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Slasher Movie killer in its natural habitat; stalking the Final Girl.

Zombie movies are about groups: outside, the zombies are legion; inside, the humans struggle to work together. Slasher movies are about individuals: one man is doing all the killing, and only one girl will outwit him and survive.
Sara Bickley, reviewing The Ruins

Near-indestructible serial killers stalking attractive young girls, a combination that allows for buckets of gore and enough flesh to titillate.

The killers, mostly driven by Revenge, are Made of Iron, at a minimum, and usually Implacable. Many are explicitly supernatural. All of them can appear and disappear as if by magic, and the corpses of their victims are equally elusive. A slasher killer can whisk away a full grown adult's corpse in seconds, leaving not a single drop of blood behind, or swiftly arrange all its victims in an elaborate tableau, without ever being seen lugging the dead bodies around. The more explicitly supernatural killers will have powers ranging from Super Strength (all the better to pull victims through walls), the ability to appear in dreams and attack the dreamers, or other ghostly abilities.

The victims are usually teenagers or young adults, all usually guilty of some minor vice. Once the audience has had a convincing demonstration of their (usually sexual) misdemeanours, they are spectacularly slaughtered. If there's more than one sin or minority to pick from then the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality comes into play.

Eventually, there will be only one girl left standing, the Final Girl, normally the only "morally pure" member of the main cast. With considerable help from her death battle exemption, she will kill the killer.

Come the next sequel, it will be revealed that the killer was actually Not Quite Dead.

A subset of the Horror genre, although the schlockier examples replace suspense almost entirely with gore. They are often considered B-movies. Early examples of the genre were heavily influenced by the Giallo films of Italian directors like Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and Mario Bava. The genre first became popular in the late '70s and early '80s, with the release of the three most iconic slasher flicks: Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The genre would burn itself out in the late '80s, as the established franchises grew stale and the ripoffs grew more desperate. The slasher genre was revived in the mid-late '90s, when Wes Craven's Scream satirized the genre and became a hit. Once again, studios sought to cash in on the film's success, releasing their own post-modern, teen-focused slasher flicks. Today, the slasher genre may be entering a third wave, with the remakes of Halloween, My Bloody Valentine, and Friday the 13th all being hits, a remake of Nightmare on Elm Street just arrived, and the backlash against the gore-driven "torture porn" that dominated horror in this decade.

Keep in mind that, while every slasher movie features a serial killer or a spree killer, not every serial killer or spree killer movie is a slasher movie. Also note that a slasher film is quite different from a Psychological Thriller, which tends to emphasize the Sympathy for the Devil part using a Freudian Excuse or two (and possibly a few Pet the Dog moments in the killer's favor), and de-emphasize the Final Girl, often killing off all characters.

Want to write your own slasher flick? We have a handy writer's guide for anybody looking to do just that.

Tropes applicable to the genre:

Notable Slasher Movies include:

Slasher Hybrids and Proto-Slashers[1]

Pre-'70s and '80s movies (but there are some recent examples as well) which contain some of the elements familiar to the genre. These are mostly made of Serial Killer and Giallo movies.

  • Alice, Sweet Alice (1977)
  • Alien (1979)
  • Alone in the Dark (1982 film) (1982)
  • 10 to Midnight (1983): Dirty Harry meets Friday The 13th.
  • The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970): Influential film by famed Italian horror director Dario Argento, who made his debut here. By this film, most of the tropes were in place, although the term "slasher flick" didn't exist yet, and the plot and characters were more akin to those in a usual whodunit.
  • Bloody Birthday (1981): Has some elements in common with the slasher genre and is sometimes categorized as such. Features three pre-adolescent children who kill people off.
  • Dementia 13 (1963): An early predecessor to the genre featuring an axe-weilding killer, notable for being an early work of director Francis Ford Coppola.
  • Death Proof (2008): Quentin Tarantino's take on the genre, featuring a professional stunt driver who uses a souped-up 1969 Dodge Charger as his weapon.
  • Website Hysteria Lives! has a fairly decent list (with reviews and kill lists) of a number of these.
  • Lost Signal (2007): A slasher-less slasher, featuring a drugged out of their mind teenaged couple wandering through the wilderness in the dead of night, convinced someone or something is after them.
  • Maniac (1980): Contains a killer who slashes (and shoots) people with a variety of different things, but tends to the much bleaker side of things. The killer is the main character and suffers from mental illness that neither turns him into a mindless silent bogeyman nor a wisecracking sadist, you don't root for anyone to die, and the final girl's big fight against the killer has her stab him once and run like hell away. The killer does not pursue her for long.
  • Perfect Blue (1997)
  • Psycho (1960): Has very few of the associated tropes and is more akin to a typical Serial Killer movie.
  • Peeping Tom (1960): Same thing as Psycho. As you can see, they even were released on the same year.
  • Pumpkinhead (1988): Features the usual tropes and trappings of the slasher genre, though the villain is a giant monster.
  • Silent Night Bloody Night (1974): Although it predates the recognition of the genre, it does have some elements in common with it.
  • The Terminator (1984): The first film definitely has elements of the genre. Though the sequels are straight action movies.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): One of the first well-known ones to use a Final Girl (though not the first, that would be the 1972 Italian slasher Torso), possibly the first to "monsterize" the killer by portraying him as more beast than man. Also responsible for the stereotype of slasher villains wielding chainsaws. One of the two Trope Makers for the genre, the other being Black Christmas.
  • Thirteen Women (1934)
  • The Toolbox Murders (1978)
  • True Crime movies (usually the poorly made ones, such as Nightstalker or Kemper: The Co-ed Killer) can sometimes give off distinctive slasher film vibes.
  • Visiting Hours (1982)

Homages, Parodies, Other

  • The comic book Hack Slash stars a former Final Girl who hunts down slashers.
  • Cry Wolf is worthy of mention here for being a "faux-slasher". Only two people die in the entire movie. I'm not saying who.
    • And neither of them really dies in a particularly brutal fashion as has become accustom to the genre.
  • Hunter: The Vigil has... Slashers, who are people influenced by the supernatural into becoming perfect Serial Killers. They range from Rippers, who have abnormal, but still theoretically possible abilities, to Scourges, who are obviously supernatural. The types are: Avengers & Legends, Brutes & Masks, Charmers & Psychos, Freaks & Mutants, and Geniuses & Maniacs. It is possible, though difficult, to play one as a Type IV or V Anti-Hero, targeting people, or supernatural beings, who deserve it.
  • Tucker and Dale vs. Evil parodies the 'degenerate hillbilly' variation on this genre by flipping it; the two main characters are a pair of sweet-natured but not very bright hillbillies who, through a bunch of misunderstandings, are mistaken for psycho killers by a group of college students camping in the woods. Very Gory Hilarity Ensues.
  • Pumpkin Night manga series is also based on Slasher movies.
  • Freak island and it's prequel Offal island is based on slasher movies only on an abandoned island with a killer family of cannibal mutant cultsists who also uses magic and have their powers stem from zanta maria.
  • Killing Morph is also another slasher manga.
  • Clock Tower, released in 1995, while a game, is very similar to a slasher movie. You've got your near-indestructible slasher villain who murders young women off-screen. A movie in and out of Development Hell is being made.
  • The "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Nature Trail To Hell" is a parody of these sorts of movies.
  • Scary Movie parodies the genre, mostly Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Its sequels venture into other genres.
  • Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth, which also heavily parodied Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer.
  • Stan Helsing features various Captain Ersatzes of various horror icons, including from Slasher movies.
  • Unmasked Part 25 is an existential British satire of the Friday the 13 th series, in which a deformed slasher named Jackson tries to leave his life of meaningless slaughter for his love of a beautiful blind woman. It's somewhat reminiscent of The Toxic Avenger.
  • The comedy film Psycho Beach Party is a homage to the old slasher movies and beach movies from the 60s.
  • The music video for E-Type's "Angels Crying" is based around slasher movie tropes.
  • There was a Nike commercial were a sporty female outran the chainsaw-toting psycho during a chase scene. Some of the viewers missed the positive message and it eventually got banned.
  • The Horribly Slow Murderer With the Extremely Inefficient Weapon takes the invulnerable killer aspect and runs with it.
  • Apeshit.
  • Boy Meets World did an episode that parodied slasher movies. It involved the main characters getting killed off one by one by masked killer while trapped in detention after school (it was All Just a Dream, of course). The episode came out during the revitalization of the genre in the late 90s and even guest-starred Jennifer Love Hewitt who had recently starred in I Know What You Did Last Summer.
  • Where The Bodies Are Buried and sequels by Kim Newman, are about a series of slasher movies of the same name, whose slasher, Rob Hackwill, has a nasty habit of becoming real.
  • The genre is played with Andrea Mouse-themed storylines from Horndog. Given the comic's style, it tee-totals between straight example and Affectionate Parody.
  • Camp Cuddly Pines Powertool Massacre, a porno-slasher notable for sharing its set with Hatchet.
  1. (Named after a Retro Slashers feature)