December 1, 2023

Favorite Horror Films From 1985

Horror Fans Crazy In OctoberIf there’s a time of year that’s synonymous with horror its fall. And if there’s one month where horror fans go crazy its October. Whether it’s on purpose or not we tend to amp up our output during October so I’m back again today with yet another in my “best of” series. Today’s list comes from the year 1985. You can check out previous lists below:

I’m absolutely loving putting these lists together. It’s giving me an opportunity to go back and revisit some beloved films from my childhood and to re-discover films that I’d completely forgotten about. If you’re interested in my non-horror version of the 1985 list you can see it here.

Chewie’s Top 5 Horror Films From 1985

All of these films received their US theatrical release within calendar year 1985. If you want to see the full list of all films eligible for this list you can view it here. Keep in mind, these aren’t necessarily what I’d consider the “best” movies and they certainly aren’t ranked based on box office sales. They are what I consider my “favorite” films.

Honorable Mentions

Re-Animator (1985)Re-Animator – A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus. Loosely based on the H. P. Lovecraft episodic novella “Herbert West–Reanimator” and directed by Stuart Gordon, it was the first film in the Re-Animator series. Herbert’s first re-animation is his dead professor… Dr. Hans Gruber. If you don’t know why that name’s cool you need to hit the Google.

Lifeforce – Directed by Tobe Hooper, it features Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, and Patrick Stewart, and tells how things go after a trio of humanoids in a state of suspended animation are brought to earth after being discovered in the hold of an abandoned European space shuttle.

The Bride – An adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein directed by Franc Roddam. The film stars Sting (the singer not the wrestler) and Jennifer Beals. This one is pretty universally hated and garnered Beals a Razzie award but I enjoy it every time I see it.

Silver Bullet – I just can’t get away from Stephen King. This is based on one of his novellas Cycle of the Werewolf. I’m not a big werewolf guy generally, but this one starring Gary Busey, Everett McGill and Corey Haim is up there on my list.

The Top Five

As I’m looking over my top five here, I’m realizing that it’s heavily influenced by my love for other films in their respective franchises. That’s part of what I love about doing these lists. It allows me to take a good hard look and what love and to peel back the layers of my fandom.

Friday The 13th A New Beginning (1985)#5 – Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning

Still haunted by his past, Tommy Jarvis – who, as a child, killed Jason Voorhees – wonders if the serial killer is connected to a series of brutal murders occurring in and around the secluded halfway house where he now lives. As I said when I reviewed this film it’s not a great entry into the Friday the 13th franchise but I love the fact that they continued the Tommy Jarvis story line. The other real pisser here (spoiler alert) is that Jason isn’t the killer. Nope… it’s Roy the paramedic. All of that said, I’m a Friday apologist and even if I don’t love all of them they’re still what I’d consider some of my “favorite” films. This film also gets high marks because of what it could have been. This idea of a “new” Jason a la James Bond is something that I’ve always wished they flushed out… and then I saw it in Jason Goes To Hell and I’m glad they didn’t. 

#4 – Fright Night

When a teenager learns that his next door neighbor is a vampire, no one will believe him. I remember this one fondly partially because it was released on my birthday. It’s a film that made a ton of profit at the box office (bringing in nearly $25 million with only a $9 million budget) and has spawned a couple of sequels.

Return of the Living Dead (1985)#3 – The Return of the Living Dead

When two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to rise again as zombies. Written and directed by Dan O’Bannon and starring Clu Gulager, James Karen, and Don Calfa this is one of those classic zombie movies that I remember from growing up. Honestly it’s been YEARS since I’ve revisited it but as I read through the plot summary on Wikipedia it brought back those warm and fuzzy feeling that all horror fans have when it comes to films from their past. Great effects here.

#2 – Day of the Dead

A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies. Written and directed by horror legend George Romero this is the third in his Dead series, preceded by Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. It also has makeup master Tom Savini on board with Greg  Nicotero (of The Walking Dead fame) assisting. It ranks this high on my list for one singular scene: The face off between Bub and Capt. Rhodes and Rhodes being ripped to shreds. An absolutely iconic zombie scene in my book.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 - Freddy's Revenge (1985)#1 – A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge

A teenage boy is haunted in his dreams by Freddy Krueger who is out to possess him to continue his murdering in the real world. This is another pick that has clearly been colored by the rest of the series. Nightmare is probably my 1a horror franchise behind only Friday. This particular installment might be one of my least favorite of the series but that doesn’t mean it’s not an outstanding movie. A lot has been made of the blatantly gay subtext to this movie but in reality that’s part of it’s charm. It’s an entirely different (and quite frankly a better) movie if you view it through that lens. Once you get past that point there’s some awesome things going on here. The kills are top notch and I really enjoy the fact that Freddy isn’t doing the killing but rather influencing Jesse. The Freddy we do get here is still menacing and deadly as opposed to the campy version we get in later sequels. I didn’t realize it till doing some research, and can’t confirm it, but there appears to be a couple of tie ins (character wise) to the sequel as well. Check out the 1st link below for more details. If you haven’t visited this one recently I’d urge you to give it another look.

For some more interesting stuff about Freddy’s Revenge check out these links:

Did I leave off your favorite horror film from 1985? Leave a comment with your thoughts!


I've been a fan of horror and slasher movies for as long as I can remember. I consider the original Halloween to be the best horror movie of all time and my guilty pleasure horror flick would be The Exorcist III. You can find me on Twitter at @406Northlane or TikTok @406Northlane where I'm sure I'll offend you at least once a day.

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