A slasher film is a film in the subgenre of horror films involving a violent psychopath stalking and murdering a group of people, usually by use of bladed tools.Although the term "slasher" is often used informally as a generic term for any horror film involving murder, film analysts cite an established set of characteristics which set these films apart from other subgenres, such as splatter films and psychological horror films.
A film, also called a movie, motion picture, moving picture, or photoplay, is a series of still images that, when shown on a screen, create the illusion of moving images.
Genre is any form or type of communication in any mode with socially-agreed upon conventions developed over time. Genre is most popularly known as a category of literature, music, or other forms of art or entertainment, whether written or spoken, audio or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria, yet genres can be aesthetic, rhetorical, communicative, or functional. Genres form by conventions that change over time as cultures invent new genres and discontinue the use of old ones. Often, works fit into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions. Stand-alone texts, works, or pieces of communication may have individual styles, but genres are amalgams of these texts based on agreed-upon or socially inferred conventions. Some genres may have rigid, strictly adhered-to guidelines, while others may show great flexibility.
A horror film is a film that seeks to elicit fear. Initially inspired by literature from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century. The macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Horror may also overlap with the fantasy, supernatural fiction, and thriller genres.
Critics cite the Italian giallo films and psychological horror films such as Peeping Tom (1960) and Psycho (1960) as early influences.The genre hit its peak between 1978–1984 in an era referred to as the "Golden Age" of slasher films. Notable slasher films include The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Child's Play (1988), Scream (1996) and I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). Many slasher films released decades ago continue to attract cult followings.
Giallo is a 20th-century Italian genre of literature and film. Especially outside Italy, giallo refers specifically to a particular Italian thriller-horror genre that has mystery or detective elements and often contains slasher, crime fiction, psychological thriller, psychological horror, exploitation, sexploitation, and, less frequently, supernatural horror elements. In Italy, the term generally denotes thrillers, typically of the crime fiction, mystery, and horror subgenres, regardless of the country of origin.
Peeping Tom is a 1960 British psychological horror-thriller film directed by Michael Powell, written by Leo Marks, and starring Carl Boehm, Anna Massey, and Moira Shearer. The film revolves around a serial killer who murders women while using a portable film camera to record their dying expressions of terror. Its title derives from the slang expression 'Peeping Tom', which describes a voyeur.
Psycho is a 1960 American psychological horror film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, and written by Joseph Stefano. It stars Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Vera Miles, and Martin Balsam, and was based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Leigh), who ends up at a secluded motel after stealing money from her employer, and the motel's owner-manager, Norman Bates (Perkins), and its aftermath.
Slasher films adhere to a specific formula: a past wrongful action causes severe trauma that is reinforced by a commemoration or anniversary that reactivates or re-inspires the killer.Built around stalk-and-murder sequences, the films drawn upon the audience's feelings of catharsis, recreation, and displacement, as related to sexual pleasure.
Catharsis is the purification and purgation of emotions—particularly pity and fear—through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. It is a metaphor originally used by Aristotle in the Poetics, comparing the effects of tragedy on the mind of a spectator to the effect of a cathartic on the body.
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun".
In Freudian psychology, displacement is an unconscious defence mechanism whereby the mind substitutes either a new aim or a new object for goals felt in their original form to be dangerous or unacceptable.
The final girl trope is discussed in film studies as being a young woman (occasionally a young man) left alone to face the killer's advances in the movie's end.Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the heroine in Halloween, is an example of a typical final girl. Final girls are often, like Laurie Strode, virgins among sexually active teens.
The final girl is a trope in horror films. It refers to the last girl or woman alive to confront the killer, ostensibly the one left to tell the story. The final girl has been observed in many films, including The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, Alien, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream. The term was coined by Carol J. Clover in her book Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film (1992). Clover suggested that in these films, the viewer began by sharing the perspective of the killer, but experienced a shift in identification to the final girl partway through the film.
A literary trope is the use of figurative language, via word, phrase or an image, for artistic effect such as using a figure of speech. The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.
Film studies is an academic discipline that deals with various theoretical, historical, and critical approaches to films. It is sometimes subsumed within media studies and is often compared to television studies. Film studies is less concerned with advancing proficiency in film production than it is with exploring the narrative, artistic, cultural, economic, and political implications of the cinema. In searching for these social-ideological values, film studies takes a series of critical approaches for the analysis of production, theoretical framework, context, and creation. In this sense the film studies discipline exists as one in which the teacher does not always assume the primary educator role; the featured film itself serves that function. Also, in studying film, possible careers include critic or production. Film theory often includes the study of conflicts between the aesthetics of visual Hollywood and the textual analysis of screenplay. Overall the study of film continues to grow, as does the industry on which it focuses. Academic journals publishing film studies work include Sight & Sound, Film International, CineAction, Screen, Cinema Journal, Film Quarterly and Journal of Film and Video.
Several slasher film villains grew to take on anti-heroic characteristics, with the franchises following the continued efforts of a villain, rather than the killer's victims (for example, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Chucky, and Leatherface).The Scream film series is a rarity that follows its heroine Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) rather than masked killer Ghostface, whose identity changes from film-to-film and is only revealed in each entry's finale.
An antihero or antiheroine is a main character in a story who lacks conventional heroic qualities and attributes such as idealism, courage and morality. Although antiheroes may sometimes perform actions that are morally correct, it is not always for the right reasons, often acting primarily out of self-interest or in ways that defy conventional ethical codes.
Michael Myers is a fictional character from the Halloween series of slasher films. He first appears in John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) as a young boy who murders his sister, Judith Myers, and then, fifteen years later, returns home to Haddonfield to murder more teenagers. In the original Halloween, the adult Michael Myers, referred to as The Shape in the closing credits, was portrayed by Nick Castle for most of the film, with Tony Moran and Tommy Lee Wallace substituting in the final scenes. The character was created by Debra Hill and John Carpenter and has appeared in ten films, as well as novels, multiple video games, and several comic books.
FrederickCharles "Freddy" Krueger is a character from the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series. He first appeared in Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) as a burnt serial killer who uses a gloved hand with razors to kill his victims in their dreams, causing their deaths in the real world as well. In the dream world, he is a powerful force and almost completely invulnerable. However, whenever Freddy is pulled into the real world, he has normal human vulnerabilities.
The appeal of watching people inflict violence upon each other dates back thousands of years to Ancient Rome,though fictionalized accounts became marketable with late 19th century horror plays produced at the Grand Guignol. Maurice Tourneur's The Lunatics (1912) used visceral violence to attract the Guignol's audience; films like this eventually led to public outcry in the United States, eventually passing the Hays Code in 1930. The Hays Code is one of the entertainment industry's earliest set of guidelines restricting sexuality and violence deemed unacceptable.
Violence is "the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy." Less conventional definitions are also used, such as the World Health Organization's definition of violence as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation."
A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their lives and their legal and social standing by appearing in the arena. Most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death.
Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol – known as the Grand Guignol – was a theatre in the Pigalle area of Paris. From its opening in 1897 until its closing in 1962, it specialised in naturalistic horror shows. Its name is often used as a general term for graphic, amoral horror entertainment, a genre popular from Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, to today's splatter films.
Crime writer Mary Roberts Rinehart influenced horror literature with her novel The Circular Staircase (1908),adapted into the silent film The Bat (1926), about guests in a remote mansion menaced by a killer in a grotesque mask. Its success led to a series of "old dark house" films including The Cat and the Canary (1927), based on John Willard's 1922 stage play, and Universal Pictures' The Old Dark House (1932), based on the novel by J.B. Priestley. In both films town dwellers are pitted against strange country folk, a recurring theme in later horror films. Along with the "madman on the loose" plotline, these films employed several influences upon the slasher genre, such as lengthy point of view shots and a "sins of the father" catalyst to propel the plot's mayhem.
George Archainbaud's Thirteen Women (1932) tells the story of a sorority whose former members are set against one another by a vengeful peer who crosses out their yearbook photos, a device used in subsequent films Prom Night (1980) and Graduation Day (1981).Early examples include a maniac seeking revenge in The Terror (1928), based on the play by Edgar Wallace.
B-movie mogul Val Lewton produced The Leopard Man (1943), about a murderer framing his crimes against women on an escaped show leopard.Basil Rathbone's The Scarlet Claw (1944) sees Sherlock Holmes investigate murders committed with a five-pronged garden weeder that the killer would raise in the air and bring down on the victim repeatedly, an editing technique that became familiar in the genre. Robert Siodmak's The Spiral Staircase (1946), based on Ethel White's novel Some Must Watch, stars Ethel Barrymore as a sympathetic woman trying to survive black-gloved killers. The Spiral Staircase also features an early use of jump scares.
British writer Agatha Christie's particularly influential 1939 novel Ten Little Indians (adapted in 1945 as And Then There Were None ), centers on a group of people with secret pasts who are killed one-by-one on an isolated island. Each of the murders mirrors a verse from a nursery rhyme, merging the themes of childhood innocence and vengeful murder.House of Wax (1953), The Bad Seed (1956), Screaming Mimi (1958), Jack the Ripper (1959), and Cover Girl Killer (1959) all incorporated Christie's literary themes.
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) used visuals that had been deemed unacceptable by movie studios, including scenes of violence, sexuality, and even the shot of a toilet flushing.That same year Michael Powell released Peeping Tom , showing the killer's perspective as he murders women to photograph their dying expressions.
Psycho was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins garnering universal acclaim for his role as Norman Bates.This notice drew bankable movie stars to horror films. Joan Crawford starred in William Castle's Strait-Jacket (1964) and in Jim O'Connolly's Berserk! (1967), while Albert Finney starred in MGM's Night Must Fall (1964) (a remake of the 1937 British film) and Peter Cushing starred in Corruption (1968).
Hammer Studios, a London-based company, followed Psycho's success with Taste of Fear (1961), Maniac (1963), Paranoiac (1963), Nightmare (1964), Fanatic (1965), The Nanny (1965), Hysteria (1965), and Crescendo (1970).Hammer's rival Amicus had Robert Bloch, author of 1959 Psycho novel, write the script for Psychopath (1968).
Francis Ford Coppola's debut, Dementia 13 (1963), takes place in an Irish castle where relatives gather to commemorate a family death but are murdered one-by-one, greatly influenced the Italian giallo thrillers of the 1970s.William Castle's Homicidal (1961) features gore in its murder scenes, something both Psycho and PeepingTom had edited out. Richard Hillard's Violent Midnight (1963) showed a black-gloved killer's point of view as they pull down a branch to watch a victim and also featured a skinny-dipping scene. Crown International's Terrified (1963) features a masked killer. Spain's The House That Screamed (1969) features violent murders and preempted later campus-based slashers.
Subgenres that influenced slasher films include splatter films, Krimi films, and giallo films.
Splatter films focus on gratuitous gore.Herschell Gordon Lewis's Blood Feast (1963) was a hit at drive-in theaters and is often considered the first splatter film. Lewis followed with gory films Two-Thousand Maniacs! (1964), Color Me Blood Red (1965), The Gruesome Twosome (1967) and The Wizard of Gore (1971). This grotesque style translated to Andy Milligan's The Ghastly Ones (1969), Twisted Nerve (1968), Night After Night After Night (1969) as well as The Haunted House of Horror (1969).
Post-World War II Germany adapted British writer Edgar Wallace's crime novels into a subgenre of their own called Krimi films.The Krimi films were released in the late 1950s through the early 1970s and featured villains in bold costumes accompanied by jazz scores from composers such as Martin Böttcher and Peter Thomas. Fellowship of the Frog (1959), about a murderer terrorizing London, was successful in America, leading to similar adaptations like The Green Archer (1961) and Dead Eyes of London (1961). The Rialto Studio produced 32 Krimi films between 1959–1970.
Italy's giallo thrillers are crime procedurals or murder mysteries interlaced with eroticism and psychological horror.Giallo films feature unidentified killers murdering in grand fashions. Unlike most American slasher films the protagonists of gialli are frequently (but not always) jet-setting adults sporting the most stylish Milan fashions. These protagonists are often outsiders reluctantly brought into the mystery through extenuating circumstances, like witnessing a murder or being suspected of the crimes themselves. Much like Krimi films, gialli plots tended to be outlandish and improbable, occasionally imploring supernatural elements. Sergio Martino's Torso (1973) featured a masked killer preying upon beautiful and promiscuous co-eds in retribution for a past misdeed. Torso's edge-of-your-seat climax finds a "final girl" facing off with the killer in an isolated villa. Mario Bava's A Bay of Blood (1971) is a whodunit depicting creative death sequences on a lakeside setting, and greatly inspired Friday the 13th (1980) and its 1981 sequel. Gialli were popular in American cinemas and drive-in theaters, though they were much more heavily censored than in Europe, where British ads promoted sex and nudity over thrills and violence. The British thriller Assault (1971) and Spanish mystery A Dragonfly for Each Corpse (1974) share many traits with Italian gialli. Death Steps in the Dark (1977) spoofed the familiar conventions found in giallo films. Despite successes from Deep Red (1975) and The Blood-Stained Shadow (1978), giallo films gradually fell out of fashion by the mid-1970s as diminishing returns forced budget cuts. Films such as Play Motel (1979) and Giallo a Venezia (1979) exploited their low-budgets with shocking hardcore pornography.
The early 1970s saw an increase in exploitation films that lured audiences to grindhouses and drive-ins by advertising of sex and violence. Robert Fuest's And Soon the Darkness (1970) set off the 70s exploitation wave by maximizing its small budget and taking place in daylight, inadvertently distancing from Gothic 1960s horror. Fright (1971) is based on the "babysitter and the man upstairs" urban legend while Tower of Evil (1972) features careless partying teens murdered in a remote island lighthouse.Pete Walker broke taboos by advertising his films' negative reviews to attract viewers looking for the depraved, using a "no press is bad press" mantra with The Flesh and Blood Show (1972), Frightmare (1974), House of Mortal Sin (1976), Schizo (1976) and The Comeback (1978). Other filmmakers followed Walker's lead, as posters dubbed Blood and Lace (1971) as "sickest PG-rated movie ever made!", while Scream Bloody Murder (1973) called itself as "gore-nography."
By 1974 the exploitation film battled political correctness and their popularity waned, and while films like The Love Butcher (1975) and The Redeemer: Son of Satan (1976) were accused of promoting bigotry, the micro-budget independent film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) became a major hit and the most commercially successful horror film since The Exorcist . The story concerns a violent clash of cultures and ideals between the counter-culture and traditional conservative values, with the film's squealing antagonist Leatherface carrying a chainsaw and wearing the faces of victims he and his family eat. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre spawned imitators and its false "based on a true story" advertisements gave way to reenactments of true crime. The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976), based on the Phantom Killer case, and Another Son of Sam (1977), based on the Son of Sam slayings, cashed-in on headlines and public fascination. Wes Craven modernized the Sawney Bean legend in The Hills Have Eyes (1977) by building upon themes presented in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The Hills Have Eyes was another huge financial success, relaunching Craven's career after it had been damaged by controversy surrounding his previous film, The Last House on the Left (1972).
Following holiday-themed exploitation films Home for the Holidays (1972), All Through the House (1972) and Silent Night, Bloody Night (1973), Black Christmas (1974) uses horror as a board to debate social topics of its time, including feminism, abortion, and alcoholism. Utilizing the "killer calling from inside the house" gimmick, Black Christmas is visually and thematically a precursor to John Carpenter's Halloween (1978), as young women are terrorized in a previously safe environment during an iconic holiday. Like Halloween, Clark's film opens with a lengthy point-of-view, but it differs in the treatment of the killer's identity. Despite making $4,053,000 on a $620,000 budget, Black Christmas was initially criticized, with Variety complaining that it was a "bloody, senseless kill-for-kicks" flick that exploited unnecessary violence. Despite its modest initial box office run, the film has garnered critical reappraisal, with film historians noting its importance in the horror film genre and some even citing it as the original slasher film.
Jumpstarted by the massive success of John Carpenter's Halloween, the era commonly cited as the Golden Age of slasher films is 1978–1984, with some scholars citing over 100 similar films released over the six-year period.Despite most films receiving negative reviews, many Golden Age slasher films were extremely profitable and have established cult followings. Many films reused Halloween's template of a murderous figure stalking teens, though they escalated the gore and nudity from Carpenter's restrained film. Golden Age slasher films exploited dangers lurking in American institutions such as high schools, colleges, summer camps, and hospitals.
Cashing in on the drive-in success of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977), The Toolbox Murders was quickly and cheaply shot but did not generate the interest of the former films. Exploitative Killer's Delight is a San Francisco-set serial killer story claiming to take inspiration from Ted Bundy and the Zodiac Killer.Leading up to Halloween's October release were August's gialli-inspired Eyes of Laura Mars (written by John Carpenter) and September's "babysitter in peril" TV Movie Are You in the House Alone? Of them, TheEyes of Laura Mars grossed $20 million against a $7 million budget.
Influenced by the French New Wave's Eyes Without a Face (1960), science fiction thriller Westworld (1973) and Black Christmas (1974), Halloween was directed, composed and co-written by Carpenter, who co-write with his then-girlfriend and producing partner Debra Hill on a budget of $300,000 provided by Syrian-American producer Moustapha Akkad. To minimize costs, locations were reduced and time took place over a brief period.Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Janet Leigh, was cast as the heroine Laurie Strode while veteran actor Donald Pleasence was cast as Dr. Sam Loomis, an homage to John Gavin's character in Psycho. Halloween's opening tracks a six-year-old's point-of-view as he kills his older sister, a scene emulated in numerous films such as Blow Out (1981) and The Funhouse (1981). Carpenter denies writing sexually active teens to be victims in favor of a virginal "final girl" survivor, though subsequent filmmakers copied what appeared to be a "sex-equals-death" mantra.
When shown an early cut of Halloween without a musical score, all major American studios declined to distribute it, one executive even remarking that it was not scary. Carpenter added music himself, and the film was distributed locally in four Kansas City theaters through Akkad's Compass International Pictures in October 1978. Word-of-mouth made the movie a sleeper hit that was selected to screen at the November 1978 Chicago Film Festival, where the country's major critics acclaimed it. Halloween grew into a major box office success, grossing over $70 million worldwide and selling over 20 million tickets in North America, becoming the most profitable independent film until being surpassed by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990).
Though the telekinesis slasher Tourist Trap was initially unsuccessful, it has undergone a reappraisal by fans. 1979's most successful slasher was Fred Walton's When a Stranger Calls , which sold 8.5 million tickets in North America. Its success has largely been credited to its opening scene, in which a babysitter (Carol Kane) is taunted by a caller who repeatedly asks, "Have you checked the children?"Less successful were Ray Dennis Steckler's burlesque slasher The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher and Abel Ferrara's The Driller Killer , both of which featured gratuoitous on-screen violence against vagrant people.
The election of Ronald Reagan as the 40th President of the United States drew in a new age of conservatism that ushered concern of rising violence on film.The slasher film, at the height of its commercial power, also became the center of a political and cultural maelstrom. Sean S. Cunningham's sleeper hit Friday the 13th was the year's most commercially successful slasher film, selling nearly 15 million tickets in North America. Despite a financial success, distributor Paramount Pictures was criticized for "lowering" itself to release a violent exploitation film, with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert famously despising the film; Siskel, in his Chicago Tribune review, revealed the identity and fate of the film's killer in an attempt to hurt its box office and provided the address of the chairman of Paramount Pictures for viewers to complain. The MPAA was criticized for allowing Friday the 13th an R rating, but its violence would inspire gorier films to follow, as it set a new bar for acceptable levels of on-screen violence. The criticisms that began with Friday the 13th would lead to the genre's eventual decline in subsequent years.
The small-budget thrillers Silent Scream and Prom Night were box office hits with $7.9 and $14.8 million, respectively.Jamie Lee Curtis starred in the independent Prom Night, as well studio films Terror Train and The Fog to earn her "scream queen" title. MGM's the Halloween-clone He Knows You're Alone sold nearly 2 million tickets, though Paramount Pictures John Huston-directed Phobia only sold an estimated 22,000 tickets. Two high-profile slasher-thrillers were met with protest; William Friedkin's Cruising and Gordon Willis' Windows , both of which equate homosexuality with psychosis; Cruising drew protests from gay rights groups, and though it pre-dates the AIDS crisis, the film's portrayal of the gay community fueled subsequent backlash once the virus became an epidemic.
Low budget exploitative films New Year's Evil, Don't Go in the House and Don't Answer the Phone! were called-out for misogyny that dwelled on the suffering of females exclusively.Acclaimed filmmaker Brian De Palma's Psycho-homage Dressed to Kill drew a wave of protest from the National Organization for Women (NOW), who picketed the film's screening on the University of Iowa campus. The year's most controversial slashers was William Lustig's Maniac , about a schizophrenic serial killer in New York. Maniac was maligned by critics; Vincent Canby of The New York Times said that watching the film was like "watching someone else throw up." Lustig released the film unrated on American screens, sidestepping the MPAA to still bring in $6 million at the box office.
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho's influence was felt two decades later in Funeral Homeand The Unseen. Ridley Scott's successful Alien (1979) spawned its own sci-fi-horror subgenre that included slasher films Scared to Death and Without Warning . The $86.4 million box office success of The Amityville Horror (1979) spurred an interest in the supernatural, from The Boogeyman to the Bigfoot slasher Night of the Demon . Joe D'Amato's gruesome Italian horror film Antropophagus and the Australian slasher Nightmares showed that the genre was spreading internationally.
Slasher films reached a saturation point in 1981, as heavily promoted movies like My Bloody Valentine and The Burning were box office failures.After the success of Friday the 13th, Paramount Pictures picked up My Bloody Valentine with hopes to achieve similar success. The film became the subject of intense scrutiny in the wake of John Lennon's murder, and was released heavily edited; lacking the draw of gore, My Bloody Valentine barely sold 2 million tickets in North America, much less than the 15 million sold by Friday the 13th the year beforehand. Thematically similar to My Bloody Valentine, The Prowler hoped to lure an audience with gore effects by Friday the 13th's Tom Savini but large MPAA edits contributed to its failure to find a nationwide distributor. Suffering similar censorship was The Burning, which also employed Savini's special effects, though it does mark the feature film debuts of Brad Grey, Holly Hunter, Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein (The Burning was a film named in Harvey Weinstein's sexual abuse allegations).
Profits of Halloween and Friday the 13th drew studio interest, to varying success. Warner Bros.'s Eyes of a Stranger ($1.1 million) and Night School ($1.2 million), Paramount Pictures' The Fan ($3 million), Universal Pictures' The Funhouse ($8 million), and Columbia Pictures' Happy Birthday to Me ($10 million).CBS' TV movie, Dark Night of the Scarecrow brought the genre to the small screen. Two sequels had bigger body counts and more gore than their predecessors, but not higher box office intakes; Friday the 13th Part 2 sold 7.8 million tickets and Halloween II sold 9.2 million; both sequels sold around half of their original film's tickets, though they were still very popular (Halloween II was the second highest-grossing horror film of the year behind An American Werewolf in London ).
Independent companies churned out slasher films Final Exam, Bloody Birthday , Hell Night , Don't Go in the Woods... Alone!, Wes Craven's Deadly Blessing and Graduation Day .Fantasy and sci-fi genres continued to blend with the slasher film in Strange Behavior , GhostKeeper and EvilSpeak . The international market found Italy's Absurd and Madhouse and Germany's Bloody Moon .
Straight-to-video productions cut costs to maximize profit. The independent horror film Madman opened in New York City's top 10, according to Variety, but soon fell out of theaters for a much healthier life on home video.The Dorm That Dripped Blood and Honeymoon Horror , each made for between $50–90,000, became successful in the early days of VHS. Because of this change, independent productions began having difficulties finding theatrical distribution. Girls Nite Out had a very limited release in 1982 but was re-released in 1984 in more theaters until finally finding a home on VHS. Paul Lynch's Humongous was released through AVCO Embassy Pictures, but a change in management severely limited the film's theatrical release. Films such as Hospital Massacre and Night Warning enjoyed strong home rentals from video stores, though Dark Sanity , The Forest , Unhinged , Trick or Treats , and Island of Blood fell into obscurity with little theatrical releases and only sub-par video transfers.
Supernatural slasher films continued to build in popularity with The Slayer, The Incubus, Blood Song , Don't Go to Sleep and Superstition (the supernatural-themed Halloween III: Season of the Witch , though part of the Halloween franchise, does not adhere to the slasher film formula). Alone in the Dark was New Line Cinema's first feature film, released to little revenue and initially dismissed by critics, though the film has gained critical reappraisal. Director Amy Holden Jones and writer Rita Mae Brown gender-swapped to showcase exploitative violence against men in The Slumber Party Massacre,while Visiting Hours pitted liberal feminism against macho right-wing bigotry with exploitative results.
Friday the 13th Part III , the first slasher trilogy, was an enormous success, selling 12 million tickets and dethroning E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial from the top of the box office.The film's iconic hockey mask has grown to pop-culture iconography. Universal Pictures had a tiny release for Death Valley , while Columbia Pictures found modest success with Silent Rage . Independent distributor Embassy Pictures released The Seduction to a surprising $11 million, an erotic slasher-thriller that predates blockbusters Fatal Attraction (1987) and Basic Instinct (1992) by several years.
Internationally, Australia released Next of Kin while Puerto Rico's Pieces was filmed in Boston and Madrid by an Italian-American producer with a Spanish director. Italian gialli saw slasher film influences in their releases for Sergio Martino's The Scorpion with Two Tails , Lucio Fulci's The New York Ripper and Dario Argento's Tenebrae .
Traditional slasher films saw less frequent output. The House on Sorority Row followed the same general plot as Prom Night (1980) with guilty teens stalked and punished for a terrible secret. The Final Terror borrows visual and thematic elements from Just Before Dawn (1981), as Sweet Sixteen borrows from Happy Birthday to Me (1981). 1983's most successful slasher was Psycho II , which reunited original cast members Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles. The film's victims were updated to pot-smoking teens, and with 11 million ticket sales Psycho II was a hit.10 to Midnight, inspired by the real-life crimes of Richard Speck, promoted star Charles Bronson's justice-for-all character above its horror themes. Robert Hiltzik's Sleepaway Camp was a home video hit, being unique for its pubescent victims and themes of paedophilia and transvestism. Sleepaway Camp featured homosexual scenes, which were taboo at the time.
In Canada, whodunit Curtains had a brief theatrical life before finding new life on VHS, while criticism toward American Nightmare's portrayal of prostitutes, drug addicts, and pornography addicts hurt its video rentals.Sledgehammer was shot-on-video for just $40,000, with a gender-reversal climax showing Playgirl model Ted Prior as a "final guy." Other home video slashers from the year include Blood Beat, Double Exposure , and Scalps , the latter claiming to be one of the most censored films in history. Releases began to distance from the genre. The poster for Mortuary features a hand is bursting from the grave, though the undead have nothing to do with the film. Distributors were aware of fading box office profits, and they were attempting to hoodwink audiences into thinking long-shelved releases like Mortuary were different.
The public had largely lost interest in theatrical released slashers, drawing a close to the Golden Age.Production rates plummeted and major studios all but abandoned the genre that, only a few years earlier, had been very profitable. Many 1984 slasher films with brief theatrical runs found varying degrees of success on home video, such as Splatter University , Satan's Blade , Blood Theatre , Rocktober Blood and Fatal Games . Movies like The Prey and Evil Judgement were filmed years prior and finally were given small theatrical releases. Silent Madness used 3D to ride the success of Friday the 13th Part III (1982), though the effect did not translate to the VHS format.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter brought the saga of Jason Voorhees to a close, with his demise the main marketing tool. It worked, with The Final Chapter selling 10-million tickets in North America, hinting the franchise would continue even if Jason's demise marked a shift in the genre.This shift was emphasized by controversy from Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984): Protesters picketed theaters playing the film with placards reading, "Deck the hall with holly – not bodies!" Despite other Christmas-themed horror films, including the same year's Don't Open till Christmas , promotional material for Silent Night, Deadly Night featured a killer Santa with the tagline: "He knows when you've been naughty!" Released in November 1984 by TriStar Pictures, persistent carol-singers forced one Bronx cinema to pull Silent Night, Deadly Night a week into its run. Soon widespread outrage led to the film's removal, with only 741,500 tickets sold.
As interest in the Golden Age slasher waned, Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street revitalized the genre by mixing fantasy and horror in a cost-effective way. Craven had toyed with slasher films before in Deadly Blessing (1981), though he was frustrated the genre he had helped create with The Last House on the Left (1972) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977) had not benefited him financially. Developing A Nightmare on Elm Street since 1981, Craven recognized time running out due to declining revenues from theatrical slasher film releases.A Nightmare on Elm Street and especially its villain Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) became cultural phenomenons. On a budget of just $1.8 million the film sold over 7 million tickets in North America and launched one of the most successful film franchises in history. A Nightmare on Elm Street provided the success that New Line Cinema needed to become major Hollywood company; to this day, New Line is referred to as "The House That Freddy Built." The final slasher film released during the Golden Age, The Initiation, was greatly overshadowed by A Nightmare on Elm Street, (though both films feature dreams as plot points and a horribly burned "nightmare man"). The success of A Nightmare on Elm Street welcomed in a new wave of horror films that relied on special effects, almost completely silencing the smaller low-budget Golden Age features.
Despite A Nightmare on Elm Street 's success, fatigue hit the slasher genre and its popularity had declined substantially. The home video revolution, fueled by the popularity of VHS, provided a new outlet for low-budget filmmaking. Without major studio backing for theatrical release, slasher films became second only to pornography in the home video market. The drop in budgets to accommodate a more economic approach was usually met with a decline in quality. Holdovers filmed during the Golden Age such as Too Scared to Scream (1985), The Mutilator (1985), Blood Rage (1987) Killer Party (1986) and Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986) found video distribution. Mirroring the punk rock movement, novice filmmakers proved anyone could make a movie on home video, resulting in shot-on-video slashers Blood Cult (1985), The Ripper (1985), Spine (1986), Truth or Dare? (1986), Killer Workout (1987), and Death Spa (1989).Lesser-known horror properties Sleepaway Camp , The Slumber Party Massacre and Silent Night, Deadly Night became franchises on home video. The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 (1985) and Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) were theatrically released but neither film was embraced like A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985), a sequel rushed into production. Distinguished by overtly homoerotic undertones, Freddy's Revenge became the highest grossing horror film of 1985 and inspired "dream" slashes Dreamaniac (1986), Bad Dreams (1988), Deadly Dreams (1988), and Dream Demon (1988).
Paramount Pictures released the parody April Fool's Day (1986) with hopes to start a sister franchise to its Friday the 13th property, though the film's modest box office run never led to a series. Three other spoofs, Evil Laugh (1986), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) and Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), were box office disappointments; Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 sold just 2 million tickets while Jason Lives sold 5.2 million, both significantly down from their predecessors.Trying to cater the public of adult action thrillers that were popular in the 1980s, Sylvester Stallone's cop-thriller Cobra (1986) is a thinly-veiled slasher film advertised as an action movie, and sold 13.2 million tickets. The home video market made stars out of character actors such as Terry O'Quinn and Bruce Campbell, whose respective independent horror-thrillers The Stepfather (1987) and Maniac Cop (1988) found more support on home video than in theaters. Quinn returned for Stepfather II (1989) but chose not to reprise his role in "Stepfather III" (1992), while Campbell followed a similar route with a cameo in Maniac Cop 2 (1990) and no participation in Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence (1993).
The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise dominated late-1980s horror wave, with A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) selling 11.5 million tickets in North America and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) following another 12 million tickets. By comparison, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) sold approximately 4.5 million tickets each, less than half of the Elm Street films. The personality-driven appeal of Freddy Krueger was not lost on filmmakers, as characters like Chucky and Candyman were given ample dialogue and placed in urban settings that had largely been ignored by the Golden Age. Chucky's Child's Play (1988) and its 1990 sequel sold over 14.7 million tickets combined, while Candyman (1992) sold a healthy 6.2 million. Both franchises fell out rather quickly, when Child's Play 3 (1991) selling only 3.5 million tickets in North America and Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995) selling only 3.2 million.
Internationally, the slasher film remained profitable. Mexico released Zombie Apocalypse (1985), Don't Panic (1988), Grave Robbers (1990) and Hell's Trap (1990). Europe saw releases from Sweden's Blood Tracks (1985), The United Kingdom's Lucifer (1987), Spain's Anguish (1987) and Italy's StageFright (1987) and BodyCount (1987). In the Pacific, Australia released Symphony of Evil (1987), Houseboat Horror (1989), and Bloodmoon (1990), while Japan released Evil Dead Trap (1988).
By 1989 the major franchises had faded from public interest, resulting in box office failures from Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989).The Dream Child's 5.6 million tickets were a sharp decline, while Jason Takes Manhattan and The Revenge of Michael Myers each sold only about 3 million tickets. Due to the declining ticket sales, rights to the Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises were sold to New Line Cinema and Mirimax Films, respectively. Now owning both the Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger characters, New Line would look into a franchise-crossover event film. Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) and Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) began this crossover franchise, but profit losses from both films stalled the project for a decade. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) was released under Mirimax's Dimension Films banner to negative fan reaction and a weak box office.
Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) utilized characters from his original Elm Street film in self-referential and ironic ways, as the actors played versions of their true personas targeted by a Freddy Krueger-inspired demon. New Nightmare sold 2.3 million tickets the North American box office. The slasher film's surprising resurrection came in the form of Scream (1996), a box office smash and redefined the genre's rules. Directed by Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, Scream juggled postmodern humor with visceral horror. The film played on nostalgia for the Golden Age, but appealed to a younger audience with contemporary young actors and popular music. Williamson, a self-confessed fan of Halloween (1978), Prom Night (1980), and Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), wrote the characters as well-versed in horror film lore and knowing all the clichés that the audience were aware of. The film sold over 22.5 million tickets in North America to become the highest grossing slasher film of all time, the first slasher film to cross $100 million at the domestic box office, and the most successful horror film since The Silence of the Lambs (1991). The marketing for Scream distanced itself from the slasher subgenre as it passed itself as a "new thriller" that showcased the celebrity of its stars, promoting the appearances of then-popular stars Drew Barrymore, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell over its violence.
Williamson's follow-up, I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), was heavily inspired by Prom Night and The House on Sorority Row (1983). Released less than a year after Scream to "critic proof" success, the film sold nearly 16 million tickets at the North American box office. Two months later Dimension Films released Scream 2 (1997) to the highest grossing opening weekend of any R-rated film at the time; the sequel sold 22 million tickets and was a critical hit. Taking note from the marketing success of Scream, the promotional materials for I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2 relied heavily on the recognizability of cast-members Rebecca Gayheart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Joshua Jackson, Laurie Metcalf, Jerry O'Connell, Ryan Phillippe, Jada Pinkett, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Liev Schreiber.
Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer were internationally popular. In Asia, Hong Kong released The Deadly Camp (1999) and South Korea released Bloody Beach (2000), The Record (2001), and Nightmare (2000). Australia's postmodern Cut (2000) cast American actress Molly Ringwald as its heroine. Britain released Lighthouse (1999) and the Netherlands had two teen slashers, School's Out (1999) and The Pool (2001). Bollywood produced the first musical-slasher hybrid with Kucch To Hai (2003), as well as the more straightforward Dhund: The Fog (2003).
Scream 2 marked a high-point for interest in the 1990s slasher film. Urban Legend (1998) was a modest hit, selling 8 million tickets, though slasher sales were already starting to drop. The sequels Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Bride of Chucky (1998) and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) were each box office successes, again marketing on the appeal their casts, which included Adam Arkin, Jack Black, LL Cool J, Jamie Lee Curtis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Hartnett, Katherine Heighl, Brandy Norwood, Jodi Lynn O'Keefe, Mekhi Pfeiffer, John Ritter, Jennifer Tilly, and Michelle Williams. Low-budget slasher films The Clown at Midnight (1998) and Cherry Falls (2000) had trouble competing with big-budget horror films that could afford then-bankable actors.
Scream 3 (2000), the first entry in the Scream series not written by Kevin Williamson, was another huge success with 16.5 million tickets sold, though poor word-of-mouth prevented it from reaching the heights of its predecessors. Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000) sold a meager 4 million tickets, less than half of what its predecessor had sold just two years earlier; both the I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend franchises were relegated to the direct-to-video market. The genre continued to fall apart with box office bombs Valentine (2001) and Jason X (2002), as well as the critically maligned Halloween: Resurrection (2002), a sequel that sold less than half its predecessor's tickets. New Line Cinema's highly anticipated Freddy vs. Jason (2003), in development since 1986, took note from Scream and mixed nostalgia with recognizable actors; it sold a massive 14 million tickets at the domestic box office, acting a symbolic love-letter to slasher films of the Golden Age.
Films like Final Destination (2000) and Jeepers Creepers (2001) kept slasher film values in mainstream movies, but they deviated from the standard formula set forth by movies such as Halloween (1978), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Scream (1996). The filmmakers behind Make a Wish (2002) and HellBent (2004) diversified their stories to appeal to their gay and lesbian audiences. African American filmmakers with largely black casts too stabs at the genre in Killjoy (2000), Holla If I Kill You (2003), Holla (2006), and Somebody Help Me (2007).
With 2.5 million tickets sold on a low-budget, Wrong Turn (2003) launched a franchise of straight-to-video sequels. Filmmakers around the world tested the levels of on-screen violence an audience would accept. Musician-filmmaker Rob Zombie strove to bring the horror genre away from pop-culture and back to its exploitative roots in House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and The Devil's Rejects (2005). New French Extremity violence was influential in High Tension (2003), Them (2006), Inside (2007), Frontier(s) (2007) and Martyrs (2008) became worldwide hits. Other European slasher films of the time included Austria's Dead in 3 Days (2006), Norway's Cold Prey (2006) and its 2008 sequel, as well as a number of British thrillers: Long Time Dead (2002), Creep (2004), Severance (2006), Wilderness (2008), The Children (2008), Eden Lake (2008) and Tormented (2009). In Asia, Taiwan released Invitation Only (2009), Scared (2005), and Slice (2009), while South Korea's released Bloody Reunion (2006),
Low-budget North American slasher films received limited theatrical releases before the DVD releases (which had replaced the obsolete VHS format). Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006), All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006), Dark Ride (2006), Hatchet (2006), Simon Says (2006), The Tripper (2006), See No Evil (2006), and Gutterballs (2008) each reference early 80s slasher films, though they were sidelined to limited distribution in a market crowded by splatter films in the wake of Saw (2004) and its sequels. Wes Craven, one of the biggest names in horror for over three decades, directed box office disappointments My Soul to Take (2011) and Scream 4 (2011), which sold only 1.8 million and 4.7 million tickets, respectively. The Strangers (2008) and You're Next (2011) were applauded for their craftsmanship and post-9/11 twist on the home invasion genre, though neither film generated much interest beyond horror fans. 80s homages Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) and The Final Girls (2015) add thematic and emotional subtexts (i.e. stereotyping and grief), bringing praise for effectively mixing horror with heart.Meta-horror sleeper-hit The Cabin in the Woods (2012) was a financial and critical success that shook preconceived notions and twisted them unexpected ways that marked a conscious-turning point for the whole horror genre, not just slasher films: audiences wanted surprising and original thrillers that were not strict throwbacks. These small but noticeable changes would come to affect the genre in the coming decade.
As 1990s Scream-inspired slasher films dwindled in popularity, the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) became a sleeper hit by playing on public's familiarity of the 1974 original but promising updated thrills and suspense. Like Gus Van Sant's Psycho (1998), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre dilute the original film's controversial aspects for maximum commercial appeal. TheTexas Chainsaw Massacre remake sold over 13.5 million tickets in North America and was followed by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), which sold a respectable 6-million tickets, though it was still struck by diminishing returns.
Riding on the success of the 21st Century's Chainsaw Massacre remake was House of Wax (2005), Black Christmas (2006), April Fool's Day (2008), Train (2008). Remakes of The Fog (2005), When a Stranger Calls (2006) and Prom Night (2008) were released with PG-13 ratings to pull in the largest teenage audience possible, though only Prom Night sold more tickets than its original counterpart. Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007) took the simplicity of the original 1978 film but added an extreme vision that, according to critics, replaced everything that made the first film a success. Despite these criticisms, Zombie's Halloween sold nearly 8.5 million tickets, but its negative reception hurt its violent sequel Halloween II (2009), which could not sell 4.5 million tickets just two years after its predecessor. Extreme violence in the Halloween or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes hit its peak with The Hills Have Eyes (2006) and its less-well received sequel, The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007).
The remake-era peaked in 2009 under releases of My Bloody Valentine , Friday the 13th , The Last House on the Left, Sorority Row , The Stepfather and Halloween II; of those, Friday the 13th was most successful selling 8.7 million tickets and Sorority Row was least successful with under 1.6 million tickets sold. The following year A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), like the Friday the 13th remake, had a large opening weekend but quickly fell off the box office charts after. Straight-to-video remakes Mother's Day (2010), Silent Night (2012) and Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming (2013) were met with little reception or praise; Curse of Chucky (2013), a sequel (with elements of a reboot) of the Child's Play franchise and the first entry not released in theaters, was well-received and given a sequel of its own in 2017. The reboot Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) acts as a sequel to the 1974 original film, but lackluster box office profits led to its prequel Leatherface (2017) to a direct-to-download release (Leatherface was filmed in 2015 but shelved for two years).
A decline in theatrical profits encouraged film producers to creatively translate the horror film genre to a television audience. The success of FX's American Horror Story and AMC's The Walking Dead green-lit a number of networks to develop horror series, several structured or based on slasher films. A&E's Psycho-adaptation Bates Motel and MTV's Scream series offered creative deaths and cathartic suspense, while Freeform's Pretty Little Liars and The CW's Riverdale took more restrained approaches to the young adult TV demographic. Netflix's Slasher and Fox's Scream Queens are/were intended to be anthologies with new settings and mysteries every season. A TV remake of The Bad Seed will air on Lifetime in fall 2018.
It Follows (2014) was a critical success, mixing slasher film style with demonic fantasy and metaphorical subtext. Films like The Guest (2014) and Don't Breathe (2016) twisted conventional tropes into unexpected takes on the horror genre. In June 2018 Child's Play creator Don Mancini Tweeted that he is shopping a TV series with Brad Dourif as "Chucky";one month later, the co-producers of the box-office smash It (2017) announced a Child's Play reimagining about an out-of-control artificially intelligent toy.
Blumhouse Productions, founded by Jason Blum on his successful Paranormal Activity and Insidious franchises, released mid-budget slasher films The Purge (2013), Happy Death Day (2017) and Truth or Dare (2018), all of which deviate from traditional conventions. Three sequels and a television series followed The Purge, while Happy Death Day 2U is due for a 2019 release. Coming off the remakes of the 2000s, Blumhouse released meta-sequels The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) and Halloween (2018), which retconned their predecessors to begin a new continuity.Released on the 40th anniversary of the original film, Halloween brought back Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter to a record-breaking 8,632,100 tickets sold; at the time of its release, Halloween was the second-largest R-rated horror debut behind It , the second-largest October debut behind Venom (2018), the largest debut for Blumhouse, the largest debut for a slasher film, the largest debut of a female-led horror film and the largest debut for a film starring a woman 55-years-old or older. Immediately after Halloween's massive box-office and strong critical reviews, Roy Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment and LeBron James’ Springhill Entertainment entered talks to acquire the rights to a thirteenth Friday the 13th film.
Scream is a 1996 American slasher film directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. The film stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, and Drew Barrymore. Released on December 20, 1996, Scream follows the character of Sidney Prescott (Campbell), a high school student in the fictional town of Woodsboro, California, who becomes the target of a mysterious killer known as Ghostface. The film combines black comedy and "whodunit" mystery with the violence of the slasher genre to satirize the clichés of the horror movie genre popularized in films such as Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980). The film was considered unique at the time of its release for featuring characters who were aware of real world horror films and openly discussed the clichés that Scream attempted to subvert.
Wesley Earl Craven was an American film director, writer, producer, and actor. He was known for his pioneering work in the genre of horror films, particularly slasher films, where his impact on the genre was considered prolific and influential. Due to the success and cultural impact of his works in the horror film genre, Craven has been called a "Master of Horror".
Friday the 13th is a 1980 American slasher film produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, and written by Victor Miller. It stars Adrienne King, Betsy Palmer, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Kevin Bacon, Jeannine Taylor, Mark Nelson, and Robbi Morgan. The film tells the story of a group of teenage camp counselors who are murdered one by one by an unknown killer while attempting to re-open an abandoned summer camp.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is an American horror franchise that consists of nine slasher films, a television series, novels, and comic books. The films began with the film A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) created by Wes Craven. The series revolves around the fictional character Freddy Krueger, a former child killer who after being burned alive by the vengeful parents of his victims, returns from the grave to terrorize and kill the teenage residents of Springwood, Ohio in their dreams. The original film was written and directed by Craven, who returned to co-script the second sequel, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), and to write and direct New Nightmare (1994). The films collectively grossed over $457 million at the box-office worldwide.
A scream queen is an actress who has become associated with horror films, either through an appearance in a notable entry in the genre or recurring roles in the genre. Jamie Lee Curtis is noted as a seminal example for her performances in the popular slasher films of the Halloween franchise. In recent years, the male counterpart has been labeled a scream king.
Dimension Films is an American film production company and independent film distribution label formerly owned by The Walt Disney Studios and The Weinstein Company and now owned by Lantern Entertainment. It was formerly used as Bob and Harvey Weinstein's label within Miramax Films, to produce and release independent films and genre titles, specifically horror and science fiction films.
Halloween II is a 1981 American slasher film directed by Rick Rosenthal in his directorial debut, written and produced by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, and starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence who reprise their respective roles as Laurie Strode and Dr. Sam Loomis. It is the second installment in the Halloween film series and a direct sequel to Halloween (1978) in an alternative timeline. The plot picks up directly after the first film, with Michael Myers following survivor Laurie Strode to the local hospital, while his psychiatrist Dr. Loomis continues his pursuit of him.
The Burning is a 1981 American slasher film directed by Tony Maylam and written by Peter Lawrence and Bob Weinstein. It stars Brian Matthews, Brian Backer, Leah Ayres, and Lou David. The plot tells about a summer camp caretaker named Cropsy who is horribly burnt from a prank gone wrong. Years later, he is released from the hospital with severe disfigurements, and seeks revenge on those responsible at a nearby summer camp. The story is loosely based on the upstate New York urban legend of Cropsey, a tale that became popular at summer camps in the 1960s and 1970s.
Friday the 13th is an American horror franchise that comprises twelve slasher films, a television show, novels, comic books, video games, and tie‑in merchandise. The franchise mainly focuses on the fictional character Jason Voorhees, who drowned as a boy at Camp Crystal Lake due to the negligence of the camp staff. Decades later, the lake is rumored to be "cursed" and is the setting for a series of mass murders. Jason is featured in all of the films, as either the killer or the motivation for the killings. The original film, created to cash in on the success of Halloween (1978), was written by Victor Miller and was produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham. The films have grossed over $464 million at the box-office worldwide.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American slasher film written and directed by Wes Craven, and produced by Robert Shaye. It stars Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia, Robert Englund, and Johnny Depp in his film debut. The plot concerns four teenagers living on one street in the fictitious town of Springwood, Ohio, who are invaded and killed in their dreams, and thus killed in reality, by a burnt killer with a bladed leather glove.
Halloween is an American horror franchise that consists of eleven slasher films, as well as novels, comic books, merchandise, and a video game. The franchise primarily focuses on serial killer Michael Myers who carries out a murderous rampage in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois. Michael's killings occur on the holiday of Halloween, on which all of the films primarily take place. The original Halloween, released in 1978, was written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, and directed by Carpenter. The film is known to have inspired a long line of slasher films.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an American horror franchise consisting of eight horror films, comics, and a video game adaptation of the original film. The franchise focuses on serial killer Leatherface and his psychotic family, who terrorize unsuspecting visitors to their territories in the desolate Texas countryside, typically killing and cannibalizing them. The original film was released in 1974, directed by Tobe Hooper and written by Hooper and Kim Henkel. Hooper and Henkel were involved in only three of the later films.
Halloween is a 1978 American slasher film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut. The film tells the story of serial killer Michael Myers as he stalks and kills teenage babysitters on Halloween night, fifteen years after he murdered his teenage sister, Judith Myers. After escaping a sanitarium, he returns home to the sleepy town of Haddonfield, Illinois while being pursued by his psychiatrist Samuel Loomis. Michael stalks high school student Laurie Strode and her friends as they babysit and carries out a horrific massacre. Dr. Loomis desperately seeks to find his patient to stop his rampage, before the carnage intensifies.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 2010 American slasher film directed by Samuel Bayer, and written by Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer. The film stars Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, and Kellan Lutz. It is a remake of Wes Craven's 1984 film of the same name. Produced by Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes, the film was designed to reboot the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and is the ninth film in the series. The film is set in a fictitious town of Ohio and centers around a group of teenagers living on one street who are stalked and murdered in their dreams by a disfigured man named Freddy Krueger. The teenagers discover that they all share a common link from their childhood that makes them targets for Krueger.
Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film is a 2006 documentary film about slasher films. It makes reference to many popular horror and thriller films.
A horror icon is a person or fictional character that is considered to be significant to one or more genres of horror such as film, literature, or video games. Examples of people considered to be horror icons include directors Stephen King, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Roger Corman and Wes Craven, and actors Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, Lon Chaney and Lon Chaney Jr., Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Robert Englund, Tony Todd, Tim Curry, Angus Scrimm, Brad Dourif and Christopher Lee. Fictional horror icon characters include such as Dracula, Gill-man, Frankenstein's monster, Michael Myers, Ghostface, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Chucky, Candyman, Hannibal Lecter, Leatherface, Pennywise the Dancing Clown, Pinhead, The Mummy and Jigsaw.
Happy Death Day is a 2017 American black comedy slasher film directed by Christopher Landon, and written by Scott Lobdell. It stars Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, and Ruby Modine. The film was produced by Jason Blum through his Blumhouse Productions banner. The film is also in association with Digital Riot Media and Vesuvius Productions. It follows a college student who is murdered on her birthday and begins reliving the day repeatedly, at which point she sets out to find the killer and stop her death.