Chronology of Slasher Films.
If you have any additions, please list them down in the comments.
I am trying not to include magic related slashers or giallos.
When I watch a slasher, I'm looking for these factors, mostly in this order:
Pacing, story, lighting, music, how cool is the killer, frequency of kills, quality of kills, camerawork, nudity, production, acting.
I also refer to Tiers. This is a loose system of breaking up the genre into budget vs. quality. I'm not even sure how this system works. I just think it is important that a low budget film like Intruder ( top of Tier 3) be recognized next to studio backed powerhouses like the Friday the 13th films (Various spots on Tier 1). Also, you can spot the differences in the Tiers from a across the room. The Tier 3's are traded in horror conventions from stringy haired guys that smell like cigarettes and traded via torrents online, while Tier 1's (and some upper Tier 2's) are being re-released on blu-ray.
For more about my criteria in grading slasher films go read THIS post.
If you are curious about my top ten slashers, go read THIS post.
I've seen just about all of these films. I'm re-watching them and writing micro-reviews as I do.
Without Warning - 1952- O.K. so it's not a true slasher, more of a film noir story without the film noir cinematography and lighting. The story follows a serial killer and the detectives on his trail. Pretty good story.
Peeping Tom - 1960- Came out two months before Psycho. A pretty good psychological thriller. Cool, sort of corny murder weapon. I love the actor, his face is so intense and disturbed.
Psycho - 1960 - All I can say is that if you have not seen this film. Go shoot yourself in the face.
Blood Feast - 1963 - Granddaddy of gore films. An Egyptian mystic/madman slaughters his way through town all the while running a catering outfit. Delicious. Great gore. Too slow for the youngins. The music is just pounding and downtroddenly beautiful.
Violent Midnight (aka Psychomania) - 1963 - Feels like an early giallo. Has all the trappings of a slasher film.
Two Thousand Maniacs! - 1964 - I loved this movie even more than Blood Feast. HG Lewis' second goretacular film. A whole city of fucking loony killers. A lot more fun than Blood Feast. Some great kills as well.
The Thrill Killers - 1964 - Transparency check: Director, Ray Dennis Steckler was a friend of mine. That being said, I love this movie. It's got about four or five unrelated stories that come together at different times in strange ways. The three escaped crazies in the coffee shop is great. Light on the gore but so insane that it's a one of a kind movie. Check it out.
Chamber of Horrors - 1966 - Not William Castle, but smells like William Castle. Clever and surprisingly effective considering it was shot to be part of a television series. Corny gimmicks like the "horror horn" are cute but ignorable. Worth seeing.
Berserk! - 1967 -
La residencia - 1969
Night After Night After Night - 1969
Blood and Lace - 1971 - Almost more of a women-in-prison film. Looks cheap. Directed without flair, but brutal and fun.
Hands of the Ripper - 1971 - I'm probably in the minority, but I think this film is a bit overrated. Slow and predictable. Does have some surprisingly good gore, but not my cup of tea.
The Mad Butcher - 1971 - It's Italian, but not a giallo. It's also a comedy, which I'm not big on mixing with horror. Guy kills and grinds up folks to sell as sausage. Skip it.
Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? - 1971 - Shelley Winters rules the school in this one. Sort of a Hansel and Gretel mixed with Psycho with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Mark Lester is great as Christopher.
Bloody Friday - 1972 - More of an ultra-violent Poliziotteschi than a slasher, but sleazy and disturbing enough to make it onto this list. Scene with the kid and the hand grenade is just horrible and amazing.
Dear Dead Delilah - 1972
Home for the Holidays - 1972 - Made for TV so it ain't the gore-ride you may want. More of a mystery in the Agatha Christie vein. Sally Field is in it, so it has a bit of star power. The directing is typical TV directing as well.
I Dismember Mama (Poor Albert and Little Annie) - 1972 - Tense as all hell as you're waiting for the unthinkable to happen. Albert escapes the insane asylum. He's on a tear to kill his mama. Along the way he meets women, has sex with them and then kills them for being impure. He meets 11-year old Annie. Can Albert contain his sexual and violent urges?
My Brother Has Bad Dreams - 1972
Silent Night, Bloody Night - 1972 - John Carradine, Candy Darling, Lloyd Kaufman, it's a dream. This is an amazing film. Stylish and inventive. Don't kid yourself that Black Christmas and Halloween came from nowhere, this is a prototype to the prototype. Clunky and low budget, charming and original.
Three on a Meathook - 1972 - To be fair, the copy I watched was horrible. Skinny dipping girls on a secret (from their boyfriends) camping trip stay with a fellow and his pops when their car breaks down. They get slaughtered; one with a particularly cool decapitation. The second act is full of boretastically groovy music montages. Seriously, I think I scan-fast-forwarded through three songs. A lot of fleeting nudity and one premature ejaculation. The film turns into a romantic melodrama. Shit gets real at an hour and seven minutes in, but overall the film is probably not worth your time.
Tower of Evil (Horror on Snape Island) - 1972 - Feels like a Hammer movie, but with a lot more nudity and a bit more gore. A group of youngsters are found naked and dead on Snape Island, the one survivor is quite insane. A party heads back to the island to see what happened. Decent. A fun pre-slasher, perfect for the Hammer crowd looking to stretch their limits.
Scream Bloody Murder (The Claw of Terror) - 1973 - Sort of a slasher. There were a lot of crazy person goes on a killing spree types of slashers in the early 70's as the genre was being developed. This is a pretty good example. The main actor is fantastic and creepy as hell. For an unexplained reason he runs over his pa with a tractor, falls off, gets his arm crushed, in the first few minutes of the film. Grows up in a mental asylum, gets out, goes on a hallucinogenic killing spree. It's fun. The dialog is horribly fun. The blood is bright and there are a couple of decent kills.
Sweet Kill (The Arousers) - 1973 - An impotent PE teacher, played by Tab Hunter, learns that he is as virile as a rabbit if he can first murder his partner and then have sex with her corpse. This leads to plenty of nudity, a lot of silent, sad, moments of reflection, but not a ton of good, down home, slashing. The film takes itself very seriously but with such a tone, it needs a quicker pace. Almost a very good film.
Wicked, Wicked - 1973
Black Christmas - 1974- Super stalker in the house slasher. No motive, no backstory, just a psycho slashing his way through a sorority house. While Halloween is seen as the prototype, Black Christmas was the prototype for Halloween.
The Centerfold Girls - 1974
Deathdream - 1974 - I love this film. The main actor looks creepy as hell. Cool twists and turns that you will probably ruin for yourself unless you just get this film and watch it! Seriously, don't read the box, don't read anything. Kind of a clunky Bob Clark, directed, film, but really fun. Alan Ormsby wrote it and did the makeup effects with Tom Savini. It's rated PG but pushes that envelope pretty hard.
Frightmare - 1974 - Here's another one you shouldn't read about. Killer ending. Pretty gory and brutal. Well directed, with good pacing.
Madhouse - 1974 - When old school meets new. Vincent Price and company add some camp to the slasher genre. I wasn't into it. See Price's Theatre of Blood instead.
Seizure - 1974 - Oliver Stone's feature debut, starring Barnabas from Dark Shadows. Kind of a dream-magic story about an author's creations coming to life. A good little bit of gore. Cool ending.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - 1974 - One of the masterpieces of the genre. The killer doesn't need to go to the teens, they come right to his doorstep. Amazing film, with the wonderful confusion, chaos, and lack of explanation that only films from the 70's delivered. One of my favorite films.
Don't Open the Door (Don't Hang Up) - 1975 - Girl visits dying grandmother. Extremely painful to watch for the first hour. Somewhat painful to watch the next fifteen minutes as the girl is harassed over the phone. The last ten minutes are interesting. Mixed up because the dialog and directing are done well, but the pacing and story are painfully slow. This could use a decent remake. Not really a slasher.
Have a Nice Weekend - 1975
The Love Butcher - 1975
Psychopath - 1975
Satánico pandemonium - 1975
Sunburst (Slashed Dreams) - 1975 - More of a redneck rape-fest than slasher. The beginning is extremely slow with some truly horrible music. A couple goes into the woods and is terrorized by two hillbillies. Robert Englund appears as a decent hillbilly. Not scary or tense for a second, but horrible and will make you feel shitty.
Visions of Evil - 1975
Blood Voyage - 1976
The Clown Murders - 1976
Drive-In Massacre - 1976 - Slow but fantastic slasher film. Someone is killing teenagers at the local drive-in. Why can't they catch him? He's slicker than six ninjas, five cats, and Storm Shadow combined. In trying to fit in all the tropes of the genre, things get downright hilarious in how fucking stupid they are executed. But it's all for the best. Eli Roth must have watched this before making his grindhouse preview for Thanksgiving. I had a great time with this film.
Eaten Alive - 1976 - Tobe Hooper directs. Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Marilyn Burns, Robert Englund, and the little girl, Lindsey, from Halloween all together in one film! Basically a one location low budget film with a lousy story and boring direction. BUT it's got some decent kills and a good pace; it stays tense. A crazed fellow needs to feed his Nile crocodile. Watered down Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but worth seeing.
Naked Massacre - 1976 - The Richard Speck story in Ireland. A vet returns home and decides to conduct a home invasion at the home of a group of nurses. Tons of nudity. It's a downbeat, mess which almost redeems itself with these flashes of brilliance. If you like the heavies like Maniac and Last House on the Left, this might be up your alley. Really more of a home invasion flick than a slasher.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown - 1976 - More of a police drama than a slasher. Killer also uses a gun. Based on a true story. Decent crime film with horrible bouts of humor thrown in. The killer looks really cool. Jason in Friday the 13th II is definitely a rip-off of the Phantom Killer. Gore hounds stay away. good to watch with non-slasher fans.
Alice, Sweet Alice - 1977 - Intense and fun. Original story with some perfectly toned over-acting. Feels like a straight up Tier 1 drama with some intense sprinkles of horror. Everyone talks about Brooks Shields, but the girl who plays Alice is perfect. You just love to hate her. A must-see.
Another Son of Sam - 1977
The Creeper (Rituals) - 1977 - Fantastic. Five doctors go on their annual backpacking trip into the wilderness. This time, however, someone or something is murdering them. Casting is excellent. The writer pulls off something pretty darn good for such a tough premise. Writing dialog for five doctors, having them each have distinctive characters outside of the normal horror stereotypes, and keeping it all moving, doesn't sound easy, but is pulled off here with deftness. You won't be yelling at the screen for these guys to stop with the skinny dipping or stupid decisions. They are intelligent, but desperate, characters. Good stuff.
The Hills Have Eyes - 1977 - Classic Wes Craven. A bit clunky but it adds a touch of realism. A mix of the old Sawney Bean family story and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A family's van breaks down a family of mutants attacks. High tension, good pacing. I'm not a big fan, but most are.
Lisa, Lisa (Axe) - 1977 - Lisa lives with her paralyzed grandfather. Three criminals hold up in their house. Lisa doesn't like it. Lisa murders. Slow but decent. Mean spirited with a soundtrack that will make you want to take an axe to your own skull. It's been a while since I've seen this film, but I remember it being really short.
Martin - 1977 - Come for the Romero and Savini, stay for the creepy ass dude playing Martin. Another clunky winner from George Romero. Is Martin a vampire? He thinks so. The only other person who seems convinced is Martin's uncle. There's going to be a run-in there. Fun, slow, drama with some Savini gore.
Sisters of Death - 1977
Bloodstalkers - 1978
Class Reunion Massacre - 1978 - Dreamlike and annoying. A group of perfect stereotypes are stalked by a killer with more costume changes than a Cher concert. To be fair, my VHS copy is in horrendous shape. I would revisit this film if I could get a better copy.
Halloween - 1978- The grandfather of slasher films. While Black Christmas was first, Halloween kicked off the genre and became the prototype. Must see. Own it, watch it every day.
Killer's Moon - 1978 - British thriller with some slasher elements. Three escaped lunatics and a broken down bus full of school girls. Sounds delightful. If you're looking for a hardcore slasher, it's too mild. As a thriller, it's a pretty good flick. Creepy and tense. A lot of stolen imagery and ideas from A Clockwork Orange. The girls are sweet and cute and you really don't want these fucking losers to kill them. Good slasher to watch with your girlfriend.
Mardi Gras Massacre - 1978
The Toolbox Murders - 1978 - Just a downbeat, depressing blood frenzy. The victims are just random and unknown. The kills are super cool. The closing speech by the killer is way out of place and well acted and genuinely moving. The rest is a depressing, fun blood bath.
Buio Omega - 1979 - Hahahahhaah, what a great film. He kills her and loves her in his huge ass house. His maid loves him but can't have him because she looks like she's made out of wood and should be named "Hurta." It's a fun serial killer movie by Joe D'Amato.
The Driller Killer - 1979 - An artist can't pay his bills and goes on a drill-laden killing spree. Downtrodden fun from Abel Ferrara. It's somewhat of a cult classic. A tier one for most, but a tier two for me. Not a huge fan, but a staple of the genre that every slasher fan should see.
The Evictors - 1979
The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher - 1979 - Ray Dennis Steckler's mess of a slasher. I fell in love with Carolyn Brandt in this film. There is a bit too much stalking and walking and not enough strangling and slashing. Slow but bloody. Who are the victims? Who cares. Feels like it was made with a lot of cynicism for the genre.
Savage Weekend - 1979
Snapshot - 1979
Tourist Trap - 1979 - Chuck Connors is great in this beauty of a slasher. Magic or madness? I don't know, but I'm putting it on the list. The masks are fantastic. The music gets cartoony in spots. The acting is good. The bloodshed is light. The lighting is uninspired in spots and then super creative in spots. Overall, well worth your time.
When a Stranger Calls - 1979 - Brilliant beginning and ending, based on an old campfire story. The middle is pretty weak. But really worth seeing for that first scene and the last scene. I believe the first scene is one of the best pieces of cinema ever put on film. Just perfect.
Antropophagus - 1980 - I didn't watch this movie for the longest time because the killer looked so lame and hokey. Now he haunts me every time I close my eyes. I really like this movie. A group goes out to an island everyone's gone. This dude starts killing. It's super suspenseful and the gore is wickedly cool. The famous scene where he rips a fetus from a pregnant woman's body and eats it is truly something all gore hounds should see. The fucker is so bad ass that when they finally mess him up and cut open his guts, he starts pulling them out and eating himself. HA!
The Boogeyman - 1980 - I swear this movie was directed by the same guy that directed Troll 2. From the bukkake like love of crap dripping down heads and faces and the crazy score and lighting. It's a supernatural kind of slasher which I normally hate, but it works pretty well. This is one you'll be laughing at and not laughing with.
Christmas Evil - 1980 - Sort of a funny one. This dude is addicted to Santa Clause and sort of becomes him. But he kills anyone who doesn't believe or is naughty. It's a fast paced, can we catch this guy, type of movie. Pretty well acted. Not a waste of time, but not one you'll be watching annually as a holiday tradition.
Death Ship - 1980 - OK, boats and slasher movies generally just suck. Not into it. Sorry.
Don't Answer the Phone - 1980 - A big bulldog of a Vietnam vet calls a radio talk show, harasses the host, kills girls on the side. He's frightening and feels unstoppable. The LA version of Maniac. The main actor was in Swamp Thing and scared the hell out of me as a kid. I hate him and hated this movie because of it. Ha.
Don't Go in the House - 1980 - He was burned as a kid so he grows up and creates a burn room, basically a room-sized oven, and burns women in it. Slow but tense. You know it ain't gonna be pretty but you can't hit Stop. Tier 2 slasher. There are a lot of others to see before you get to Don't Go in the House.
Fade to Black - 1980 - Nerdy cinephile goes crazy for a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like and kills a couple of people who wronged him. Smells like: "Let's make a cult film." The kills are weak. The craziness of it all keeps your eyeballs on the screen, but it's not that good. Feels like a series of memes or something. Probably made an amazing trailer.
Friday the 13th - 1980 - If Halloween is the grandfather of the slasher genre. Friday the 13th is the grandmother. Great suspense, sweet Savini kills, just a perfect slasher. A must see.
Funeral Home - 1980
Ghost Dance - 1980 - Hahahaha, they camped in the wrong spot and a crazed native American psychopath started killing them off one by one. That's all you need to know. The acting is horrible. The guy who rents the cabin is such a douche you'll want to slit his throat yourself.
He Knows You're Alone - 1980 - Well written and fun to watch. A guy is into killing brides. A woman about to be married is having second thoughts. A detective is hot on the killer's trail. Well directed, lit, and acted. The murders are pretty weak. Worth a gander. Tom Hanks is in it and is charming as all get out.
Maniac - 1980 - William Lustig's masterpiece of slasher films. Hateful, dark, and just plain mean. A pitiful man, expertly played by Joe Spinell, kills and scalps women on the mean streets of New York. That's it. Joe Spinell is incredible. Whether you hate him, pity him, or are just repelled by him, you will feel something. Savini gore is top rate. Kills are amazing. The ending is an amazing nightmare blood bath.
Motel Hell - 1980
Mother's Day - 1980- Scared me as a kid. That old ladies face haunted me for years. When I rewatched it, it was like going to the Disneyland submarine when you're four and then again when you're 14. What is this shit? The two sons are unconvincing and not scary or even threatening. Totally overrated in my opinion. Eli Roth has said it is one of his favorites, so it definitely has its fans.
Phobia - 1980
Prom Night - 1980 - Jamie Lee Curtis heads this Tier 1 slasher. It's a classic in the genre. A young girl dies and six years later all the kids involved will pay dearly. So good. I completely fell in love with Mary Beth Rubens as a teen. Find the film Perfect Timing if you also find yourself in love with her. Prom Night is highly recommended.
Schizoid - 1980 - Kinski fucking rules the planet but this is mostly a snooze fest. The ending gets good and action packed. If you need some Kinski for your eyeballs, check it out.
Silent Scream - 1980 - Bunch of people move into a house, it's all strange and they start getting killed. Not a lot of slashings but a decent story. Gets a little confusing so just sit back and ride it out.
Terror on Tour - 1980
Terror Train - 1980 - Another Jamie Lee Curtis slasher. I tried to hate it but it's pretty good. Similar story to Prom Night, with six kids being victimized for a stupid thing they did as kids. Ending is really damn cool.
To All a Good Night - 1980
The Unseen - 1980
Absurd - 1981 - Sort of a follow up to Antropophagus. George Eastman is back as a one-man zombie army. Some tense moments and good gore. I love George Eastman and he does not disappoint in this insane slasher. He just feels unstoppable. Doesn't follow the exact formula but it's fun.
Bloody Birthday - 1981 - Three kids are born in the same small town at the same time, during a solar eclipse. They grow up to be serial killers. A cool twist on the genre but parts of the film just drag on. The acting is actually pretty good on the part of the kids. Another one for the bottom shelf. For serious slasher fans only.
Bloody Moon - 1981 - Up and down. The movie is not good but the gore is fun and sick and everything you want. Bloody Moon was directed by Jess Franco, and is one of his better horror outings. Great murders. If you are a Franco fan, it is a must. Slasher fans not accustomed to Franco's pacing and weird-ass characters might think it's a little Euro-campy (Euro-campy to me, is the completely abnormal people acting inappropriately loud and serious. Like a guy with three eyes that yells and gets really pissed at everyone but everyone around him treats him completely normal. Ha.).
Blow Out - 1981
The Burning - 1981 - My favorite slasher of all time. Sorry, I do like it better than Halloween. I'm a fucking traitor, moron, fucknut. The cast is all likeable. The killer is rad. They are kids, not 30 year olds pretending they are 18. Savini. I usually like the wilderness slashers better than the urban slasher, I grew up in the woods. I liked the little, awkward final boy. Hedge clippers. It's just an all around perfect slasher.
Deadly Blessing - 1981 - Michael Berryman, Ernest Borgnine, Sharon Stone. Wes Craven directed. Hardcore Amish religious sect hating on outsider-sinners. People being murdered. Great movie. Bad ending.
Don't Go in the Woods - 1982 - Starts right out with a girl on the run and a birdwatcher getting dismembered. The film is obviously dubbed, and horribly so. The music is just one machete on the side of annoying, otherwise it is standard slasher fare. I have mixed feelings not knowing the background of the film. If it is a big budget, tier 1, professional production, it is a mess. If it is a tier 3 project made with love by a dedicated group of amateurs, it's a home run. The pacing is pretty quick, the camerawork is WAY ahead of its time, hand-held, stylish, and done with some real thought. The kills are original and fun. Sometimes the effects budget clearly cannot match the director's kill creativity. Someone is killing people in the forest. Not really a plot, but that's what happens for 82 minutes. Good ending. If you're going to call yourself a slasher fan, you have to watch it. You may not want to, but you have to.
Eyes of a Stranger - 1981 - Rear Window for the 80's. But, with 100% more decapitations. Really cool slasher mystery. A news reporter is all worried about some local serial killer taking out local ladies and suspects her neighbor. Tier 1 slasher with amazing Savini effects. The acting, production, music, and direction all make this film feel like a mainstream film. Great movie.
Final Exam - 1981
Friday the 13th Part II - 1981 - Jason Voorhees is born. An absolute classic. Might be a little slow for modern eyeballs, I don't know. It is impossible for me to review this movie with fresh eyes, these films are like organs in my body, just always been with me.
Graduation Day - 1981 - A high school student on the track team dies. A year later, the rest of the track team gets picked off, one-by-one. An overrated slasher. It is guilty of the two worst crimes in the slasher genre: It is slow and has uninspired murders.
Halloween II - 1981 - Pretty much takes place entirely in a hospital. Starts only seconds after the first Halloween. More brutal, less interesting. I get tired of films explaining everything. Fuck all that Samhain crap.
The Hand - 1981
Happy Birthday to Me - 1981 - Decent little slasher with a crazy, poor ending. Acting is pretty good. The pacing is good. Recommended.
Hell Night - 1981
Home Sweet Home - 1981
The House by the Cemetery - 1981
Just Before Dawn - 1981
My Bloody Valentine - 1981 - A Tier 1 slasher. Small mining town suffered some horrors years ago at the big Valentine's Day party. The town is going to re-instate the annual party when people start turning up dead. Great kills, good acting, fantastic pacing, and good story. The killer is interesting and the ending is perfect. A solid effort. Be sure to see a more recent DVD with the unrated version.
New Year's Evil - 1981
Night School (Terror Eyes) - 1981
Nightmare in a Damaged Brain - 1981 - My copy is a horrible 666th generation VHS. A brutal, well acted, fun slasher. No humor. A dangerous psychopath is accidentally released from an insane asylum and kills. The film gets a little slow when it focuses on a middle class normal family. The psychopath meets the family. We are treated to chaos. The ending is decent but the VERY ending is fucking lame.
The Prowler - 1981 - A classic slasher. Directed by Joe Zito with Tom Savini on makeup effects. A murder happens in 1945. The killer is never caught. 35 years later during a party, the killer returns. Sticks to the tropes of the genre, which makes it somewhat predictable. The characters are likeable enough, you may even feel bad as a few of them are murdered, well, maybe. Watch it.
Scream - 1981
Srigala - 1981 - This is the Indonesian version of Friday the 13th. Yes, it's almost unwatchable, but I had a lot of fun with this movie. Don't expect the amazing Savini gore effects, it's extremely gore-light.
Student Bodies - 1981 - The original Scary Movie. A farce on the slasher genre. I couldn't stand it.
There Was a Little Girl - 1981
Alone in the Dark - 1982 - The power goes out at the local sanitarium. Some psychos escape and target their new doctor for murder. Jack Palance and Martin Landeau are fantastic. Donald Pleasance is great as well. There is a super cool scene on a bed and the scene where the Bleeder reveals his whereabouts shocked the fuck out of me! So so cool. I didn't see this movie until a few years ago, no nostalgia needed, great movie.
Basket Case - 1982 - Not really a slasher per se. More of a monster movie with slasher elements. Either way it is great fun. The characters are fun and quirky. The effects are silly and then horrifying and then silly again. It's a cult classic.
Blood Beat - 1982
Boarding House - 1982
Deadly Games - 1982 - Man, this film has some great little spots. Great opening and decent closing, cool music, great main character, but, damn, the second act has some entirely useless scenes. There are some really weird happenings and lines as well: a woman goes to her front porch to strip for some reason, the main character, investigating her sister's death is entirely too bubbly and happy, and there are really only two suspects for the killer.
Good kills but they are spaced out too infrequently. Worth watching but hold on to your remote, you will be scan fast forwarding.
Death Valley - 1982
The Dorm That Dripped Blood - 1982
The Forest - 1982 - Sometimes I forget that 1982 was really still the 1970's. Not a good movie. Two women go hiking. Meet a psychopath that killed his horrible wife and moved with this two kids out into a cave. The kids killed themselves and became ghosts. The man hunts people and eats them. The boyfriends of the two women come out to the forest looking for them. They find the psycho, talk to the shitty ass ghosts, and there is some mayhem. A cheap effort. Poorly acted, lit, directed. Doesn't have many of the genre standards. Skip it.
Friday the 13th Part III - 1982 - The first in the series that I saw. My dad rented it on VHS for my birthday slumber party. We watched it over and over and over. It's got a special place in my heart. Jason gets his hockey mask. The kills are great. Might be too slow for a modern audience, but this the real deal, original shit. Great slasher.
Hospital Massacre (X-Ray) - 1982 - I have a super dark, crappy print. One of my super secret wishes is for a re-release of this film. It is one of my guilty pleasures. I know most other slasher fans probably aren't into this film, but I loved it. A woman is stalked in a hospital. The dude mixes her normal looking test results with a patient with some serious problem. The doctors demand that she stay and the killer starts knocking everyone off. Barbie Benton does a fine job. As a kid, I thought she was this super famous lady and didn't know about her Playboy connection, so when she got naked, I was shocked. Cool killings. Sort of a Halloween II ripoff, but that's fine by me. Top of my list in the second tier of slasher films.
Holy mother of pearl! A beautiful blu-ray/DVD edition came out in 2013. It is paired with Schizoid.
Humongous - 1982
Island of Blood - 1982
Madman - 1982 - Another take on the Cropsy story. Some campers offend Madman Marz and he fucks them up. Galen Ross from Dawn of the Dead is charming as all get out. Some of the cast are annoying and you just can't wait for their deaths. A definite "should see."
National Lampoon's Class Reunion - 1982
Night Warning - 1982
Pieces - 1982 - From Italy. More slasher than giallo. It's stupid and fun and gory. Killer assembling pieces of pretty girls like a human jigsaw puzzle. If you can handle Italian cheesiness, it's pretty good.
Silent Rage - 1982
The Slumber Party Massacre - 1982 - Builds a great, tense atmosphere then gets extremely boring, then builds up again. Girls have a slumber party. The one girl, they don't invite lives next door. A maniac with a drill decides to crash the party. Good gore, good acting, well directed. My copy is a bit dark, but I bet a clean copy would be a bit brighter. I would put this at the bottom of the Tier 1 slashers.
Straight Jacket - 1982
Trick or Treats - 1982
Twisted Nightmare - 1982
Unhinged - 1982
Visiting Hours - 1982 - A mainstream slasher. Tier 1. Michael Ironside is the slasher. He's got one target in the film but has no problem dispatching anyone who gets in his way. The thing is, he is damn proficient at taking out all these peripheral people BUT is a buffoon at taking out his intended victim. Despite the small amounts of crimson, the film is tense and builds terror very well.
Wacko - 1982 - "The comedy that takes off where Airplane landed" it says on the poster. Not funny. Couldn't finish.
American Nightmare - 1983
Curtains - 1983 - Actresses staying at an old mansion, auditioning for a role, begin getting massacred. A pretty good effort. The kills are interesting, the killer's mask is cool, great music, and the pacing is good. There is an ice skating kill that is really cool. Check it out.
The Final Terror - 1983 - I used to think of this movie as the scene in First Blood where the local police are hunting John Rambo, but really, he's hunting them. A group of Rangers are getting murdered by a survivalist. Or are they? The film is dark as hell and I don't think it had a cleaned up DVD release. I liked that the "victims" aren't mindless. They are rangers, they try, they plan, they think. Interesting.
Frightmare - 1983 - College students steal a corpse. Corpse is pissed and begins the murderings. More of a zombie/black magic film. Shouldn't be on the list, but it's a cool almost-slasher with a good 1930's horror feel to it.
The House on Sorority Row - 1983 - A group of sorority sister accidentally kill their sorority mother. They have a party planned for that night and this incident will not stop the rock. They hide the corpse, but it goes missing. The party folks are picked off. Surprising ending. I was actually surprised and surprised that I liked it.
Mortuary - 1983
A Night To Dismember - 1983
Psycho II - 1983 - An impossible task, following Hitchcock's classic, is actually pulled off admirably well. Norman Bates is released from the asylum but memories of his mother return. Fits in nicely with the genre founded-in part by the original. Another good ending.
Sleepaway Camp - 1983 - The first time I saw this film, I really thought the filmmaker was making fun of the slasher genre. The deaths are implausible and some of them, just plain lame. The characters are pretty likeable and the pacing is well executed. It was great to see some kids instead of 30 year olds playing kids. Good story. I love seeing James Earl Jones' dad (he was also in Cockfighter, one of my favorites of all time.) as a cook. The ending is super cool. It's a classic of the genre, be sure to check it out.
Sweet Sixteen - 1983 - Way more interesting and fun than it should have been. Kris from F13 Part III and the rich spoiled asshole from Goonies are the children of the local sheriff. When boys start getting murdered they get to work investigating. Funny in parts with a good whodunit story. The beginning is a little slow and there are only two murders before the gory climax, but it's worth your time.
Blood Theatre - 1984
Day of the Reaper - 1984
Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter - 1984 - My favorite of the F13 films. A top rate slasher and the death of Jason as a human being. Everything I like about slashers is personified here. Even if you're not a fan, you should watch the first four Friday the 13th films and consider yourself educated. Great film.
Girls Nite Out - 1984 - Scavenger hunt at a small college. A person in a bear suit kills the participants. Can the local sheriff catch up with the killer? Takes a little while to get started. You spend a lot of time with these folks, but the script is written in such a way that you don't really get to know them. This hurts the film when they start dying and you don't care. Nice ending. Good slasher.
The Initiation - 1984 - An insane asylum, a sorority, a shopping mall, this slasher has them all. And, the main girl is one of the prettiest actors in the genre. Solid kills. Good pace. Interesting story. You won't care about the cast at first, but they grow on you a bit. A textbook slasher. If you're looking for something different, this ain't it. If you want to see a solid, by the numbers slasher, this is a good one.
A Nightmare on Elm Street - 1984 - The only Nightmare film worth a damn (well, I'm in the .00006% who liked the remake) in the series. Freddy is more scary than funny. He is a child killer, for Christ's sake. Great story. The cast is all pretty good and John Saxon as the dad who loves his daughter but just can't understand is a great turn from most of the parents in slasher films.This is in the supernatural realm of slashers, but it's a classic so I included it.
The Prey - 1984
Satan's Blade - 1984
Silent Madness - 1984
Silent Night, Deadly Night - 1984 - I've always hated this movie. Something about a good looking, buffed out, serial killer just always bugged me. He's lame. A couple of the deaths are pretty cool, but the film got so much hype when it came out, it couldn't live up to it, in my mind.
Splatter University - 1984 - One of the best titles. One of the most iconic slasher posters. But it just isn't that good; it is way too slow. Forbes Riley as Julie was good, but you'll pretty much hate everyone else. The guys joke around about their friends getting killed. It plays straight slasher for a while and then has these wacky comedy bits and characters. It's lost.
Bits and Pieces - 1985
Blood Tracks - 1985 - A savage family living in a factory has their home invaded by a Swedish metal band making a rock video. Slow start, takes about thirty minutes to get started. It's dubbed, which may drive some away. I love the 80's synth music, which is unrelenting. Once it gets going, I thought it was pretty good.
The Blue Man - 1985
Blue Murder - 1985
Evils of the Night - 1985 - Really more of a secret lab, experiment story, but definitely played like a slasher. Two old guys stalk a group of thirty year old teenagers. A couple of decent kills, one with a drill. There's aliens, so, well, it really shouldn't be here. Julie Newmar and John Carradine and the ever-beautiful mug of Neville Brand.
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning - 1985 - First F13 I saw in the theater. I was so very pissed about the big twist that I hated the film for years. I've since come around and actually enjoy it. The dude playing Tommy Jarvis is over the top and fantastic.
Honeymoon Horror - 1985
Horror House on Highway Five - 1985
The Mutilator - 1985 - Weak ass story. You want the characters to all die because you hate them. BUT the murders are super cool. It's your typical dude in the basement, let's all go check it out, one at a time. HA. If you watch it, be sure it's a super dark room. This film is DARK and hard to see in some parts. Like I said, great kills, though.
The Nail Gun Massacre - 1985
New York Centerfold Massacre - 1985
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge - 1985 - If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
The Ripper - 1985
Too Scared to Scream - 1985
April Fool's Day - 1986
Chopping Mall - 1986 - Kids get stuck in a mall with robot security guards who go haywire and KILL. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. The characters are perfect stereotypes and the actors make a good effort. It certainly plays like a slasher even if it is robots doing the killing. I liked it.
Crawlspace - 1986 - Amazing film starring Klaus Kinski. The first five minutes are pure fucking lunacy. He fondles a bullet with his name on it, puts on makeup, and watches films of Hitler. He kills with crazy ass contraptions and rides around the crawlspace of his house on a sled. Just surreal and fun. Not many kills but makes up for it with Kinski's antics. Try to find director, David Schmoeller's short video about the making of the film, called, Please, Kill Mr. Kinski. It gets put up on Youtube every once in a while.
Deadly Friend - 1986
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives - 1986 - Tommy Jarvis goes from this nerdy, Corey Feldman-looking little kid, to a nervous, borderline psychotic, to this? I don't think so. Some cool parts but Tommy Jarvis just deserves to be put down. What a horrible casting decision. That being said, it definitely has its fans. Definitely worth seeing. For me, this is when the genre took a turn from establishing interesting characters that the audience cares about and having them killed one-by-one, to how many murders can the killer get and how cool will the murders be?
Girl School Screamers - 1986
The Hills Have Eyes Part II - 1986
The Hitcher - 1986
Killer Party - 1986 - Basically a college party comedy until the last half hour or so. Three friends join a sorority and there's a big party. Lots of pranks and hijinks. The kills aren't that great, most being off camera. The story is ho-hum but the script is good enough to keep the film interesting. Not a must-see of the genre, but definitely a should-see. Good cheesy fun with a crazy ass ending.
The Las Vegas Serial Killer - 1986 - Directed by Ray Dennis Steckler and is a sequel of sorts to his 1979 film, The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher. The same guy plays the slasher. The film is slow and boring. There's a horrible second plot thrown in and an unforgivably bad ending. For Ray Dennis Steckler fans only.
The Majorettes - 1986 - Directed by Bill "First Zombie" Hinzman. A pretty good typical 80's slasher for the first 3/4 and then BAM it goes way out. Nothing is predictable and this movie gets batshit crazy in a good way. If you want a straight slasher, go somewhere else, but if you're open to some craziness, check this out!
Mountaintop Motel Massacre - 1986
Night Ripper - 1986
Psycho III - 1986- Anthony Perkins directed. The film takes place a few weeks after Psycho II. The less you compare these sequels to the original, the better off you'll be. Some cool, tense moments and a decent enough story with a cool twist on the shower scene. Basically, the murders start up again, is it Norman? Decent film.
Slaughter High - 1986
Sorority House Massacre - 1986 - Basically, this is a poor Halloween remake. Boy kills family, sister survives. He goes to asylum. They grow up. Due to some crazy ass memory lapse, she joins a sorority and moves into their house not remembering it was her childhood home. Brother senses that sister returned home and escapes the asylum. The film is slow and tries to build mood, but instead grows boredom. Not many boobs, not much killing, not much fun. The acting is decent and we know the story is decent, we saw it before as Halloween. I also liked the killer's anger and frenzied kill style. Bottom of Tier 2.
Spine - 1986
Terror at Tenkiller - 1986
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 - 1986 - Dennis Hopper is the star of this film but he only really has one line, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR!" Screamed while swinging a chainsaw. Just a super gory bloodbath of a film. I loved it. Nothing like the original, but super fun and downright funny. If you're in the mood for something serious, save this for later.
Truth or Dare: A Critical Madness - 1986
The Zero Boys - 1986
Anguish - 1987
Blood Diner - 1987
Blood Frenzy - 1987
Blood Hook - 1987 - Troma, semi-comedy. Embarrassing and horrible. Don't waste your time.
Blood Lake - 1987
Blood Rage - 1987 - One evil twin, one good one. It's Thanksgiving. Who's who? A decent slasher worth watching. Love the mom. Some great gore, but directed in two shots and wide shots, a bit uninspired.
Blood Sisters - 1987
Body Count - 1987 - Super generic slasher. It's by the numbers, but super low numbers. Not very good. Italian production directed by Ruggero Deodato meant to look like the U.S. There are few familiar faces both from giallos and American films (David Hess and Charles Napier). Cool soundtrack. Not really worth your time.
Camping del Terrore - 1987
Delirium - 1987
Faceless - 1987
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood - 1987 - A psychic girl returns to Camp Chrystal Lake with her mother and psychiatrist. Her mind powers re-awaken Jason. Let the killing commence. Some great kills. One of the best, post part IV films. I love Jason's outfit and body makeup (that sounds weird to say) but his facial makeup is a bit goofy. Great film.
Killing Spree - 1987
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors - 1987 - Fuck you, Freddy.
Return to Horror High - 1987 - Yeah, yeah, George Clooney's in it. Sort of a wannabe post-modern slasher that takes place on the set of a slasher. Doesn't really work. The characters should be more aware of what they are walking in to. Could have been Scream, ten years earlier, instead, it is a Second Tier, average slasher with Marcia Brady almost erotically covered in blood. Tries to hard to be funny. Hindsight being 20/20 it really should have gone down the Scream road. Watch Scream III instead; same story.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 - 1987 - More famous for the "Garbage Day!" meme than for being an actual film. It's horrible and lame. The lighting is flat and without style. The acting is embarrassing. The kills go back and forth between simple shootings to farcical extremes. The music is good, the camera work is fine. For completists only.
Slaughterhouse - 1987 - Fun, then boring, then fun, then weak, then fun.
Take the extremes, chaos, and flair for direction out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Add some story elements to make it smell more like a "normal" movie, deliver some comedy, add close ups of your killer to take away his mystique and otherness, and apply the slasher tropes and you have Slaughterhouse.
This is the Hot Topic version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that nobody asked for, but is actually pretty damn good.
The original Dewey (from Scream) Deputy character is a pretty interesting and sympathetic character. The leads are mostly forgettable and unlovable. The Sheriff is likeable enough.
The stars are really the old man owner of the pig farm and his son, Buddy. Buddy speaks in pig squeals and snorts. You think he's meant to be scary and inhuman and then it all flips and he's turned into Chris Farley. No surprise that Buddy is really the main character, by 1987 the genre had turned from 'kids surviving a maniac killer' to 'how many kills can the maniac get?'
Slumber Party Massacre 2 - 1987 - Crystal Bernard was too pretty for this world. We didn't deserve her. That being said, the killer is a dream invading rocker type almost too mystical for this list. I'm not normally into zany and funny, I guess Crystal Bernard had me hypnotized; I was into it.
Stage Fright - 1987
The Stepfather - 1987 - Worth a view. Not for the gorehounds. This is more of a thriller.
Video Murders - 1988
555 - 1988 - Legendary. Horrible in every way therefore perfect. Shot on video in all wide shots. A must see. A hippy, dry humper, kills couples. The police are confused. The boom mic. is seen, the detective has a barbecue to plan. It's a wonderful mess.
American Gothic - 1988
Bad Dreams - 1988
Brain Damage - 1988
Cannibal Campout - 1988
Chainsaw Scumfuck - 1988
Cheerleader Camp (Bloody Pom Poms) - 1988 - Like most slasher fans, to me, the late eighties feels like a once strong eagle is sick and dying and hanging out on the high school football field goal post. Cheerleader Camp is not like this, it is a soaring eagle. The cast is great. The girls are cute. The kills are fine. The set-up couldn't be better. Great fun.
Child's Play - 1988 - The spirit of a killer gets locked into a doll, wait, this is magic. This shouldn't be on the list. But the first Child's Play film is super cool.
Deadly Dreams - 1988
Deadly Intruder - 1985 - Dark VHS. Danny Bonaduce. Hardly any gore, a little nudity, not a lot of fun. The music is pounding and annoying. Boring twist at the end. Directed without style or love. Skip it.
Destroyer - 1988
Edge of the Axe - 1988 - It's almost like two separate films. In one a killer in a cool mask just murders random people. In the other there's a small town love story. The two stories eventually cross. The actors are charming and the kills are decent. The main chick has some sort of spell over me. She is so pretty but so down home, I just get hypnotized watching her. The main guy is goofy and awkward. Made for TV, but the film really worked for me.
Evil Dead Trap - 1988
Evil Laugh - 1988
Fatal Pulse - 1988
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers - 1988
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer - 1988 - Where I live this came to our artsy theater for a one week engagement. We went and saw it every night. HA. It is brutal and humorless and somewhat true. Michael Rooker will frighten the fuck out of you. The style is very flat, unbiased, and un-thematic. If you want the darkest of the dark, this is it.
Hide and Go Shriek - 1988
Jack's Back - 1988 -
Maniac Cop - 1988 - It took me an awful long time to see this, but it was worth the wait. William Lustig directs. Bruce Campbell and Robert Z'Dar light up the screen with brilliance. Lustig's New York is always wonderfully trashy, dark, and menacing. The kills are great. It's sort of a mystery, action, slasher. Great fun.
Memorial Valley Massacre - 1988
Monkey Shines - 1988
Night Screams - 1988
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master - 1988 - Dream Master my ass.
Party Line - 1988
Phantom Brother - 1988
Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers - 1988 - Pretty stereotypical late 80's slasher. 30 year old actors as teens mixed with real teen actors, high hair, titties, and a lot of humor. The kills are interesting but sometimes over-reach the budget and ability of the effects crew. Great throat slitting kill (I'm a sucker for them) and a fun homage to other slasher films. This time out, Angela is played by Bruce Springsteen's little sister and she does a great job. It's actually a pretty fun slasher and a perfect example of the genre during that period of time.
Touch of Death - 1988
Clownhouse - 1989
Cutting Class - 1989
The Dead Pit - 1989
Fatal Images - 1989
Freeway Maniac - 1989 - This one is so bad, that it's g..., uh, well, actually, it's just bad. A Cannon Films release about a psycho on a film set. Not much blood or nudity. The story, directing, and acting are without love. For hardcore slasher fans only.
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan - 1989 - The kind of movie that was really fun to watch in a theater, where we could all cheer at the unthinkable: Jason at Time's Square. Repeated viewings have not been pleasant. I generally hate boat movies. It is also a bit like watching people in movies throw money around, it's stressful. They're losing some. The idea of Jason leaving Camp Chrystal Lake was worrisome. How would he get back?
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers - 1989
The Horror Show (House III) - 1989 - Came out just before Shocker. I like it a bit better. This is clearly Tier 2. I don't remember if it actually has anything to do with and of the other House films. It does have some magic shit and maybe shouldn't be on this list, but any film that has Lance Henriksen and Brion James gets a few points in my book. It's decent.
Houseboat Horror - 1989
Intruder - 1989 - Directed by Sam Raimi partner, Scott Spiegel. The film takes place during the shift of the night crew at a local supermarket. Sam and Ted Raimi act in the film. Bruce Campbell makes an appearance. Sounds horrible, but is actually an excellent slasher. Hits all the slasher bases: camera, lighting, gore, nudity, great story, decent enough acting, great killer, great pacing. Like Raimi's early films, it smells like low-budget gutter trash but the passion and style send Intruder to the penthouse. Watch it.
Killer - 1989
Moonstalker - 1989 -
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child - 1989 - Get off my fucking list, Freddy. Horrible.
Offerings - 1989 - Mute kid pushed down a well by neighborhood brats. Kills his horrible mother and is put away in an asylum. Years later, he escapes. He hunts down the brats and leaves their body parts on the doorstep of the one girl who was nice to him. Tries to be funny in parts but fails, and I'm glad for that. The killings suck. Mostly crap, but hard not to feel bad for the killer.
Psycho Cop - 1989 - Stick it in the 'so bad it's almost good' folder. Most everything about this film sucks, but is sure is fun to laugh at it. The cop character tries really really hard to prove he's psychotic. Might be fun to watch with a bunch of friends, drinking, and inhaling laughing gas, but won't hold up for you shut-ins. This is the last slasher of the golden age, released on November 28, 1989.
Shocker - 1989 - A Tier 1, slick looking piece of garbage. Just go see The Horror Show.
Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland - 1989 - Starts right off with titties and violence. I hated this film when it came out but have grown to appreciate it. Bruce Sprinsteen's little sister is back in the role of Angela. The camp owners are fantastic characters. The husband is played by the ever-loveable Michael J. Pollard. The humor is actually pretty well written and acted. Like the other films in this series, the kills are a bit weak. Overall, one of the better slashers from the end of the 80's.
Stepfather II - 1989
Trampa Infernal (Hell's Trap) - 1989