Atlanta-based multigenre convention DragonCon gave fans the best in science fiction, horror, fantasy, comics, and many other aspects of geek/nerd culture over the 2017 Labor Day weekend. The con attracted over 80,000 people who took over five hotels and a massive wholesale trade center in the heart of Georgia’s capital city. DragonCon offers something for every nerd palate and separates each area of interest into segments known as “tracks,” which include areas like American Sci-fi and Fantasy, BritTrack, Anime/Manga, Costuming, and much more. This year, the convention celebrated 30 years of success by taking a look back at the year that it all started – 1987.
The 1987 panelists prepare to dive into the year’s best horror films
The convention’s Horror track featured a panel with an ode to 1987 horror films. “1987: The Year In Horror” covered everything from major, well-known box office hits to cult classics. The panelists went through the year in chronological order and gave the following picks for each month of the year:
Dario Argentina’s Opera
The 1987 horror year started off slowly in the United States but the panel had this sole foreign release as a recommendation. Opera is an Italian movie that follows a soprano singer who deals with a murderous fan.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
The entire panel agreed that this was one of the best movies in the famed Freddy Krueger franchise. Panelist David said he loved the soundtrack and how this story introduced the more comedic side of Freddy. Christopher revealed that this installment was the reason why he became a filmmaker.
Evil Dead 2
The audience went wild with the above photo from this successful flick. Main character Ash Williams goes for round two with a gang of spirits and firmly cemented his place in horror history.
April was a dry spell for the panel and the only month without a movie choice.
May offered a plethora of movies from the panel, including Creepshow 2, Dolls, and cult classics The Gate and Street Trash. The diehard horror fans in the audience praised Street Trash for its dark comedy, including a scene with homeless people playing catch with a certain private body part.
This choice caused some contention in the room from people who said it was not a horror film. However, the panel thought it counted because it does include creepy alien life form who hunted humans. Predator was the beginning of the lucrative franchise and is still enjoying success today with an upcoming 2018 movie.
This choice piqued the interest of a few attendees who weren’t familiar with the Joseph Ruben directed film. As referenced by the title, this story follows a stepfather who murdered his previous family and is set on giving his new wife and stepdaughter the same grisly fate.
The Lost Boys
The Lost Boys brought feelings of nostalgia for leather jackets as the room remembered Michael and Sam Emerson. It was a critical and commercial success and served as a great coming-of-age vampire saga with a superb music soundtrack.
Rock N’ Roll Nightmare
This lesser known Canadian film combined horror rock music and glamorous musicians. The panelists jokingly said it was terrible to the point of being great. Rock N’ Roll Nightmare is low budget and features lots of body oil and hairspray for a quintessential 80’s vibe.
The Monster Squad
Another coming of age story makes the list with The Monster Squad, which follows a group of pre-teens who come together to save their town from a group of monsters. Like today’s smash hit Stranger Things, The Monster Squad allows kids to be the heroes of their stories and take matters into their own hands.
Hellraiser was praised for its excellent storyline and fresh special effects which still hold up today. The panel took time to discuss some of the cut scenes, including one with a hammer lodged into a victim’s head. The audience agreed that Hellraiser was one of the best horror films of 1987.
The month of Halloween had multiple suggestions including these favorites:
An alien parasite went rogue in Los Angeles and a pair of cops was on its trail as it switched from host to host in this underground classic. The film has since been praised by critics and has become a hit with hardcore horror aficionados.
Prince of Darkness
Prince of Darkness was another brilliant creation by John Carpenter, who became known for 1982’s The Thing. Incorporating Christian elements, physics, and atomic theory, it was successful at the box office and gained a place in the heart of Carpenter fans.
Yet another vampire movie made the 1987 list and caused a lot of the room to break out their phones to Google its origins. Near Dark focuses on a small town boy who meets a beautiful vampire girl. After he turns, he falls in line with a nomadic vampire tribe.
Prom Night II
Mary Lou Maloney is resurrected thirty years after her accidental death during prom night. Prom Night II shows the former teen getting revenge on her high school boyfriend and causing havoc on the entire town.
The 1987 horror year ended on a somewhat lighter note with Bad Taste, a horror comedy which featured a gang of extraterrestrial beings who want to have humans for dinner. The film was trashed by critics for its gross-out scenes and weird antagonists, but it became a popular flick with New Zealanders.
Of course, the panel’s list is not exhaustive. Are there any other 1987 horror films worth noting? If so, let me know your recommendations in the comments below.
Written by: Tai Gooden