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  • Writer's pictureAbby Brenker

The Best Quirky Teen Horror Films

Though “Lisa Frankenstien," from writer Diablo Cody, wasn’t my favorite example of 80s teen horror romance, it certainly inspired me to visit some of its predecessors. 

A girl holds an axe

“Lisa Frankenstein” is fun, silly, dreamy and neon. It’s got charm and wit, but it doesn’t hit as hard as “Jennifer’s Body,” or “Heathers,” not even close. When I try to nail down the ideal elements that make a teenage horror film (to my taste) I think about quirky horror. Here are some of the best quirky teen horror films.

A girl and boy stand over a dead body

Heathers (1988) “Heathers” is the ultimate master of bubblegum horror. Starring dream girl Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, “Heathers”perfectly blends teen high school drama with real life horror and murder. (The parallels to “Lisa Frankenstein” are obvious). One of the reasons that the film is so successful is the juxtaposition of superficial teenage cliques and terribly upsetting crime. It was directed by Michael Lehmann, and is one of my favorite examples of what I call Academic Horror. The film has gone on to inspire a musical version as well. 

A girl talks on the phone

Jennifer’s Body (2009) Not from the 1980s, but “Jennifer’s Body” is one of the best examples we have of the intersection of teen turmoil and horror. In this case, supernatural horror. “Jennifer’s Body” tells the story of two best friends who not only navigate their different social standings in high school, but now must also stay afloat when one of them, Jennifer, becomes a Succubus against her will. Also written by Diablo Cody, “Jennifer’s Body” stars Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried. 

Two women look afraid in the dark

Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022) Set in modern day, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is a wild ride. Directed by Halina Reijn and starring Amandla Stenberg and Myha’la, “Bodies” shows audiences what happens when a group of teenagers find themselves stranded in a huge mansion without power, during a storm, on drugs. 

Two girls stand with giant chess pieces

Thoroughbreds (2017) Perhaps closer on the spectrum to “Cruel Intentions” and “Saltburn” than “Heathers,” “Thoroughbreds” lands somewhere closer to a muted version of Heathers. It stars horror Queen Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke, and was written and directed by Cory Finley.

Moody girls lean against a wall

The Craft (1996) Complex female friendships, teenage drama and horrifying supernatural powers all come together in “The Craft.” In some ways, it reads similar to “Heathers,” but with the addition of witchcraft. 

Two boys look angry

The Lost Boys (1987) One of the most iconic films of the 1980s, “The Lost Boys,” chronicles a newbie in town who has to deal with a group of vampires. Quirky, bizarre and freaky, the film was directed by Joel Schumacher and stars Jason Patric and Corey Haim.

A girl wears a black vail

Beetlejuice (1988) Another Winona Ryder 80s classic, “Beetlejuice” plays with the intersection of a moody teenager and crass supernatural entity. Though not quite bubblegum horror, it creates a Burton-esque world of vivid colors and surreal images. 

While "Lisa Frankenstein" is a fun, lighthearted and whimsical take on 80s teen horror romance, it doesn't quite reach the same impact as some of its predecessors.

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