Censor (2021, dir. Prano Bailey-Bond)

In 1980s London, a film examiner struggles when a horror movie reawakens a past trauma. Stylish and confident first feature, with an interesting premise and careful use of limited resources. Vaguely Peter Strickland-ish in its approach: a descent into madness rather than story as such: there’s plenty to admire here, nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

Terror Train (1980, dir. Roger Spottiswoode)

A chartered train hosting a student fancy dress party has a vengeful killer on board. Okay though somewhat tepid slasher pic, enlivened by excellent photography, a decent Jamie Lee Curtis performance, and a sense of production value. A young David Copperfield performs tricks in support.

Here’s the trailer.

Summer of ’84 (2018, dir. François Simard, Anouk Whissell & Yoann-Karl Whissell)

A conspiracist teen and his friends became convinced a cop neighbour is an active serial killer. Solid 80s-set teen mystery/horror that’s careful to pace itself and focus on atmosphere as much as plot. Doesn’t overplay the nostalgia either; this is an impressive and well-sustained movie.

Here’s the trailer.

In Search of Darkness (2019, dir. David A. Weiner)

An overview of 1980s – mostly US mainstream – horror movies. Sacrificing depth for breadth, this lengthy (4-hour) documentary offers annual summaries and some thematic commentary. Light on analysis, but strong on genre industry interviews, this fan service-tastic offering acts as an elegy for late directors Stuart Gordon and Larry Cohen.

An Accidental Studio (2019, dir. Bill Jones, Kim Leggatt & Ben Timlett)

The rise and fall of Handmade Films. Linear documentary – reliant on talking heads, clips, and archive interviews – charting George Harrison and Denis O’Brien’s company; in doing so, offering a potted history of 80s British cinema, and of the making of some key movies (Time Bandits, Withnail & I, Mona Lisa etc) of that period.

White Boy Rick (2018, dir. Yann Demange)

The true story of Rick Wershe, drug dealer and teen FBI informant. Intriguing spin on the rise-and-fall story, focusing on the latter; good performances, and director Demange again shows he can handle drama, action, genre, character actors and period detail.

American Made (2017, dir. Doug Liman)

The story of Barry Seal, who smuggled for the CIA and the cartels in the 80s. Swaggering rise and fall biopic in the GoodFellas mould; hugely impressive and entertaining, while offering a reminder of another of the US’s recent murky pasts.

Another perspective? Here’s Lemonsquirtle’s take.

Killer Elite (2011, dir. Gary McKendry)

A team of mercenaries fall foul of a SAS death squad. Brisk and intriguing 1980-set thriller with bags of action, based on a then-controversial Ranulph Fiennes book. More action than sense at times, but still plenty of genre fun.

Cold In July (2014, dir. Jim Mickle)

After killing an intruder, a family man’s life spirals out of control. Splendid 80s-set thriller with a John Carpenter vibe, this version of an early Joe R Lansdale novel consistently wrong-foots the audience while meditating on the effects of violence.