Slasher movies are a popular horror sub-genre that typically involve a killer stalking and murdering a group of people, often teenagers or young adults.
These movies are known for their graphic violence, suspenseful chases, and iconic killers with unique weapons or methods of murder.
Slasher movies emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s with movies like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th,” and they continue to be popular today with modern remakes and new entries in the genre.
While some may dismiss slasher movies as mindless gore-fests, they often offer deeper themes and commentary on society, as well as memorable characters and creative kills.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the best slasher movies of all time, from the classics that started it all to modern takes on the genre.
Best Slasher Movies
We’ll discuss what makes these movies so iconic and memorable, and why they continue to scare and entertain audiences decades after their release.
1. Black Christmas (1974)
“Black Christmas” is a 1974 Canadian horror film directed by Bob Clark and written by Roy Moore. The film follows a group of sorority sisters who are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant during their Christmas break.
The film is often credited as one of the earliest examples of the slasher genre, and has been praised for its suspenseful atmosphere, inventive camera work, and feminist themes. The cast includes Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, and John Saxon.
Upon its release, “Black Christmas” received mixed reviews from critics, but has since become a cult classic and has been cited as an influence on many later horror films, including “Halloween” (1978) and “Scream” (1996). The film has also been remade twice, in 2006 and 2019.
- Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder (Actors)
- Bob Clark (Director) - Roy Moore (Writer)
- Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
2. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” is a horror film released in 1974, directed by Tobe Hooper. The movie tells the story of a group of friends who travel to Texas to investigate reports of grave robbing and vandalism in local cemeteries.
Along the way, they encounter a family of cannibalistic killers who terrorize and hunt them down.
The movie’s gritty, low-budget style, and intense violence shocked audiences upon its release, and it has since become a cult classic.
The film’s use of handheld camera work, naturalistic lighting, and realistic sound design creates a sense of gritty realism that makes the violence all the more disturbing.
Despite the controversy surrounding its release, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” has been praised for its innovative techniques, and its influence on horror films is still felt today.
The movie has spawned several sequels, remakes, and adaptations and is considered a landmark achievement in horror filmmaking.
- Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Gunnar Hansen (Actors)
- Tobe Hooper (Director)
- Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
3. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)
“Alice, Sweet Alice” is a horror film directed by Alfred Sole and released in 1976.
The movie is set in New Jersey and follows a young girl named Alice Spages (Paula Sheppard), who becomes the prime suspect in the murder of her younger sister Karen (Brooke Shields) on the day of her first communion.
As the investigation continues, Alice’s family and neighbors are targeted by a mysterious figure wearing a yellow raincoat and a translucent mask.
The film features themes of family dysfunction, Catholicism, and gender roles, as well as disturbing scenes of violence and murder. “Alice, Sweet Alice” was praised by critics for its suspenseful atmosphere, strong performances, and clever use of misdirection.
The film has become a cult classic and influenced later horror movies, such as “Halloween” and “Scream.”
Fun fact: Brooke Shields made her film debut in “Alice, Sweet Alice” at the age of 10.
- Linda Miller, Mildred Clinton, Paula E. Sheppard (Actors)
- Alfred Sole (Director)
- Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
4. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The Hills Have Eyes is a 1977 horror film directed by Wes Craven.
The movie follows the Carter family, who become stranded in the desert and are subsequently attacked by a group of mutant cannibals. The film is known for its intense and graphic violence, as well as its portrayal of the breakdown of societal norms in a lawless environment.
The movie stars Susan Lanier, Michael Berryman, and Dee Wallace, among others. Although it received mixed reviews upon its initial release, The Hills Have Eyes has since become a cult classic and is widely regarded as one of Craven’s most influential works.
The film was also followed by a sequel, The Hills Have Eyes Part II, which was released in 1985. A remake of the original film was also released in 2006, which was directed by Alexandre Aja and produced by Wes Craven.
- Dee Wallace, Michael Berryman, John Steadman (Actors)
- Wes Craven (Director)
- Spanish (Publication Language)
- Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
5. Halloween (1978)
“Halloween” is a classic horror film released in 1978, directed by John Carpenter and starring Jamie Lee Curtis. The film tells the story of Michael Myers, a psychopathic killer who escapes from a mental hospital and returns to his hometown to stalk and murder teenage babysitters.
The film is known for its tense atmosphere, chilling soundtrack, and iconic villain. Michael Myers wears a white mask throughout the film, which adds to his eerie and menacing presence.
The film’s opening sequence, shot from Michael’s point of view as he stalks and kills his sister, is one of the most famous scenes in horror movie history.
The film’s success led to several sequels and remakes, and it has become a cult classic and a staple of the horror genre. “Halloween” is often credited with popularizing the slasher film subgenre, which became a dominant force in horror movies throughout the 1980s.
- Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Kyes (Actors)
- John Carpenter (Director) - John Carpenter (Writer) - Debra Hill (Producer)
- Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
6. Friday the 13th (1980)
“Friday the 13th” is a 1980 American slasher film directed by Sean S. Cunningham and produced by Victor Miller.
The film stars Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, and Kevin Bacon in his film debut. It follows a group of teenagers who are stalked and killed by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp that was the site of a child’s drowning years before.
The plot of the film revolves around a group of counselors who are hired to reopen Camp Crystal Lake, where a young boy drowned years earlier.
As the counselors begin to arrive and prepare the camp, they are stalked by an unseen killer who is determined to stop them from reopening the camp.
“Friday the 13th” was a commercial success, grossing over $59 million worldwide, and spawned a franchise of sequels and spin-offs. The film has been credited with popularizing the slasher genre of horror movies, which became a staple of 1980s cinema.
Despite its controversial content and mixed critical reception, “Friday the 13th” has become a cult classic and remains a popular horror movie among fans of the genre.
- Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King (Actors)
- Sean S. Cunningham (Director)
7. Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
“Happy Birthday to Me” is a slasher movie released in 1981, directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, and Lawrence Dane.
The movie follows Virginia Wainwright (Anderson), a student at an exclusive private school who is struggling to recover from a traumatic accident that killed her mother and left her with memory loss.
As Virginia’s friends start to get killed off one by one, she begins to suspect that she might be the killer, but her lapses in memory make it difficult to know for sure. The movie features creative kills, suspenseful chases, and a surprising twist ending.
“Happy Birthday to Me” is known for its eerie atmosphere and effective use of red herrings to keep the audience guessing until the final reveal. The movie was also notable for its high body count and elaborate death scenes, which were considered graphic and shocking for the time.
While the movie received mixed reviews upon its release, it has since gained a cult following and is considered a classic of the slasher genre. It remains a popular choice for horror fans who enjoy a mix of mystery and suspense with their blood and gore.
3 Reasons To Watch Slasher Movies
They can be thrilling: Slasher movies are known for their intense and suspenseful moments, which can be entertaining and engaging for audiences.
These films often feature iconic killers with unique weapons and styles of attack, and viewers can become invested in the characters as they try to survive.
They can be a form of catharsis: Slasher movies often deal with themes of fear and mortality, which can allow viewers to confront their own fears and anxieties in a safe and controlled environment.
Watching characters confront and overcome these fears can be a cathartic experience for viewers.
They can be a commentary on society: Slasher movies often reflect the fears and anxieties of the society in which they were made, and can serve as a commentary on social issues such as gender roles, sexuality, and violence.
These films can provide insight into the cultural fears and anxieties of a particular time and place, and can spark conversations about these issues.
Best Slasher Movies – Wrap Up
In conclusion, the slasher genre has a long and storied history in horror cinema, with many iconic movies that have left an indelible mark on popular culture.
From the classics like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” to more recent entries like “Scream” and “The Babysitter,” slasher movies continue to captivate and terrify audiences.
The best slasher movies offer a perfect blend of suspense, gore, and memorable characters, with creative kills and surprising twists that keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
Many slasher movies also serve as a reflection of societal fears and anxieties, tapping into our deepest fears and vulnerabilities.
While the slasher genre has faced criticism for its use of violence and exploitation of female characters, it remains a beloved and enduring subgenre of horror cinema.
With its roots in classic horror and its influence felt across many other genres, the slasher movie continues to evolve and adapt to changing cultural and societal trends.
Ultimately, the best slasher movies are those that leave a lasting impact on the viewer, whether through their iconic killers, memorable final girls, or inventive storytelling.
Whether you’re a die-hard horror fan or a casual moviegoer, there’s sure to be a slasher movie out there that will leave you screaming for more.