Top 10 80s Zombie Movies You Must Watch | Zompedia
Discover the ultimate list of top 10 80s zombie movies you need to watch. With iconic films and hidden gems, classic 80s zombie horror awaits you on Zompedia.
During the 1980s, the zombie movie genre was elevated to new heights of horror, dark comedy, and grotesque splatter. This decade introduced audiences to a collection of films that celebrated undead mayhem, leaving an indelible mark on cinematic history. Whether you're a seasoned horror fan or are just discovering the joys of zombie flicks, we've compiled the top 10 80s zombie movies you need to watch. Let's dive into the grotesque world of the 80s zombie films that deserve a spot on any watch list.
Table of Contents
- Return of the Living Dead (1985)
- Day of the Dead (1985)
- Re-Animator (1985)
- Evil Dead II (1987)
- The Beyond (1981)
- Night of the Comet (1984)
1. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Return of the Living Dead is a true classic that has earned its spot among the best 80s zombie movies. Filled with punk-rock aesthetics, clever humor, and horrific visuals, this cult classic tells the story of an accidental zombie outbreak caused by a toxic gas release. The film takes the undead to new heights by introducing brain-eating zombies for the first time, changing the rules for zombies in pop culture forever.
Some standout moments in the movie include the famous 'Tarman' zombie and the hilarious zombie interaction with paramedics. If there's one 80s zombie movie you can't afford to miss, it's definitely Return of the Living Dead.
2. Day of the Dead (1985)
As a follow-up to Romero's classic "Night of the Living Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead," Day of the Dead takes a more somber, darker tone, exploring the decaying human society trying to survive amidst a world overrun by zombies. The movie focuses on a group of scientists and soldiers living in an underground bunker, trying to find a cure for the zombie plague.
Famous for its bleakness and offbeat characterizations, Day of the Dead has gained a considerable following since its time. The legendary special effects work by Tom Savini showcases some of the most gruesome and iconic zombie makeup in the history of horror films. If you appreciate the dread and despair that accompanies a zombie apocalypse, then be sure to check out Day of the Dead.
3. Re-Animator (1985)
Based on H.P. Lovecraft's story "Herbert West: Re-Animator," Re-Animator combines gory zombie horror with dark comedy, providing an experience that is unique among 80s zombie movies. The story of a young medical student who discovers a serum that can reanimate the dead leads to some gruesomely hilarious and shocking moments.
The film stars Jeffrey Combs as the eccentric and determined Herbert West, whose many attempts to conquer death spiral out of control. As part of the 80s splatter horror subgenre, Re-Animator revels in its gore-soaked practical effects and remains a must-watch for horror fans interested in a more outrageous take on the undead.
4. Evil Dead II (1987)
Although not a traditional zombie film, Evil Dead II is a quintessential 80s horror flick that incorporates elements of the undead, along with demons and supernatural forces. Directed by Sam Raimi, Evil Dead II is a perfect blend of horror and comedy, following the events of the first film with a campier approach.
Ash Williams, played by Bruce Campbell, returns to the infamous cabin in the woods where he must battle demonic forces and dismembered, animated corpses. The film is particularly famous for Ash's chainsaw hand, which has become an iconic symbol in horror and popular culture. This wildly inventive and highly entertaining sequel should have a place on any horror fan's list of essential 80s zombie movies.
5. The Beyond (1981)
The Beyond is a surreal, atmospheric, and often gruesome film from Italian horror master Lucio Fulci. When a young woman inherits a hotel in Louisiana, she unwittingly unleashes an ancient supernatural curse that turns the dead into nightmarish, flesh-eating monsters.
This influential and haunting film is known for its stunning visuals, nightmarish atmosphere, and shocking gore. While it may not be a traditional zombie movie in every sense, it's a must-see for fans of 80s horror looking for something more avant-garde and eerie. A nightmarish descent into the unknown, The Beyond remains an unforgettable entry on this list of top 10 80s zombie movies.
6. Night of the Comet (1984)
In Night of the Comet, a comet's passage near Earth turns almost everyone into dust, with only a few survivors left to rebuild society. Those who have been partially exposed to the comet's effects become bloodthirsty, zombie-like creatures, who roam the streets causing chaos and terror.
This underrated gem of 80s cinema blends apocalyptic themes with teen movie tropes and tongue-in-cheek humor, resulting in an entertaining mix of horror, comedy, and science fiction. Night of the Comet captures the spirit of 80s pop culture and offers a unique spin on the traditional zombie narrative, making it definitely worth a watch for zombie movie aficionados.
7. Dead and Buried (1981)
Dead and Buried is a hidden gem that blends mystery, horror, and unnerving atmosphere together to produce a chilling 80s zombie film. The story takes place in a small coastal town where visitors seemingly die in bizarre accidents before being mysteriously resurrected by a malicious town secret.
This film sets itself apart with its unique plot and chilling visuals. Director Gary Sherman delivers a shocking twist that will leave you questioning the true nature of the undead in this eerie tale. If you're a fan of psychological horror with a side of zombie terror, Dead and Buried is a must-watch addition to your 80s zombie movie lineup.
8. Zombi 2 (1979)
Also known as Zombie Flesh Eaters or simply Zombie, Zombi 2 is an Italian horror film directed by Lucio Fulci. Technically released in 1979, its influence on the 1980s zombie movie phenomenon cannot be denied. It tells the story of an abandoned sailing ship arriving in New York City carrying a gruesome and malevolent cargo: the living dead.
Featuring grisly makeup effects, intense gore, and the iconic underwater zombie vs. shark scene, Zombi 2 has become a cult favorite among horror fans. It's an example of the European influence on 80s zombie movies and, despite its controversial content, remains a classic in the genre.
9. Nightmare City (1980)
Directed by Umberto Lenzi, Nightmare City is an Italian-Spanish production that stands out as one of the most entertaining and action-packed 80s zombie movies. Also known as City of the Walking Dead, the film follows Dean Miller, a reporter who stumbles across a horde of bloodthirsty, radiation-affected zombies, who were onboard a plane arriving in town.
Unlike many traditional zombie films, the undead in Nightmare City are fast, agile, and armed with weapons. Featuring intense, non-stop action scenes, the movie is an adrenaline-pumping thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. If you're craving action-packed zombie chaos, you won't want to miss Nightmare City.
10. Night of the Creeps (1986)
Night of the Creeps is a unique blend of science fiction, horror, and comedy that stands out among the 80s zombie movie lineup. Directed by Fred Dekker, the film follows two college students who unwittingly release brain-controlling alien parasites into their campus. As the parasites take control of their victims' bodies, they transform them into flesh-eating zombies.
This film is a love letter to B-movies and 1950s monster flicks, full of creative special effects, memorable one-liners, and enjoyable campiness. Its unique premise and entertaining blend of humor and horror make Night of the Creeps a must-watch for fans of 80s zombie movies.
Conclusion and Recommendation for your First 80s Zombie Movie to Watch
With such a diverse and captivating array of 80s zombie movies to choose from, it's hard to pick just one film to watch. If you're unsure where to start, we recommend beginning with Return of the Living Dead as it offers the perfect blend of humor, horror, and iconic zombie tropes that helped define the era.
From cult classics to hidden gems, this comprehensive list of top 10 80s zombie movies offers something for everyone. Whether you're a fan of gruesome horror, dark comedy, or thrilling action, this iconic era of cinema will surely satisfy your hunger for zombie entertainment. So grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and enjoy the nostalgia of these undead 80s classics.
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