1.) Psycho : Okay so if you are going to twist my arm about order this would definitely be at the top of any "slasher film" list. It basically started the genre before there was one for dudes who have mommy issues and stab people. And the beauty of this film is that its a true masterpiece! We can talk about the way the film is shot, the acting, Hitchcock's perfect execution of suspense and direction or how about the fact that it never shows anyone getting stabbed. ( like the knife actually going into the body) This film isn't gory for gores sake it all about using implied visual images to invoke a psychological reaction in the viewers own imagination. I was lucky enough to get to see this film on the big screen w/ some friends a few years ago, and it was so much more enjoyable to see it how it was meant to be seen! I hope that anyone reading this has seen this film, but if you haven't than it's your job to cross it off your horror list before the season is over!
2.) Halloween (original) : That's right kids there was a version from the 70's way before Rob Zombie made his version. I am not here to knock what he made, but it can't touch the original, written, directed and even scored by John Carpenter! The maniac stalks unsuspecting teens who are doing drugs and having sex idea became common place after this film! And the killer Michael Meyers has become a pop cultural icon! Who would have ever thought that Williams Shatner's face could be so scary! ( The mask Meyers wears is molded from William Shatners face for the kids who missed my hilarious joke) See it if you haven't... I just realized I don't own it, and I need to fix that!
3.) Hell Night : This stars scream queen Linda Blair (The Exorcist) and it definitely inspired films like Friday the 13th and more recently Hatchet. Basically, a deformed freak terrorizes a bunch of college pledges at an old creepy mansion, where they have to stay overnight in order to be accepted into their frat or sorority. It is a cool movie to watch because it is one of the first slasher films that starts to become super over top and silly. It is still pretty creepy though. Check it out!
4.) Texas Chainsaw Massacre ( original) : Okay, if Psycho is the father of the slasher film then Texas Chainsaw Massacre has to be the son! Both Psycho and "Chainsaw" were inspired by Ed Gein who murdered people and wore their skin and had crazy mommy issues! I feel like "Chainsaw" is a precursor to where the genre would later go w/ films like Halloween and Hell Night. The Film is actually scary as well, and used very little blood and gore. It is very psychological w/ the way it's shot and what the characters do. I am not saying there is no blood, but the way blood is used is very smart and forces us to use our imagination. This film builds a lot of tension before we finally find out what's going on, and when we do it is an invasion on the senses. It's loud, fast, quiet, creepy and finally a relief when it ends! It's a different kind of slasher film but definitely set the stage for movies that came later!
5.) Friday the 13th : This film is super violent and gory and becomes more about the spectacle of killing! It isn't a bad movie and the over all reason for the killings is interesting and flips from mommy issues to MOMMY's issues, which is cool! It is full of sex, drugs and murder and it pushed the slasher film into an extremely over the top and campy place! In many ways it made it more fun, especially as they started to make sequels which get crazier all the time! If anything you can see a young Kevin Bacon die painfully!
6.) A Nightmare of Elm Street: This film brought more a monster/ supernatural element into the slasher film. Sure, a maniac running around killing people on the streets and in homes is scary enough, but what if he could kill you in your dreams? Enter Freddy Krueger the sandman to kill all sandmen! He was once a man, but now he takes revenge on the children of the town who killed him. The original "Elm Street" films are pretty gory and campy, but they aren't joyless. They have some scare, but Freddy always has some sort of bad pun or one-liner that will give you a little chuckle... maybe even disturb you? It is definitely a fun film and like Friday the 13th there is no shortage sequels.
7.) Hellraiser: Similar to A Nightmare on Elm Street there is a supernatural element to these films. But they very much fall into the slasher genre. These films are actually pretty disturbing and have this super dark and evil tone. Films that center around the idea of pleasure and pain creep me out. Basically, there is this "puzzle box" that summons these inter-dimensional demons called cenobites. They kill you in horrible ways and make you into one of them... it is a super cool film series, but extremely messed up! This one will probably scare you or at least gross you out.
8.) Scream: These are just great films! They have a good mix of scare and humor, and do an awesome job of satirizing the 80's slasher film. This film actually explains the rules of slasher movies and we get to watch as the kids in the film break every single one of them! Like many of the films that inspired Scream, it has a female character who's the focus of the killers blood lust. By the time the film ends we are given smart explanations as to what's been going on and why! These are some of my favorite horror films... Period.
I think I will stay w/ the list of 8 again this week. These are all great films and most are pretty well known... There are a lot of others I didn't name like The Prowler Bloody Valentine (original), Prom Night, Hatchet, and Midnight Movie to name a few. I think that there is a reason many of the films I have named are so popular, and it's because over all they are good films that capture this time in cinema perfectly. These films aren't for everyone so be warned! As always please feel free to share some films I didn't name or ones that you enjoy! Thanks always for reading!