Slasher Movies: Our Top 60 Best

Slasher Movies

Slasher Movies. Masked killers and bladed weapons, summer camp, innocent teens and tons and tonnes of blood. Slasher flicks offer the ultimate thrill-ride. Slashers are a far cry from the twists and turns of modern horror flicks. Their sinister beauty is in their simplicity.
This simplicity has made horror a timeless genre for decades and even decades. It will continue to be popular for many more decades.

Isn’t it comforting to flip on a horror film and not knowing what is going to happen but you do know the ending? We love Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13thseries. We know exactly what’s going to happen. It doesn’t really matter, it’s fun. There are always new twists to the familiar themes in old movies. Movies like The Cabin in the Woods and The Final Girls can bring self-awareness, humor, and a sense of humor to a genre with its own set of references. It all comes down to the familiarity.

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A slasher seeking revenge hunts down young people in their nightmares. A family is determined to keep the status quo intact and hunts down a new member. A serial killer is trying to escape from the body of a doll for children. Slashers are determined to kill. We, the viewers, have another goal. To throw popcorn at the screen when our protagonists can’t do it right. As we endure some of the most frightening horror films, you can join us. Here are 60 classic slasher films, starting with the most famous:

60- The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Five friends are going to spend the weekend in a lost cabin at the bottom of the woods. They have no idea of the nightmare that awaits them, or what the cabin really hides in the woods.

59- Happy Death Day (2017)

Happy Death Day (2017)

Slasher Movies. Tree Gelbman is an egocentric college girl who wakes up on her birthday in the bed of a student named Carter. During the morning, Tree has the strange feeling that she has already experienced the events of the day before. When a masked killer kills her in a brutal way, she wakes up in Carter’s dormitory, unscathed. Now, the frightened young woman must relive the same day again and again until she discovers who murdered her.

58- Malignant


Madison had a traumatic childhood until she was caught under the wings of a charming host family. Now an adult, her disturbing past catches up with her in the form of nightmares, during which her friend Gabriel commits cruel murders.

57- Terrifier 2

Terrifier 2

Slasher Movies. Clown Art is resurrected at the morgue. A year later, on Halloween night, the sinister psychopath returns to Miles County to attack teenage brothers whose late father bequeathed them a book of premonitory sketches on the future of art.

56- It Follows

It Follows

In the residential suburbs where she lives with her family, Jay enjoys the first summer evenings with her boyfriend, Hugh. They sleep together, then it’s the blackout. Jay wakes up, tied to a wheelchair in the middle of an abandoned building. Hugh warns her about something that will follow her everywhere, and will try to kill her; it may look like someone she knows or take on the appearance of a stranger.

55- Bodies Bodies Bodies

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Slasher Movies. Eight friends gather in a beautiful villa for a party and play a game in which participants must try to find which of them is the designated “killer”. When one of them is found dead and electricity and communications are cut off, the participants still alive try to discover the identity of the killer.

54- You’re Next

You’re Next

The Davison family is gathered in their country house to celebrate the parents’ wedding anniversary. As everyone begins to let their frustrations and resentments break out, the house is stormed by a group of masked killers.

53- Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Slasher Movies. Leslie Vermont, a man with a more normal appearance, aspires to become the next great psychopathic killer. He decides to invite a team of documentary filmmakers to follow him to make a documentary about him.

52- Dream Warriors (1987)

Dream Warriors (1987)

In a psychiatric institute, a doctor strives to find a reason for the terrifying nightmares that push teenagers to commit suicide.

51- Freddy vs. Jason

Freddy vs. Jason

Freddy Krueger is in hell, and it’s been a long time since the young people of Springwood have forgotten him. Determined to remind them, he insinuates himself into the dreams of Jason Voorhees, the Crystal Lake killer. Freddy uses it to once again sow terror in the city for his own benefit. But Jason quickly becomes uncontrollable and teenagers face two major problems.

50- Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

Slasher Movies. The Fear Street Trilogy is an American horror film series, with varying subgenres of horror, particularly the slasher and supernatural subgenres. Directed by Leigh Janiak from scripts and stories she co-wrote with other contributors, the films are based on R. L. Stine’s book series of the same name.

49- Maniac (1980)

Maniac (1980)

Victim of the mistreatment inflicted by his mother as a child, Frank Zito remained deeply traumatized, haunted by horrible dreams and powerless. One evening, in the hope of appeasing his anxieties, he leaves his sordid apartment and sets out in search of a prostitute in the streets of New York. Experience is a crushing failure. Mad with rage, he strangles the unfortunate woman and takes his scalp as a trophy.

48- Intruder (1989)

Intruder (1989)

In a supermarket, members of a night team try to escape the clutches of a killer.

47- Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Slasher Movies. Ten years after ravaged the small town of Haddonfield on Halloween night, psychopath Michael Myers is in a coma, under high supervision in a psychiatric hospital. The night he has to be transferred, he manages to escape.

46- Prom Night (1980)

Prom Night (1980)

Slasher Movies. It’s odd to consider that the slasher murderers of the 1980s were often justified in their killings in the post-Jason Voorhees era. While there are some “escaped madmen on the loose,” many others are essentially avenging angels who punish groups of young people for a horrible crime they tried to cover up. Prom Night is one such classic example. Prom Night stars Jamie Lee Curtis as her first slasher role since Halloween.

Although it knows it is trying to capitalize on the success of that film, it still manages to stand alone, inspiring imitations all along the way to I Know What You Did Last Summer. The film’s portions are a bit repetitive, and even the most well-researched versions of today have a soft, gauzy quality which makes it look strange. But when Prom Night is great, it’s amazing. Curtis is not the one who has the best chase scenes.

It’s actually Wendy Benton, the actress who plays the role of Wendy in what is perhaps the most important (and definitely the most instructive) chase sequence in horror history. The eight-minute-long scene is sped up by a ski-mask-wielding killer who chases Wendy through the halls of the high-school, which are illuminated with impressionistic, Argento-esque red lights. Although Prom Night is not perfect (the disco dance sequences were abysmal), the chase alone makes it a great film.

45- Terror Train (1980)

Terror Train (1980)

According to Terror Train’s executive producer, he instructed his crew that they make Halloween on a train. Although you can feel the effort being put in, John Carpenter isn’t. The film lacks the horror atmosphere created by one of horror’s greatest directors.

Instead, it relies on location, concept and casting. Jamie Lee Curtis was the lead after she had completed the similar Prom Night. This slasher movie is largely a run-of the-mill affair. It is buoyed, first, by magician David Copperfield, who literally plays a magician red herring.

Second, by the unique concept of a masked killer, who constantly changes masks throughout the film, leaving the characters guessing. It’s a movie that you have seen, and you will know the strange fascination with a Groucho Marx-mask killer.

44- The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

The Slumber Party Massacre, a classic early-’80s cheesefest, holds the distinction of being the only slasher movie that was actually written and directed by women Amy Holden Jones (respectively) Although Brown initially wrote the film to be a parody of the genre using the tropes of Friday the 13th and Halloween, the movie was eventually made as a legitimate horror film. This gave the movie a unique tone that still retains some black humor.

It’s a very trope-laden movie that shows the titular slumber group being stalked and armed by a power drill (as in 1979’s The Driller killer). Ironically, even though the film was intended to be parodied, it ended up creating a variety of horror movie “slumber party” tropes. These residuals echoed throughout the slasher genre for the next decade. It is also unique in that it features more than one character who could be considered a “final girls,” which allows for a tandem offense against the killer.

43- April Fool’s Day (1986)

April Fool's Day (1986)

April Fool’s Day can be a predictable joke until it’s not. It’s also very difficult to evaluate. It starts with a set-up that would look right at home in any early ’80s slasher. Then it proceeds businesslike, picking apart members of a group young people who are sharing spring break at an isolated island mansion. April Fool’s Day’s violence is notable for its chaste nature throughout the film’s runtime. This will make it difficult for viewers to understand why it happens.

This is one of those films that you can’t discuss without talking about its ending. Whether or not the audience accepts it and the huge logical gaps it highlights will determine whether they choose to call April Fool’s Day “innovative” of “cheap,” but it does feature some of the best performances in this genre in the 1980s.

42- Silent Night Part 2 (1987)

Silent Night Part 2 (1987)

We want to begin with a film that both epitomizes the late ’80s slasher-style sequels and also illustrates their pitfalls: Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2. This film is best known for its “garbage day!” meme. It is a sequel that was severely limited by budget. It spends most of its time rehashing footage from the original “killer Santa Claus” movie. But it’s Part 2 where the scenes really stand out as a camp classic.

Eric Freeman’s portrayal of serial killer Ricky leaves an impression because of how genuine and out-of-control he seems throughout. Freeman’s awkward delivery of the menacing words attributed to a psychopath is a poor performance. It doesn’t hide the anxiety that can be seen on his face throughout every frame. The film’s narrative unravels as a surreal thread becomes more apparent.

Ricky, for example, goes to a movie theatre and manages to see segments of the first film, despite the fact his brother was the original murderer. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 will be essential viewing if you plan to program “bad Christmas movies”.

41- Halloween II (1981)

Halloween II (1981)

Slasher Movies. In Haddenfield, a small town in Illinois, the population celebrates Halloween as every year. However, that year the horror became very real. A young woman is assaulted by a masked man, who does not celebrate Halloween. It is Michael Myers, a dangerous madman who escaped from a psychiatric hospital, and pursued by Dr. Loomis.

40- Urban Legend (1998)

Urban Legend (1998)

Students at Pendleton University assiduously take courses on urban legends that evoke terrifying stories whose origin is unknown. When a student is savagely murdered and inexplicable disappearances occur, only Nathalie Simon suspects a link with legends. She tries to sound the alarm, but no one wants to believe her. Paul Gardener, a young journalist eager for sensational subjects, decides to explore this track.

39- Torso (1973)

Torso (1973)

Slasher Movies. The films of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and Mario Bava are all viewed with some critical acuity. But what about the true giallos? Those dime-a dozen proto-slasher mystery films that better captured the spirit of yellow paperbacks from which they came? Although Torso feels like one those extravagant, gaudy films with lots of giddy moments, Sergio Martino gives it a bit of an artistic flair. His depiction the stocking-faced murderer, whose blank stare is quite disturbing, and his tendency to cut women apart, is a good example.

Torso, despite his exploitative title, is just as exploitative as it sounds. There’s plenty of nudity, and occasionally strangulations, but he has a bohemian, hedonistic attitude. The final scene is the most memorable. It shows the girl hiding in a place and watching as the killer begins to brutally sever her friends. Few scenes capture the terror and voyeuristic horror of watching a crime unfold so well.

38- The Final Girls (2016)

The Final Girls (2016)

Slasher Movies. This horror comedy is a rare example of a true slasher film being “sweet”. The Final Girls tells the story of Max (Taissa Feriga), who is a young woman whose mother was a horror queen actress best known for her role as Camp Bloodbath, a parody of Friday the 13th in 1980s. Max is reunited with her mother and Jason-esque killer after being sucked into Camp Bloodbath while attending a screening with friends.

The Final Girls is a unique story about a group teenagers who become aware that they are in a horror movie and attempt to flip the script. The Final Girls is often clever and surprisingly touching. It also benefits from a great supporting cast, including Malin Akerman, Alia Shawkat, Thomas Middleditch, and Adam DeVine. They all make what could have been a dull and sloppy premise into a fun, if not too light, horror comedy romp. Although The Final Girls won’t be considered a classic film, it is a great example of genre parodies.

37- Child’s play (1988)

Child's play (1988)

Slasher Movies. Child’s Play is one those late-’80s gimmick horror films where you can feel like you’ve seen it before, but have never actually sat down and watched it. Killer doll. Very cheesy. Lots of one-liners. Yes, but also no. Yes, but also no. The original and most important entry in Child’s Play is the most grounded and serious-minded of all the films. It goes out of its ways to humanize Chucky and the spirit that resides within him, Charles Lee Ray, more than one might think.

You might not have seen the films in the series if you don’t know this. The plot of Child’s Play is essentially all about voodoo. It is. Its greatness and inherent watchability all boil down to Brad Dourif’s charms, who found Chucky the vessel that he needed in order to be a legend in the genre. Chucky, like Robert Englund with Freddy Krueger is the most loved aspect of the series. Dourif’s voiceover is so full of charisma and character that he makes the characters seem more real than they could be. This is one of those moments of sublime casting that makes it easy to see why no one remembers the Child’s Play series today without this one aspect.

36-Pieces (1982)

Pieces (1982)

Slasher Movies. Pieces is a silly, head-scratching slasher from the early 1980s. It’s hard to tell if the director is trying parody the genre or actually believes what he is doing. Pieces is hilariously stupid. It stars a murderer who kills his mother using an axe when he was a child. He does this after she complains about him putting together a bad adult jigsaw puzzle. He stalks college students and cuts off “pieces” to create a real-life jigsaw girl. Each of the film’s murder sequences is completely and utterly absurd.

The best is the sequence where the female lead is walking down an alleyway when she is suddenly attacked by a “kung fu teacher” wearing a tracksuit. This sequence is played by Bruce Le, “Brucesploitation” actor. He apologizes to her for his actions and says he had “some bad chop suey” before he walks out of the film. It takes just a minute to complete the whole thing. It also has one of the most memorable film taglines ever: “Pieces is exactly what you think” This is a classic in schlock.

35- I know what you did last summer (1997)

Slasher Movies. It is ironic that Kevin Williamson, the writer of Scream, followed up the original film (no, Wes Craven did not actually write the screenplay for Scream), which was a remake of the slasher genre that revived it in 1996. He examined its tropes to find cliches and created a classic, classical, 1980s-style slasher. But that’s exactly how he did it. Scream attempted to reinvent the wheel. I Know What You Did Last summer had much more modest goals.

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The movie is a film that aims to capitalize on the latter, but it does so with style. It is a movie that seems heavily inspired by Prom Night, where the criminals of an old crime are pursued one by one. The cast is a perfect example of the ’90s horror cast. They include Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ryan Phillippe, and Freddie Prinze Jr. Each one more well-dressed than the next. Even though the Prom Night chase scene is retold, it’s more so than in the 1980s. The film’s true purpose is to showcase its young stars. Although it’s more enjoyable as a time capsule than in 1997, it’s still in Scream’s shadow.

34- Hell Night (1981)

Hell Night (1981)

Slasher Movies. For their initiation, four new members of the Alpha Sigma Rho fraternity must spend the night in an old abandoned mansion. Twelve years earlier, the owner of the mansion allegedly killed his family before taking his own life. Legend has it that a family member has survived and haunts the mansion.

33- Friday, 13th of July Part 2 (1981).´

Friday, 13th of July Part 2 (1981).´

Today, Friday the 13th’s first sequel is remembered for “properly introducing Jason as the killer,” but it’s also a refinement of the genre. This film takes the Voorhees legend and builds upon it. It canonizes the ambiguous ending of the first movie (is Jason still alive?). He confirms that he is a hulking, deformed, backwoods monster. Casual viewers won’t realize Jason doesn’t have his hockey mask yet. Instead, his head is covered with a dirty cheesecloth bag with one eye hole. This is even more creepy. This installment gets extra points for Ginny, the final girl.

Amy Steel gives her more creativity than many heroines in the early 1980s. She quickly grasps Jason’s mother’s nature and uses it to her advantage towards the end. Part 2 has the most sloppy parts. Part 2 lacks the more outrageous kills from the series. However, Part 2 does feature “Crazy Ralph,” one of the genre’s most iconic “harbinger” characters. He warns prospective campers that they are “doomed!” You are all doomed!” He is the perfect example of his archetype.

32- The House on Sorority Row (1983)

The House on Sorority Row (1983)

Slasher Movies. Imagine a slasher film set in the early 1980s that wasn’t a movie franchise. It would look very similar to The House on Sorority Row. Because of the large number of young women victims who live under one roof, sororities have been a prime target for slashers.

Even Black Christmas, the first “true” slasher was set in a Sorority. This story centers around seven young girls who accidentally kill their mother, a major motivation for early slasher villains.

The group begins to appear dead as they attempt to cover up their crime. This raises the question: who or what is the killer? This is archetypal, but it’s a great whodunit that takes place right in the middle the golden age of the slasher.

31- Opera (1987)

Opera (1987)

Following the forced defection of the main singer, the young singer Betty accepts the role of Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s opera, despite the reputation of bad luck conveyed by this role. She quickly finds herself the prey of a mysterious killer lurking in the opera with which she seems to have a connection.

30- Friday, 13th of January 1980

Friday, 13th of January 1980

Slasher Movies. The Friday the 13th movie which inspired a thousand people: Two summer camp counselors were abused while they were having fun, and years later, Camp Crystal Lake welcomes a new group of counselors with similar extracurricular activities.

Hack, slice. One pre-Footloose Kevin Bacon, one of the series’ many casting gems, plays a man who is lucky and then gets an arrowhead through his throat. Bummer. Friday the 13th is a solid and incisive slasher film, but it doesn’t even come close to the original series.

The film’s impact is undeniable. It was the one that truly launched the 1980s slasher boom. The film’s final reveal is one of the most shocking in horror history. Jason only makes a short, but very emotional appearance.

29- Alone in Dark (1982)

Alone in Dark (1982)

Slasher Movies. Alone in the Dark, a product from the golden age of slashers in the 1980s, is unusually unconventional. It’s a psychological thriller that is more like a slasher movie than a psychological thriller. The story centers on a psychiatrist who moves to a new hospital in order to join a diverse group of criminally insane people. Alone in the Dark doesn’t have a “killer,” but rather a whole cast of crazy people with their own quirks.

The paranoid ex-POW Frank, the ever-grizzled Jack Palance, believes his psychiatrist is conspiring against them; Ronald, the obese child molester; Byron, the pyromaniac preacher; and “The Bleeder,” a psycho who bleeds when he kills.

You can also add the fact that the mental hospital is managed by Donald Pleasence, who is even more kookier than Dr. Loomis and makes for quite an odd collection of characters actors. The inmates escape, and the second half of Assault on Precinct 13 is almost as good as The Old Dark House. It’s effective in spurts, and sometimes bizarre at times. However, it’s always memorable, even though it takes a while to get started.

28- The Prowler (1981)

The Prowler (1981)

Although The Prowler may not be well-known, it is a great example of classic slasher fare by Joseph Zito. He is best known for Friday the 13th IV, The Final Chapter. It’s a very familiar setup, echoing My Bloody Valentine’s “the first dance since years” celebration to allow the reincarnation of a long-dead killer to occur.

It’s the “prowler” in this instance, although “the soldier” might be a better title. The killer is disguised as a WWII G.I. which makes for some memorable costumes. The film, although familiar, is a competent, well-crafted whodunit. It’s highlighted by sharp cinematography and some great chase sequences, as well as some really nasty bits from Tom Savini. This movie is the kind that makes people think. It doesn’t skip on the details. It also gets one final, great scare before the end, just like any good slasher, when the audience is least expecting.

27- Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

In 1994, 10 years had passed from the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. Wes Craven had seen a slew of sequels featuring Freddy Krueger, including both the good (Dream Warriors), and the terrible (Final Nightmare). The horror visionary came up with an idea that was very “proto-Scream”. He set the film in “real life” and cast Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, and Heather Langenkamp as movie industry professionals to make yet another Freddy sequel.

Only this time the evil spirit of Freddy, or maybe the idea of Freddy starts to leap out into the real-world. This concept perfectly captures the idea of memetics, and how it is applied to the internet today. Although the actual horror scenes aren’t as good as parts 1 and 3, it is still quite unique. New Nightmare succeeds in reining in the cartoonishness of the series in an effort to make Freddy smarter (and more frightening). Craven was able regain some of the franchise’s damaged dignity by approaching the matter from a different angle.

26- Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)

Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)

Alice, Sweet Alice is one the most intriguing proto-slashers. It was released after 1974’s Black Christmas, but before Halloween had firmly rooted slasher conventions into the American psyche. The film is proud of its influences, including the Psycho poster in one scene, or the many visual flourishes that evoke the movies of Mario Bava and Dario Argento, particularly Argento’s Deep Red.

In fact, Alice, Sweet Alice could rightly be called one of the most giallo-esque American films ever made, fusing a seeming obsession/fetishization with Catholic dogma into a murder mystery whodunit that does not skimp on the arterial spray. Alice, the older and more jealous sister of the victim, is suspected in her murder by a mysterious, unidentified killer.

Is Alice a budding psychopath? Are they all around her? Alice, Sweet Alice is filled with a variety of disgusting characters. These include the cat-obsessed, morbidly obese landlord of her house and her aunt who detests Alice. Alice, Sweet Alice is melodramatic, moody, and chilling in its quiet, stalkerish moments.

25- The Burning (1981)

The Burning (1981)

Halloween in 1978 codified many of the slasher conventions, but Friday the 13th made it easy for others to copy with its unexpected success in 1980 and profitability. In the decade that followed, a slew if imitators and low-rent Slashers poured into grindhouses and drive-ins. But The Burning was one of few to stand out from the crowd.

It may look like a pale Friday the 13th imitation, mimicking the camp setting in the same manner as Sleepaway Camp, but there is an art and shocking quality to the violence here that isn’t found in many copycats. They were more interested in titillation than genuine surprise. The Burning is based on the New York campfire legend of “Cropsey” which depicts a disfigured camp counselor returning from a presumed dead grave to seek revenge on counselors.

It takes its time and lulls the audience into an effective false sense security by using a lighthearted tone, and scenes that show counselors frightening each other. This status quo is finally shattered by Cropsey (Lou David), who ambushes a whole raft of counselors and campers, and then systematically kills them in the most horrific manner possible. The scene must have caused audience members to run from the theater.

24- Blood and Black Lace (1964)

Blood and Black Lace (1964)

Films like Psycho and Peeping Tom are responsible for creating the slasher genre. 1974’s Black Christmas is also credited for creating the “slasher movie” concept. But Mario Bava’s 1964 giallo is close enough to merit the title of “true” slasher. Blood and Black Lace, an exquisite, rich movie, is best seen on a big screen. It features dramatic uses of primary colors to maximize impact.

The story is a darkly comic mix of murder mystery and titillation-tinged exploit. It features a group of female models who are being followed by an unknown assailant. His face is hidden behind a stocking mask that hides his blank features. This killer looks very much like The Question from DC Comics.

This iconic image has been immortalized in an entire Italian genre. Those who would kill you would have many of the same features as this character, including the long black coat and gloves. While many attempted to imitate its visuals, few could match the debauchery and sense of luxury (and deadly) excess that Bava evokes in Blood and Black Lace.

23- Deep Red (1975)

Deep Red (1975)

Dario Argento’s films would be easy to identify from a police line-up, as they combine all his quirks into an instantly recognizable style. Deep Red is one those movies that Mario Bava couldn’t make. But his film wouldn’t have the perfect soundtrack by Argento collaborators Goblin or the eccentric, drifting camerawork that makes it seem like we are looking through the killers’ POV.

The story is classic giallo: After the brutal cleaving by a German psychic (Machameril), a music teacher, David Hemmings, starts to put together the pieces to solve the murder mystery and uncover a tragic family history. Anyone who can find the answer to the mystery gets a meat knife to the head. Argento is a master of what makes a horror scene uncomfortable. He takes scenes that are considered “standard” and alters them to make them more disconcerting than you would expect if you only read the description. Argento can turn a knife into a paintbrush.

22- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
A poster for Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror film ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ starring Gunnar Hansen. (Photo by Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images)

Slasher Movies. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of the most horrific mainstream horror films. It’s based on Ed Gein, the notorious Wisconsin serial killer. It resembles art-house venete built on the flat Texas landscape. It also introduced Leatherface, the infamous chainsaw-wielding, sinister man wearing a mask of human skin.

His freakish sadism can only be upstaged by the addition of his cannibalistic family, who live in a decaying house in the Texas wilderness. They eat meat from his brothers and eat it while Grandpa drinks blood and makes furniture out of bones. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre may not be the most horrific horror movie ever made but it is a fascinating exploration of the subterranean fears of rural America post-Vietnam. It is twisted, dark, and beautiful at the same time.

Without losing its unique intensity, it can glide through many tones and techniques. Leatherface is seen attempting to entrap a man with one dull hammer strike, before closing the door behind him. This scene is among the most disturbing in the era of horror.

21- Peeping Tom (1960)

Peeping Tom (1960)

Peeping Tom by Michael Powell is one of the most thoughtful, humane, and thought-provoking movies about the filmmaking process. In another, it’s a slasher flick about a loony tune serial killer-cum-documentarian who murders people with his camera’s tripod. The tripod is covered with a knife. Peeping Tom is as silly and serious as you want it to be. However, as absurd as the title may sound on the page, the film looks nothing like it does on the screen.

It was actually quite controversial at one time, and it might still be depending on who you ask. It doesn’t take much to understand why. Movies about women in danger have a way to strike their nerves. Peeping Tom gives its victims little breathing room as Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm), closes in on them. He captures their ever-increasing fear as they begin to realize the gravity of their imminent deaths. Although it is a difficult film to watch, like any movie about a psychopath who brutally kills women, Peeping Tom is thorough, insightful and well-thought.

20- Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)

Slasher Movies. The biggest. It’s the biggest, but it’s not the most important. It’s almost 60 years since Alfred Hitchcock unleashed Psycho upon an unsuspecting moviegoing society. Finding new words to describe it seems like a fool’s undertaking. But, five decades and change is a long period of time for a movie to have its influence. Yet, here we are watching the main characters lose their heads and their lives in Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. And, perhaps most importantly, Scream, which is to modern horror what Psycho was to genre films in its day. This is pretty much the definition for “impact”, and it’s all without even one mention of A&E’s Bates Motel.

Now we are referring to Psycho as a curio and not as a movie. The truth is that Psycho’s success is a direct result of Hitchcock’s skill as a filmmaker as well as as a storyteller. It’s a wonderful film. In other words, it’s an effective film that is as authoritative today as it was yesterday. You have never seen a slasher (protoslasher really) like Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), so no matter how many movies attempt to recreate his character on screen, they will never do it right. Like Psycho, he is one-of-a-kind. Notice: Psycho may be the #1 slasher film if this were a list of only “the best films that can qualify as slashers,” but it isn’t “the ultimate slasher movie” despite its incredibleness as a film.

19- Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas (1974)

Slasher Movies. Funny fact: Nine years before he directed the holiday movie A Christmas Story, Bob Clark made the first unassailable “slasher” movie in Black Christmas. Yes, that’s right, the person who gave TBS its Christmas Eve marathon material was also the one responsible for the first major cinematic use of the phrase “The Calls are Coming From Inside the House!” Black Christmas was insipidly remade by Clark in 2006. It features many of the same elements visually and predates John Carpenter Halloween by four years.

It is reminiscent of Halloween and features POV shots of the killer as he wanders through a sorority house in dimly lit conditions, looking for his future victims. The mentally ill killer calls the house, engages in obscen phone calls with female residents, and one cannot help but be reminded of Carpenter’s scene where Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), calls Lynda (Castle), only to have her strangled with the telephone cable.

Black Christmas was also instrumental in establishing the slasher trope that the “final girl” is. Jessica Bradford (Olivia Hussey), is actually one of the best-known final girls in the history. She is a strong, resourceful, young woman who is able to take care of herself in both her relationships as well as in deadly situations. It is unclear how many other slashers have managed to produce protagonists that are both realistic and capable.

18- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street is the slasher franchise that provided us with the best original installments. This is no doubt due to the fact that this movie was the last to be made. Wes Craven got to see and be influenced in many F13 sequels by Carpenter and the more shameless and tawdry Cunningham.

This mix of influences resulted in a killer who shared the indestructibility and wit of Voorhees or Myers, but with Craven’s demented sense humor. However, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), is not a comedian. He’s presented in the first Nightmare as a serious threat, and a genuinely terrifying one, and not the self-parodying pastiche that he would be in sequels like Final Nightmare. His gleeful approach to murder and subsequent gallows humor make him a different kind of supernatural killer and one that was very influential in post-Nightmare slashers.

The simple idea of the film was to tap into the horrors and realities of dreams and to give the set designers and artists a gift from God. They were given the freedom to create unforgettable set pieces and indulge their fantasies. It’s a bizarre mixture of bad dreams and morbid humor.

17- Halloween (1978)

Halloween (1978)

Slasher Movies. It is worth noting that Halloween is actually less ambitious than Assault on Precinct 13, on nearly every level. It lacks the large cast of extras or the extensive FX/stunt work. It doesn’t have many action scenes. It does however give us the American slasher film in its entirety and an abundance of atmosphere.

Carpenter drew inspiration from Bob Clark’s Black Christmas and created the legend of Michael Myers. This unstoppable phantom returns to his hometown every Halloween to harass high school girls. If you don’t know that, The Babysitter Murders was the original title. Carpenter uses tools that are synonymous with slashers such as Carpenter’s POV perspective. This makes Myers something of a voyeur (he is just called “The Shape”) who waits in darkness with inhuman patience until he finally makes his move.

It’s a slim, mean movie with some ridiculous characterization in the first half (especially from P.J. Soles can’t seem to stop saying “totally” which then transforms into a claustrophobic crescendo as Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strade first meets with Myers. Donald Pleasance, who plays Dr. Loomis/Ahab the killer’s personal hypeman/Ahab, is absolutely essential to the entire thing. His sole purpose in the screenplay, which is to convey to the audience with hyperbolic hyperbole, just how terrifying Michael Myers is, is utterly crucial. Pleasance’s contribution to this film’s cultural impact is undoubtedly crucial. It will be a key influencer in the rise of the slasher culture in the 1980s.

16- X (2022)

X (2022)

X marks a remarkable and unexpected return of form for Ti West, a director who was a mercenary TV director and a decade removed as a horror auteur. It’s quite a remarkable resurrection in horror, and it was possible via A24’s reimagining of the classic slasher movie. X is a dazzling combination of the familiar and the exotic. It’s instantly recognisable in its structure, but it’s deeper in theme, richness, and satisfaction than most of its peers.

In the past five years, how many throwback slasher attempts have we seen? Although the answer is “many,” few scenes can capture the tension, suspense, or even emotion that X packs into each of its dozen or more scenes. The film unexpectedly makes us long for its characters. It also exposes our vulnerabilities (graphically) and establishes deeply sympathic “villains.” For reasons that slowly become apparent as we realize that this is only the beginning of a larger story of horror films that offers a humorous commentary on society’s influence on cinema.

X is a riveting film with excellent sound design, engaging cinematography and characters that are deeper than their initial archetypes to horror audiences. It offers a modern meditation about the bloody savagery and cruelty of Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci. Old hits feel new, relevant, and gross again. This film, set in 2022, is a great gift for the idea of slasher cinema.

15- Candyman (1992)

Candyman (1992)

Slasher Movies. Clive Barker’s oeuvre tends to focus on dualities and sensuality, pleasure and pain and heaven and hell, brilliance, insanity, and heaven and hell. These themes are present in Candyman as well as in Barker’s other adaptations like Hellraiser. They weave a web of abuse, romance, and psycho-racial wounds. Although “Romance” may seem odd in this case, Candyman is a unique slasher for its deep themes about race and taboo, particularly as it relates to sex.

Candyman is a story about an urban legend that tells of a ghost of a lynched slave who had a hook for his hand. But, Candyman functions more as a rich gothic romance (aided greatly by Philip Glass’ score), and a sharp condemnation of government negligence in Chicago’s poorest areas. Candyman can be noir, sexy, or just plain gross. Tony Todd plays the title character with a mesmerizing quality. Virginia Madsen, the protagonist, allowed herself to be hypnotized on set by her director to convey the feeling of being under Candyman’s spell. Candyman is unique in its own way and deserves a place in the slasher canon.

14- A Bay of Blood, also known as. Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971)

A Bay of Blood, also known as. Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971)

A Bay of Blood was released in the Twitch of the Death Nerve. This is the most important protoslasher. It’s also the one that often gets left out of discussions about the history of slasher. While many Italian giallos from the ]7:70s contain slasher elements, and predate Halloween and Black Christmas, none of them have kills so direct it seems like something out of Friday the 13th movies.

That series is heavily influenced by A Bay of Blood, particularly Friday the 13th Part 2. This episode recreates two of Bava’s death sequences, most notably the one where two lovers are impaled on spears during mid-copulation. Although it’s Bava’s most grotesque film, but not his most narratively sane or visually striking, the plot revolves around land ownership. It’s a bit uneven and lacking compelling characters, but A Bay of Blood is enjoyable when he throws the red paint around.

13- Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Slasher Movies. Sleepaway Camp is the camp-based Friday 13th rip-off that’s probably the most popular. Angela is the main character. She’s a troubled young girl that everyone loves for no reason. It’s an 80s movie with a main character who is “outsider” and constantly harassed. But, Angela has to deal with it. Everybody who meets Angela immediately dislikes her and subject her to cruel taunting. Soon, Angela’s campmates start to be mean to her and begin getting kicked out.

Although the movie is intended to be a horror film, its death scenes can sometimes seem so bizarre that it becomes a horror comedy. Highlights include the camp cook who is beaten to death by boiling water, and the child who has a beehive dropped into his outhouse. It’s a must-see for fans of classic slashers, especially the ending. I won’t spoil any details, but Sleepaway Camp has one of the most bizarre, shocking and surprising endings in slasher film history.

12- You’re Next (2011)

You're Next (2011)

It’s easy for Adam Wingard to be considered an upcoming director of great interest. His films are full of energy and pacing. They’re concise, direct and to the point. You’re Next sets up an already familiar premise, the “home invasion” horror-thriller style. The film then subverts audience expectations when the Final Girl proves far more skilled and capable than anyone realized.

This moment also transforms the film into a more pure slasher. As the motivations and secrets of the characters are revealed, the story becomes more complicated. Importantly, the action is well-shot and has a powerful impact, so each confrontation with a physical opponent has concrete, real consequences. It’s funny sometimes, even. Wingard’s most pure horror work is You’re Next, which is slightly more horror than thriller in The Guest.

11- Friday, the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

Friday, the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

Slasher Movies. Although it’s not the best Friday the 13th movie, it has been gaining popularity. Part VI, Jason Lives, is the most entertaining and accessible entry. It’s a perfect blend of everything we love about late-’80s era horror movies. It’s a perfectly balanced mix of jump scares and goofy characters, comical ultraviolence, spooky settings, and gratuitous titillation.

After the fifth and disappointing installments of The Final Chapter, Tommy Jarvis returns as a mature man who is unable to accept that Jason is dead. Voorhees reanimating as an undead killing machine results in his efforts to make it right. Jason manages to dispatch minor characters and cannon fodder effortlessly and with a great deal of style.

While the film is a fun and vibrant example of this genre, it snarkily criticizes the taste of its audience. The film is self-aware in the best possible ways. It never fails to give the paying audience what they want.

10- Friday, 13th IV: The Last Chapter (1984)

Friday, 13th IV: The Last Chapter (1984)

Slasher Movies. Here’s a fun challenge: Ask someone who doesn’t know much about horror to guess which number in Friday the 13th has the title The Final Chapter. When they answer, tell them that there were eight other movies featuring Jason after the fourth. Final Chapter is a beloved series and often ranked among the top three. It is character-driven, with this film introducing Tommy Jarvis, who is rightfully Jason’s arch enemy.

He is played here by Corey Feldman. This was one year before The Goonies. Jason has become a powerful engine of destruction and his physicality is impressive as he shatters windows and doors. A memorable appearance is made by Crispin Glover, a young actor who appeared in the film a year prior to Back to the Future. He plays a neurotic, Woody Allen-esque teenager looking to score. His improvisational, spastic ’80s dancing scene is legendary.

9- Scream 3 (2000)

Scream 3 (2000)

Slasher Movies. Cotton Weary, one of the survivors of the Windsor college killing, quietly returns home after finishing the shooting of the daily show he hosts. The phone rings. At the end of the line, a fan who turns out to be a dangerous killer, ready to do anything to find the trace of Sydney Prescott.

8- Stage Fright, a.k.a. Aquarius (1987)

Stage Fright, a.k.a. Aquarius (1987)

Stage Fright describes what happens when American slasher movies are inspired by Italian giallo films. Michele Soavi is perhaps best known for his 1994 horror film Cemetery Man. This fusion of Argento-esque Italian horror (he was second in command on Tenebrae) and American “escaped madman on the loose” movies creates an imaginative, gory world that is as unique for its stunning gore as its stunning visuals.

Life ends up imitating art, as the story unfolds overnight in a theater. As he stalks the young, nubile actors in an unusual owl costume and becomes more bloody in its feathers, he embowels or impales them. Stage Fright has a magical quality that makes it stand out. Its beautiful set pieces have a painterly quality that elevates it above the gratuitous violence. Stage Fright is a nightmare that becomes real once the killings start. It takes some time to get started.

7- My Bloody Valentine (1981)

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Slasher Movies. Every holiday had its own quasi-slasher movie in the wake Friday the 13th. But it was Valentine’s Day that stole our hearts. This is the classic example of every early ’80s slasher film. It features the “Anniversary” setting, the wronged antagonist returning decades later and a masked killer, horny teens and many red herrings.

Although it was famous for its gore in 1981, audiences didn’t know the rest of the story. If you want to see this film today, you should get the 2009 uncut version. This adds in tons of footage from the gory scenes. It’s not pretty, suffice to say. My Bloody Valentine’s unique brand of familiarity is not only vile, but it’s also very likable. It feels almost like a friend’s letter. This is basically slasher comfort foods the good kind.

6- Tenebrae (1982)

Tenebrae (1982)

Slasher Movies. What if you were to write a violent horror book and it inspired a psycho to commit their own murderous spree? Would you be offended or take it as a compliment. Dario Argento may not have asked that question in Tenebrae 1982 giallo. But the plot reminds us of an old proverb about imitations and flattery. An American author Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa), travels to Italy to promote his book and discovers that there is a serial killer who has been murdering Romans in Neal’s name. It must have felt good for Neal but not for his victims.

He doesn’t like efficiency. He prefers to make his prey suffer. This shouldn’t surprise Tenebrae’s source. (Argento also isn’t interested in efficiency. If he feels the need, he’ll murder people with random stocks of razor wire.
Tenebrae is more difficult to watch than any other Argento movies. It’s a bloody affair but it has enough artistic merit that we should consider it essential cinema.

Argento’s twisted indulgences as filmmaker are revealed in the film as arterial geysers that soak their sets in crimson every time. The film opens with Argento’s narration about freedom and living life for Christ’s sake. It’s easy to see why. It’s not that Argento condones killing or does anything else as crazy as that. He’s just willing to admit his obsession with murder being shown onscreen. Argento has a gift that is so extraordinary, who can blame him?

5- The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse (1981)

Slasher Movies. Although the setting and synopsis of The Funhouse may seem simple, director Tobe Hooper injects The Funhouse with more humor and disturbing imagery than you might expect. Hooper’s vision for “the carnival” doesn’t glorify the nomad life. The owners of this traveling establishment are among the most bizarre, unnerving, and coarsest collections of extras ever assembled.

It’s hard to see where the freak show ends, and the carnival workers begin. They steal the film from the intended protagonists, a group of teenage girls who secretly spend the night in the carnival funhouse before witnessing a murder, and then being attacked by a deformed killer.

Wayne Doba’s performance as the killer of the carnival’s father is a terrifyingly ugly monster with amazing mask/makeup skills. His hyperkinetic and frantic movements as the monster can be frightening, but also bring out a surprising amount of sympathy. It’s worth going to The Funhouse just for the physicality of this character. It’s light on plot, but has a lot of style. Despite Tobe Hooper’s presence, it’s one the most underrated ’80s slashers.

4- Scream 4 (2011)

Scream 4 (2011)

Slasher Movies. 10 years have passed since the terrible murders committed by Ghostface. Sidney Prescott managed to turn the page but it is still with apprehension that she returns to Woodsboro for the launch of her first novel.

His reunion with his cousin Jill as well as with the shock duo Dewey and Gale will be short: Ghostface is back but this time the rules will change.

3- Scream 2 (1997)

Scream 2 (1997)

Sidney Prescott, one of the real survivors of the first massacre, enrolled in Windsor University where she learns drama, with her friend Randy. Following a new news item, the young woman gets scared and can no longer trust. Especially since a murder occurs on the campus.

2- Scream (2022)

Scream (2022)

Slasher Movies. I was impressed by many aspects of Radio Silence’s directing group members Matt BettinelliOlpin, Tyler Gillett and Scream. The main one was how it knew what we would feel before we saw it. It knew I would be confused about its existence. And that, folks, just scratches the surface on why the new Scream, in all its meta-for-a-modern-time goodness, is the best installment since the Wes Craven original.

This fifth installment, which is 25 years later than the original, doesn’t shy away from analyzing the inner workings a classic reboot down right to the bone. Scream is a film franchise that has been loved by cinephiles. It’s not afraid to be meta, but it was necessary to get the point across. There are big questions that are left unanswered. Are we just the monsters that we create? Do we really have to be the monsters we created? Is it toxic to love something with all you have and want it to be good? It doesn’t always answer those questions as you would expect, but it feels right that it does.

It adds a welcome dimension to the films and highlights the bigger themes that have emerged as Woodsboro’s legacy has aged. The gags about elevating horror and going back to the roots are all part of the show. So is the film trivia and dedication to the craft. It’s the fifth film, and it’s a love letter to fans.

1- Scream (1996)

Scream (1996)

Before Scary Movie and A Haunted House were even poorly-conceived ideas, Wes Craven was creating some of the most brilliant horror satire. Although Scream was known for its fair, sly jabs at horror films, this didn’t stop Craven from creating some of the most horrific knife-on-human scenes of the ’90s, a decade when many believed the slasher genre had disappeared forever.

Craven created the “Ghost Face” killer and took viewers on a trip through horror-flick fandom. He made all-too-common survival tips like sex equals murder, drinking or drug use, and Drew Barrymore (okay for about 10 minutes) to bring a fresh, smart take on an old genre. Although it wasn’t the first of its kind, it was the first to be seen by a large audience. This helped raise the “genre intelligence” of horror fans.

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