9/12/2020

The 10 Best Horror Movies of 1985

Right off the bat, I have to say that 1985 is one of the best years for horror releases ever. Pound for pound it is the best year I have done so far, and honestly it'll be hard to beat (though 1986, I know to be a great year as well). The quality of the movies listed here is incredibly high with everything from the seventh ranked movie and beyond being of excellent quality or greater! And, as you will see from the top three movies, 1985 is also THE definitive year for zombie movies.

Honorable Mention:
Night Train to Terror

10. Cats Eye-
This is an entertaining anthology based on Stephen King (who also wrote the screenplay) short stories and directed by Lewis (Cujo) Teague, that is extremely fun and easy to like. The second story, "The Ledge", is the best one, at least in my humble opinion.

9. The Stuff- Who would've ever thought that a movie about living, killer yogurt could be so good? Then again, it is from Larry Cohen! This flick of his maybe cheesy and fun flick, but it's also a smart commentary on consumerism. One that also happens to be funny, slimy, messy, and well acted.
8. Naked Vengeance- There is no doubt in my mind that this movie borrows elements from I Spit on Your Grave, but it, nonetheless, manages to add its own twist one the rape/ revenge sub-genre. The film is fast paced, engaging, bloody, and will have you cheering for the heroine. A highly underrated and under-seen movie, it is highly worthy of rediscovery on the now sadly out of print Scream Factory Blu-ray.

7. Lifeforce- Tobe Hooper's exciting, imaginative, erotic, sexy, and wild sci-fi/ horror epic has garnered a well deserved cult following in the years since its release. The FX, the score, the absolutely kick ass climax, crazy ass plot, great cast, and Matilda May's glorious and amazing full frontal nudity makes this a classic that only gets better with age. The amazing director's cut is an even better viewing experience.

6. Phenomena (AKA Creepers)- This is the first Dario Argento movie, I ever saw with knowledge of who he was (albeit in its butchered American version of Creepers). As such, it holds a very special place in my heart. It is a film that has aged wonderfully, on top of being a wild and incredibly original mix of supernatural horror and giallo. The film is stunning looking film and complemented by the natural beauty of Jennifer Connelly. In it she play Jennifer Corvino, a girl that can talk to and control insects. I had a childhood crush on her because of this flick, which also drips with style and gore. The amazing soundtrack features Claudio Simonetti and metal gods Motorhead and Iron Maiden. Beyond all of this, it also has a heroic chimp with a razor, Donald Pleasance, Dario Nicoldi, and more awesome shit that I don't spoil for those who never saw it. 

5. Demons- This motherfucker is one rollicking cinematic experience. It has every single thing I could ask for in a movie: graphic gore, unrelenting action, kick ass heavy metal and hard rock music, demonic monsters, and gorgeous Italian women. Directed by Lamberto Bava and produced by Dario Argento (they both also co-wrote the movie along with Franco Ferrini and Dardano Sacchetti), this is one of the true classics among Italian horror. 
4. Fright Night- This Tom Holland masterpiece is impossibly fun, wild, and highly imaginative, making it one of the greatest vampire movies ever made. The excellent cast all play lively characters, in particular Chris Sarandon as one of cinema's greatest vampire villains. I also love how it pays loving tribute to Hammer horror movies, especially with its Peter Cushing/ Vincent Price inspired character of Peter Vincent played wonderfully by Roddy McDowall. And, it modernizes it, at least, in part, with excellent 80s splatter FX. This is particularly true in the amazing climax, one of the best anywhere. To top it all of, it has a great score by Brad (Terminator) Fidel.


 3. The Return of the Living Dead- This is unquestionably one of the greatest  zombie movies, as well as one of the best horror/ comedies ever made. The film is fast paced, fun, funny, and gory. One of the aspects that really helps the film work so well is that it takes the horror seriously and as a legitimate threat. Yet, it still manages to be funny. Adding to the fun are the cool punk characters and the ass kicking punk rock soundtrack. Plus, it has hot babes, including a naked Linnea Quigley, great acting, and quotable quotes. All of this helps make RotLD a movie that only gets better with age!
2. Day of the Dead- Though it wasn't appreciated at its time of release, George Romero's third entry into what was then his Living Dead Trilogy has deservedly become a classic in its own right. This flick is intelligent and has some of the best characterization, dialogue, and acting of any Romero film. Yet, the movie is also righteously gory, with its chunk-blowing splatter FX ranking among Tom Savini's greatest work. The results make this masterpiece one of the finest genre works of the 80's.
1. Re-Animator- Full disclosure, Stuart Gordon take on HP Lovecraft's Re-Animator is my favorite movie of all time (of any genre). This tale of zombies and mad scientists changed my life forever, made me want to get into film, and is the type of movie that I live for. After all, it is a perfect film, a blood drenched and splatter-filled cinematic gift. Every single thing works to perfection, even the score that rips-off of Psycho works. The acting from the great cast is excellent. They all play memorable characters and many get to deliver quotable quotes. The flick is also funny, fun, and drips with gore that rates on easy 10 on the splatter-meter. The FX done by the late, great John Carl Beuchler are incredible, especially when you take into account that it is quite a low budget flick. I also love that it dares to go where other horror movies would never, in particular in the classic and infamous head scene involving Dr. Hill, his decapitated cranium, and one of the most beautiful women in the world Barbara Crampton  (fully nude, might I add). In all, Re-Animator is an absolute fucking masterpiece.   

What are your favorite horror movies of 1985? Let me know in the comments section below. Also be sure to catch up on the rest of the best horror movies of the 80's by clicking on the links below:

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