suspend any antivirus/antimalware software you have running and right click>click "run as administrator".
if that fails, reinstall.
After you work through the suggestions of kglad, please look at
a. Flushing the preferences...
Local Disc C
and in the 8.0 Folder is the Adobe Premiere Elements Prefs Folder that you delete. If that deletion does not work, then delete the whole 8.0 Folder in which it exists.
Make sure that you are working with Folder Options Show Hidden Files, Folders, and Drives active so that you can see the complete path.
Also, check your Scratch Disk to assure that they are directed to location with enough free space to accept them. Look for pile ups of preview files as well as conformed video and audio files.
And, it goes without saying, make sure that you are running with Background Rendering and AutoAnalzyer Options turned Off, if and when you can back into a project. (More on that later after you have checked out the prior suggestions.)
Welcome to the forum.
Along with very helpful suggestions that you have gotten, this line catches my eye:
When I attempt to open Adobe Premiere Elements 8.0 I just get a blank screen.
When one has any display issues in the GUI, I always want to rule out the video driver, as being the culprit.
What is your video card's make and model?
What OS and version are you running?
What is the number and date of the installed video driver?
From the nVidia, or AMD/ATI Web site, is that the latest driver?
I am not telling you not to look into Hunt's latest suggestion regarding your video card and verification of its latest version status.
But before that, could you check Edit Menu/Preferences/General and the option "Enable GPU Playback" to determine what happens to your issue with and without that option selected with a check mark.