10)Terror Train (Spottiswoode, 1980)
A college fraternity decides to hold a New Year’s Eve party on a train. But an uninvited guest, a tormented ex-fraternity member, decides to take revenge on the students by killing them off one by one. On board the terror train is then scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. What was so special about this slasher is the amazing cinematography very top notch for a horror film the feeling of it, was very eerie and moody.
9)The Burning (Maylam, 1981)
One of the first films from Miramax this horror classic came out in 1981 and really set the slasher trend in America. When campers decide to play a cruel joke on Chopsey, a lonely grounds keeper at a summer camp, he gets burned and disfigured severly. Several years later he returns to the camp site to get his revenge armed with a huge pair of shears he slices the campers up one by one with lots of blood
8)Maniac (Lustig, 1980)
Written and acted by Joe Spinell this classic is one of the first slasher films with themes of psychological abuse. The story centers around Frank Zito a loner in New York City who takes his frustrations of having been abused as a child by his mother out on women walking alone at night. Very graphic in its nature he scalps the young pretty women and takes their hair and clothes home to dress mannequins up like his mother and then sleeps with them for several nights. Often crtiicised of copying Psycho for it’s similiar plot, but this one was more graphic and gory with a lot more killing.
7)Black Christmas (Clark, 1974)
Many consider this the first slasher film due to its brutal style and nature of the killings. Black Christmas is more scary then gore to me. Set in a sorority house nearing Christmas eve the sisters decide to stay on campus with an unwanted visitor living in the attic. What was so fascinating
about this slasher was the excessive torment the killer put these girls through,taunting them with sadistic phone calls. The suspense build up in the movie is quite frightening and the killings are very violent. One of the most scariest films of its time.
6)House on Sorority Row (Rossman, 1983)
House on Sorority Row deserves to be on this list for its cinematography alone. Filmed very dark and eerie like with long centering shots. Although cliche with the plot it had a certain charm and is quite a scary little film.
Six sorority sisters at a college planning a big party before school semester closes decide to play a joke on their nasty den mother by putting a fake gun to her head while throwing her cane into a swimming pool. But the gun fires by an accident and kills her. They panic an hide her body in the pool and throw the party anyway. A mysterious figure comes to the party killing each sister off with the den mother’s cane. A classic who done it killing spree with plenty of blood and gore. Suspense up the the very end.
5)Friday the 13th (Cunningham, 1980)
A lot of people believe Friday the 13th to be the film that brought slasher style cinema to the forefront of america. Mainly this style of movie was a european trend. Others consider this a rip off of Maria Bava’s “Bay of Blood”. While others do not consider this the start of the Jason franchise because it was the mother who was doing the killing. But I say without this there would be no Jason series. Sean S. Cunningham created a slasher masterpiece the production quality is far better than its predecessors combining creative camera shots with really creepy music. The first to have multiple killings symbolising promiscious care free teenagers as bad. The series became larger than life making Jason and Camp Crystal Lake pop culture icons.
4)Nightmare on Elm Street (Craven, 1984)
Nightmare on Elm Street truly is a unique film I refer to it as the intelligent slasher because it broke away from the traditional storyline of teenagers having sex and getting slashed up in the woods. It added a sci fi element where the killer stalks his victims in their dreams. Wes Craven’s concept was groundbreaking for a slasher film in its time. Freddy Krueger became one of the scariest figures in modern day horror. The cinematography was top notch and the overall essence of the film frightens me. As a kid I could not sleep for a week after seeing this movie.
3)Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960)
Alfred Hitchcock is the king of suspense horror with all the countless imitations nothing comes close to the impact this film had on cinema. Touching on several themes from desperation,moral dilema, greed, and corruption. It’s quite a unique horror slasher because it’s character driven, we really get to know the characters. The cinematography and acting is top notch for a slasher movie. Norman Bates is one of the most frightening characters in modern day cinema. Who can forget the infamous shower scene.
2)Halloween (Carpenter, 1978)
Many consider Halloween to be the greatest slasher film ever made and it’s hard to argue this. John Carpenter created an amazingly scary movie. It was made on a shoe string budget. Michael Myers to me is the most frightening of all the iconic killers because his mask is a pale emotionless face. What makes Halloween so great is the way it’s shot and the music in it is tormenting.
1)My Bloody Valentine (Mihalka, 1981)
Not the greatest production and the acting is horrible but it had such a charm and style to it. The killings were unique and it swayed away from the stuck in the woods or a house themes that several of these slasher films beat to death ( no pun intended). The Movie Channel showed it every February 14th and I watched it everytime. The bloody heart in the chocolate candy box etched in my brain and the evil miners outfit with the pick axe. The legend of Harry Warden is an underated story who I feel never got his due. My Bloody Valentine scared the life out of me as a kid and it always stood out to me over all the cheesy slasher films of its day. The remake is awful the only good thing is that it brought people back to the original. It’s such a stylized film. Memorable phrase “Sarah will you be my bloody valentine”
Written and compiled by Neal Damiano
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