Since the 1980s was a time of truly horrifying fashions and some downright scary hairdos (pass the Aquanet, please) it's no surprise that it was also a boom period for horror films. Some of the biggest horror franchises in history came into their own then, and the decade was marked by the emergence of home video, the greatest thing ever to happen to horror. I'm presenting these in no particular order, but these are all flicks I found time to enjoy between solving my Rubik's Cube and admiring girls in leg-warmers (I keep hoping those will come back).
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Despite what ultimately ended up on screen, this project began its undead life as a more or less official sequel to the movie that gave birth to the modern zombie genre. After completion of Night of the Living Dead, director George Romero and co-screenwriter John Russo both held sequel rights. While Romero continued the series with 1978's Dawn of the Dead, Russo's sequel came in the form of a potboiler of a novel called Return of the Living Dead. The book is a real chore to plod through, but apparently writer/director Dan O'Bannon liked it enough to turn it into a film which fortunately bears no resemblance to Russo's novel. In the film, the events of Night of the Living Dead are more or less based on a true occurrence, but names and details were changed to avoid law suits. Several drums of the chemical manufactured by the military to reanimate the dead were mistakenly shipped to Uneeda Medical Supply. A dopey pair of guys release the chemical which makes its way into some cadavers in the warehouse and eventually the cemetery across the street, where a gang of punk rockers are killing time. These zombies are more selective than most, feasting only on brains. Not everything works perfectly, but the zombie known as Tarman is pretty cool, Linnea Quigley is naked most of the time and there's an awesome punk soundtrack.