For those who don't know, the "slasher" movie is basically a movie where a group of people, usually teenagers, go up against a maniacal villain who disposes of most of the group of protagonists in inventive and/or horrifying ways. When I was 10 years old, I ate this stuff up so I'm always going to have a certain affinity for them in my life, regardless of how bad they are, and trust me, in this genre, they can be pretty fucking bad.
What are some examples of great "slasher" movies you may ask? Well there's Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Child's Play, etc.
For the most part, these movies are watched more based on the "slasher" themselves than the cast of poor victims who get the axe. Its funny to think about, because if the audience isn't relating to the victims, does that mean that people are seeing these to relate to the killers themselves? Its kind of a strange psychological question that we as a society will sometimes root for the homicidal guy with a burnt face and fedora over a teenage girl with daddy issues.
Unfortunately, for every good movie in the genre, there are literally a hundred crappy ones. Case in point:Like many things in life, making these movies isn't exactly rocket science so its tough to see the sheer percentage of downright awful ones that come out on a regular basis. A slasher movie is just made to be a good time, a date flick where the guy can have an excuse for the girl to grab his arm frantically as Michael Myers walks slowly after Laurie Strode, or in the case of gay couples, for them to flippantly mock Leatherface for wearing shoes that are "so last year" (I'm a comedian, ba ding tsss).
Is the sheer number of these awful flicks being made slowly killing the genre? Doesn't seem like it. The new approach seems to be remaking classic franchises with the same characters and storylines but new actors and situations. I thought they did a bang up job with the new Friday the 13th but I think that they completely missed the mark with Zombie's Halloween.
And every once in awhile, some of these low budget, direct to DVD movies will actually really surprise you and make something great. Such was the case with "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon".
Its a very interesting concept about a "slasher in training" and really puts the genre on its ear. Its not only a great slasher movie, its a great movie and maybe thats how the genre has to be approached from here on in. The more compelling you make the victims and the more interesting you make the story, the more it will resonate with those watching and a better time can be had by all. We aren't talking Shakespeare, but if movie makers put effort into what they're doing, it shows.
But are slasher movies good horror movies? I'd say no. I think that they do a great job for what they're designed for, giving quick shocks to audiences, but the sign of a great horror movie is one that stays with you, that really makes it tough for you to sleep, and really gets under your skin. These are few and far between nowadays it seems (as you could see from my Netflix queue, I'm on a constant search for movies that will really terrify me)
So in the future, I'll still be looking out for good horror movies and good slasher movies, like diamonds in the rough.
Duh. How silly of me. I completely forgot to share with everyone what I think really is the scariest "slasher" movie of all time. As I mentioned, generally, most slasher movies don't really come across as scary, to me anyway. But there was one slasher movie that scared me so bad when I was 11 years old, that I couldn't sleep. I could barely be in a room alone by myself for about a week. Most importantly, I could never EVER look in a mirror. To this day, it still kind of creeps me out whenever I think about it.
Candyman. Sweet mother of crap, Candyman. No "slasher" movie terrified me more than this. If you haven't seen this before, get your significant other, turn off the lights, and prepare to be scared shitless.
Maybe it was the fact that the movie started with the antagonist telling you directly that he was going to murder you who was watching or maybe it was the whole "urban legend" feel of it or the fact that the kills were downright horrific and brutal. Certainly the fact that Clive Barker of Hellraiser fame having a hand in this made it much more scary. Regardless of the reason, the movie simply horrified me.