SLASHER FILMS: In this first edition of October’s Spotlight on Horror, I take a look at some of my favorite notable Slasher films. So what makes up a Slasher? The meaning of the term slasher is often debated. But the criteria I took into consideration for the list breaks down like this:
psychopathic killer + mask (optional) + brutal cutting/stabbing device = large body count of victims killed in a brutal and graphic manner
Here’s our spotlight:
This little gem is most know for showcasing horror makeup FX artist Tom Savini’s early talents. There is a lot to like in The Prowler; it’s gore FX are sick (in the good way) and the movie earns bonus points for the killer’s awesome getup. Best asset: Kill scenes. The Prowler doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but the kills totally make up for it. I would argue the first 4 kills are in a league of their own, beautifully executed. If you haven’t, check it out, it’s perfect for this time of the year. Watch it with your friends and a big bowl of popcorn. Also, is it just me or doesn’t this dude (below) look like an ugly Cillian Murphy?
Friday the 13th
To me, this is what I think of when I think of slasher. The movie spawned an incredible amount of sequels, infinite inspirations, and tons of bloody hockey masks. Also note that the original had a genuinely cool twist that no sequel could top. Best asset: Mask, totally. One of the simplest and most effective horror tools used to date. Jason is instantly recognizable and impossible to see without hearing his chant – KI KI KI MA MA MA!
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
TCM started all the chainsaws-at-haunted-houses bits and is responsible for the uncertain fear you have for them. This is one movie that I actually thought provoked a few decent remakes. Let’s be honest, the remakes turned out a lot better than its sequels. The 1974 versions is brilliant and is the one that makes this list, but I don’t dismiss The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006) (which had some seriously unflinching moments of brutality.) Best Asset: The weapon! Chainsaw FTW for all the above mentioned reasons. Bonus points for a creepy family and skin mask, ew!
I Know What You Did Last Summer
This is the typical “hot teens” from 10 things I hate about whatever (no one that good-looking attended my High School) being killed off in gory and intestine cutting style. Of course the plot centers around typical teen stupidity, including drinking and driving and the inability to have any rational thought. But you allow yourself to stick with the plot to either see one of the hot “grads” get killed off or show you some boobies. Best asset: Teen body count. Nothing satiates slasher film lovers more than hotter-than-your-average high school girl being killed off by a fisherman with a hook.
Guy 1 –“Dude! we just hit this guy with my dad’s Beamer.
Guy 2- “OH SHIT lets throw him in a river!”
Everyone- “YAH! Woo party!”
This campy slasher flick is the gem of our generation. Nothings better than a killer in a anonymous ghostface mask wielding a giant knife that somehow always remains shiny. This movie is a must see for any horror fan, even with its comedic overtones it has a strong plot and always entertains. This really set the bar for a slew of teen slasher flicks that never quite had the same gusto. Best asset: Mask, everyone knows exactly what kind of crazy, and sometimes clumsy, murder scenes your about to get into when someone shows up in this mask. Check out one of my favorite scenes below:
Nightmare on Elm Street
Every part of this slasher flick says horror. From the crazy burn victim that has comeback to murder you with TEN knives in your sleep to the massive amount of blood and guts that will get sprayed, literally, all over your bedroom walls. Best Asset: TIE = psychotic killer and brutal stabbing device. It’s hard to choose what’s scarier; the fact that Freddy is so sadistic in his pursuits to fuck with you that he is still able to maintain his humor, or the fact that you couldn’t even give this guy a handshake without needing to go to the emergency room.
Often considered to be the first official slasher (although Peeping Tom should not be dismissed for that title either), Psycho is quite possibly one of the most celebrated horror films of all time. Directed by the great Alfred Hitchcock, there is not a lot I can say about this movie that hasn’t already been said. It’s not the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of slasher films but it definitely meets all the criteria. Best asset: Psychopathic killer. Anthony Perkins plays Norman Bates in one of the best psycho killer portrayals ever. The character is iconic.
Note: If you didn’t see some of your favorite slashers on this list, don’t worry. It doesn’t necessarily mean we forgot them, we may have put them into another list this month so keep an eye out!