorizes a group of teenagers by attacking them in their dreams as revenge for his own vigilante killing.
Much like IT, A Nightmare On Elm Street is focused on a group of young people whose small-town lives are viciously interrupted by a supernatural force with history in the town. Further, Freddy preying on his victims’ nightmares is reminiscent of IT’s ability to use its victims greatest fears against them.