If you’re looking for lesser-known horror flicks from the 80s that should totally get more love, take a visit to these charming little towns…if you dare.
DEAD AND BURIED (1981)
Dead and Buried is one of those movies that terrified young audiences when it hit cable in the 80s, in large part due to the jump scare at the beginning that is as horrific and disturbing as it is frightening. This scene is unforgettable!
The entire movie delivers the creep factor big time, tapping into the eerie vibe of movies like Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. In a sleepy fishing village, people are being brutally murdered by a mob that takes pictures as the blood flows. Seriously, this movie is vicious and gory in the kills department. And the concept of being photographed while you’re being mutilated and suffering is so…violating.
Dead and Buried is also loaded with atmosphere. Dark and fog are used to great effect as the local sheriff, played by handsome James Farentino, tries to figure out who is killing anyone who passes through his town.
This murderous mob is damn terrifying. And the truth about what’s going on behind their cold eyes is bone-chilling. On top of that, there’s a shocking twist worthy of The Twilight Zone. Plus, Robert Englund has a small role as one of the locals!
MUTANT (aka: Nightshadows) (1984)
I don’t know how this film has fallen completely off the 80s horror retro-revival radar. The DVD is a crappy release and the picture is way too dark. Mutant totally deserves a cleaned up, brightened up reissue on Blu-ray!
The plot is simple. Wings Hauser and his younger brother, played by 80s cutie Lee Montgomery from Girls Just Want to Have Fun and Halloween horror TV movie The Midnight Hour, take a vacation to a small town. They are run off the road by some seriously hot rednecks and are then stuck in the town.
People go missing. People turn up dead. Hauser’s brother disappears. And Hauser teams up with a pretty blonde local school teacher to find out what the hell is going on.
What’s going on is zombies!
An eerie, atmospheric slow burner, Mutant plays out like a combination of The Fog, Salem’s Lot, Messiah of Evil, and Evil Dead—there is even a noticeable Evil Dead rip-off scene in a basement. There are also a number of really creepy, isolated attack scenes involving lone zombies (including one zombie reminiscent of the main one from Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things). And keep an eye out for an appearance by the little boy from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, who was a teenager by the time he appeared in Mutant.
Finally, near the end of the film, there’s a sudden barrage of zombies and the action and suspense mount quickly, with a public bathroom scene being a major highlight. I just really hope the movie gets a quality release because there were so many times throughout viewing the DVD when I could not see what the fuck was going on. Mutant deserves to be a found lost film of the 80s!