Starting just before the new year, and for the two weeks since, everyone has been posting their favorite films of 2009. Many have been doing their favorites of the 2000s. I figured why not mix it up a bit and give you my favorites from 1985?! 1985 stands as one of my favorite years for horror films (my favorite from that particular decade, along with 1987). So here we go, starting at number ten…
10. CEMENTERIO DEL TERROR (a.k.a. CEMETERY OF TERROR)
I discovered this when it was reissued by BCI Eclipse as part of its Crypt Of Terror double feature DVD’s. A group of teenagers steal a corpse from the morgue on Halloween and bring it back to life by reading an incantation from some spooky old book. The corpse turns out being the body of an infamous murderer… you see where this is going. Terribly original? No, of course not, but it is a fun ride throughout.
Who can forget the classic VHS cover with the little green bastard coming out of the toilet!? With the red suspenders he looked like a drunk midget skinhead that’s about to puke! I first saw this when I was ten and it still entertains the crap out of me twenty-two years later!
08. STEPHEN KING’S SILVER BULLET
While not as strong as it’s werewolf brethren from 1981, THE HOWLING and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON respectively, SILVER BULLET does have two things going for it – one, Gary Busey and two, Corey Haim in a freakin’ wheelchair!!! The second best film Haim ever did!
07 FRIDAY THE 13TH V: A NEW BEGINNING
I’m sure a lot of you are gasping in terror at the fact I’m including this. “It’s not even Jason blah blah blah…” Whatever. I like this one. Tommy Jarvis is back in non-Corey Feldman form, the bikers are hilarious and there’s a higher body count than in any other film in the series.
All Hell breaks loose at the opening screening of a new movie theater when a girl tries on an ancient mask and turns into a demon. Produced by Dario Argento, directed byLamberto Bava and scored by Claudio Simonetti, DEMONS is an Italian splatter fan’s wet dream. Not to mention the ridiculous hard rock soundtrack featuring Motley Crue, Billy Idol, the Scorpions, etc!!!
Jefferey Combs stars as Herbert West in Stuart Gordon’s Lovecraft adaptation, Experimenting with the reanimation of dead bodies in his basement lab. This is pretty much a gory, funny version of Frankenstein for the ’80’s.
04. FRIGHT NIGHT
FRIGHT NIGHT is everything good about horror movies. It’s genuinely creepy, it’s funny in the right spots and it’s fun throughout. Not to mention this vampire next door flick had a kick ass cast consisting of the legendary Roddy McDowall, Chris Sarandon, Stephen Geoffreys as Evil Ed, and a pre-Married With Children/pre-lesbianism Amanda Bearse.
The 1980s was Argento‘s last great decade as a whole, and this is my favorite of his ’80s output. You’ve got a young Jennifer Connelly who communicates with bugs, the always amazing Donald Pleasence as a professor with a bad ass, scalpel wielding monkey, Argento mainstay and baby’s mama Daria Nicolodi, and the best soundtrack to an Argento film since SUSPIRIA! In all honesty this probably takes my number two spot, but due to deep, dark, personal attachments that spot’s going to…
02. THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD
I have the original soundtrack album to this framed above my desk as I’m typing this. RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD really did recreate the zombie film, and it did it with a comedic, 80s punk rock style. Writer/director Dan O’Bannon gave his zombies the crave for brains, starting a dietary trend for years to come. The soundtrack is a punk schlockfest featuring tunes by The Cramps, TSOL, and The Damned, among others. And of course, there’s Linnea Quigley dancing naked on a grave. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING was hotter to my pre-teen self then that sequence (and I know I’m not alone on that one). Did I mention the Tarman is one of the coolest zombies ever? He is. Speaking of cool zombies….
MY NUMBER 01 HORROR FILM OF 1985… DAY OF THE DEAD
The third chapter in George Romero‘s original DEAD trilogy is by far the most mature work he had done up to that point, and since as far as I’m concerned. It took a long time for most people to appreciate it for what it is, and not compare it to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and DAWN OF THE DEAD. I’ve heard so many times how “it’s too slow” or “boring” compared to its predecessors, especially the comic bookesque DAWN. I love both NIGHT and DAWN, but Romero truly brought his A-game when he made DAY OF THE DEAD. The script was deeper and darker. The military characters are evil, really fucking evil, and there are layers and layers of human conflict throughout. Tom Savini‘s makeup effects are some of his best, and Bub IS the coolest zombie ever (sorry, Tarman, you’re number two.)
So there you have it, my personal Top Ten of 1985. Leave me a comment and tell me your favorite fright flicks from 85, especially if I left them off my list.
Did I mention 1987 earlier…