A Slasher Overview

VERN’S MAILBAG

Hi Vern,

Maybe on the site you could have a list of 10 or so of your favorite slasher films. I’m dying for some good stuff to watch this month, and I would trust a list from you.

Keep up the excellent work,

Cassady

I thought this was a good idea. My apologies to Doc Phibes though, who was sick of all the slasher movies I was reviewing. Hope you enjoyed the killer bear and demonic virus reviews, Doc.

I think instead of a list I’ll just do a little run through of ones I enjoy, with brief comments. This won’t be a definitive list or even the definitive definition of “slasher.” Just to get some variety I’ll loosen it a little to include almost anything with some jerk going around killing people with a sharp tool.

1. THE MASK OF ZORRO starring Antonio Banderas.

Nah, just fuckin with you. That doesn’t count. We really have no choice but to start with the three obvious masterpieces of the genre: PSYCHO, TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and HALLOWEEN (originals in all cases, obviously). I’m assuming most or all of you have seen them, but I bring them up just in case. No need to be embarrassed – remember when I’d never seen THE GODFATHER? These things happen.

Once you’ve seen and re-seen those there are offshoots of each that I enjoy watching. The first two PSYCHO sequels are good, if you’re open to the idea of post-Hitchcock Norman Bates. psychoiiThey’re actually twisty suspense stories with just a touch of ’80s horror. Anthony Perkins returns as Norman Bates trying to deal with his sickness after being released decades later, a very sympathetic psycho. Part 2 is directed by the Australian Richard Franklin (ROAD GAMES), who you could say was literally a student of Hitchcock considering he got him to come talk to his film class. I hope to rewatch these soon, and also part 4 even though I didn’t like it the first time.

I’m a completist with TEXAS CHAIN SAW so there are bits I like in each of the sequels, but only part 2 is actually good. In fact, I demand that all horror fans see this, it’s a masterpiece in its own right. The tone is totally different – funnier, more excessive in humor, set design, acting and especially gore. This one is darkly hilarious and works as Reagan era satire, but it just occurred to me that I never think of it in discussions of horror and comedy because I don’t think of it as a comedy, it’s so relentless from the invasion of the radio station to the final shot. And I believe Bill Moseley’s music loving, self-cannibalizing Vietnam vet Chop Top is the single greatest horror character that hasn’t become a popular Halloween costume.

The HALLOWEEN sequels aren’t as good. Part 2 I enjoy watching every couple years, but it’s only half good. 3 is unconnected, 4, 5 and 6 are bad, and 8 is abominable. But if you’re interested in Michael Myers and you haven’t seen HALLOWEEN H20 – 20 YEARS LATER I’d recommend it. It’s very ’90s, and I still don’t understand why they can’t get the mask right in any of the sequels. Come to think of it they can’t seem to get the likeness of the mask from the first one anywhere except the remakes. In fact I’m kind of a connoisseur of bad Michael Myers masks sold in stores. They come in all shapes and sizes. Here are just a handful of the varieties found on a quick Google image search:

michaelmyersesAnd of course there’s the all time greatest, I forget where I first saw this one but I believe it’s taken from some costume shop catalog. This is the greatest bad Michael Myers mask photo of all time:

softrockmichaelI guarantee that the one in H20 is at least better than that. And once you get beyond that it’s pretty solid. It’s interesting to see the traumatized, 20 years older Laurie Strode facing her demons, and it ends in a great chase.

H20 is directed by Steve Miner, who also did my favorites of the FRIDAY THE 13TH series, parts 2 and 3. 2 is actually my favorite formulaic slasher movie. I guess it started some of the formula, but I don’t think of it as a transcendent movie above the rest of the genre like HALLOWEN or CHAIN SAW. It’s all the cliches but done exactly the best way, showing why it’s fun.

theburningThe there’s THE BURNING, the best non-FRIDAY THE 13TH camper movie, finally on DVD last year. As you can see at left this is also the movie that answers the question “Did Jason Alexander have hair and if so did it attract horribly disfigured maniacs?” There’s also SLEEPAWAY CAMP, a pretty atrocious and probly homophobic movie but it’s just so effortlessly strange and crass that I recommend it highly. There’s nothing else like it except the recent RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP.

slumberpartymassacreAnother lower quality but enjoyable one is SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE. People read alot into it because it’s a woman writer and director. There are some interesting things going on. Worth watching.

How bout we switch it up and go with Dario Argento’s DEEP RED. I prefer his more surreal witch movies like SUSPIRIA and INFERNO, but this is almost as good and it’s about a mysterious slasher. Probly my favorite Goblin score too with badass drums that give any blaxploitation score a run for the money. It combines the suspense and murder mystery trappings with some of the more dreamlike touches that Argento is known for, such as an out-of-the-blue sequence with a doll that I’m convinced inspired all that puppet business in the SAW movies. If you want a more visually artful slasher movie this might be the best on this list.

maniacI also love MANIAC, but I’ve recommended it to some people who didn’t like it. This is more like a serial killer movie because the killer is the main character. It’s just such a great, weird performance by this guy Joe Spinell, who was in THE GODFATHER (see, I told you I’ve seen it now).

I usually consider these in a different category, but when it comes to the (even more) supernatural killers the first appearances of the iconic ones are all really good: CHILD’S PLAY, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and I can’t say enough about CANDYMAN. All three are clever, atmospheric and more serious than you probly remember, and dig deep into your primal fears. I think all 3 are genuinely pretty scary, worth rewatching if you haven’t seen them since you were young. The sequels are mostly for completists like me, but WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE is really smart and inventive and of course I’ve always loved the absurd BRIDE OF CHUCKY and SEED OF CHUCKY.

Finally (and maybe Doc Phibes will approve of this) I want to mention three spectacular Vincent Price movies, THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES, DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN and THEATER OF BLOOD. They may be easier to classify as “classic horror” or something but they have an awful lot in common with slasher movies – Price’s characters are disfigured maniacs who feel wronged and exact revenge by committing a series of themed murders. The SAW movies especially reek of the Vincent Price influence, although not nearly as fun. THEATER OF BLOOD is more of a black comedy but it’s Price’s goriest. Playing an arrogant Shakespearean actor murdering the critics who failed to give him an award he thought he deserved, he murders one in a method based on Titus Andronicus, force feeding dog-pie to this guy until his stomach explodes. So it’ll class up your Halloween celebration is what I’m saying.

Those are the basics. If you’ve long since exhausted that list I’m sure you’ve also seen SCREAM and AMERICAN PSYCHO. There are other decent ones like THE PROWLER, HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW, THE TOOLBOX MURDERS, ALICE SWEET ALICE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME. BLACK CHRISTMAS and SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT are good but obviously not the best for getting in the Halloween mood.

and hopefully that’s enough for now

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 at 12:44 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

64 Responses to “A Slasher Overview”

  1. Damn it, Vern, I think I’ve seen every single movie you listed. But hopefully folks will put some other recommendation in the talkback.

  2. Gotta love Vincent Price. The original House on Hauted Hill is pretty cheesy, but it’s got some genuine scares here and there, and a room in the house that has an acid pit. No spikes on the wall, but it’s still pretty cool

  3. I haven’t seen The Godfather yet either! But it’s nice to see someone give love to H20. I love how it actually throws survivor’s trauma (shades of Aliens) into a slasher flick, and I love the extended cat and mouse game at the end. It’s like Terminator + Jurassic Park but with Michael Myers. And call me insane, but watching the final scene with a crowd really does rank among my favorite movie-going experiences. I don’t think in the age of endless sequels, ANYBODY was expecting that.

  4. Black Christmas. Just thinking about that film makes me want to watch it again.

    And like you said before Vern, it’s Nick Mancuso(Under Seige1-2, Rapid Fire, Marquis De Sade), as the sick fucker on the phone.

  5. Arrgh. I’m never going to live that rant down, am I? Sorry I was such a bitch, Vern. A thousand bloody apologies will be carved into my flesh. I’m a horror snob and sometimes horror snobs go too far.

    I guess I should recommend a couple slasher movies to make up for it a bit. An odd choice (for some) but one I really love is Mario Bava’s Blood And Black Lace, a mid ’60s Italian thriller with a mysterious guy with a blank face mask, black hat, black coat, and black gloves who’s going around a “House Of Fashion” and killing off all the models who work there. It’s one of a kind, like if Blake Edwards collaborated with Hitchcock to make a psychedelic martini-swilling gore movie with intensely trippy colored lights everywhere.

    An Argento flick I’ve mentioned a couple times is Opera, also sometimes known as Terror At The Opera. As you might imagine from the title, it’s a spin on the Phantom Of The Opera plot, with a young woman singer thrust into the spotlight and a mysterious killer obsessed with her. But Argento finds every sick twist possible to fuck with your head. I think I mentioned before about how he likes to make the girl watch him kill by taping her eyelids open with needles attached so she won’t blink. He also kills one girl who (get this) swallows a piece of evidence as she’s dying, so he has to keep digging into her with the knife (going through the mouth) to get it back. Plus, a flock of ravens swear revenge on the killer (yes, really) and swoop into the audience during the opera (with raven POV shots) to pluck out his eyes! The flick is unhinged, to say the least.

    Thanks Vern for the killer bears and such. I didn’t read the REC review only because I didn’t see it yet and want to go into that one fresh. And yeah, I guess it’s not too big a secret that I really love those Phibes phlicks (ha ha). I recently picked up Phantasm II. And Vern, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the wonderful shit you wrote about it and couldn’t stop laughing. Thanks, man. And thanks also for the Dr Nudity bit in your WTWTA review. That had me laughing for a week and quoting it to friends.

  6. I’ve only seen the first 10 minutes or so of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and up to the shower scene of Psycho. I’ve probably seen more of Psycho 2 than the first one, actually. Of course I’ve seen Halloween. Also the first two Godfathers (don’t plan on seeing 3), though unlike most people, I think the first film is better.
    I’ve always found it weird to hear that Michael’s mask is a William Shatner mask spraypainted white, because…what’s the market for a William Shatner mask? Being a handsome white guy isn’t really unique enough to warrant a mask is it?

  7. I am completely amateur when it comes to Italian giallo movies sadly. I hope to remedy that one these days, but until then, I’ll just have to stick to seeing all the movies that reference giallos, like the Tarantino’s and Wright’s and etc.

  8. good choices beyond the classics. seen most of them, but i’m ashamed to say i haven’t dug into Vincent Price’s stuff yet. though Dr. Phibes is at home and ready to go, i’ll try to cram it in before the 31st.

    throwing a party this year, and i think the movies that’ll play in the background are pretty standard.

    Halloween
    Night of the Creeps
    Friday the 13th Part 2
    Return of the Living Dead
    Evil Dead 2

    a review of any one of those would be great btw. i’m sure you must’ve seen Night of the Creeps before, but if not get RIGHT on that.

  9. I can’t argue with this list. Many of my personal favorites are there, including my absolute favorite horror movie ever, Black Christmas. I always want to watch it on Halloween, but then I figure I should save it for Christmas, but then on Christmas I want to watch Silent Night, Deadly Night because it’s so much funnier, and isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Laughing at naked chicks getting impaled on antlers?

  10. Damn. So many movies to see. I’m gonna have to start doing one a day. Just watched Don’t Look Now. It was a’ight, but I’d like to see some more gore and mayhem. I think I’ll watch Candyman next. I’m also looking forward to watching Dead Ringers, which sounds like Cronenberg’s most vag-tastic piece (pardon the pun.) It’s about twin gynecologists who pretend to be each other so they can get laid and also invent weird new instruments for use on their patients.

  11. Majestyk, you’ve seen SNDN Part 2 right? i always skip part 1 now because you get all that and more in #2. and i mean more.

  12. I have not seen Part 2 of the Silent Night, Deadly Night saga, although I have seen Part 4 and possibly Part 3 (whichever one had Mickey Rooney in it). I always skipped Part 2 because I heard it was pretty much just like the episode of Family Ties where they sat around the photo album remembering their favorite clips from earlier in the series. I wouldn’t want to lose a single second of the first one (It’s a holiday staple with my family) so I’ll never choose the Reader’s Digest abbreviated version, but I guess if you’re saying the new material in Part 2 is worth checking out then I guess I’ll have to do so.

  13. Good piece , Vern . I’m currently in “classic horror” mood in my October film marathon , and I’ve just watched Vincent Price in “Last Man on Earth” ( still to this day the best adaptation of I am Legend , and a tour de force for Mr. Price as an actor ). Next in line is the Tingler and maybe some Phibes .

    And , man , Deep Red ( Profondo Rosso , here in Italy ), what can I say ? When I was a child , it was THE horror movie , the ” I dare you to watch this movie” , the test of courage for every little boy . From Argento’s catalog , I really like Phenomena , with Jennifer Connelly and the always good Donald Pleasence , with a great atmosphere and fantastic make up effects . I think Phenomena is a perfect movie to watch with the It’s Alive films , or even better , as a double-feature with Basket Case.

  14. Man, that list of michael myers masks is genius. They should have a Halloween remake of a remake with him having to change masks in different scenes of emotionality. Like putting 80’s soft rock mask when hes following the ladies, changing into droopy when they run away, and then putting on el topo when Dr. Loomis shows up. I think the Pee wee mask in itself could reboot the Halloween series in a whole new disturbing way. Adding even more meaning to the disturbing lunatic walking around with a knife in his hand.

    Also, I don’t think this was in the horror suggestions thread but I recommend Masked Avengers if you haven’t seen it. Its probably the bloodiest and darkest shaw brothers flick there is along with it the best kung fu slasher I can remember. Great kills, action and mystery all at the peak of the venoms era. And not only do you have one masked slasher maniac, but a whole cult full of them! Catch it on Youtube if anyone is interested.

  15. Majestyk, part 2 is so much more than that. if you like anything that’s soo-bad-it’s-good, this one is the crowning achievement, alongside Troll 2. save it for christmas if you want, but you’ve gotta check it out. i die laughing every time i watch.

  16. I gotta second Dan on that, Majestyk. The main guy in Deadly Night 2 gives one of the most hilarious overacting performances not by Nicolas Cage. And since you’re familiar with part 1 you’ll be able to notice the subtleties like that the little brother is flashing back to scenes where he wasn’t there or was only a baby, or that they change who the Santa Claus was who got shot by the cops. The first half is basically narrated clips from the first one but then he gets out and it’s a classic of bad ’80s horror.

  17. “i didn’t have dreams… but Billy did”.
    the fuck is that? haha.

  18. I think I already mentioned my enjoyment out of Halloween 4. I just picked up for 5 bucks the special edition DVD so I can listen to the commentaries and watch the short making of. Completely underrated slasher film.

    I also want to second the love for Phenomena. You have to watch it with a group of people because it’s so bug nuts insane that you’ll be having the best time ever.

    Black Christmas is a film you gave a short change to because that one is very influential for a lot of horror films that came after it. Happy Birthday to Me is also pretty great.

  19. Personally I hated Silent Night, Deadly Night. Without the mystery element to it, it had to rely on character, and unfortunately I didn’t think any of the characters in it were interesting enough or likeable enough to be worthwhile (the prudish nun-headmistress in particular grated on me, it’s such an overused and mean-spirited stereotype.) I thought Sleepaway Camp was hilarious although they do the idiotic My Bloody Valentine thing of having only two suspects and having everybody look really surprised when the killer is revealed.

    I’d like to throw out a brief mention to “Terror Train”, if only because the chief suspect and red herring is played by a young David Copperfield (yeah, the one who melted through the great wall of China). Unfortunately they make it so clear who the killer isn’t that there once again is really only two people it actually could be, but “Terror Train” ranks fairly high in the list of bad eighties slasher flicks starring Jamie Lee Curtis.

    Of the modern variety, “I know what you did last summer” is under-rated although (as with Scream 2) the killer “offs” Sarah Michelle Gellar. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! The sequel is frankly hilariously bad, and it’s quite amusing to compare the heroine’s IQ (she worked out who the killer was and named him in the first film before he was officially “revealed” as such) between the two films. It must drop at least seventy points. (There’s a corresponding increase in lecherous camera shots of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s glistening bod, if you’re into that sort of thing. And let’s face it, who isn’t?) It would have been hilarious if R&B star Brandy had turned out to be the killer in the sequel, but unfortunately, no dice.

    “Urban Legend” is also hilariously bad, although the killer isn’t quite as predictable as “I still know what you did…” in that you’ll only realise who the person responsible a third or so of the way through the movie instead of five minutes in. The sequel, though, is bad to the point of being unwatchable. “Urban Legends” contains my single favorite line of dialogue in any movie ever – the killer, when accused of being insane, replies: “I prefer the term eccentric. I guess I am a little nutty.” Four people got paid to check the dialogue in that movie, folks. Urban Legend also has some of the best kills of the genre – in particular I’m thinking of Parker’s death here, which fluidly and effortlessly combines three separate “urban legends”, and also provides a rare example of where the use of avid farts actually improves a scene. The main problem with Urban Legends, as with the recent “My Bloody Valentine” remake (I could write a small essay on why you should avoid seeing this tedious, unoriginal, stupid-as-hell and just downright mean-spirited piece of junk) is that the most boring, unlikeable characters all survive until the end.

    “Scream” is fantastic – if there’s a genre masterpiece, this is it. It parodies the genre while simultaneously becoming a helluva lot better than anything else I can think of. The sequels were a case of diminishing returns, but Scream 2 is well worth watching. Scream 3, unfortunately, is everything Vern says in his review – it’s basically a bad cliche-ridden horror flick with nothing new to offer the genre.

    “Cherry Falls” – well I enjoyed it. I don’t think anybody ever considered the mystery aspect at all, but it doesn’t really matter that the killer is obvious from very early on IMO. Again Vern is on the nose in his review at some points – it could clearly have taken the concept a lot further than it did – but I think he’s a little harsh. If you’re into this kind of thing then you’ll enjoy it. It also illustrates better than any documentary could that if you come across a transvestite serial killer on your travels, it’s probably not a good idea to ask him why he’s wearing lipstick.

    I’m perhaps the only person on earth who didn’t like Halloween – parts of it are tense, but the ending and some really terrible acting and dialogue spoilt it for me. “Elm Street” is great though. “Friday the 13th” is tedious tripe even by slasher movie standards until the end, where the killer finally takes centre stage and the movie finally starts to hold my interest. Before then even Kevin Bacon can’t save it from mediocrity. The interesting thing about this film is that, if you watch the DVD commentary, it’s fairly obvious that the director also doesn’t like the movie, and has very little to say about it. I could understand him being frustrated – I don’t know what else he made, but of all his films, if this were the one that becomes a cult hit, I’d be annoyed too.

    Oh, and let’s please give a shout-out to “Let the right one in”. To those of you who protest “but it’s not a classic slasher movie!” I would draw your attention to the very first person we actually see killed onscreen. Fantastic movie.

    “American Psycho” is a satire without a target. The twist ending is just annoying, the characters are vacuous (which I guess is kind of the point, but it doesn’t make for thrilling moviegoing), and with the exception of one single moment – a dropped chainsaw – there aren’t any memorable scenes or kills. It’s worth seeing as a curiosity but don’t expect to be left with anything but an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

    The Argentos – agreed, and I’d give a minor shout-out also to “sleepless”, which is a classic murder mystery with a lot of Argento’s trademark stylistic flourishes featuring Max von Sydow. Unusually, he’s not the killer (I’m not spoiling anything here, this is made clear from the start) but gets to play detective for once. It’s sort of what you’d get if you crossed Tobe Hooper with Agatha Christie. It’s got a nice example of a Goblin soundtrack too.

    “Prom night” – the original of course – is an unexpectedly good film. Unfortunately the DVD quality that I had was so bad, it almost felt like a rip-off. That might explain why Randy in “Scream” says the killer is one person when, in fact, it’s not.

  20. Bloody hell, that was long. Sorry for the wall of text guys!

  21. This “Phenomena” you guys mention, is it the one where Jennifer Connely has the telepathic rapport with insects? I can’t imagine there’s another Argento film with her and Donald Pleasance in it. I saw it under the name “Creepers”, and absolutely loved it, highly recommended if you can get it. I saw a really crappy version in one of those 50 movie box sets you can buy, but that didn’t detract in any way from the fun of it.

  22. good call on Terror Train, i had a fun time with that one. i’m not as big on the 90’s stuff though. and I could argue with you all day about why Halloween and American Psycho are great movies, but i won’t. hah

  23. Glad to see some Phenomena love here , but then again , this is one of the most kick-ass communities around , so I’m not THAT surprised . The movie , here in Italy , is well known , of course , but not as loved as Deep Red or The Bird with the Crystal Plumage ( IT : L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo ) , and that’s a shame , because is pure Argento at his finest . Once I’ve seen Deep Red , as a child , there was always a kid telling me ” Oh yeah ? You think that’s scary ? Watch Phenomena and wait for the kid ! “. For me it’s one of the first memories of what horror is all about : You’ve got the guts , kid ?

    SDAL : Yes , “Creepers” is one the foreign titles .

  24. I’ve always kind of thought that H20 was like a Halloween movie on Quaaludes. The pacing dragged and it never really generated any suspense for me. Plus the time spent on LL Cool J was inexcusable.

    (Spoiler)

    A Detailed breakdown of LL Cool J’s role in Halloween H20

    1. Thirty minutes of bad puns, and him being frightened.
    2. He gets shot in the face.
    3. He somehow lives.

    I’ve got nothing but love for The Burning though.

    I don’t even think him and Michael Myers are in a scene together. True that’s better then him say kicking Myer’s ass with Kung Fu the way that other unnamed rappers have. But he was so superfluously thrown in for “da kids” that it was insulting.

  25. I’ve got a soft spot for Intruder simply because it has the most different kinds of cams I’ve ever seen in one movie. My favorite is rotary phone cam.

  26. Is Phenomena similar to Suspiria in terms of pacing/kills/lack of interesting shit going on. I watched Suspiria after it was recommended on the Halloween suggestion thread and I just couldn’t get into the feel of that movie at all.

    That being said I don’t think it has anything to do with Mr. Argento as I really enjoyed his Master of Horror episode Pelts, if you haven’t seen it ,you need to its got some truly disturbing shit in it. Jenifer was alright, def. had better pacing/shit going on, but was only alright.

    So yeah i guess I’m asking is would i like Phenomena if i dis-likes Suspiria

  27. PHENOMENA is much more eventful than SUSPIRIA, more entertaining and tons crazier, but not nearly as well shot or atmospheric. Take that for what it’s worth.

  28. SDAL – You’re thinking of the right movie. The one with Motorhead on the soundtrack. And the revenge-driven chimpanzee!.

    dieselboy – I first watched SUSPIRIA because someone told me that my preference for dreamlike, surreal films would be fulfilled by Argento. I was expecting something like ERASERHEAD and, needless to say, was disappointed.

    Later on, after seeing stuff like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE, Argento’s artistry and stylistic choices became more apparent to me.

    But no one would blame you if a 30 year old movie failed to scare you or freak you out.

  29. Yeah , I’ve heard that the monkey on Phenomena was a lot of trouble during filming . Always pissed , once even escaped , but was later found and returned to the location . What a fucking primadonna !

  30. Thanks for the great suggestions Vern! Consider the excellent work kept up!

  31. how about “dressed to kill?” it’s an awesome movie, a classic to many (except for the suprisingly large number of people who seem to be annoyed by de palma’s less straightforward flicks), myself included. i’m no slasher expert, but does it count as one? i feel like if “psycho” counts, then “dressed to kill” should since it is a blatant homage to the former. but what do i know?

    i know vern loves de palma unabashedly, which goes along with his status as a top-notch writer on the films of cinema. i’m pretty sure i’ve seen him mention his love for “dressed to kill” (and, really, how could he not love it if he’s a fan of de plama’s?), but i couldn’t find a specific review for it on this sight.

  32. glad to see I’m not the only one who noticed the homophobia in SLEEPAWAY CAMP

    also CANDYMAN is probably my favorite slasher of all time

  33. Thx for the confirmation guys.
    dieselboy, I don’t know Argento’s stuff, (an error I’ll correct in the near future), but I can tell you the Phenomena has its weaknesses, but for all the crazy stuff that goes down in it, it’s worth it. I don’t even want to mention them in case you decide to watch it and you don’t get to be caught of guard by it.
    If you watch it and hate it, sorry for the mislead, but I reckon go for it.

  34. Thanks for the list, Vern.
    Just recently I watched this TV series “Harper’s Island” (just one season in 13 parts) and it’s basically a slasher as a tv series… I don’t think there was something like this before. The first few episodes were good, but a bit “soapy”, but then it got almost great with tension that never let up until the end and some really nasty kills. Most slasher movies can’t keep that up for 90 minutes.

  35. CallMeKermiT – So the PHENOMENA monkey was the Christian Bale of the chimp world?

  36. Gary,

    I would most definitely consider DRESSED TO KILL a slasher movie. Folks may want to discount it because it’s artier and stars an Oscar winner, but I say screw them. It’s about a mysterious transvestite killer slashing up women with a straight razor – it’s a slasher movie.

  37. I guess in my opinion a slasher movie needs to have one murder in it though. It would be like calling The Maltese Falcon an action movie because one guy gets shot.

  38. Vern, for the love of all that is holy, Don’t see Don’t Go In the Woods. You’ve been warned.

  39. Brian’s right, Vern. The movie is almost unwatchable.

  40. Here’s a third vote telling you don’t go to DON’T GO IN THE WOODS. There are plenty of other, less tedious places to see Linnea Quigley’s tits.

  41. And whoops I was thinking of DON’T GO NEAR THE PARK. My mistake.

    Anyways, I think the message is don’t go in the woods, but you can go in the park just so long as you don’t go to the surrounding area of the park.

  42. If you mean the one that says “DON’T GO IN THE WOODS… ALONE!” on the cover and has a terrible drawing of a dead lady with sunglasses on, I have already failed to watch that one last year. I got about 5 minutes in and decided to throw in the towel.

  43. The full title doesn’t even make any sense. It seems to be implying that if you go into the woods with a buddy, the scuzzy mutant that’s draped in animal pelts won’t fuck with you, but that’s simply not true. That title is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

  44. I’ve said it before, I’ve said it loud, I’ve shouted it from rooftops*, and now I’ll say it again.

    Michael Powell’s PEEPING TOM came out a couple months before PSYCHO, it was so shocking and controversial that it essentially killed Powell’s career (and this is a director with a least two bona fide top 100 films to his credit, along with a slew of damn fine pictures), it’s meta, brilliantly acted, fabulously shot and, more than anything, deeply unsettling, twisted, and extra hot great.

    *true story.
    and by true I mean false.

  45. “Peeping Tom” is also interesting from a German point of view, because its star Karl-Heinz Böhm was everybody’s sweetheart over here (thanks to films like the “Sissi” Trilogy, with Romy Schneider). So you can imagine the uproar that it caused when “Peeping Tom” came out.

  46. Yeah, that’s the one. I forgot about the “….Alone” part. I somehow made it all the way through to the end. It plays like a series of vignettes where some mountain man goes around quickly dispatching hikers/campers/artists/the handicapped. Nothing comes together. We don’t get to know any of the characters so all the deaths are meaningless. I’m pretty sure it’s the worst slasher movie I’ve ever seen.

    So, if I see Black Dynamite and pretend to not like it will you review it?

  47. Keepcool – you’re right, I should’ve mentioned PEEPING TOM. It feels more like an art movie than FRIDAY THE 13TH, but it’s a great one.

  48. Peeping Tom is a great film. But people who think Argento is too slow wouldn’t make it trough ten minutes.

  49. …though they might know how to spell “through” better than I do.

  50. Does something like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, or Sweeny Todd count as slasher movies?

  51. PEEPING TOM was given the royal treatment by the Criterion folks. The supplemental material is fascinating.

    Brendan: My local independent video store puts HENRY in the True Crime section and SWEENY TODD (both versions) in the Musicals section. Of course, the same store puts DEEP THROAT in the Romance section and BATTLEFIELD EARTH in the Comedy section, so there might be some behind-the-scenes monkey business going on.

  52. I haven’t seen it mentioned yet, and maybe it doesn’t fit in the “slasher” genre, but I think the original THE HITCHER with Rutger Hauer and C. Thomas Howell is an essential classic and one of my favorite scary movies.

  53. Jareth Cutestory : It was way more scary than Bale , the fucking monkey tried to get away , escape in the woods ! Maybe it was a mental breakdown , too much work or creative differences with Argento , kind of like…..wait , scratch that ….EXACTLY like Tony Jaa working on Ong bak 2 .

  54. Hey, I was wondering if you guys could help me.

    Has there ever been a post-apocalyptic slasher movie? My Oleg brothers and I were discussing how we wanted a HALLOWEEN sequel to take place in a Mad Max world where after the apocalypse Michael Meyers drives around in barren wasteland just stabbing people like he did before the big nuclear destruction of mankind or whatever.

    So if any of you horror buffs can name me a movie like that, I’d love to hear about ti.

    Thanks

  55. My favorite crazy-masked-man-kills-people-with-cool-original-camera-angles-and-a-great-climax movie is probably PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE. Recently, Vern said he’d do a few “expanding my horizons” projects; Brian de Palma’s 1974 {gulp} musical is a good candidate for not only horizon expansion, but mind blowingness. You don’t even have to have mastered the 19th century Gaston Leroux novel source material to understand it, I promise.

    Also, every one of the many female characters in PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE is a straight blazing dime in skimpy clothes, except for a couple 6s.

  56. Anyone else tracking this de Palma gem, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE?

  57. I’m tracking it. It’s been tracked. Consider me tracking it. I’ll track its ass off!

  58. Tracking like an old VCR, eh?

  59. Even like an old Betamax! Did those track? Or Video2000s? If so then I’m tracking like one of them.

    Seriously though, anything DePalma gets my track. Even marrying Nancy Allen. Especially marrying Nancy Allen.

  60. I will look it up. Always interested in a new half-decent slasher flick, if there is such a thing outside of the annals of Hitchcock and the “Scream” franchise. Speaking of which, watched “All the boys love Mandy Jane”. It was pretty good. Bit of a waste of Amber Heard though.

  61. Phantom of the Paradise has got to be one of the best flicks ever. It’s got everything: music, monsters, mayhem. I love it! I got my copy autographed by Paul Williams at a special screening at a horror film fest double billed with The Muppet Movie. He was watching in the row behind me, and I seriously got a kick outta hearing him laugh at himself onscreen.

  62. Vern, it doesn’t belong to your preferred historical interval (roughly The VHS Epoch, of The 80s Era, I gather), it’s been reviewed by dozens of professional movie babblers, and it happens to have an explicit political-social message about the world economy and the real estate market, but, despite these slight marks against it and against its likelihood of appealing to your horror sensibilities, I have a feeling you would really enjoy DREAM HOME (2010).

    Of course anyone interested in a unique slasher type movie should avoid spoilers and avoid reading anything about DREAM HOME before you see it. I’m not saying drop everything and see it right now, but it’s worth your time if you’re into the sick horror-slasher shit that this websight digs.

    There’s plenty of nudity and nods to the “youngsters-who-have-sex-must-be-punished-by-being-slashed” ethos of Jason Voorhees, if that helps get you off the fence for viewing DREAM HOME. The visual effects are memorable, a combo of real props for bits of mutilated body parts and a little CGI blood & gore (only because it was necessary to show a couple of point blank gunshot murders).

    If you’ve already seen it and decided it’s not review-worthy, then I’ll go fuck myself.

    There are some gruesome, imaginative murders and accidental deaths, including something I’d never seen before, involving an airtight garment bag & vacuum. There’s humor, of both the awkward variety and the stabbed-in-the-neck-with-a-bong kind.

    The movie will make you think, because it actually has a real, semi-ambitious plot (somewhat rare for a slasher) that makes sense and is well filmed filmatistically (very rare for a slasher), and it will make you feel, because the characters earn your empathy and engage you with real backstories & emotions. And then you’ll want to take a shower afterwards, which is the normal reaction after a good slasher but probably unique in one that features a petite, hardworking young lady as its protagonist psycho killer.

  63. Alright, I’m 2-for-2 in my last 2 blind slasher selections. DREAM HOME (2010) is a lot of fun gory candy with a healthy dose of morality-economic fable vegetables mixed in, but probably tastes better than that bizarre metaphorical mixture in my opinion,
    and now I’ve also seen BLOODY REUNION (a.k.a. TO SIR WITH LOVE a.k.a. SEUSEUNG-UI EUNHYE) (2006), which is more somber and not nearly as fun or rewarding as DREAM HOME but still manages to barely win my recommendation. Not a full recko, but there’s enough good original stuff here that a slasher/horror fan who thinks he’s seen it all might find good value in it.

    The killer’s mask is a cross between Michael Myers (including the wearer imitating the creepy head tilt) and the DONNIE DARKO rabbit. And he makes a guy gurgle & swallow razor blade shards, so yeah.

    There’s not enough weird touches to make it terribly memorable, but at the very least it’ll have you guessing til the end, through a coupla surprising twists. It’s just an adequate slasher-mystery with good filmatism and a pretty good little plot that doesn’t have any submental bullshit that offends your senses or makes you want to fast forward. I won’t be making it an annual Halloween staple or anything, though there *is* a nasty scene involving staples, but I was pleasantly squeamishly pleased with BLOODY REUNION.

  64. My recommendations here are being put to such good use that I can’t resist posting another. Now, this is tricky, because just the very act of telling you the title of this new movie in this thread (identifying it as a sort of slasher) is a SPOILER, but that’s a compromise we’ll just have to live with.

    ENTRANCE!

    Is it “EN’-trens” or “en-TRANCE'”? Really makes you think…

    The filmatism is excellent, though there are a bunch of not-so-exciting scenes in the first 50 minutes. Hell, to be frankly honest you could probly just fast-forward through the first 2/3 of the movie and miss almost nothing, but then the ending is something special in ENTRANCE (2012).

    This movie has entered my canon of good movies with great long single-take shots, and it could become part of Vern’s studies of the cultural history of a certain iconic John Carpenter creation.

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