Ah, the 1980s – a decade of big hair, leg warmers, and a treasure trove of unforgettable Dark Fantasy movies.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit the decade that gifted us some of the most magical, twisted, and fantastical films, which to this day, continue to bewitch our hearts and haunt our dreams.
So, gather your potions and dust off your spell books as we journey through the 10 Dark Fantasy movies from the 80s that defined a generation.
1. Legend (1985)
Before Tom Cruise danced in his underwear or entered the Danger Zone, he was gallivanting through enchanted forests alongside unicorns and battling the sinister Darkness (Tim Curry). Ridley Scott’s visually stunning film is a fantastical fever dream that’ll leave you questioning if goblins really do live under your bed.
2: Labyrinth (1986)
Is this one Dark Fantasy? I mean… the Goblin King’s crotch protector was… a bit scary.
David Bowie’s magnetic performance as Jareth, the Goblin King was legendary, nonetheless. With Jim Henson’s mesmerizing puppetry and a soundtrack that still echoes through our memories, this cult classic is a reminder that life is nothing without a little magic (and a few plastic bracelets to bribe goblins).
3: The Dark Crystal (1982)
Equal parts enchanting and eerie, Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s The Dark Crystal introduced us to a world of mysticism, adventure, and some seriously creepy creatures. The film’s unique blend of dark themes and unforgettable characters solidified its place as an essential part of any 80s fantasy collection.
4: The Company of Wolves (1984)
Blurring the lines between dreams and reality, The Company of Wolves reimagined the classic Little Red Riding Hood story with a haunting, surreal twist. Neil Jordan’s atmospheric film dared us to wander off the beaten path and explore our deepest, darkest desires.
5: Return to Oz (1985)
Swear to God, images from this movie trailer are seared into my brain. Who knew Dorothy’s return to the magical land of Oz could be so chilling? In this darker sequel to the beloved classic, a young Fairuza Balk navigates a world plagued by disturbing creatures and sinister forces. Return to Oz proved that even the most enchanting places have a dark side.
6: The NeverEnding Story (1984)
Sorry, but this movie qualifies as Dark Fantasy simply for the MURDER of Atreyu’s horse in quicksand. Scarred for life!!
Wolfgang Petersen’s adaptation of Michael Ende’s beloved novel took us on a fantastical journey through the world of Fantasia, complete with a luck dragon, a terrifying wolf-like Gmork, and a fight against the all-consuming Nothing. The NeverEnding Story taught us that even the smallest of heroes can make the biggest difference.
7: Hellraiser (1987)
Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, with its iconic character Pinhead, pushed the boundaries of Dark Fantasy and horror. The film’s gruesome imagery and twisted story left us questioning the very nature of pain, pleasure, and the depths of human desire.
8: Excalibur (1981)
John Boorman’s Excalibur brought the Arthurian legend to life in a gritty, mystical, and visually arresting way. With its compelling characters and epic battles, this film proved that magic and mayhem could coexist in the most captivating of ways.
9: Ladyhawke (1985)
Cursed love, sorcery, and adventure took center stage in Richard Donner’s Ladyhawke. Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Matthew Broderick enchanted us with their heart-wrenching love story, reminding us that sometimes, love truly is a battlefield.
10: Dragonslayer (1981)
Dragonslayer captured the essence of the hero’s journey as a young wizard apprentice embarked on a treacherous quest to defeat a dragon and save a kingdom. Matthew Robbins’ film transported us to a realm of adventure, danger, and magic, where bravery and self-discovery triumphed over fear and adversity.
Wrappin’ It Up
So there you have it – a nostalgic romp through the 1980s Dark Fantasy landscape. Vivid characters, bewitching stories, and hauntingly beautiful worlds.
These films were a testament to the power of imagination — proving that even in the darkest of times, there’s always a glimmer of magic waiting to be discovered.
Which classic Dark Fantasy film is your fave?