10. Re-Animator (1985)
It has so many favored fright scenes – death by disemboweled intestines, sex with a severed head, a last act undead roundelay – that it’s hard to single out just one for acknowledgment. Indeed, this fascinating first feature by former Chicago theater director Stuart Gordon stands as the benchmark for all Troma-inspired horror comedies.
9. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
While the original film had more atmosphere and narrative intricacy, this splashy sequence was overflowing with major F/X set-pieces. From an asylum inmate given a razor to slash at the imaginary bugs crawling on his body to the head psychiatrist’s Cenobite transformation, this is about as grotesque as Clive Barker’s mind’s eye gets.
8. Street Trash (1987)
Like a Technicolor yawn come to life, or a trip to Skid Row accented by actual liquefying members of the homeless, this gorehound grand slam hasn’t been topped in over 20 years. It’s a fright freak’s love letter to fellow film nerds, a shockingly surreal social indictment dripping with make-up effects magic.
7. Nekromantik (1987)
This German atrocity represents director Jörg Buttgereit’s most demented vision. The story of a street cleaner who brings home a corpse to spice up his sagging sex life, this unrelentingly depressing exercise in excess is one of those “see it to believe it” experiences. The ending remains one of gore’s most unsettling ever.
6. City of the Living Dead (1980)
Known to American blood fiends by its far more evocative name, The Gates of Hell, this undeniably brutal effort from splatter master Lucio Fulci has it all – a woman vomiting up her own guts (in long, extended takes), a man taking a huge power drill through both temples, and lots of flesh-hungry zombies. Tasty.