Slasher Movies have their charm. Surely, there is something about watching people slashing and being slashed on and off-screen. Mighty indulgence for some, guilty pleasure for others, and wondrous treats for us here at Lost in Noir.
Horror films have often banked on this premise of – “Killer(s) on the loose”, as the body count goes up with each enduring encounter. There have been plenty of Slasher Movies across decades. And, they have proven consequential into shaping the genre.
Slashers have gone through massive changes over the years. Though it can be debated that the core concept has always been the same – of deranged dude/dudess hunting people around, the tools of the trade have evolved over the years. Whether it be characters, or plot-lines, or tropes. Every now and then, subversion in the sub-genre is observed – Slasher Movies that redefine their own set of self-prescribed traditional afflictions.
And as the in house resident who dotes on horror films, here’s to our picks on our favourite Classic Slasher Movies that started it all.
Way back in 1960, the world bore witness to the Hitchcockian masterpiece that is Psycho. Despite Hitchcock’s rich filmography, psycho is often the most talked about. As contestable as that point maybe, psycho is a cinematic one of a kind that is a must on any viewers list. Especially upon release, a revolutionary film that was severely outcasted as a rebel wanna be! Soon it found its audience and along with it came academy nominations and is today, a classic indeed.
Slasher? Perhaps not. But inspire the genre it did. Psycho really stretched what can be shown over films. Norman Bates titular character also went in to shape future antagonists and more importantly icons in the slasher genre.
Your friends have seen it, your mom and dad probably met on a movie date that was psycho. So, what’s keeping you stalling?
Peeping tom was a good movie coming in towards the end of the 60s. Following on the path paved by psycho, it is the most memorable slasher since the start of all slashers. But it’s just that… a watchable film and nothing more.
Silent Night, Deadly Night and Silent Night, Bloody night were my favourite slasher films. Once. Not now! And age they have not so well. And The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was a “philosophical” film than the slasher more people consider it to be. Though Leatherface is one compelling slasher villain.
The charm of slashers had faded. But not for long…
It was not until Halloween, did the genre receive mass popularisation of the sort that similar movies prior to it had not seen before. John Carpenter’s tour de force took slashers by the storm and commercialized the viability of making them intense and suspenseful. While Leatherface was an acclaimed film icon by then, Michael Myers from Halloween went over and beyond to be the most recognisable slasher in the midst by worldly standards. John Carpenter’s “Myer’s soundtrack” still ranks as the most enchanting film scores of all time.
Halloween is most definitely the film that took the genre seriously. A film that is equal parts scary and suspenseful. If you are new to slasher flicks, this should be your first pick. If you have watched slashers before and have not seen Halloween yet… Dude ever wondered what’s it like to be bled to death with a kitchen knife?
BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)
So here’s a slasher movie that generally flies low under the radar. A film released before the effervescent Halloween. Despite its low profile status with the average moviegoers, the movie has warranted two remakes – A 2006 and a 2017 one. Both, at the best forgettable! But the original is so reminiscent of all the Slasher Movies that run amok today. Wait, or is it so because primarily all slashers that exist today have had something to gain from the exploits of Black Christmas.
Black Christmas is a slasher for the ages. The tropes of this genre much of its genesis to this old daddy. Much has to be said about this film, and how it immediately inspired horror films to follow suit and make similar plotlines functional. And that’s indeed what Eyes of Laura Marsh and When A Stranger Calls did – Borrow elements. Heavily! And they are better off it too.
(Sigh cant bash when a stranger calls for being derivative because its one movie I watch every vacation as I treat myself to a bowl of potato chips).
A controversial pick for sure. Not many people would call it a classic. Not many would have watched it, and even more, people would not have even heard of it. And that’s exactly why I have pit Madhouse against heavyweights. This seemingly inconsequential film from Italy is much more than what critic ratings would care to consider.
Don’t let ratings sway you away from this flick. You miss at your own loss.
FRIDAY THE 13 th (1980)
The classic slasher that gave the world Jason Voorhees. Killer with the hockey mask. A film that gave rise to several films. So much Friday the 13th films have been made that I have lost count. But, who cares? the movie franchise is known for exhibiting the most unique ways Jason can kill you. You think of it, he does it.
Friday the 13th popularised the virgin girl survives trope. If you indulge in ahem ahem “intercourse”, watch out for the machete that is going to spill your guts.
So, stay safe boys and girls. If you are in Camp Crystal Lake, don’t get touchy, lest be snacked apart by a prowling Jason Vorhees.
The Hills have eyes, and some Friday the 13th sequels kept the slasher genre active. But they weren’t particularly good at producing, let’s say, fun films? Slasher films were lacking lustre and were being written off as B grade films, only next to porn. The budget had gone down, and the filmmakers weren’t really invested in spending money onto projects that they thought were risky propositions. Until Wes Craven happened.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The movie my friends and I saw as children over a sleepover, and decided to not sleepover or even sleep ever. A Nightmare On Elm Street is as terrifying as they come. With the film came Freddy Krueger, the man with scissor hands who wasn’t Edward scissor hands. Freddy all colourful and fetishistic had one peeve, killing teens in their dreams. Good luck sleeping! Never since Michael Meyers or Jason Vorhees had the world witnessed a more frightening character from cinemas. Freddy is the defacto boogeyman of today. The only catch is, he’ll come if you sleep!. What has the world come to!