I have been posting some great top ten lists from friends recently, and it is about time that I put my head on the chopping block and post some of my own. I will begin with my top ten slasher movie list.
For me, slasher movies were a discovery that I made early on and I cannot shake my love for them. There is always something about slashers that excite me. They are not scary in any way to me, but I love the gore, the killers, the chases. When I recently saw the trailer for Tusk, I was excited, and it was not so much because it looks like it will be the greatest slasher ever, but just because it was a slasher.
There are so many awesome horror icons such as Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and many more. I am a fan of most of the big names in the slasher subgenre – some more than others.
Below, you will find my top ten list of slasher movies. I know that you may find some that you agree with and probably more that you will disagree with. To me, movies are very personal and I relate many movies to life experiences, so I may have a special connection with a movie that most people cannot stand. I will say that my choices are somethings strange, but I stand by my choices without a doubt. Top ten lists are different for everyone. With that being said, I would love to see your top ten lists as well.
Here we go. For your enjoyment, each one of the reviews comes with the original trailer for the film.
10. The Burning (1981)
Barely making the cut is The Burning (1981) (AKA Cropsy) by Tony Maylam. The concept of the film (originally scripted as “The Cropsy Maniac”) is based on a campfire story told at summer camps in and around New Jersey and upstate New York. The story is still in circulation. This is one of those true gems from 80s horror that has stuck with me through all these years. It holds up exceptionally well. The story starts off like a lot of other slasher films from the 80s. A group of kids play a prank on someone and it goes terribly wrong. That person returns to exact revenge. You know the routine. You have seen it before many times. The difference here is that it is one of the early movies to use this storyline. I have talked to a lot of people that did find this movie scary, so maybe it will get you too.
9. The House on Sorority Row (1983)
After a seemingly innocent prank goes horribly wrong, a group of sorority sisters are stalked and murdered one by one in their sorority house while throwing a party to celebrate their graduation. Directed by Mark Rosman who went on to do a Night Gallery episode, an Alfred Hitchcock episode and not much more, this movie was done so well. The 2009 remake, “Sorority Row”, was barely even a remake of this original classic.
This film actually has an interesting plot, derivative though it is. The acting is so-so, but the characters are interesting and memorable. Mrs. Slater is very memorable as is her cane.
The 2009 remake, “Sorority Row”, was barely even a remake of this original classic. It was not a horrible movie, but for my tastes, the original is far better.
8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
I know what you are thinking, “a remake? Is he crazy?” Perhaps, but this movie was done very well. First off, I have never looked at a white tank top the same again. Leatherface was awesome in this film and the family was frightening.
Directed by Marcus Nispel (Pathfinder, Friday the 13th, Conan the Barbarian [in post-production]), who up to this point had worked on some music videos, this was a breath of fresh air. We were all scared of what could have happened with this film, You take a classic movie and a classic character in Leatherface,
As in the original, there were a ton of memorable scenes (once again – white tank top). The scene with R. Lee Ermey as Sheriff Hoyt in the car with the kid describing how the girl killed herself was chilling. The acting was spot on. Jessica Biel did a great job and is amazing to look at. Eric Balfour also played a great role. R. Lee Ermey was amazing and played the typical role that we are accustomed to seeing from him.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of my favorite remakes of all time. Not all remakes are horrible as much as fan would have you believe. Granted, there have been some bad ones, but without remakes, we would have never had the remake of The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and, of course, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
7. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
A sequel? Really? Sure, why not. Directed by Chuck Russell and a successful writing return by Wes Craven was what this franchise sorely needed after A Nightmare on Elm Street – Part 2 (that movie was weird).
Freddy Krueger is back with a vengeance and this time, he has some forbidable opponents. This movie marks the return of Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson and John Saxon as her father. With Nancy’s help, hospitalized kids have a way to fight back. There is also an early role for Patricia Arquette.
What makes this movie so good? First off, the soundtrack rocks, but honestly, the movie would still be awesome even without some Dokken behind it. Freddy is still evil, and while some of the jokes are starting to take shape, he still means business. Freddy’s jokes started to get over the top after this film. Wes Craven showed that he still had some good writing to show off and he did it with this film. This is definitely one of the better sequels ever made.
6. Sleepaway Camp (1983)
I have a feeling that a lot of people will find this pick a little questionable, but this is another one of those 80s gems that is highly underrated.
Slightly disturbed and painfully shy Angela Baker is sent away to summer camp with her cousin. Not long after Angela’s arrival, things start to go horribly wrong for anyone with sinister or less than honorable intentions. Camp Arawak never knew what hit them, and neither did most viewers once they saw the shocking ending.
On a side note, the sequel rocked except for Return to Sleepaway Camp. That film was an abomination. The level of suckiness to that one is legendary.
5. My Bloody Valentine (1981)
This is another 80s slasher that had a recent remake done on it. I will say that My Bloody Valentine 3D was actually done really well and is a fun movie too. Once again, for my tastes, I go with the original. It was evil and just done so well. It is a shame that most of the people that watched My Bloody Valentine 3D had no idea that it was even a remake.
A decades old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine’s Day, turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer’s order and people start turning up dead.
This movie was compared to Friday the 13th in many ways, but which 80s slasher was not? Regardless of the comparisons, it is a movie that should not be missed.
4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Tobe Hooper’s classic tale is just that – a classic. This is a film loosely based (and I stress loosely) on Ed Gein. You have some classic performances by Marilyn Burns as Sally Hardesty and Jim Siedow. With so many classic scenes such as Leatherface’s first appearance and the shot that he delivers to the family dinner to the hitchhiker that I would have left on the side of the road without a second thought.
This is one of those films that some people love and some people hate, but for me, it was so life changing. It stayed with me forever and I will never let it go. I just recently watched this film again for our Texas Chainsaw Massacre retrospective on the FearShop.com Horror Podcast and I was amazed at how much I still love it.
3. Halloween (1978)
John Carpenter’s Halloween is an absolutely frightening tale about The Shape (Michael Myers) and what he becomes. The suspense in this film is almost second to none and is a staple for most people during the Halloween season. Michael Myers is easily one of the greatest killers from a slasher movie of all time. Not only was this movie amazing, but I am a huge fan of most of the sequels. To be honest, I can even watch Resurrection every once in a while. Michael Myers was the source of many childhood nightmares. I do not know how many times, I dreamt of being trapped in a closet with Michael trying to break in.
With standout roles from Donald Pleasance (who got better with each sequel) and Jamie Lee Curtis, this film is one of the greatest movies ever made, not just one of the best slashers ever.
2. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Mrs. Voorhees is dead, and Camp Crystal Lake is shut down, but a camp next to the imfamous place is stalked by an unknown assailant. Is it Mrs. Voorhee’s son Jason who didn’t drown in the lake some 30 years before?
Directed by Steve Miner, this movie has grown to be my favorite Friday the 13th. I am a huge fan of The Final Chapter and The New Blood, but Friday the 13th Part 2 is simply amazing. First of all, the potato sack was brilliant. We all know Jason Voorhees now in his hockey mask, but before the hockey mask, there was a little Jason running around in overalls and a potato sack exacting revenge on anyone who dares to come near Camp Crystal Lake.
Love or hate the sequels (and I love them), you have to admire where they all spawned from. Just remember that this movie almost never got made. If they had their way, the Friday the 13th franchise would have become a bunch of random stories that had nothing to do with Jason.
The beauty of this movie is that they took the simplistic approach to a slasher film. Put a bunch of dumb kids in a remote location and focus on inventive kills. It really is that simple.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Wes Craven’s masterpiece comes in at number one for me. It is all about the story in this one. For me, I prefer Jason Voorhess of Michael Myers to Freddy Krueger, but this film is unmatched. You have a killer with the ultimate power. You can always run away from Jason and Michael, but you cannot escape Freddy. At some point, you have to sleep.
One, Two, Freddy’s Coming For You!
So that wraps up my top ten list of slasher films. There were quite a few movies that I wanted to add to this list, so I will add them as honorable mentions here: Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Psycho, Black Christmas (1974), Alice Sweet Alice, Cold Prey and Hatchet.
Let me know your thoughts on the list and what you would put in your top ten lists. Also, feel free to send me any top ten lists to feature on the blog.