A cut above the rest
If youre on a camping holiday with an ever-decreasing bunch of barely-dressed mates, with no mobile reception, a car that wont start and a few bloody gashes in your back, youre probably in a slasher movie. But not all slasher movies are equal. A connoisseur can tell a good slasher movie from a celluloid bunch of clichs. And were here to help you become that connoisseur with a rundown of the best slasher movies ever made. John Carpenter may get a mention.
30. Tourist Trap (1979)
The Slasher Movie: A slasher movie with a healthy dose of the supernatural thrown in, if you find mannequins frightening (and who in their right mind doesnt?) youd do well to give this one a wide berth. Set in the rural house of nice old Mr. Slausen (whos obviously a bit nut-nut), Tourist Trap sees a bunch of stranded teens stalked by a killer with telekinetic powers amid a host of nightmarish waxworks. Bonkers, but creepy nonetheless
Coolest Kill: One of the girls is confronted by a mannequin of an Indian chief, who promptly chucks a knife in her face.
29. Final Destination (2000)
The Slasher Movie: This one might be stretching the term slasher movie in its most traditional sense, but if you view the Grim Reaper as the killer, the hat most certainly fits. In any case, this one makes the list on account of its ace high concept, in which Death sets about reclaiming a group of teens who have cheated him, by setting them up for a series of gruesome accidents.
Coolest Kill: The unexpected appearance of a speeding bus, just as poor Terry is crossing the road
28. My Bloody Valentine (1981)
The Slasher Movie: Miners, eh? One little accident and they turn into mouth-foaming wack-jobs. At least thats the case in My Bloody Valentine, where a chap in miners gear starts hacking up the local youth on Valentines Day. They nshould have seen it coming, mindthe same thing happened the last time the town held a Valentines Day dance. Doh! Rated by Quentin Tarantino as his all-time favourite slasher movienot that hes an expert or anything.
Coolest Kill: A pick-axe to the head, followed by said bonce being dragged along the floor, is a particularly memorable set-piece.
27. Happy Birthday To Me (1980)
The Slasher Movie: Happy Birthday To Me features a group of teens who refer to themselves as The Top Ten, a self-awarded pat on the back for being the ten wealthiest and most beautiful kids on campus. How do we think things are likely to play out for them then?
Coolest Kill: Take a look at the image abovethat actually happens. We always knew kebabs were bad for your healthsorry.
26. Reeker (2005)
The Slasher Movie: This one takes a rather novel approach to the slasher set-up by granting the killer / monster powers of invisibility, making him (or rather it) somewhat difficult to outwit. However, he also stinks to high heaven, so potential victims have at least some idea of whats coming. Despite the silly-sounding premise, this is actually a genuinely refreshing spin on what had become an increasingly tired genre.
Coolest Kill: One girl squats obliviously above a pit toilet, which obviously smells pretty bad to start withcan you guess whats coming?
25. Madman (1981)
The Slasher Movie: If youre staying at a summer camp (a favourite haunt of murderers, as we know), and are told that a lunatic will come and kill you if you say his name, what is the best way to proceed? By saying his name of course. Sure enough, the eponymous Madman Marz pitches up when one snot-nosed brat gets a bit too bold, and it isnt long before our teenage chums are axe-fodder. Yay!
Coolest Kill: Madman takes offence to one lads comically 80s hairdo, repeatedly slaming his face into a car engine before slamming the bonnet down on top of him. Oof.
24. When A Stranger Calls (1979)
The Slasher Movie: This 70s thriller plays on the urban legend of the babysitter stalked from within the house by a playful killer who repeatedly asks her, have you checked on the children. By which he means, come and see what Ive done to the children. An influential entry into the genre, if a little silly at times.
Coolest Kill: It happens off-screen, but what killer Curt Duncan is said to have done to the kids is more than a little chilling. By all accounts they were rendered unrecognisable
23. Hell Night (1981)
The Slasher Movie: Sorority girls in a haunted house? A recipe for disaster, surely? Indeed it proves, as whilst the spooks turn out to be non-existent, the gibbering loon who lives there is very much alive. Watch out for a starring role from Linda Blair, all grown-up without a crucifix in sight. If only she could call on some of the old head-spinning magic, she might have had an easier time of it
Coolest Kill: The kills here arent as full-on as in some of the other entries, but one girl does get decapitated with some panache
22. Prom Night (1980)
The Slasher Movie: Jamie Lee Curtis consolidates her scream-queen status by following up Halloween with yet another teens-in-trouble kill-fest. Shes part of a group of girls who accidentally killed a kiddie some years earlier. Now, on their prom-night (which just happens to fall on the anniversary of the little girls death), someone is out to see justice done. The sort of justice that involves and axe in the head
Coolest Kill: The schools resident asshole gets his head hacked off midway through busting a move. Murder on the dancefloor if you will
21. Blood & Black Lace (1964)
The Slasher Movie: Another group of nubile teenage girls are in the crosshairs in Mario Bavas grisly thriller, only this time theyre not studentstheyre models! With a decidedly inventive killer on the prowl (stay away from the oven with this chap around), its safe to say theyre in for a long night.
Coolest Kill: Eschewing the more prosaic thrills of the carving knife, Bavas killer dons a medieval spiked glove, and punches one of his victims in the face with it. Needless to say, its a knockout blow
20. The Burning (1981)
The Slasher Movie: Attention all horror movie denizens! You really must attempt to avoid burning peopleit never ends well. In the case of The Burning, a caretaker at a summer camp (yep, another one) is badly scorched in a bungled prank and sets about taking his revenge with a pair of gardening shears. Tom Savini deserves a mention once again for some truly awesome effects.
Coolest Kill: When the brilliantly named Cropsy bursts out of a sleeping bag and rams his shears through one kids neck. Surprise!
19. Eyes Of A Stranger (1981)
The Slasher Movie: Murder mystery meets full-on slasher in this tense tale of a journalist on the hunt of a serial killer. Foolishly engaging her quarry in a game of cat and mouse, the hunter soon becomes the hunted as our heroines disabled sister (a young Jennifer Jason Leigh) finds herself in his sights. Mingling suspense with gore, its well worth a look if you can get your hands on the uncensored version.
Coolest Kill: Head, meet fishtank. Fishtank, head.
18. The House On Sorority Row (1983)
The Slasher Movie: Another sorority house comes under attack in this trashy 80s offering, only this time you could argue the occupants probably deserve it. Theyve accidentally killed their housemother you see, but somebody knows, and theyre not in a forgiving mood. Ever wondered where I Know What You Did Last Summer nicked its plot from? Now you know.
Coolest Kill: Severed head in a toilet bowl. Thats all you need to know!
17. Sleepaway Camp (1983)
The Slasher Movie: Ludicrous dialogue, TV-movie acting, gore by the bucketload Sleepaway Camp serves up everything you could ask for from a slasher movie and more as a collection of teenagers are picked off one by one at the eponymous summer camp. Watch out for the brilliantly OTT twist at the endwho saw that one coming, eh?
Coolest Kill: A beehive is dropped into a toilet stall, causing the occupant to be stung to death. Horrible.
16. Black Christmas (1974)
The Slasher Movie: Another set-text on the slasher movie curriculum, this cheery festive tale sees a sorority house driven to distraction by an unwelcome caller. But hang on a minutethat call seems to be coming from inside the house! As if Christmas wasnt stressful enough without someone trying to hack you to pieces
Coolest Kill: The sorority housemother gets a crane hook embedded in her skull, from which she is then hanged. Seasons greetings!
15. Stage Fright (1987)
The Slasher Movie: Stage Fright merits inclusion on this list if only for the fact that the killer is a beserk former-actor, whose disguise takes the shape of a giant owls head. The play within the film is also worth mentioning, in that it tells the tale of a psychopath who rapes and murders singing prostitutes. Who wouldnt go to the theatre for that?
Coolest Kill: If theres a stranger way to go than being assaulted by a giant owl with a power-drill, weve yet to see it.
14. Malevolence (2004)
The Slasher Movie: Low budget creepiness abounds in this stalk-and-slash thriller that pits a group of bank-robbers against a rural wackjob. The first rule of bank robbery is that you never hide out in an abandoned farmhouse! Havent they seen Scarecrows? Probably not, in fairness
Coolest Kill: The ridiculously shocking opening kill (we wont spoil it for you here, suffice to say that it aint one of the crims who gets got) sets viewers on edge right from the off
13. Friday The 13th Part 3 (1982)
The Slasher Movie: In terms of filmmaking quality it falls short of the atmospheric original, but in terms of grisly, gory fun, Friday The 13th Part 3 cant be beat. Using its 3D gimmickry to chucklesome effect, director Steve Miner sends all manner of splatter hurtling out of the screen, as Jason debuts the iconic hockey mask for the very first time. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Cameron!
Coolest Kill: Poor old Vera takes a harpoon in the eye-socket. Ouch.
12. Torso (1973)
The Slasher Movie: A thoroughly barmy entry into the Italian giallo genre, this 70s slasher might not be as gory as some of its contemporaries, but it more than makes up for that with its combination of laugh-out-loud dialogue (they dont seem very politically aware, so what, Id like to get with all three of them) and out-there narrative (one scene takes place from the perspective of a tin can). There is also a kung-fu professor involved. What more do you want?
Coolest Kill: One of our heroines must stealthily slip away as the killer dismembers one of her chums. Remember dear, dont scream
11. Candyman (1992)
The Slasher Movie: Call us superstitious (or just plain cowardly), but we would still balk at the idea of saying Candyman five times into a mirror. Why? Because theres a very small, but very real possibility wed end up gutted by a hook-wielding, bee-spewing loon. Plus wed look a bit stupid if anyone caught us doing it
Coolest Kill: You know youre dealing with someone a bit loopy when theyre willing to hack off a Rottweilers head
10. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
The Slasher Movie: One that teeters somewhere between supernatural horror and outright slasher movie, Nightmares genius high-concept generates a new kind of fear in the viewer: any chump can run away, but how do you avoid falling asleep? Throw in the Robert Englunds iconic killer (one-liners kept mercifully to a premium) and youve got a bona fide horror classic.
Coolest Kill: The bedroom geyser of blood might be the most spectacular, but in terms of sheer nastiness theres nothing to top Tina being dragged up the walls as her boyfriend looks on helplessly.
9. The Prowler (1981)
The Slasher Movie: Whats scarier than a homicidal nutcase? A homicidal nutcase decked out in WW2 regalia of course! After two lovers are killed at their graduation dance back in 1945, their town elders sensibly ban all subsequent events for fear of a repeat performance. Then 40 years later, some bright spark decides to start them up again, and people start dieing
Coolest Kill: Gore supremo Tom Savini provides a whole host of splatter-tastic kills, but the exploding head has to take first prize. Thats what a shotgun will do to mere flesh and bone
8. Child's Play (1988)
The Slasher Movie: Not every slasher takes the shape of a hulking great brute. Sometimes the most diminutive of characters can be every bit as terrifying. So it is with Chucky, the flame-haired Good Guy doll who turns out not to be such a good guy after all when possessed by the spirit of the Lakeshore Strangler
Coolest Kill: Chucky takes out his old partner in crime Eddie Caputo by sneaking into his house, turning on the gas and baiting him into firing his gun
7. Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon (2006)
The Slasher Movie: An inventive new take on the genre, this mockumentary follows prolific serial killer Leslie Vernon as he explains the tricks of the trade to a group of filmmakers. Subverting the rules of the genre left, right and centre, its a real treat for slasher aficionados. Watch out for appearances from Kane Hodder and Robert Englund, otherwise known as Jason and Freddie
Coolest Kill: One luckless stoner has his heart fremoved with a fence-post digger. Splat.
6. Scream (1996)
The Slasher Movie: Wes Craven revived the twitching corpse of the venerable slasher movie with this knowing reworking of the genre. Whilst there are plenty of knowing chuckles to be had from the horror-savvy dialogue, the scares pack a punch of their own, with Ghostfaces jerkily violent movements making for a suitably terrifying killer.
Coolest Kill: Drew Barrymores sticky end is probably the best remembered, but well go for Rose McGowan and the garage door
5. A Bay Of Blood (1971)
The Slasher Movie: Oft-mooted as the first proper slasher movie, certainly one of the most influential Mario Bavas deliriously grisly Giallo sees a gaggle of cash-hungry wackjobs hack and slash their way towards a hefty inheritance, by taking out everyone else with a claim to the loot. Who needs a protracted legal wrangle when you can lay your hands on a kitchen knife?
Coolest Kill: A pair of lovebirds are simultaneously impaled by a massive spear, mid-coitus. How many times do people need telling? Dont have sex when theres a nutter on the prowl!
4. Deep Red (1975)
The Slasher Movie: Dario Argento directs a pre-eyebrows David Hemmings as an English pianist who finds himself trying to unravel a series of grisly murders in sunny Rome. Recently released in its uncut form for the first time in the UK, its worth seeking out on DVD if only to savour the heavy-duty score by electro-rockers Goblin. And theres plenty of blood, naturally
Coolest Kill: Elevator shaft plus trailing necklace equals one missing head. Lovely stuff.
3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The Slasher Movie: Tobe Hoopers down and dirty classic has a mighty reputation but is remarkably light on gore given the promise of its title. That said, theres plenty of atmosphere to be savoured, with the gritty, yellowing cinematography lending a scuzzily malevolent air to proceedings. Plus theres a family dinner scene to trump all others come on granddad, put your back into it!
Coolest Kill: The Moment when Leatherface hangs a still-squirming victim on a meathook is truly stomach-turning.
2. Psycho (1960)
The Slasher Movie: Psycho isnt generally remembered as a slasher movie, but with a deranged killer carving up random strangers in the middle of nowhere, wed say it certainly qualifies. As ludicrously tense today as it was when it first arrived some fifty years ago, it remains a masterclass in breathless terror.
Coolest Kill: Take a guess. Hint: its not the private dick falling down the stairs.
1. Halloween (1978)
The Slasher Movie: Oft hailed as the greatest slasher movie of all time, Halloween certainly ticks off the boxes in gloriously grisly style. Unstoppable killer? Check. Scream-tastic heroine? Check. Sexually active cannon fodder? Check. Who knew an old Captain Kirk mask could be so scary?
Coolest Kill: When Michael disguises himself in a bedsheet and glasses before strangling Lynda with a phone cord. The sneaky git