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Since Halloween is coming in a few weeks, what better way to get into the spirit of the spooky season than by watching some horror movies?
However, horror does branch out into many sub-genres, and for this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the best movies in the slasher genre.
Psycho is about Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) leaving after stealing money from her employer to escape with her lover (John Gavin).
However, she makes a stop at the Bates Motel, run by the polite and quiet Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), apparently dominated by her ruthless mother.
Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological horror may not have been the father of slasher films, but it’s often touted as one of the first.
Psycho is easily one of the most recognizable films, and the shower scene has become one of the most iconic (and suspenseful) moments in film history.
The film’s music has also become synonymous with the slasher film genre.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Friday the 13th follows a group of teen camp leaders as they attempt to reopen an abandoned summer camp.
Aside from the challenge of fixing up the old summer camp, they must survive the ordeal as someone wants to murder them.
Although there have been several slasher films, Friday the 13th is probably the most influential of them all.
The cliché of a group of teenagers in a camp killed one by one began with this 1980 slasher film.
Friday the 13th was responsible for initiating the “stalker” subgenre in slasher films that show the perspective of the killer while tracking his victims.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Five hippies embark on a journey through rural Texas to investigate grave vandalism.
Along the way, however, they arrive at a farm where they must survive a family of cannibals and a chainsaw maniac.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential films in the horror genre.
For many, it raised the standard and presented the public with blood that wasn’t as common at the time.
One of the most iconic horror characters, Leatherface is the archetype of a great silent assassin with no personality.
Many horror directors have cited The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as a driving force behind their work, including Alien, The Hills Have Eyes, and House of 1000 Corpses.
Read also: Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey (2022) Proves to Be a Worthy Successor to the Previous Predator Films
On Halloween night 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers brutally murdered his 15-year-old sister, leaving him in an institution.
Fifteen years after his murder, Myers manages to escape from the psychiatric hospital and goes on a rampage in his hometown.
Before Jason Voorhees was Michael Myers, who laid the foundation for the masked silent killer who walked silently as his victims escaped.
The film helped take the slasher genre to the next level and introduced the final girl trope.
Halloween also set the stage for others of its kind to follow.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The Elm Street teenagers say they’ve all had nightmares and, surprisingly, dream about the same character.
After one of them dies in his sleep, they realize it’s important they learn the truth to figure out how to beat Freddy Kreuger (Robert Englund).
Before Vecna from Stranger Things, Freddy Kreuger was the character that haunted people’s nightmares.
He is easily recognizable by his burnt flesh, his brown fedora, his red and green sweater and of course his metal claws.
A Nightmare on Elm Street also introduced the eerie use of surreal settings, complete with a haunting nursery rhyme about the villain.
Child’s Play (1988)
After being shot, a killer (Brad Dourif) uses dark magic to transfer his soul into a doll.
A woman (Catherine Hicks) buys the possessed doll for her son (Alex Vincent).
When it comes to the slasher genre, it’s impossible to exclude the only killer doll from the list.
Chucky has given many children nightmares as he brings the killer doll concept to life on screens.
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
The sequel to Friday the 13th hits theaters a year later.
However, the storyline takes place five years after the event with much of the same plot.
The biggest difference is that this film marked the debut of iconic character Jason Voorhees as an antagonist.
In this film, Jason remains the juggernaut he is known today, but it wasn’t until Friday the 13th Part III (1982) that he donned his iconic hockey mask.
If there was a movie that took every element of the horror genre and created something new.
Full of meta references, Scream makes countless references to the unspoken rules in the slasher genre.
Scream spawned six sequels and a short-lived series and redefined the horror genre from the 1990s to early 2000s.
Read also: Finished Stranger Things? Not to Worry, Dark Is a Gem in the Netflix Inventory
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Urban legends have been the source of many horror films, and in the case of this film, they certainly cemented the hookman legend.
Four friends driving to the beach accidentally hit a pedestrian and dumped him in the harbor, vowing never to talk about the event.
A year later, they are persecuted one by one and killed by an unknown attacker who uses a hook as a weapon.
I Know What You Did Last Summer, along with Scream, helped revive the horror genre in the 1990s.