TV Horror Movies from the 80s & 90s

by michaelgosullivan | created - 21 Mar 2018 | updated - 01 Apr 2018 | Public

Beginning in the 1960s through its heyday in the 1970s and into the 80's made-for-TV horror movies were a genre unto themselves. Made specifically for the small screen what these humble movies lacked in budget, they made up for in other ways. They served as a lucrative genre for Stars of yesterday as well young as up and coming Stars, Producers and Directors. Many of these treasures are still highly watchable, memorable, and have even enjoyed big budget remakes. There's something about made for TV movies of the 70s and 80s that I just love. They bring back fond memories of evenings or rainy Saturday afternoons being immersed in a tale of terror. Here is a list of some of my favourites in no particular order

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1. The Babysitter (1980 TV Movie)

Unrated | 96 min | Drama, Thriller

Spoiled twelve-year-old Tara's new best friend from next-door gets hired as a live-in babysitter, but things soon go horribly wrong when Tara's mom starts hitting the bottle and fighting with her dad.

Director: Peter Medak | Stars: Patty Duke, William Shatner, Quinn Cummings, David Wysocki

Votes: 547

2. No Place to Hide (1981 TV Movie)

100 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Amy is the Mannings only daughter. After the death of her rich father, she lives together with her stepmother. Recently she sees a man in black following her, waiting for her in her car, ... See full summary »

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey | Stars: Mariette Hartley, Kathleen Beller, Arlen Dean Snyder, Gary Graham

Votes: 238

3. Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror

In a small Southern town, a wrongfully-killed man exacts revenge on those who murdered him from beyond the grave.

Director: Frank De Felitta | Stars: Charles Durning, Robert F. Lyons, Claude Earl Jones, Lane Smith

Votes: 4,621

4. Midnight Offerings (1981 TV Movie)

Unrated | 100 min | Horror

Vivian has magic powers. She doesn't hesitate to save her boyfriend David from failing in school by murdering teachers. However, David has gotten tired of her and is putting his charm on a ... See full summary »

Director: Rod Holcomb | Stars: Melissa Sue Anderson, Mary Beth McDonough, Patrick Cassidy, Marion Ross

Votes: 475

5. Cry for the Strangers (1982 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 97 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A psychiatrist and his wife move into a quaint coastal town only to discover that a sinister presence is lurking there.

Director: Peter Medak | Stars: Patrick Duffy, Cindy Pickett, Lawrence Pressman, Brian Keith

Votes: 227

6. Don't Go to Sleep (1982 TV Movie)

93 min | Horror, Mystery

A young girl begins seeing the ghost of her sister who died in an accident a year earlier.

Director: Richard Lang | Stars: Dennis Weaver, Valerie Harper, Robin Ignico, Kristin Cumming

Votes: 1,024

7. Hotline (1982 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A beautiful telephone operator is stalked by a murderous madman.

Director: Jerry Jameson | Stars: Lynda Carter, Steve Forrest, Granville Van Dusen, Monte Markham

Votes: 185

8. The Cradle Will Fall (1983 TV Movie)

100 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A doctor at a hospital tries to develop a "fountain of youth" serum to give to his female patients.

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey | Stars: Lauren Hutton, Ben Murphy, James Farentino, Charita Bauer

Votes: 145

9. Deadly Lessons (1983 TV Movie)

100 min | Thriller

A psycho is stalking the students at an exclusive girls' school.

Director: William Wiard | Stars: Donna Reed, Larry Wilcox, David Ackroyd, Diane Franklin

Votes: 184

10. Dark Mirror (1984 TV Movie)

Unrated | 120 min | Drama, Thriller

After attorney Frank Girard is murdered, Detective Al Church (Vincent Gardenia) suspects that Ms. Leigh Cullen (Jane Seymour) is the perpetrator, as she was supposedly last seen with the ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Lang | Stars: Vincent Gardenia, Jane Seymour, Stephen Collins, Hank Brandt

Votes: 116

11. Invitation to Hell (1984 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A family moves to a suburban town only to be coerced into joining a suspicious club.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Robert Urich, Joanna Cassidy, Susan Lucci, Joe Regalbuto

Votes: 1,085

12. Deadly Messages (1985 TV Movie)

120 min | Thriller

Laura Daniels, single and bored, finds new interest in life when she discovers an old ouija board. It appears, however, that the object's previous owner was murdered - and messages from beyond warn Laura that she may be next.

Director: Jack Bender | Stars: Kathleen Beller, Michael Brandon, Dennis Franz, Scott Paulin

Votes: 198

13. Dark Mansions (1986 TV Movie)

120 min | Thriller

A woman hired to write the history of a wealthy family stays at the family's estate in Oregon. She discovers that she strongly resembles a long-dead ancestor in the family, and finds things... See full summary »

Director: Jerry London | Stars: Joan Fontaine, Michael York, Paul Shenar, Melissa Sue Anderson

Votes: 74

14. Stillwatch (1987 TV Movie)

100 min | Drama, Horror

Television journalist, Patricia Traymore, moves to Washington to do an in-depth interview with vice presidential hopeful, Senator Abigail Winslow. She moves into a house where she lived as ... See full summary »

Director: Rod Holcomb | Stars: Lynda Carter, Angie Dickinson, Don Murray, Barry Primus

Votes: 84

15. Bay Coven (1987 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 95 min | Horror, Thriller

A young newlywed couple move into a remote village in middle America only to find a secret coven of witches who want them to join all the fun; or face the consequences.

Director: Carl Schenkel | Stars: Tim Matheson, Pamela Sue Martin, Barbara Billingsley, Jeff Conaway

Votes: 557

16. Haunted by Her Past (1987 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 100 min | Horror

The evil spirit of one of her ancestors possesses a young woman who inadvertently comes into possession of a haunted mirror.

Director: Michael Pressman | Stars: Susan Lucci, Marcia Strassman, Robin Thomas, Finola Hughes

Votes: 89

17. The Haunting of Sarah Hardy (1989 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 92 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

A woman's husband and his lover try to drive her mad at their seaside mansion.

Director: Jerry London | Stars: Sela Ward, Michael Woods, Roscoe Born, Polly Bergen

Votes: 328

18. I'm Dangerous Tonight (1990 TV Movie)

R | 100 min | Horror, Thriller

When Amy turns an ancient Aztec priest's cloak into a dress, she discovers it's cursed and whoever wears it comes under its evil influence.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Mädchen Amick, Corey Parker, Daisy Hall, R. Lee Ermey

Votes: 522

19. House of Secrets (1993 TV Movie)

120 min | Mystery, Romance, Thriller

Marion Ravinel is trapped in an abusive spousal relationship. She forms a plan with her husband's former lover to kill him. However, the outcome turns out to be more than she planned on as ... See full summary »

Director: Mimi Leder | Stars: Melissa Gilbert, Bruce Boxleitner, Kate Vernon, Michael Boatman

Votes: 199

20. The Haunting of Seacliff Inn (1994 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 94 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Susan and Mark move to a seaside town to buy an old house and open an inn. They came to look at one house, but Susan is inexplicably drawn to another. The house is high on a cliff ... See full summary »

Director: Walter Klenhard | Stars: Ally Sheedy, William R. Moses, Lucinda Weist, Tom McCleister

Votes: 585

21. The Haunting of Helen Walker (1995 TV Movie)

Unrated | 88 min | Horror, Thriller

TV remake of the Henry James' classic tale "Turn of the Screw", with changes in location and character names. A live in nanny discovers two children haunted by the spirits and deeds of ... See full summary »

Director: Tom McLoughlin | Stars: Valerie Bertinelli, Florence Hoath, Aled Roberts, Michael Gough

Votes: 287

22. Dead Man's Island (1996 TV Movie)

120 min | Mystery, Thriller

A woman is asked to help an old lover discover his would-be murderer.

Director: Peter Roger Hunt | Stars: Barbara Eden, William Shatner, Roddy McDowall, Morgan Fairchild

Votes: 228

23. Trilogy of Terror II (1996 TV Movie)

R | 90 min | Horror, Thriller

Three short tales of terror including: woman's encounter when attempting to rob a grave; the story of a woman who summons her son back from the dead; and tale of an African doll who comes to life.

Director: Dan Curtis | Stars: Lysette Anthony, Geraint Wyn Davies, Matt Clark, Geoffrey Lewis

Votes: 1,283

24. Satan's School for Girls (2000 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 87 min | Drama, Horror

A young woman enrolls at an all-girls college in New England to investigate her sister's suicide and is slowly lured into a witchcraft cult by a quartet of students who want her to become the fifth member of their evil circle.

Director: Christopher Leitch | Stars: Shannen Doherty, Julie Benz, Daniel Cosgrove, Richard Joseph Paul

Votes: 1,276

25. The Spiral Staircase (2000 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 88 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

During a storm, a group of people are trapped inside a mansion with a killer.

Director: James Head | Stars: Nicollette Sheridan, Judd Nelson, Alex McArthur, Debbe Dunning

Votes: 344

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