The slasher films were very popular for about 11 years from 1979 until 1990. The 80s spawned most of the best slasher films. Many were frightening, some ridiculous, but all of them were fun to watch on a Friday night double-feature. The craze was not started by Friday the 13 th , but rather by its sequel with Jason Voorhees. The original film, along with Halloween, got critical acclaim. But when several sequels also did well at the box office, it was mayhem in Hollywood board rooms. The popularity of the sequels caused a stir in Hollywood, and they rushed to pump out as many slasher films as possible.
The slasher film is an art form. You need to get the right mix of suspense, bodies, audio, and fake scares (cat jumps out, etc). Atmosphere is essential, teen angst, and a twist ending is always a bonus. It was a social experience: our friends would get together, we would scream at the body count, and shovel popcorn into our mouths.
These are the Top 25 Slasher movies of all time.
1 – Halloween (1978) and all its sequels. Michael Myers, deftly directed by John Carpenter.
2 – Friday the 13th (1980) and its sequels. First one starred a young Kevin Bacon. Part II introduced Jason and his infamous hockey mask
3 – Sleepaway Camp (1983) One of the best, unexpected twist endings of the slasher film craze.
4 – Alone in the Dark (1982) with a huge cast: Donald Pleasance, Marin Landau, Jack Palance, and an insane Ayslum. The power goes out, and the psychos escape to go on a spree. But wait, there is a twist ending! Loved this film.
5 – Prom Night (1980) Jamie Lee Curtis
6 – Terror Train (1980) with Jamie Lee Curtis still riding the Halloween slasher train.
7 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) with teen Johnny Depp as a victim of Freddy Krueger.
8 – I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
9 – When A Stranger Calls (1979) “The call is coming from inside the house…”
10 – My Bloody Valentine (1981)
11 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) Leatherface was an early slasher.
12 – Motel Hell (1980) with the infamous chainsaw duel scene.
13 – Hell Night (1981) Linda Blair from the Exorcist.
14 – Haute Tension (2003) Modern French slasher with a twist.
15 – Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
16 – Tourist Trap (1979)
17 – The Silent Scream (1980) Lots of atmosphere, good sets, bad acting.
18 – The Burning (1981)
19 – Joy Ride (2001) Paul Walker vs. a road rage pscyho killer.
20 – Just Before Dawn (1981)
21 – Child’s Play (1988)
22 – The Prowler (1981)
23 – Final Exam (1981)
24 – Scream (1986)
25 – The Funhouse (1981) Teens are trapped in a carnival ride and stalked by a deformed killer.
Honorable Mention to: April Fool’s Day, Madman, Maniac, Slumber Party Massacre, The Initiation, Vacancy, Wolf Creek, The Hitcher, Urban Legend, Slumber Party Massacre and House on Sorority Row. Hundreds of slasher films were released in the 80s and beyond, and all fun to watch. Too many films, too little time.
Remake note: Most remakes were clumsy and terrible. Rob Zombie has zero talent. He should never be allowed to even work the snack bar at a cinema. Thankfully we have the originals preserved on DVD.
Horror slasher movie trailers can be seen at Horror Film Trailers: horrorfilmtrailers.com on the s lasher movie page and on the Top 100 Horror-Movies list.
See Also: Top 10 Horror Movie Soundtracks of All Time
Top 10 Horror-Movies of All Time
Top 20 Serial Killer Movies