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The Best 80s Zombie Movies 

Ranker Film
596 votes 122 voters 6.5k views 24 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite zombie films that were released in the 1980s.

Before you were getting scared in HD, there were zombie movies from the 80s that relied on other tactics to frighten you. As you’ll discover on this list of the best 80s zombie movies, during the eighties the genre took a big leap forward with new directors, new writers, and new stars.

In addition to the third entry into George Romero’s Dead series, Day of the Dead, this list of good 80s zombie movies includes Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (starring Bruce Campbell who went on to dominate the genre) and its sequel Evil Dead II. Stephen King added his flare to the genre with Pet Sematary and Creepshow (made in collaboration with George Romero). So deadly virus, demon possession, or scientific experiment gone awry? Which do you think the is the best way to make a zombie? Let us know in the comments below and vote up your top 80s zombie movies.

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1
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Sherman Howard, Jarlath Conroy, Terry Alexander

Released: 1985

Directed by: George A. Romero

This film is a 1985 American horror film written and directed by George A. Romero and the third film in Romero's film series. Romero describes the film as a "tragedy about how a lack of ...more

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#287 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #108 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #43 of 137 The Goriest Movies Ever Made

2
Ranker Video
Clu Gulager, James Karen, Linnea Quigley

Released: 1985

Directed by: Dan O'Bannon

This film is a 1985 American black comedy/zombie horror film written and directed by Dan O'Bannon and starring Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa and Linnea Quigley. The film tells the story of ...more

More The Return of the Living Dead 

#279 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #83 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #738 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

3
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Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi

Released: 1981

Directed by: Sam Raimi

This film is a 1981 American horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi and executive produced by Raimi and Bruce Campbell, who also stars alongside Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker. This film ...more

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#151 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #148 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #15 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

4
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Bruce Campbell, Kassie DePaiva, Ted Raimi

Released: 1987

Directed by: Sam Raimi

Evil Dead II is a 1987 American horror comedy film directed by Sam Raimi, a parody sequel to the 1981 film The Evil Dead. After Ash (Bruce Campbell) discovers an audiotape left by a college ...more

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#222 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #201 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #38 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

5
Ranker Video
Barbara Crampton, Jeffrey Combs, David Gale

Released: 1985

Directed by: Stuart Gordon

Re-Animator is a 1985 American science fiction horror comedy film loosely based on the H. P. Lovecraft episodic novella "Herbert West–Reanimator." Directed by Stuart Gordon, it was the ...more

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The Best Quotes From 'Re-Animator' Will Bring You Back To Life #244 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #165 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

6
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Stephen King, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby

Released: 1989

Directed by: Mary Lambert

Pet Sematary is a 1989 American horror film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name. Directed by Mary Lambert and written by King. Andrew Hubatsek was cast for Zelda's role. Author ...more

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Real Burial Grounds And Locations That Could Have Inspired 'Pet Sematary' #155 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #26 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

7
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Mitch Pileggi, James Karen, Allan Trautman

Released: 1988

Directed by: Ken Wiederhorn

This film is an American zombie horror comedy film that was released in 1988. It was written and directed by Ken Wiederhorn. The film was released by Lorimar Motion Pictures on January 8, 1988, ...more

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#628 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #77 of 94 The Worst January Movie Releases #30 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time

8
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Stephen King, Ed Harris, Ted Danson

Released: 1982

Directed by: George A. Romero

Creepshow is a 1982 horror anthology film with elements of black comedy directed by George A. Romero and written by Stephen King. The film's ensemble cast included Hal Holbrook, Adrienne ...more

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#181 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #48 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #1,368 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

9
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Geoffrey Lewis, Mary Woronov, Catherine Mary Stewart

Released: 1984

Directed by: Thom Eberhardt

Night of the Comet is a 1984 disaster-comedy film written and directed by Thom Eberhardt and starring Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Beltran, and Kelli Maroney. The film was voted number 10 in ...more

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#286 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #268 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #305 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

10
Ranker Video
David Warbeck, Veronica Lazăr, Catriona MacColl

Released: 1981

Directed by: Lucio Fulci

The Beyond is a 1981 Italian horror film directed by Lucio Fulci. The second film in Fulci's unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy, The Beyond has gained a cult following over the decades, in part ...more

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#454 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #105 of 137 The Goriest Movies Ever Made #40 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films

11
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David Paymer, Dick Miller, Tom Atkins

Released: 1986

Directed by: Fred Dekker

Night of the Creeps is a 1986 American comedy horror written and directed by Fred Dekker, starring Tom Atkins, Jason Lively, Steve Marshall and Jill Whitlow. The film is an earnest attempt at a ...more

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#283 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #478 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #301 of 439 The Funniest '80s Movies

12
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Deran Sarafian, Massimo Vanni, Luciano Pigozzi

Released: 1988

Directed by: Lucio Fulci, Claudio Fragasso, Bruno Mattei

Zombi 3 is the 1988 followup to Zombi 2, itself an unofficial sequel to 1978's Dawn of the Dead. Beyond its title, Zombi 3 has little to no relation with the characters or plotlines of Zombi, ...more

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#85 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films #126 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time #121 of 126 The Best R-Rated Creature Movies

13
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Lucio Fulci, Christopher George, Catriona MacColl

Released: 1980

Directed by: Lucio Fulci

City of the Living Dead is a 1980 Italian horror film directed by Lucio Fulci. It is the first installment of the unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy which also includes The Beyond and The House by ...more

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#575 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #99 of 137 The Goriest Movies Ever Made #54 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films

14
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Ian McCulloch, Donald O'Brien, Walter Patriarca

Released: 1980

Directed by: Marino Girolami

Zombie Holocaust, also known as Zombie 3 and Doctor Butcher, M.D., is a 1980 Italian zombie film directed by Marino Girolami.

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#779 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #94 of 137 The Goriest Movies Ever Made #94 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films

15
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Robert Englund, Jack Albertson, Barry Corbin

Released: 1981

Directed by: Gary Sherman

This film is a 1981 horror film directed by Gary Sherman, starring Melody Anderson and James Farentino. With a screenplay written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, the movie was initially ...more

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#453 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #59 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films #49 of 100 The Best Movies On Shudder

16
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Lory-Michael Ringuette, Jennifer Miro, Roxanna Augesen

Released: 1987

Directed by: Robert Scott

The Video Dead is a 1987 horror comedy film written and directed by Robert Scott and starring Roxanna Augesen. A paranormal television causes zombies from a never-ending film to enter the real ...more

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#139 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time #87 of 117 The Best Zombie Comedies #153 of 161 The Best Horror Movies Of The 1980s

17
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Mel Ferrer, Francisco Rabal, Hugo Stiglitz

Released: 1980

Directed by: Umberto Lenzi

Nightmare City is a 1980 Italian-Spanish zombie film directed by Umberto Lenzi. The film stars Hugo Stiglitz as a television news reporter who witnesses the collapse of order in a city overrun ...more

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#86 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films #12 of 18 The Best Horror Movies About Airplanes #22 of 30 The Best Italian Horror Movies

18
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Fabiana Udenio, Jeffrey Combs, Kathleen Kinmont

Released: 1990

Directed by: Brian Yuzna

Bride of Re-Animator is a 1990 American science fiction horror film directed by Brian Yuzna and was written by Yuzna, Rick Fry and Woody Keith. H. P. Lovecraft wrote the original serialized ...more

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#87 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time #23 of 31 The Most Horrifying Movies Inspired By H.P. Lovecraft #38 of 65 The Scariest Horror Movies of the 1990s

19
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Bill Pullman, Paul Winfield, Michael Gough

Released: 1988

Directed by: Wes Craven

The Serpent and the Rainbow is a 1988 American horror film directed by Wes Craven and starring Bill Pullman. The script by Richard Maxwell and Adam Rodman is loosely based on the non-fiction ...more

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#324 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #215 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #24 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films

20
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Vincent Price, Joe Piscopo, Darren McGavin

Released: 1988

Directed by: Mark Goldblatt

This film is a 1988 movie about an LAPD police officer, Roger Mortis, life ended while attempting to arrest zombies who have been reanimated by the head of Dante Laboratories. Joe Piscopo

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#532 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #88 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time #36 of 117 The Best Zombie Comedies

21
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Don Herbert, Michael David Simms, Ted Vernon

Released: 1988

Directed by: William Wesley

Scarecrows is a 1988 horror film written and directed by William Wesley. The film centers around a group of mercenaries who have hijacked a plane. After one of their number escapes with the ...more
22
Ranker Video
Frank Lentz, Lisa DeHaven, Bucky Santini

Released: 1986

Directed by: Pericles Lewnes

Redneck Zombies is a 1987 very low budget independent horror comedy trash film directed by Pericles Lewnes and released by Troma Entertainment.
23
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Gale Garnett, Martin Shakar, Shannon Bolin

Released: 1980

Directed by: Max Kalmanowicz

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Children is a 1980 low budget horror film, written and produced by Carlton J. Albright. The movie is about five children in a small town who, thanks to a yellow toxic cloud, are transformed ...more

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#614 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #162 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films #41 of 47 The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks

24
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Margit Evelyn Newton, Josep Lluís Fonoll, Franco Garofalo

Released: 1980

Directed by: Claudio Fragasso, Bruno Mattei

Virus: Hell of the Living Dead is a 1980 horror film, specifically a zombie film, directed by Bruno Mattei. The film is also known as Zombie Creeping Flesh and Night of the Zombies.

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#161 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films #104 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time #30 of 43 The Best Horror Movies About Deserted Islands