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Whatchu know about slasher films?

September 13, 2013

Ever since I can remember I have been big fan of horror films. I was a kid in the 80’s when slasher films were at an all time high. Success of Halloween, Friday the 13th, & others had every Hollywood studio cranking out slasher films. These films over the years have remained some of my favorites. Over time I have watch many others that I may have missed as a youngster. Today, on Friday the 13th, I’d like to share some of my favorites & some other obscure slasher films you may want to check out. Hope you enjoy! (Click on any of the movie pics below to take you to it’s IMDB page.)

Lets start with the film I believe really kick started the slasher genre & one of my favorites:

psycho

Psycho (1960)

Directed by the great Alfred Hitchcock, this was one of the 1st films to kill off one of the lead characters early in the film. Hitchcock made many great films in his lifetime, but this still stands as one my all time favorites.

If you like Psycho, you should try:

peeping tom

Peeping Tom (1960)

If this would not have been released in the same year I’d say it was almost a rip-off of Psycho. There isn’t any Bates Motel, but this film from the UK is part of the Criterion Collection. So, I’m not the only one who enjoyed it. Feel like someone is watching you?

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A favorite of mine that helped things get just a bit stranger:

TCM

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Toby Hooper directed this memorable slasher gem. I’m not sure why, but if you watch this the word chainsaw is split into two words. I’m not making that up.

Can you imagine the horror genre without Leatherface? Neither can I.

If you like TCM, then you should check out:

motel hell

Motel Hell (1980)

This film leans more towards being campy than TCM, but you do get a creepy old butcher with his own chainsaw. You have to love a tagline like this one:

“It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent fritters.”

house of 1000

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Rob Zombie’s directorial film debut that to me, just seems like his homage to TCM. It may not fit into the slasher genre, but worth checking out all the same.

toolbox

Toolbox Murders (2004)

This remake, also directed by Tobe Hooper, is one of the few films that I will actually recommend the remake over the original. Which tool would you be the most scared of?

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Now let’s move on to the film that really kicked off the slasher genre for real:

halloween

Halloween (1978)

John Carpenter is one of my favorite directors & Halloween is also a personal fav of mine. Not only did Carpenter create a great film & soundtrack, he started a wave of horror villain films with the creation of Michael Myers.

If you like Halloween you should watch:

halloween2

Halloween II (1981)

Thought Michael was dead? Guess again. This picks up right where the 1st film left off on the same night. Except this time, Carpenter had over 7 times the budget to work with. Are you still scared of the boogeyman?

the fog

The Fog (1980)

This was Carpenter’s film right between the 2 above Halloween films I’ve listed. It seems to get overlooked & over shadowed sometimes, but it is still one of Carpenter’s greats. Antonio Bay is celebrating it’s 100th birthday as a seaside town. Little do the townsfolk know, it has an ugly past that won’t be forgotten.

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Today is Friday the 13th, I bet you can tell where I’m going with this next one….

friday13th

Friday the 13th (1980)

There isn’t any need for me to say much about this film. Wait…. is that Kevin Bacon? It is!!!

If you like Friday the 13th you might try:

sleepawaycamp

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Jason may not be wrecking havoc on this summer camp, but someone else sure is. The ending of this film makes it all worth your while. I just read the trivia about this film that the director dedicated this film to his mother. Hahahahaha! That’s weird pal.

theburning

The Burning (1981)

Tom Savini worked his special effects magic in this summer camp slasher. A prank goes awry and leaves a camp caretaker badly burned. Hellbent on revenge, he is going to take it all out on the camp counselors who he feels are responsible.

What would you do if Cropsy came for you?

hatchet

Hatchet (2006)

Writer & director Adam Green actually came up with the plot of this film at the age of 5 or 6. He made his campfire tale into this slasher film which is similar to The Burning without the whole summer camp aspect. This isn’t necessarily a fav of mine, but I think it does stand out as one of the better new horror films that bring back some of that 80’s slasher style.

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I’ve now covered Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, & even the lesser know Cropsy….. who am I forgetting?

nightmareonelmst

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

That’s right, Freddy Kruger from the mind of Wes Craven. My mother bought me the Freddy costume when I was in 4th grade. (Maybe a bit odd, but I loved horror films at a very young age. I wanted to be Freddy!) I wore it 3 Halloweens in row.

Whatever you do just don’t fall asleep……

If you enjoyed A Nightmare on Elm Street, try out:

lasthouse

The Last House on the Left (1972)

You’re right, this isn’t anything like A Nightmare on Elm Street. This is Wes Craven’s 1st film, that until the remake from a few years ago, most people had probably never even heard of. This film like most, I prefer the original.

If you like The Last House on the Left, you need to see:

ispitonyourgrave

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

Running with the same style as The Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave also involves some criminals picking on a girl that they left for dead. Only one problem remains for the criminals. They didn’t kill the girl & she is determined to get revenge.

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How about something a bit smaller?

childs-play-movie

Child’s Play (1988)

“Hi, I’m Chucky. Wanna Play?”

I can’t talk about all these slashers & leave out this one. Dolls are creepy. I think we can all agree with that.  This is probably my favorite of the evil doll horror films.

Scared of Chucky? Have you ever seen:

dolls

Dolls (1987)

Stuart Gordon, director of Reanimator & From Beyond, also directed this film that is not nearly as well know as Child’s Play. Like I just said before, dolls are creepy. A group gets stranded in storm & stop by a mansion for shelter. Only later do they find out the owners have a collection of haunted little dolls.

If you need even more creepy doll movies check out all the Puppetmaster films, Demonic Toys, or other Child’s Play films.

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Anyone knowledgeable in the slasher genre I hope has heard of Dario Argento. He made some great slashers in the 70’s & 80’s. Here are a few of my favorite Argento films:

deep red

Deep Red (Profondo Rosso, 1975)

One of Argento’s earlier films this remains one of my favorites of his. If you can get your hands on this try and get the full version. The first releases of this film in the US had 26 minutes cut from it, which is the 1st version I watched. I was quite disappointed. Only later did I find out that I had watched the chopped down version. I tried it again, this time watching the full version & it was well worth it. Kudos Mr. Argento.

suspiria

Suspiria (1977)

This film is probably what Argento is most know for. It starts off with an epic kill scene & he used many different shots throughout the film with different colors of light that gives it a unique quality. The soundtrack by the band Goblin also creates a creepy atmosphere. Of all of Goblin’s work, the theme song for Suspiria is still my favorite.

tenebre

Tenebre (1982)

In this thriller/slasher Argento continues with his unique visual style & brings back Goblin again to do the score. Argento got Goblin to do the score for most of his films in the 70’s & 80’s.

If these 3 films aren’t enough for your Argento fix, might I also recommend The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) & Opera. (1987)

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 Here are some lesser know films also worth considering:

prowler

The Prowler (1981)

This film is directed by Joseph Zito, who would later go on to direct Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (The 4th one with a young Corey Feldman.) This also has special effects work from Tom Savini. The film happens to be Savini’s favorite special effects work he ever did.

This takes place in a small town that hasn’t had a school dance in 35 years because of a double murder. They decide to put the past behind them & throw another dance, but then a killer wearing World War II Army fatigues goes on a rampage. (Props to Horror Banana for recommend this film to me.)

aprilfools

April Fool’s Day (1986)

A group of friends staying at a remote mansion over April Fool’s Day weekend begin to fall one by one. Could this all just be a an elaborate & morbid prank?

happybdaytome

Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

Also one of the lesser know slashers from the 80’s, A girl’s friends start to be killed off one by one. Who is doing this? Or is she just insane?

deviltimesfive

Devil Times Five (aka Peopletoys, 1974)

If you are a fan of Funny Games or The Strangers, this is the film for you. Five extremely disturbed, sociopathic children escape from their psychiatric transport & wreck havoc on some adult villagers on their winter vacation. Are your doors locked?

santasangre

Santa Sangre (1989)

In case any of the above films weren’t weird enough for you, look no further. This is directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, who was probably most known for El Topo. If you aren’t familiar with Jodorowsky & you like strange films, I can vouch for this one.

As a young boy, Fenix watches his father cut off his mother’s arms. After growing up, he is reunited with his mother. She still doesn’t have arms for herself, but likes to have Fenix pretend his arms are hers & do things for her. If this film isn’t weird enough for you, you probably need serious help.

blackxmas

Black Christmas (1974)

Is Halloween over & you need a slasher for the winter months? This is my favorite Christmas slasher film. Probably the 1st I know of & yes there are others as twisted as that may seem to you. Have you ever gotten creepy calls on the phone? Someone making weird sounds or threats to kill you? Hopefully not, but that is exactly what starts happening to these girls in a sorority house over Christmas break.

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If you were trying to pick out some movies for Halloween or find some old slasher films that were new to you, I hope my list helps you out. What are your favorites? Feel free to leave them in the comments section.

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