Slasher films defined my generation. Back in the glorious days of the 80’s, we wee-little horror tikes were graciously weaned off the blood and mayhem splattering (oh so marvelously) across cinema screens. From sea to shining sea there was a flowing fountain of blood spilling over and flooding right before our little eyes. Our senses were enthralled by the gruesome onslaught of horror titans like Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers.
The Era of the Boogymen!
We saw their rise to power. We watched them hunt, stalk, and slaughter their prey with scrupulous efficiency. Carnage and mayhem followed behind their blood-soaked footsteps and we could not pull our eyes away from the dripping spectacle in front of us. We rejoiced when the slasher kings came back for unrelenting revenge against those who dared to stand in their way. And we knew they could never truly be killed.
They were an unstoppable force to be reckoned with in the pantheon of horror. We all had our personal favorites and would spend recess time all arguing who would win if Freddy and Jason fought. Or if Leatherface could be killed by Michael Myers. We speculated how come they could always come back and we waited (im)patiently to see the upcoming installment to all of their franchises.
Movie theaters and video rentals alike were alive with posters and standees of our favorite evil icons of death and dismay. And…hmmm. We might have been rejoicing in death, and maybe that’s why so many evangelical groups rose up in protest.
Critics alike lent their televised voices to preach against the devilry of these films. Parents were warned that such movies were made by deranged minds to corrupt the virgin souls of their children. OooooooooOOOOOooooo
Admittedly, it was pretty sick, but we couldn’t be bothered by that. We couldn’t wait to feast our eyes on what new installments had in store for us. And then, to the sorrow of us all, it came to an end. Our hearts dropped when – one by one, from Freddy to Jason and everyone in between – they either died or their franchises did.
But, they couldn’t die for real, could they? Our little hearts remained hopeful.
The 90’s Revival
A marvelous resurgence in the Slasher field came to us with one simple phone call and the fatal question that soon followed, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” Out of nowhere a brand new masked killer was among us and one movie revitalized a genre we all feared might have been gone for good.
Scream brought the slasher genre out of the ashes and everyone and their mother was talking about scary movies again.
Love it or hate it, no one can deny that Scream restored horror titles to the mainstream’s attention. People were talking about The Howling and Halloween, and then, just like that, folks who never watched a horror film a single day in their lives suddenly found themselves eaten-up with a need to run to their local rental stores to pick up these titles so reverently spoken of in Wes Craven’s new horror masterpiece.
Plenty others had to jump on the bandwagon and soon we had copy-cat Scream films like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Valentine, and Urban Legends. All good in their own right, but the series that stands out to me is a very unique slasher film called Final Destination, a movie that proves that if Death has laid her hand on you there is simply no escape.
Though not a slasher, I can’t leave out the impact The Blair Witch Project had on audiences as well. It took each of these films to pull horror out of obscurity and rejuvenate it for new and old fans alike. And it all started with one single phone call. Thank you, Scream!
That’s not to say it would last. There would be some weird times to come with the new millennium.
Horror fans sat through the torture porn era which was launched by SAW and Hostel. Then we had the period when just about every single horror title from the 70’s and 80’s was put through the remake grinder. Leatherface was given not one, but two origin stories that were polar opposite to one another. And neither one was really satisfactory to fans.
Not to mention we saw vampires sparkle and had to endure PG-13 rated scary movies. That meant no blood and no heart. One could argue that horror might have been just a little dead.
However, with just as much wicked proficiency as the monsters they portray, slasher movies proved (once again) to be quite un-killable.
Slasher films have been revived in 2018!
Halloween is smashing the box office. The Shape was taken back to the basic foundations of pure evil and unrelenting terror, the two very reasons why audiences fell in love with and learned to fear Michael Myers back int 1978.
Fans are returning back to cinemas, again and again, to see The Shape savage the residents of Haddonfield, Illinois, proving that we don’t want a remake. We want a continuation, but one built on the principles and foundation of the original concepts that won us over in the first place.
The original Halloween laid some of the pivotal foundations upon which an entire sub-genre would be built. Michael Myers was the quintessential Boogyman. In the first film you didn’t have any Thorn Cult to muddle things up, nor was there any mention of Michael hunting down his family members. No, he was just The Shape. He killed without reason and had no pity. He stalked his victims and killed them at his leisure.
You never could see his face or read his emotions. He was no longer considered a human being, but a Shape of destruction and pure evil. His success spawned a franchise and made way for other beloved horror icons to come.
It’s with exceeding joy that we saw his hellish return this year. He’s once again proved that the old methods of filmmaking simply work.
But, Halloween isn’t alone this year. There have been some amazing entries to the genre, and there’s talk that this is only the start of a brand new era of monsters and maniacs.
A film that shocked me was Strangers: Prey At Night. I just hate the first movie, so I had very little expectations for this one. I only went to see this sequel because I had Movie Pass and it was raining outside. I thought maybe I’d go take a nap in the theater, and no I’m not joking. I really expected to be bored to death again, but how wonderfully surprised I was!
S: PaN is pure and true to the slasher genre. This time around the trio of killers felt more fleshed out and far more threatening than the last time. They each one had plenty of personality, as much as a masked killer can have I mean. And they did not skimp us on violence!
The kills came in plenty and were ruthless. This time around the psychotic trio are hunting down a family, and there’s this insatiable glee each of the three have in doing so. That scene of the dad and the car radio became my favorite.
I’m not going to spoil this one for you, but it certainly has the Manic Exorcism seal of approval. Not to mention the soundtrack is excellent. I’m so glad I was tired on that rainy day or I may have missed out on seeing this gem.
Hell Fest is another great slasher movie! People complained about this one, and I know that everyone is a critic. But when you realize that Hell Fest is a great slasher film you’ll get a lot more out of it. No, this is not Mother or Hereditary. This is a slasher movie. It’s not supposed to be all artsy and philosophical. Neither was Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or Sleepaway Camp.
Slasher films always were meant to be fun. Scares and laughs alike, but mainly scares. They were the rebel children of Hollywood. No damns could be given and they were balls to the wall intense fun. They took root back in a time when MTV was actually worth something and Metal and Horror just sort of blended together. These movies are like great rock concerts – loud, obtrusive, and too busy being badass to be sensitive.
Hell Fest gave me those same vibes. You cheer the masked killer who stalks our little lousy band of victims as they make their way across the magnificent Halloween themed attraction, Hell Fest. It’s a horror movie where a masked killer stalks his prey through haunted houses. I loved it! This one will be a must-watch every Halloween to come for me. Oh, and they do not skimp us on the gore in this one either. We get some nice splatter moments in this film.
Speaking of Halloween musts, Terrifier has become one of my new favorite horror experience. This is a gruesome film depicting the sadistic exploits of Art, a demonic clown who takes enormous amounts of pleasure from the pain he slowly inflicts upon those unfortunate enough to catch his attention.
Art was first featured in yet another Halloween spectacular, All Hallow’s Eve. In that horror anthology, Art was the show stealer. It only makes sense to give him his own feature film. One of the unique qualities Art has is his expressions. He displays a large array of emotions from annoyed to giddy. And he does it all without speaking a word. Art is mute and expresses himself through silence. It makes him far more terrifying.
I know, this was released in 2017. But most of us didn’t see it until this year once it was released on Netflix. So even though it is a year older, Terrifier still stands with this year’s new class of slasher fiends. And this movie spills gore everywhere.
That’s just it. Each of these mentioned films is a true horror movie. They are fun, don’t bog themselves down with too much plot, and give us blood. Slasher movies are not that complicated and it’s great to see them back.
This year we also saw another classic icon return from the golden age of the slasher era. Robert Englund wore the glove again and became Freddy Krueger on the Goldbergs. Though it’s only a small appearance on a sitcom, fans still got a smile to see the Spring Wood Slasher come back. Even by doing this bit part, Englund proved he’s still the one and only Freddy Krueger.
However, there is now a lot of talk among the rumor mill. Robert Englund says he feels like he has one more Nightmare on Elm Street in him.
Englund returning to Elm Street would be a huge success. But only if they take a note from Halloween and return Freddy back to his evil roots. Before the idiotic Freddy’s Dead stuff. Make Freddy scary again.
Not only that, but Heather Langenkamp says she would love to return for another NOES film. So my Nasties, cross your fingers! We may see Nancy battling Freddy again!
Not to mention there is also talk of getting Jason back on the big screen.
Things are looking good for horror fans. Our icons have made a masterful return and given us a lot to be excited about.
So my lovely Nasties, have a great Halloween! Celebrate the holiday with friends and loved ones, and don’t forget to turn off the lights and watch some wicked fun horror movies.