The slasher movie genre never died, it’s just slowly being further monopolized by three or four big franchises. Though the concept of a dangerous person hacking their way through a handful of teens has always been formulaic, it’s also always been entertaining. There are more names out there than Freddy, Jason, and Michael.


Horror runs in cycles and while there’s rarely a way to predict the next big thing, the slasher subgenre hasn’t been it for about thirty years. Despite it not being the center of attention like it was in the 80s, there are still plenty of interesting slashers and a mighty fanbase ready to revel in their violence.

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Axel Palmer and Harry Warden – My Bloody Valentine

This 1981 Canadian classic faced substantial censorship upon its initial release, but it’s since become a hugely popular standout in the genre. With the impact that the original had, it’s shocking that the only representation of the murderous miner has been a terrible 3D remake. With no spin-offs or sequels to speak of, the proper narrative ends, like so many other slashers, on an unresolved cliffhanger.

Harry Warden is the film’s boogeyman, a miner who was trapped and forced to resort to murder and cannibalism to survive. He blames the event on a Valentine’s Day dance and threatens the town with vengeance, but the town prepares to party again anywhere. As the film goes on, it turns out that Axel, a man driven mad by his father’s death at the hands of Warden, is the killer. He runs off screaming that he and Warden will be back, but, as it turns out, they never returned.

The Prowler

Interestingly, Joseph Zito’s The Prowler was released the same year as My Bloody Valentine and follows a weirdly similar plot. Just like the aforementioned slasher, the film takes place years after a gruesome murder on the night of an annual party. This town also decides to bring back its tainted tradition, only for things to go horribly wrong as someone else dons the mask of the killer. The primary differences between the two experiences are that the former has better writing and this one has horror legend Tom Savini providing the effects.

The titular Prowler is a World War II veteran who receives an inconsiderate break-up letter from his girlfriend back home. Rather than accept the admittedly unkind parting of ways and move on, he returns from the war and butchers both his former partner and her new flame. The killer of the piece is decked out in military gear and an eerily featureless mask. The film was known abroad as both Rosemary’s Killer and The Pitchfork of Death. This film didn’t exactly lay the groundwork for a sequel, but that rarely stops slasher franchises.

Opera Ghost – Stage Fright

Not to be confused with multiple other films called Stage Fright, including the 1987 slasher of which this 2014 film isn’t a remake. Instead, Jerome Sable’s 2014 slasher is a riff on the classic summer camp slasher movie. The new element here is that the camp is a theater retreat preparing to stage a performance of a supposedly haunted play. That play is a blatant knock-off of Phantom of the Opera, and the killer is essentially a man in a kabuki mask who slaughters actors and teachers alike.

The real draw of a franchise built around the Opera Ghost isn’t a continuation of the moderately effective story. It’s a chance to do a satire of the world of musicals as a slasher franchise. The summer camp locale has been done before, but imagine killers taking on the role of various legally distinct knock-offs of classic stage play characters. It could be excellent if handled well.

Leslie Mancuso – Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Most of the slasher genre has been dominated by a handful of big names and satirical takes on the concept. This is the latter, but it’s a well-executed black comedy with a surprisingly effective slasher villain. The film plays with the Scream concept by constantly drawing attention to its use of tropes and genre stereotypes, but it manages to be a deconstruction rather than a bad parody.

Leslie, the film’s killer, is a normal man who wants to canonize himself among his heroes like Freddy and Jason. He tells a story about becoming possessed and killing his family, only to be killed by the locals. He’s lying, however, and he’s actually something akin to a slasher movie Mr. Glass. Leslie is seeking his final girl and trying to cement his legend, and like all good slasher villains, he survives his apparent death.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

No, Tucker and Dale aren’t the villains of their debut film. They’re well-meaning hicks who are perceived as the villains by the requisite teens. However, the subversive and hilarious 2010 film absolutely lays the groundwork for an entire franchise of Tucker & Dale features. Imagine them bumbling their way through countless other horror subgenres as they struggle to survive. The film even ends with Tucker accidentally knocking over the first domino in a new misadventure. This could be the funniest series in horror if were allowed to continue.

MORE: 5 Huge Plot Holes In Slasher Movies

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