top 10
slashers

Generally, slasher movies have one criteria: the killer has to be human, or at least seem like one. You can make other criteria as to the “rules,” as one film below certainly does, but that single criteria eliminates every creature feature and possession movie with similarly high body counts. One of the reason slashers are most effective is that they’re “real,” and that they could absolutely happen to you in the right circumstances. Sure, there are some sequels where the action begins to look too far-fetched, but that’s a problem for somebody else’s list.

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10.

psycho

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I know, I know… this one is too high on the list. It’s the proto-slasher, the first movie that scared the shit out of people, and one of the best twists of all time. It’s expertly directed and acted, and it’s the godfather of every other film on this list. It’s also dreadfully boring through most of its runtime, which can’t be ignored. It’s an exercise in duality, because it also has some of the most intense and truly frightening sequences of all time, with both the shower scene and the final reveal among some of cinema’s most terrifying moments. Psycho is a must see for its historical value more than anything

9. 

candyman

Candyman wouldn’t be on most people’s top 10 slasher lists, but it’s simply too good of a movie to leave off. It’s a beautiful love story with a lot of killing, and it’s an excellent example of Clive Barker’s romantic horror. Candyman has probably the best dialogue of any horror movie on this list and is a great entry in the racial horror subgenre. Plus, it gave the world Tony Todd, and he’s a fucking treasure.

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8.

alice sweet alice

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I had no idea how effectively terrifying this movie would be when I watched it a few years ago. Sandwiched directly between Black Christmas (which does not appear on this list, much to the chagrin of people who like boring slashers) and Halloween, Alice is a fun movie filled with twists and turns and a burned to death child. That’s fucking nuts! It’s also really creepy and well deserving of its place on this list.

7.

deep red

Another movie that’s a lot scarier than I expected, Deep Red is perhaps Argento’s most frightening work. It’s a giallo, but I would argue it is more of a slasher than a standard giallo “mystery.” Argento does an excellent job in this movie of taking things that shouldn’t be scary and makes them fucking terrifying. Excellent film if you can get past the subtitled or poorly dubbed audio.

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6.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

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5.

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

I had debated making this list without sequels and stick to purely original movies, but then I would’ve had to leave Friday the 13th off of the entire list because the OG movie isn’t the best one in the franchise. This one is. In a series that is easily panned by critics and fans alike, Jason Lives provides the perfect slashery balance of gore, skin, and absurd plot that is only more appreciated as time goes on. Truly an excellent slasher movie.

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3.

texas chainsaw massacre

TCM is one of the most disturbing movies ever made, and that sound of crunching celery when Leatherface hits that dude on the head with a meat hammer is something that occasionally echoes around my brain when it shouldn’t. Tobe Hooper took the horror world by storm with his 1973 classic, and TCM is one of the only movies I’ve ever seen that feels oppressive. Great film.

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2.

scream

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