The Toolbox Murders (1978)
A poster boy of the infamous video nasty scare, The Toolbox Murders essentially follows a sicko who seems intent on murdering all of the female tenants in an apartment complex with various tools. Subsequently, a load of women get killed in a sleazy fashion. Pretty standard stuff.
About half an hour in we get what would be remembered as the film’s most iconic sequence, which not only graced the posters, but was held up by any number of outraged feminist groups and newscasters as the most despicable thing ever filmed. A woman (future porn star Kelly Nichols, here using the name Marianne Walter) disrobes, gets in a tub and masturbates to an awful country song. Then the ski masked killer shows up, chases the nude woman around the apartment for a bit and dispatches her with a nail gun to the forehead.
The Shining (1980)
One of the most memorable moments of Stanley Kubrick’s seminal horror classic features its main character, Jack, going to investigate Room 237, where apparently there is a “crazy woman” who attempted to strangle his son Danny.
Jack slowly makes his way through the room, with a chilling heartbeat like score, which creates a sense of immediacy, as though you are viewing the actions through Jack’s perspective. When he enters the bathroom there is a brief – albeit still unsettling – interval, as a beautiful, naked model (Lia Beldam) reveals herself, rising from out of the bathtub. The camera turns to Jack’s sinister smile before he reaches towards her and they begin to kiss. However, things become considerably less sexy as the gorgeous naked woman transforms into a rotten corpse of an elderly lady. Never has a movie scene gone from tantalizing to ghastly quite so quickly.
Death Ship (1980)
In Death Ship, a group of survivors from the crash of a cruise ship take refuge aboard an abandoned cargo ship. Thinking the worst is over, they attempt to radio for help and seek out rations, dry clothes, and a place to rest. What the refugees don’t realize is that they have boarded a Nazi torture ship that is possessed by the spirits of its former inhabitants. The watercraft they have taken refuge on feeds on human life – and it is hungry.
The most effective moment of the film has to be the infamous shower of blood scene, which has the standard ’80s horror breasts on show, featuring a big haired girl suddenly soaked with blood in a shower cubical. She writhes in the jets like a WWE wrestler selling someone’s finishing move as her boyfriend tries to smash the glass with a piece of wood – to no avail, of course.
The Boogeyman (1980)
The idea of the Boogeyman has haunted children since the idea of scaring first appeared. There were literally cavemen babies worried about what was lurking in the darkest recess of their hole in the ground. Probably.
In the 1980 film, the audience get to watch Jane (Jane Pratt) as she attempts to take a shower but then becomes distracted by a pair of scissors. It is – naturally – only when she has stripped down to her undergarments that the Boogeyman commands her to kill herself by repeatedly stabbing herself. At least typical slasher villains did the dirty work themselves.
The Prowler (1981)
The Prowler blends together teenagers, a pitchfork, a mysterious killer and a backdrop of the Second World War; it’s pretty much a Scooby Doo murder mystery case with rather horrific deaths and as always, no ghosts.
During the graduation dance, a killer dressed in a soldier’s uniform gets stab-happy by slaughtering the majority of the town’s teens with a pitchfork. Of course, one of the most unforgettable deaths of this movie takes place in the shower because nothing says horror like a vulnerable teen getting washed. The victim in question (Lisa Dunsheath) is innocently taking a shower when she is attacked by the killer with the famous pitchfork, impaled and then left to clean off.