Best Thriller Movies of 1981
Mad Max 2
Max Rockatansky returns as the heroic loner who drives the dusty roads of a postapocalyptic Australian Outback in an unending search for gasoline. Arrayed against him and the other scraggly defendants of a fuel-depot encampment are the bizarre warriors commanded by the charismatic Lord Humungus, a violent leader whose scruples are as barren as the surrounding landscape.
Jack Terry is a master sound recordist who works on grade-B horror movies. Late one evening, he is recording sounds for use in his movies when he hears something unexpected through his sound equipment and records it. Curiosity gets the better of him when the media become involved, and he begins to unravel the pieces of a nefarious conspiracy. As he struggles to survive against his shadowy enemies and expose the truth, he does not know whom he can trust.
For Your Eyes Only
A British spy ship has sunk and on board was a hi-tech encryption device. James Bond is sent to find the device that holds British launching instructions before the enemy Soviets get to it first.
After failing to kill stubborn survivor Laurie and taking a bullet or six from former psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis, Michael Myers has followed Laurie to the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, where she's been admitted for Myers' attempt on her life. The institution proves to be particularly suited to serial killers, however, as Myers cuts, stabs and slashes his way through hospital staff to reach his favorite victim.
Frank is an expert professional safecracker, specialized in high-profile diamond heists. He plans to use his ill-gotten income to retire from crime and build a nice life for himself complete with a home, wife and kids. To accelerate the process, he signs on with a top gangster for a big score.
In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman convinces her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.
Friday the 13th Part 2
Five years after the horrible bloodbath at Camp Crystal Lake, it seems Jason Voorhees and his demented mother are in the past. Paul opens up a new camp close to the infamous site, ignoring warnings to stay away, and a sexually-charged group of counselors follow -- including child psychologist major Ginny. But Jason has been hiding out all this time, and now he's ready for revenge.
Eye of the Needle
Great Britain, 1944, during World War II. Relentlessly pursued by several MI5 agents, Henry Faber the Needle, a ruthless German spy in possession of vital information about D-Day, takes refuge on Storm Island, an inhospitable, sparsely inhabited island off the coast of northern Scotland.
A squad of National Guards on an isolated weekend exercise in the Louisiana swamp must fight for their lives when they anger local Cajuns by stealing their canoes. Without live ammunition and in a strange country, their experience begins to mirror the Vietnam experience.
Absence of Malice
Megan Carter is a reporter duped into running an untrue story on Michael Gallagher, a suspected racketeer. He has an alibi for the time his crime was allegedly committed—but it involves an innocent party. When he tells Carter the truth and the newspaper runs it, tragedy follows, forcing Carter to face up to the responsibilities of her job when she is confronted by Gallagher.
A shy and mute seamstress goes insane after being attacked and raped twice in one day. She wanders the New York streets at night in a sexy black dress with her attacker's gun strapped to her garter belt, blowing away any man who tries to pick her up.
Prince of the City
New York City detective Daniel Ciello agrees to help the United States Department of Justice help eliminate corruption in the police department, as long as he will not have to turn in any close friends. In doing so, Ciello uncovers a conspiracy within the force to smuggle drugs to street informants.
An international terrorist has New York in a grip of panic and it's up to Det. Sgt. Deke DaSilva to take him down.
My Bloody Valentine
Twenty years ago in the sleepy mining town of Valentine Bluffs, a fatal mining disaster occurred on Valentine's Day while some of the crew was decorating for a party. The sole survivor of the accident killed the remaining crewmembers and warned the town not to celebrate Valentine's Day again. When a group of teenagers decides to defy that order, a murderous maniac in mining gear begins dispatching townsfolk in bloody and creative ways.
A city cop is assigned to solve a bizarre set of violent murders where it appears that the victims were killed by animals. In his pursuit he learns of an Indian legend about wolf spirits.
Happy Birthday to Me
Virginia is proud that she belongs to a clique. The best students at a private school. But before her 18th birthday, a gruesome set of murders take place and her friends are the ones who are falling prey. Could it be her? She suffers from blackouts due to a freak accident one year earlier. We soon learn the truth behind her accident and what is going on...
A masked killer, wearing World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35-year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.
A truck driver plays a cat-and-mouse game with a mysterious serial killer in a van who lures young female hitchhiker victims on a desolate Australian highway.
Richard spots a man dumping a body, and decides to expose the man he thinks is the culprit with his friend Alex Cutter.
Omen III: The Final Conflict
Damien Thorn has helped rescue the world from a recession, appearing to be a benign corporate benefactor. When he then becomes U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Damien fulfills a terrifying biblical prophecy. He also faces his own potential demise as an astronomical event brings about the second coming of Christ.
Four successful elderly gentlemen, members of the Chowder Society, share a gruesome, 50-year-old secret. When one of Edward Wanderley's twin sons dies in a bizarre accident, the group begins to see a pattern of frightening events developing.
Jon Lansdale is a comic book artist who loses his right hand in a car accident. The hand was not found at the scene of the accident, but it soon returns by itself to follow Jon around, and murder those who anger him.
A teacher conducts an experiment in an American high school where students learn how easy it is to be seduced by the same social forces which led to the horrors of Nazi Germany. Based on a true story.
Four college pledges are forced to spend the night in a deserted old mansion where they get killed off one by one by the monstrous surviving members of a family massacre years earlier for trespassing on their living grounds.
Al Shaw's life revolves around motor racing and his back country junkyard, the "Smash Palace". His French wife, Jacqui, doesn't appreciate the lack of attention due to Al's obsession with cars. When Al finds her in the arms of another man, he takes his daughter, Georgie and heads for the bush, desperately hoping to hold on to the only family he has left.
Police officer Tom Sharky gets busted back to working vice, where he happens upon a scandalous conspiracy involving a local politician. Sharky's new 'machine' gathers evidence while Sharky falls in love with a woman he has never met.
Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker
Rejected by her lover, the only man left in Cheryl's life is the orphaned nephew she has raised as her own son. She'll stop at nothing to keep Billy with her. When her plans misfire, she is swept up into an insane frenzy that means death to anyone who comes between her and her obsession. But the investigating detective is convinced that Billy is the real killer - and determined to prove it. Madness and fanaticism work together to drag all concerned into a terrifying vortex of blood-letting that adds a nightmarish twist to the classic Oedipus story.
After her husband dies of mysterious circumstances, a widow becomes increasingly paranoid of the neighboring religious community that may have diabolical plans for her.
Plastic surgeon Larry Roberts performs a series of minor alterations on a group of models who are seeking perfection. The operations are a resounding success. But when someone starts killing his beautiful patients, Dr. Roberts becomes suspicious and starts investigating. What he uncovers are the mysterious - and perhaps murderous - activities of a high-tech computer company called Digital Matrix.
Roar follows a family who are attacked by various African animals at the secluded home of their keeper.
Eyes of a Stranger
A TV newswoman (Lauren Tewes) catches a pervert (John DiSanti) watching her sister (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who cannot see, hear or speak.
A record store clerk is an obsessed fan of an actress of stage and screen. However, when faced with rejection, the fan strikes out in increasingly violent ways.
A Christian woman wants a newspaper man to publish a story about a One World Foundation being set up whose only goal is to control the world. She wants him to warn people that this is coming and explain how it ties into the end times spoken about in the Bible. The newsman is opposed to such an idea until he sees the woman being pursued by the Foundation. As this adventure unfolds, the newspaper man begins to realize that what the woman is saying could be true. This evangelistic, classic end times film presents the truth about Jesus Christ and has interesting insight into what might be coming in the last days.
Just Before Dawn
In the Oregon mountains, a pair of hunters encounter a machete-wielding killer in an abandoned church. Meanwhile, five campers arrive to examine some property one of them has inherited but are warned by the forest ranger not to venture forth. Soon after they set up camp, they begin hearing strange noises, encounter a mysterious singing girl and start disappearing one by one.
Madman Marz, the titular subject of a local folklore legend who murdered his family before escaping into the woods, is inadvertently summoned to a campsite, where he begins stalking and killing the camp counselors.
Daryll Deever is a janitor in an office building in New York, and a big fan of TV news reporter, Tony Sokolow. When a rich man is murdered in Daryll's building, Tony comes to cover the story and Daryll introduces himself to her. Thinking he may know something about the crime, Tony pursues him, and in order to keep seeing her, he pretends that he does. As the two of them play this game, the killers are watching, assuming that Daryll and Tony both know more about the crime than they do.
A romantic rivalry leads to an innocent woman's murder. Or is it a hoax crime, part of a cunning deception? At City General Hospital, two young doctors engage in a move-and-countermove rivalry over Laury Medford. It may be more than Laury's beauty that motivates the men. Her father is the hospital's chairman of the board. Marrying her would be an inside track to the chief of staff post. Meanwhile, a senior hospital staffer, who is the mother of one of the two doctors, plots to enhance her son's chances, a mysterious outsider who says he knew the dead woman tails the two men, and Laury may be more than she appears. Murder? Hoax? The answer isn't revealed till the final freeze-frame.
International terrorists attempt to kidnap a wealthy couple's child. Their plan comes unstuck when a deadly Black Mamba, sent by mistake instead of a harmless snake, escapes and the terrorists and several hostages are trapped in the boy's London home.
Twelve year-old Jamie Benjamin is a solitary misunderstood boy in his preteens. His classmates pick on him, his neighbors think he's weird and his parents ignore him. But now Jamie has a secret weapon: deep in the woods he has discovered a deep pit full of man-eating creatures he calls Trogs... and it isn't long before he gets an idea for getting revenge and feeding the Trogs in the process!
An Arab oil organization devises a plan to wreck the world economy in order to cause anarchy and chaos.
Rise and Fall of Idi Amin
The chronicle of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and his tyranic rule from 1971 to his overthrow in 1979.
A film in two parts. In the first part, the narrator describes the events that led to his impulsive decision to rob his former employer. The camera meanwhile walks about above the nearby road junction, surveying the distracted environment. In the second part, he recounts the anatomy of his panic following the crime, while the walking camera reconstructs his escape route. A final caption reports what happened after that.
Four American friends, badly needing money, decide to make a commando-like raid into a South American drug lord's compound.
A Boston police detective investigates a series of gruesome decapitations of various college coeds, committed by a helmeted, black-leather clad serial killer.
Egyptologist Erica Baron finds more than she bargained for during her long-planned trip to The Land of the Pharoahs - murder, theft, betrayal, love, and a mummy's curse!
The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper
A speculation on the fate of the famous hijacker who parachuted with his ransom and disappeared in the mountains. Has Cooper succeeded in following a meticulous plan to disappear into anonymity despite the best efforts of a dogged cop?
When the teenagers in a small Illinois town start getting murdered, the police chief makes a connection to the mysterious scientific experiments being done at the local university and must stop them before his own son is dragged into the deadly scheme.
Berlin Tunnel 21
In Berlin in 1961, an American soldier and a German engineer join forces to build a tunnel under the Berlin Wall in order to smuggle out refugees, including the soldier's East German girlfriend.
The Killing of Angel Street
Jessica Simmonds returns from overseas to find her retired professor father in a bitter public fight to save the historic Sydney waterfront houses on Angel Street. After her father's mysterious death, she joins forces with local residents and a union leader against corrupt forces. Based on the real life mysterious disappearance of Juanita Nielsen.
The Chelsea Murders
When a barmaid and part-time model becomes a murderer's third victim in Chelsea, the only apparent links are to a local reporter, Mary, and three art graduates financing a film with local part-time jobs.