Slasher Top Tens: Donald Guarisco From Schlockmania

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donald maintains the site Schlockmania and has contributed to Drive-In Asylum, Cinema Sewer, DVD Delirium 2 and All Movie Guide. You can also find him on Twitter and FacebookHe considers the slasher film to be the comfort food of horror cinema and had a hard time paring his favorites list down to ten, hence the copious “honorable mentions” that follow…

Bay of BloodThe unspoken godfather of the slasher cycle, complete with murders later aped in the Friday the 13th series. Bava gives it Italian style and oddball humor that leavens the bloodshed.

Black Christmas: a crucial body count predecessor to Halloween but with a more elaborate murder-mystery style plot.  Pioneering use of phone call tracing as a plot device in a slasher, a really unnerving psycho (those phone calls!) and a desolate ending. 

Halloween: From score to killer to the performances of Curtis and Pleasance, everything about this film is iconic. I wish newer horror movie directors would study this film’s techniques. It’s a masterclass in how to stage suspense in the widescreen format. 

The Toolbox Murders: The first 45 minutes is a pureblood slasher with a grim, sleazy edge and the second half is a psycho flick with a lovably bonkers performance from the surprise killer. Two for the price of one!

Prom Night: This is on the lighter end of the genre but benefits from clever scripting and a good motivation for the killer. Complain about the disco if you must (hint: you’re wrong) but the chase through abandoned school halls is one of the best setpieces in a slasher and the final killer reveal is almost DePalma-esque in its staging.

Happy Birthday to Me: The most wonderfully baroque/insane of the big slashers, with elaborate kills, a fun backstory for the killings that harkens back to ’60s Psycho knockoffs and a lovably wacko final set of reveals. The right blend of fun, lunacy and style. I bet William Castle loved this one.

This is from the awesome people at Pizza Party Printing.

The Burning: This is the movie the first Friday the 13th should have been: wild Savini kills, slick rock video-style camera work, powerhouse opening and closing sequences and even early roles for Jason Alexander and Holly Hunter. The raft scene is one of the all-time slasher highlights.

My Bloody Valentine: The mining town setting and use of adult leads instead of teens lends this a grit and drama unique to the genre. The uncut version has some jaw-dropping kills, the mine-set finale is staged with panache and the killer reveal/final moments offer one of the genre’s best, creepiest closers. Great end credits song, too.

Night Warning (a.k.a. Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker): The director of Beach Party made an impressive slasher with a jaw-dropping opening stunt, oedipal insanity, surprise police criticism and the progressive inclusion of a brave, likeable gay character. Susan Tyrell is a grand dame psycho here and almost matched by Bo Svenson!

The House on Sorority Row: DePalma protege Mark Rosman brings tons of style to this one and a clever plot that mixes in a dash of The Trouble With Harry plus a killer third act that kicks in some left-field twists, including medical experiment traumas and hallucination scenes. 

Honorable Mentions:

Alone In the Dark: As much a dark satire of the quietly insane ’80s as it is a horror movie, with a killer cast and a great final scene.

Maniac (1980) and Nightmare (1981): More psycho movies than slashers but both have paint-the-walls setpieces and a sinister sleaze ambience that will leave you in need of a shower afterwards.

Eyes of a Stranger: Also more of a psycho movie than a slasher but the final 20 minutes are rousing stuff.

Visiting Hours: Breaks the rules in fascinating ways, like having a middle-aged heroine and surprise commentary on misogyny in the backstory of its killer. 

Slumber Party Massacre: Starts as a classical slasher, complete with “male gaze” gratuitous nudity but mutates into something with oddball humor and a genuine feminist frisson during an ending where sisterhood takes down masculine rage. 

Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives: I never understand when F13 fans don’t like this one. It’s got the best script of the series, legitimately funny humor, genuinely likeable characters and a cool pop-gothic atmosphere. 

Slasher Top Tens: Ted Lehr

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ted Lehr runs the site Super No Bueno, which is a pop culture/entertainment blog established in 2016 that includes reviews of movies, music, comic books, pro wrestling, and much more. We’ve been friends for a while, so I’m excited that Ted is sending this for the site.

Halloween (1978): The prototype for every successive film in the genre, Halloween is the gold standard of slasher flicks. Anchored by a career-defining performance by a young Jamie Lee Curtis, the 1978 classic is chock full of gore, scares and punch. It is entirely re-watchable and equally effective with each successive viewing. Halloween is royalty of the category.

Psycho (1960): If Halloween is atop the proverbial heap of slasher films, then Psycho is its lineal grandparent. Based on the 1959 novel by Robert Bloch, Psycho follows Norman Bates; a perverse, angry and broken young man who wants nothing more than to please his mother. Anthony Perkins simply stuns as Bates. And the Janet Leigh shower scene is the stuff of Hollywood legend. 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): Much like Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is loosely based on the real-life murders committed by Ed Gein. Gritty, intense and utterly unsettling, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre feels more akin to the lurid porno films of the era rather than any horror movie ever previously produced. Director Tobe Hooper created an undeniable classic. 

Child’s Play (1988): There is something about a foul-mouthed murderous doll that has always appealed to me. Released in November of 1988, I was a freshly-minted 14-year-old at the time Child’s Play premiered. The film follows the blood-soaked adventures of a wise-cracking serial killer (“Charles Lee Ray”), who, via a Haitian voodoo spell, transfers his spirit from his dying body into the inanimate shell of a gentle “Good Guy” stuffed doll. Ray as “Chucky,” leaves a swath of dead bodies, bad jokes and numerous sequels of negligible quality in his homicidal wake. The Child’s Play franchise is a not-so-guilty pleasure.

Bride of Killer Nerd (1992): To keep in line with the horror/comedy genre, up next is Bride of Killer Nerd. Shot in nearby (to me) Ravenna, Ohio, the story details the deadly adventures of unpopular couple “Harold Kunkle” and “Thelma Crump.” After being made fun of by the “popular girls,” the star-crossed lovers go on a revenge-filled rampage. Starring Toby Radloff (of MTV and American Splendor fame), Bride of Killer Nerd is a rare example of a sequel being better than the original. 

The Stepfather (1987): One of my first jobs out of high school was at a local video store. Though I was only paid minimum wage, the real perk of the job was free access to literally all the movies I could watch. In the era of Netflix, Hulu, Shudder and a litany of other streaming services that modern viewers have access to, this might not sound like much—but in the early-90s, I had the keys to the kingdom. I’d pour through everything I could get my greedy little hands on. Horror was always a favorite for my brother and me. This is how I discovered The Stepfather. 

Starring Terry O’Quinn as the affable—yet maniacal—titular character, The Stepfather chronicles the exploits of identity-morphing “Henry Morrison” as he ingratiates himself to a single mother and her teenage daughter. All is well until the thin pretense of his actual background comes into question. It is then that the Stepfather, under a fresh guise, sets up a new life with a different woman, and, oh yeah, must slaughter his old family before moving on. Good stuff.

Black Christmas (1974): A group of sorority girls are stalked and killed one-by-one during the holiday season at a sleepy college campus. This Canadian-produced classic simmers and taunts through its 98-minute runtime. Much like Halloween, Black Christmas is credited with defining the tropes of the genre.

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982): A group of teenage girls having a slumber party is menaced and horrified by an unexpected guest, an escaped mental patient with a taste for blood and a drill! Yikes! Rife with nudity, gore and some unexpected humor, The Slumber Party Massacre is a solid entry in the ranks of the category. 

Chopping Mall (1986): While I’m not sure Chopping Mall is a slasher film, per se, it is so much damn fun that unquestionably belongs on the list. Mixing elements of horror, sci-fi, comedy and adventure, the movie is the story of three security robots that malfunction and begin to kill employees who are in the mall afterhours. At times Chopping Mall can be a bit silly and clunky, but it’s overall charm outweighs any shortcomings. 

Sleepaway Camp (1983): I’ve always been a sucker for a film with a good twist ending— the original Planet of the Apes, anyone? —so it is no surprise that Sleepaway Camp anchors this list. Both cheeky and subversive, it has been a personal favorite of mine since I discovered it years ago. A cult film of the highest order, Sleepaway Camp is the story of a teenage girl who goes to summer camp. Shortly thereafter, a series of grisly murders begin. Shot for $350,000 and raking in a whopping $11 million at the box office, the film still packs a strong punch 36 years after its release. I had the privilege of catching a screening of it years ago at the famed Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio. The audience appeared to be 75% uninitiated to the film because when the ending came, the place went bonkers. It was an electric live experience. 

Slasher Top Tens: Jesse Berberich

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jesse Berberich is a media critic and regular contributor to online publications and the retro zine, Drive-In Asylum. He is also the co-curator and host of Disreputable Cinema, a cult genre film screening series at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NYC. For Halloween this year, Disreputable Cinema will host RetroActive — five cult classics from the 1980s drenched in blood and nostalgia from 10/26 to the finale on Halloween night.

1. Maniac: A film that drips and oozes with grit and sleaze is the film for me, and none is as sleazy as Bill Lustig’s notorious 1980 classic. It’s a viewing experience like none other with a relentlessly bleak atmosphere, stunning Savini effects, and a standout performance from Joe Spinell. It’s the kind of film that’ll make you think twice about riding the subway or walking home alone. Also, this was the debut film in Disreputable Cinema, followed by a stellar Q&A with Bill Lustig, and I’ll always have fond memories of sitting in the back of the Museum of the Moving Image’s theater, watching on proudly as a packed house screamed in bloody terror at the gory mayhem.

2. Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker: Speaking of sleazy…wow. Sleazy is when a young high school teen is caught in the middle of a screwy aunt with incestual intentions played by Susan Tyrell and a deeply homophobic detective played by Bo Svenson who bullies and uses the bad “F” word, all while bodies pile up around him. It’s creepy, icky in all the right ways, and a captivating film with a straightforward style that just arrests you and never lets go.

3. Sleepaway Camp: Excuse the pun, but it doesn’t get campier than this. Makes me glad I never went to summer camp as a kid! I love how outlandish and charmingly quirky this film is. It’s endlessly re-watchable for these reasons. The dialogue is sharp with a wicked sense of humor, and the production has a trashy mystique to it that absorbs you like a proper low budget video store gem, which, indeed, it was. I remember hanging out in my local video store (oddly called West Coast Video since it was located in Queens, NYC) when I was still in middle school and just being mesmerized by this one’s box art. 

4. Hello Mary Lou, Prom Night II:I have such an affinity for high school horror because I think the genre is at its purest when it appeals directly to teenagers, traditionally its largest audience, and engages in their fears about growing up and their burgeoning sexuality. For my money, this is the most perfect example of that subgenre because the titular supernatural slasher is the ultimate expression of teenage desires to act out and “be bad,” but also the fear of what that change could actually do. And, oh how I LOVE Mary Lou. She’s witty, sultry, and rebellious — one of my favorite horror villains of the 80s.

5. Pieces: This is one NASTY gore-fest! It’s relentless from the start. The mystery of the psycho-sexual slasher in this film may be investigated by possibly the most hopelessly incompetent police force in film history, but like any good b-movie shlock, that’s actually part of the appeal, as are, of course, the kill scenes. The violence is perpetrated by a proper giallo villain in all black and composed without logic but with a dreamlike artistic separation from reality.

6. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge: The second entry in this franchise is less gory than the first and nowhere near as wide in scope as the other sequels, but I love it for that. It’s a self-contained, tense picture that subverts and plays around with tropes of the slasher genre at a time it was beginning its decline. There’s something quite creepy about the idea of a slasher not simply killing his victims, but imposing his will and controlling their bodies and minds. It goes back to the appeal of horror for teenagers, and how they are terrified of their own changing bodies.

7. Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter: I’m a big Jason fan, and I find the good in all the films, even the ones hated by most, but I think this one is truly the best. It may not have the tension of the original, but Jason is more imposing and menacing than previously seen, the kill scenes are thrilling and uninhibited, thanks to the returning Tom Savini, and the cast is full of likable, or delightfully dislikeable, characters that serve their purpose in lining up for the slaughter. Also, find me a better dance scene in a horror movie!

8. Drive-In Massacre: One of the finest early slashers. It’s grimy and has a taut, almost documentarian tone thanks to its low budget. It also sleazes up the great American tradition that is the drive-in theater. In fact, having a slasher stalk the grounds of a drive-in is quite ingenious when you think about it, because it represents a loss of safety in a place of social fun that quite effectively mirrors the constant loss of safety and innocence in American society.

9. Terror Firmer: Some may dispute this inclusion on my list, but there’s no denying that this trashy Troma classic has the right atmosphere and all the tropes of a traditional slasher flick. We’ve got a mystery, a workable location, colorful characters, and one hell of a messed up villain. Sounds like a slasher to me. The effects are cheesy, low budget fun and underneath the madness, one will find a rebellious attitude that demands us to resist the mainstream and always fight for what we think is art. It’s the most punk rock and sincerest slasher flick of all time.

10. Halloween: No list of slasher favorites would be complete without the one that set the standard and inspired a whole generation of filmmakers. Every film above owes its creation to the tale of the night Michael Myers came home. This film remains unmatched in its innovation, spine-chilling scares, and enduring legacy. It’s always a pleasure to return to this classic in the month of October because there’s nothing like watching the best film during the year’s best holiday season.

Exploring: The Halloween That Never Was

As much as we love the Halloween series — give or take a few Halloween remakes and quasi-sequels — the idea that there were unmade films in the series makes us both giddy at the prospect and simultaneously sad at the loss of what we never got to see. Join us as we share several of the Halloween movies that never got made.

A totally different version of Halloween IIWhen Carpenter and Hill were both lured back to the nascent franchise — well, as much of a franchise as one film and a proposed sequel can be — an early script had Laurie Strode living in a massive apartment complex years after the original murders. They even discussed filming it in 3D!

Unnamed Halloween anthology films: 1982’s Halloween 3: Season of the Witch is a definite break in the saga of Michael Meyers, as creators John Carpenter and Debra Hill intended the end of the second film to be the actual end. The goal for this third film was to use the brand name to create a whole new series of annual films. Director and co-writer Tommy Lee Wallace told Fangoria, “It is our intention to create an anthology out of the series, sort of along the lines of Night Gallery, or The Twilight Zone, only on a much larger scale, of course.” Sadly, this never came to pass.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael MyersAfter their 1986 release of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Cannon Films approached Carpenter and Hill to write and possibly direct this movie. Carpenter worked with Dennis Etchison, who had written the novelizations of the second and third films under the nom de plume Jack Martin, to create a script that Moustapha Akkad rejected as too cerebral. That script involved a Haddonfield where Michael Meyers and Dr. Loomis are dead, parents have banned the holiday of Halloween and Tommy Doyle and Lindsay Wallace drawn to one another by fate, as the phantom spirit of Meyers soon shows that he is stronger than even death itself. There’s even a drive-in setpiece that has Carpenter’s The Fog and Christine playing before The Shape emerges and sets the screen ablaze during a screening of a Friday the 13th sequel. Despite discussions with Joe Dante to direct, Carpenter and Hill would finally sell off their rights to the film and leave the series behind.

Another take on Halloween VAs messy and bad as this movie got, the proposed sequel script by Robert Harders (De Palma’s Home Movies) had The Shape brought back to life by lightning after being blasted down a mineshaft and down a river. All of the evil would have been taken out of him and by the end of the film, Dr. Loomis would unsuccessfully defend him against an angry mob.

Could Halloween 6 be worse? Maybe: For all of the chances that this series has — and hasn’t — taken, this insane script by Phil Rosenberg might be the craziest of all. It starts with The Shape as a homeless man, hiding out for five years before a Chicago TV reporter named Dana comes to Haddonfield to do a story on the town’s history with Halloween. Before you know it, she learns that she’s a forgotten sister of Laurie Strode, Tommy Doyle is able to view Hell and its Samhain festivals through the Matrix and Dr. Loomis shows up as a patient in Smith’s Grove. You can read it right here if you want.

Pinhead vs. The Shape? Say it isn’t so. OK, it isn’t: Doug Bradley, Pinhead himself, told Your Move Magazine that “I was told that the year before Freddy vs. Jason was released, Dimension Films rejected two scripts for a HellraiserHalloween crossover, which was obviously where they would go because they owned both franchises. I was told the reason they turned it down is because they didn’t think it would work. They predicted that Freddy vs. Jason would bomb, but it opened at the top of the box office and stayed there for a second weekend – I think I’m right in saying that it was the first movie that year to do so. After its success, Dimension wanted a HellraiserHalloween movie made immediately, so it was certainly going ahead. I had a couple of phone conversations with Clive Barker about it and I was getting quietly excited. Clive said he would write it and I heard reports John Carpenter would direct. The Akkad brothers, who produced Halloween, retained control of the sequels and didn’t want the crossover to be made. I guess they didn’t want Michael Myers hanging around with the likes of Pinhead.”

Halloween H2O + Carpenter: Carpenter was originally in the running to be the director for Halloween H20: 20 Years Later since Jamie Lee Curtis wanted to reunite everyone from the original film. Carpenter agreed, but his starting fee as director was $10 million, which he felt was proper compensation for revenue he never received from the original film. When Akkad refused that offer, Carpenter walked away.

Halloween 3D? Not with Rob Zombie: The director’s cut of Zombie second — and most divisive take on Haddonfield — ends with The Shape, Dr. Loomis and Laurie Strode all dead. Where can you go from here? Dimension gave writer Todd Farmer and director Patrick Lussier (the remake of My Bloody Valentine and Drive Angry) an entire week to figure that out. He emerged with a script that changed the ending, with Laurie stabbing Loomis and her running away from the police with Michael, who disappears and leaves her to be committed to Smith’s Grove and a new head doctor, played by Tom Atkins. At the end, Laurie would commit suicide to free herself and Michael revealing that his face had actually become the mask. Sadly, even though the script went over well, the team had already committed to Drive Angry.

Halloween by way of Saw: There was also 2015 movie that was almost made by the team of Saw IV-VII, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton. It would have had Michael of a rampage in Russellville, a neighboring town of Haddonfield, on the night of his execution. Officer Hunt, played by Hunter von Leer in Halloween II, would return to protect his daughter. The film would have taken place in 1988 and had some really gory kills in the script, but Dimension lost the rights to Blumhouse.

Did I miss anything? Is there a script that you know about that didn’t get made? Do you want to talk about the demonic teenager who originally nursed The Shape back to health before it was switched to the old man in Halloween V? Wouldn’t a movie about the Cult of Thorn be awesome? Let me know!

Slasher Top Tens: Derek Direction

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In my other life as a professional wrestler, I’ve been lucky to team with Derek Direction over the last year as The Grindhouse — along with Meg Meyers, Christian Noir and Beastman. Derek and I got along right away as we have a shared love of movies and a similar outlook on wrestling. He’s also part of The Production in AIW, a tag team that exploits everyone else, acting as the director, the “Neon Tarantino” and the “King of the Casting Couch.” You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. You can also buy his shirts at Pro Wrestling Tees — one even looks like Demons!

Ultimately I’m trying to pick different movies, but legitimately movies I like. I don’t want to name all the Friday the 13th films. FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER is my favorite.

1. Maniac (1980): “Fancy girls in their fancy dresses and lip stick.” Frankly, Maniac is my favorite 80’s slasher film still to this day. Everything I love. Even the SFX legend Tom Savini! This movies is great, you have a psychopath running loose in NY in the 80s WHAT’S NOT to love. I i love this movie so much I referenced it multiple times throughout my wrestling career.

2. My Bloody Valentine (1981): If Maniac wasn’t my favorite movie it would be this one. I love both My Bloody Valentines. The 1981 one though — in my opinion — is way better probably because I’m a sucker for old horror. And the weapon is so bad ass.

3.) My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009): With the change in times; obviously the gore is upped up a bit. It’s a fun movie that will keep you on your toes. I legit love both of these movies.

4. Slaughter High (1986): Not the best executed movie. There could have been a little bit more “slaughtering” but I really did like the thought process of getting your life long revenge at the dreaded HS reunion. Plus there’s full frontal male nudity.

5. Killer Workout (1986): When I was a little kid at the local video store I always wanted to watch this… i mean the video cover was just tits. My mom would never let me… I liked the soundtrack… and it tells a good comeback story… Soooo much tight clothing 🤤🤤🤤🤤🤤.

6. The Slumber Party Massacre (1982): Not to be confused with the show I wrestled on; that could still be our be purchased on FITE TV under the AIW Catalog. 🤣😂🤣. The Slumber Party Massacre is a true ’80s slasher classic. Refreshingly, the film doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. So many people are murdered. What more could you ask for, a giant drill, boobs, butts and some cheesy humor!?

7. Sorority Row (2009): I remember seeing the trailer for this and immediately telling myself I needed to see it. Obviously the trailer made it seem like a straight forward slasher. I saw this before The House on Sorority Row. Even though this movie is a cross between Mean Girls and Scream it kept me guessing.

8. The Roommate (2011): This may not be considered a “slasher” but thinking of Sorority Row made me think of this. And it reminded me of Leighton Meester’s character Rebecca. I love the character Rebecca, she’s obsessive and does a whole bunch of messed up stuff to get what she wants. Legit putting this movie right on as soon as I finish this.

9. Sleepaway Camp (1983): In my opinion; this movie is better than Friday the 13th. Sleepaway Camp is one of my favorite films of all time for the interesting characters, a setting where killing is unexpected, the killer’s revelation and motivation at the end, and just because I find it kind of scary at the same time!

10. Terror Train (1980): “Some will live; Some will die” it’s pretty straight to the point if you ask me. When I first saw this film I thought it was going to be Halloween on a train, and boy was I wrong. This film statistically came out after Halloween but it was one of the first films that got me thinking. The ending is very clever and the plot is very simple: “Psycho comes aboard to exact revenge.”

Slasher Top Tens: Roger Braden

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roger Braden runs the Facebook group Valley Nightmares, which is all about the history of the films that played at the drive-ins and theaters in his home state of Kentucky. Besides that, he loves metal as much as I do and brings kick ass moonshine to the drive-in, which gains my eternal friendship. Normally, I’ve had everyone do their fave slashers, but Roger hit his ten fave horror films and I loved his list!

First a disclaimer about this particular list.  I have made several Top 10 lists over the years, by genre, decade and overall.  This is my Top 10 Horror films based on where I’ve been ranking movies for a little over 5 years now.  This has a few different movies than my “official” list, but I’m alright with that, hope you all dig my list.

10. Frailty (2001): When the “God’s Hand Killer” returns to a small Texas town after many years, a man shows up at the office of an FBI agent convinced he knows who the killer is. But before he can tell the agent who the killer is he has to tell him about his childhood with his religious father, who “saw demons” and made his young sons become his “demon-slaying” helpers.

A fantastic cast helps make this a thriller that will keep you guessing just what the fuck is going on as the story unfolds.  And then you find out and it’s a shocker! Non-stop suspense, shocking violence, that sometimes involves children and a great storyline makes this really well made Horror film one you’ll want to discuss immediately after watching.

9. The Return of the Living Dead (1985): When toxic gas is accidentally released at a medical supply building everything dead in the building comes back to life. Disposing of the infected items in a nearby crematorium proves to be an even bigger mistake.

I love everything about this movie.  The story, characters, music, gore, humor, whatever is in this movie I love it.  Yeah, it changed the rules for a traditional zombie film and for me it’s all the better for it.  These zombies run, think, talk and attack all because they want to eat your brains because it “hurts to be dead” and brains relieve the pain.  I live in Louisville, KY and saw this opening night in a mostly full theater, the reveal at the end made us gasp and clap. After the end credits rolled we gave it a standing ovation.  For me it’s a perfect mix of horror and humor with a fantastic soundtrack that I still watch 2-3 times a year.

8. Friday the 13th (1980): 

Camp counselor’s opening a long closed summer camp with a bad history discover that they should have left the place closed.

A film that just felt like it was really happening as you watched it, and for me still does.  The POV and “hidden” camers put you in the movie, and it’s a violent one from the start. The whole finale wore you out when you first watched it, how the Hell could you guess all that was going to happen?!  Solid flick that helped fuel the entire slasher era.

7. The Evil Dead (1981):  While vacationing in an isolated cabin in the Tennessee woods, five friends discover and read from an ancient book that unleashes pure evil.

Low budget film that set out to shock, and shock it does.  Violent, nasty and mean (pencil scene anyone?), this changed how we looked at Demonic possession films.  The camerawork keeps you off balance and helped create a whole new way of filmmaking. And our hero Ash, was unlike any hero we had met before.

6. Videodrome (1983): Low budget TV president Max Renn loves to shock the airwaves with his alternate programming.  But when a show, “Videodrome”, is brought to his attention he might have found a show that is all to real.

First saw this as a VHS rental and I knew it was going to get multiple viewings.  The story and it’s meaning are deep and all but the most avid Horror fans embraced it at the time, Hell it only played here for one week. But getting to watch it as a rental, and on cable TV, numerous times and realizing it’s message was a warning of what we were becoming.  And it’s something we continue to stumble towards. My favorite Cronenberg film.  

5. The Omen (1976): When a U.S. ambassador’s son dies during childbirth, he’s offered another newborn boy whos mother died giving birth.  But as the child gets older, strange events, death and a Priest’s warning indicate that the child might actually be the Anti-Christ.

The build up to this film was everywhere it seemed.  Print, TV, trailers, billboards all warned you to look for the warning signs of Biblical prophecy and that this film was going to show you what was coming.  And it more than delivered with it’s story and scares. Solid casting, locations, an amazing musical score and numerous gruesome deaths all drive this movie.  but it’s little Damien, with his black eyes and mostly emotionless demeanor who sells the film. That evil little bastard is terrifying.

4. Phantasm (1979): A teenage boy tries to convince his brother and his friend that the local funeral home is occupied by a human looking monster who is raiding the cemetary for his own evil plans.

This movie feels like you’re watching a nightmare.  Hooded dwarves roaming the the night, lethal flying spheres, a blind fortuneteller, a nasty bug born of “blood”, and one of the best Horror icons ever, The Tall Man.  Music and a colorful filming style just add to it’s story that works way better than it should. And that’s due to an extremely talented writer/director who’s cast bought into his vision and helped deliver a low budget classic.

3. Dawn of the Dead (1978-79 US): In this sequel to “Night of the Living Dead” the zombie plague is growing fast and major cities are falling.  Can a traffic reporter, his TV exec girlfriend and 2 SWAT members escape, find refuge and work together to survive the Dead and other bands of survivors?

As much as “NOTLD” changed the zombie film, “Dawn…” re-invented it again.  First saw this at a midnight showing in 1979. Getting dropped into the story as it’s happening is great, it pulls you in and adds to the shocks as the Dead attack and tear bloody chunks out of people.  The gore effects were (still are) incredible, characters that you care about, visual style and a story with a deep message all add up to a movie you can’t help but love. My favorite George A. Romero, and zombie movie.

2. Alien (1979): The crew of a spaceship investigate a distress signal from a nearby moon.  After landing, a crewmember is attacked by a facehugging parasite. Soon the crew find out that the parasite is an ever evolving creature, and it’s stalking them.

Another “freak out” movie that felt like you were part of the story.  This big budget sci Fi/jorror flick is so damn claustrophobic despite being set in a giant spaceship, and it’s just darkly filmed enough that you can’t quite see what’s around the next corner. Every part of the movie is top notch and it’s one that still delivers shock after well placed shock.  The ever evolving Xenomorph is horrifying in every growth stage and is my favorite movie creature.

1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): A brother and sister travel to Texas to check on their grandfathers grave and visit the old family homestead.

You know you’re in for something special when this one starts.  The opening narration as the words roll up the screen telling of impending death for our characters. Then the credits start rolling with flashes of long dead bodies and weird grating music playing.  Then you drop into the van, traveling across the hot Texas landscape. And you don’t want to be in this movie, bad shit is going to happen, they just told you! Besides that you know that van stank inside. Franklin looked like he could clear a room all by himself.  That so much of the movie takes place during the daytime is another testament to just how solid of a Horror movie this is. Once the violence starts it’s shocking, brutal and it hurts. And you see next to no gore, the film doesn’t need it, your brain imagines that you are seeing so much more than you actually do.  Look, once “Leatherface” makes his explosive appearance you just want the movie to be over… and there’s so much more horrible things that are going to happen. An excellent piece of low budget filmmaking that introduced us to another Horror icon, and his demented family.

No Top 10 is complete without a few honorable mentions, so here are more than a few that I love that could be on the list above as well.

The Thing, The Exorcist, Halloween, Shock Waves, [REC], The Blair Witch Project, Tarantula, Psycho, 28 Days Later, and A Nightmare on Elm Street are all excellent films and deserve their due.

Many thanks to Sam and for starting this conversation and having me be a part of it!

Slasher Top Tens: Craig Edwards

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Craig Edwards is an award-winning blogger as well as a self-proclaimed Media Guy and a consumer of pop culture for a lot of years. He also writes a great blog called Let’s Get Out of Here! I’m so happy that he’s decided to share his top ten slashers with us, as I value his insights on film. 
1. Halloween (1978):  It may have had progenitors, but this is where John Carpenter worked cinematic alchemy and made the elements come together in their supreme form. My mom took me to the theater to see this as a kid, and I’ve loved it ever since.
2. Friday the 13th (1980): This first entry will cover for the whole series – which is my favorite slasher franchise. It can’t take the number one spot on this list though, because Halloween is the better movie.
3. My Bloody Valentine (1981): I was sorely disappointed seeing this in the theater as a kid because all of the gore I’d seen in Fangoria magazine had been cut out by the MPAA. But this was always a solid slasher, even minus the red stuff. A subsequent DVD release with the gore restored just showed it as one of the finest slashers to come out of the 80’s.
4. Scream (1996):  There will always be some debate about which was more integral to the success of this slasher that revitalized the genre after a period of dormancy – was it Kevin Williamson’s script or Wes Craven’s direction? Of course, the answer is that it’s both; the sum of which is better than the two elements taken separately.
5. The Mutilator (1984): This low budget slasher was made just two hours from where I live – in Atlantic Beach NC. I will admit that at least a part of my affection for it is that love of it for being local; getting the opportunity to watch it at the beach house it was shot at last year in the company of seven people who worked on it has cemented it as one of my favorites.
6. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1973):  The raw documentary power of Tobe Hooper’s movie would make it a contender for this slot – but knowing now just how hard the shoot was for the cast and crew makes me thankful it was ever completed at all. That it also is such a terrific movie is just the cherry on top of the head cheese sundae.
7. Terror Train (1980):  In terms of pure quality, this is probably the weakest movie on my list. Boy could it use some more graphic gore in the kills. But this is a fondly remembered slasher from my youth – and it has an irresistible setup. Consequently, it will always hold a spot for those reasons.
8. Hatchet (2007):  Adam Green puts every bit of his love for the slashers of the 80’s onscreen with this delightfully graphic throwback which also has a wonderful cast and atmosphere to spare.
9. Intruder (1989):  I never got to see it back in the day, but catching up to it in recent years – and getting to see it uncut – made me wish I could have found it earlier. Gleefully nasty and with another corker cast – including director Sam Raimi acting and brief appearances from Bruce Campbell and Emil Sitka (supporting Three Stooges actor).
10. Psycho (1960): I don’t think Alfred Hitchcock’s shocker of a film is often categorized as a slasher – but that is certainly what it is. It’s an A-1 classic, and if you’ve never taken the time to watch it – you definitely should.

Slasher Top Tens: Slasher Trash

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I’ve reached out to some of my favorite people, websites and personalities to ask, “What are your ten favorite slashers?” Notice I didn’t say the ten best. I said your ten favorites. That’s because I want to know the what’s and why’s of this bastard genre of horror. Slasher Trash posts more about this genre than anyone I know and you can read more on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook,Letterboxd and on the site,!

He asked if he could restrict his top ten to his own qualifiers, as a list of this magnitude would be too hard otherwise before deciding on sharing his top ten obscure slashers:

10. The Incubus (1982): Weird and creepy with a supernatural edge, The Incubus is a sleazy, fever dream slasher.

9. Death Screams (1982): You don’t get much cheaper than Death Screams but this golden era doozy features fun kills and hilarious dialogue.

8. Too Scared To Scream (1984): A crime thriller turned slasher, Too Scared is giallo-esque in its approach. An intriguing whodunit.

7. Fatal Games (1984): A javelin throwing killer picks off the high school athletics team. What’s not to like?

6. Nightmares (1980): Well shot and exploitative, Nightmares boasts fantastic POV stalk & slash with blood and breasts to boot.

5. Mortuary (1983): An off-kilter tone sets Mortuary apart from its rivals. The killer guise is suitably scary and the cast elevates the material.

4. Blood Tracks (1985): Bonkers The Hills Have Eyes clone. Blood Tracks is madcap entertainment with a glee filled variety of deaths.

3. Girl’s Nite Out (1982): A killer dressed as a bear mascot terrorises a college campus. It’s ridiculous but it’s a damn good show that provides a chilling twist finale.

2. Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984): A batshit crazy British slasher makes Silent Night Deadly Night look tame. A wildly humorous, mean spirited body count bonanza.

1. Hide & Go Shriek (1988): A bunch of kids celebrating graduation get picked off one by one after breaking into a furniture store. A fine slasher which utilizes its excellent location and crazy cross-dressing killer!

Thanks Slasher Trash! If you’re interested in sending us your list, either reply here or email us at!


Slasher Top Tens: William Mendoza

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: We put out the word to find out what people’s top ten slasher movies were and so many cool folks answered the call! William Mendoza, who is an Art Supervisor and 3D Animator on Dream Corp LLC on Adult Swim sent this great list. You can check him out on Twitter, Instagram and his website. Here’s a clip of the show he’s working on!

William tried to keep this list within the slasher boom of the later 70s/early 80s. When we talked, he didn’t want to put any giallos on the list, but he feels that Body Double is actually a true slasher film. He said, “It’s very different than the rest of them but it’s just too awesome and cinematic to dismiss.”

1. Halloween

2. Body Double

3. Black Christmas

4. Maniac

5. Nightmare on Elm Street

6. Sleepaway Camp

7. Eyes of a Stranger

8. Friday the 13th

9. Don’t Go In The House

10. The Burning

Thanks William for sending us your list. If you have one, comment below or email us at

Slasher Top Tens: Roslyn Frost

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roslyn Frost hosts her own YouTube channel which reviews horror films. She has a genuine love for them and it really comes through in the videos that she shares. We put her on the spot by asking her to send us her top ten list. If you want to learn more about her, she’s on Twitter and Instagram. Take it away!

Doing a top ten slashers is incredibly difficult. It’s hard enough determining whether a certain movie is a slasher or not, but then limiting that to just ten is almost impossible. So instead I have compiled a list of ten random slashers I love for various reasons strictly from the 1980s (excluding the Italian giallos). So without further ado…

1. The Funhouse – Everyone talks about the typical slasher tropes, but to me what makes a great slasher is the atmosphere. And this Tobe Hooper classic is full of it. It relies almost completely on mood as opposed to kills and thrills, since nothing really happens for the first hour. Always a fun watch during the Halloween season.

2. Bloody Birthday I love killer kid movies, and this is one I always enjoy watching. A campy flick full of early 80s charm. The kids are wonderful little creeps, especially Billy Jayne (the kid from Just One of the Guys and Beastmaster).

3. Night School Another atmospheric slasher. This one is more reminiscent of Italian giallos than American slashers at the time. Some great cinematography and when the kills happen they’re pretty good. A stronger ending would have made this a true genre classic.

4. Blood Diner I don’t think I’ve ever seen another movie like Blood Diner. Inspired by HG Lewis gorefests, Blood Diner is a spiritual sequel to 1963’s Blood Feast. Irritating at times, but always funny. This is a great movie to go in blind to since it’ll make the watch truly bewildering.

5. Prom Night Jamie Lee Curtis dancing to disco. That’s pretty much the only reason I love this movie.

6. Nail Gun Massacre I love bad movies, and they don’t get as bad as Nail Gun Massacre. One of the most inept movies I’ve ever seen, the biggest surprise is that they knew how to actually work the camera. The first time I saw it I wanted to destroy the tape. Now I treasure this garbage masterpiece for all its goofy quirks.

7. Pieces I don’t think I can say anything about this that others haven’t said better. A remarkably bizarre slasher starring cult couple Christopher and Lynda Day George. It’s a movie you’ll never forget with one of the “best” endings ever.

8. House on Sorority Row Although it’s a bit slow at times, this one has everything I want in an 80s slasher. A strong cast, dark cinematography, a mysterious killer, and plenty of camp.

9. Christmas Evil I was hesitant to list this because I don’t really consider it a slasher and it’s barely a horror movie. It has more of the hallmarks of a Christmas classic: Down-on-his-luck lead, non believer side characters, Santa Claus iconography, a snowy setting, and a miracle ending. This movie is basically what Miracle on 34th Street would be if directed by William Lustig.

10. Killer Workout Another inept slasher, this movie doesn’t offer a lot in the way or kills… or strong acting, directing, cinematography, or really anything else that makes a movie good. The worst parts are actually the slasher elements, but what I love about this movie is all the campiness. With unnecessarily long and out of place aerobics scenes, bodybuilder actors, ditzy actresses, and one of the catchiest soundtracks to an 80s slasher ever, this movie is perfect for a midnight double feature.

Thanks Rosalyn! You can check out one of her latest videos below, where she discusses Night of the Comet while playing old arcade games.