Get your gut-wrenching fix with the best slasher movies of all time
I hear you, what exactly qualifies as a slasher movie? Is it all just guts and gore?
While everyone has their own definition, it can be agreed that this particular sub-genre of horror films generally always follow a distinct pattern: a masked serial murders a group of people (usually a group of totally useless teens) often by use of bladed tools (think axes and knives) while leaving one ‘final girl’ alive in the end to confront the killer.
The surge of popularity came in the ‘80s after the huge success of Halloween, and it hasn’t slowed down ever since.
In preparation for spooky season, we’ve put together a list of the best slasher movies of all time to get your gruesome fix- just make sure you’ve got a strong stomach!
Even if you aren’t a fan of the genre, the name Michael Myers is one you would have heard.
Halloween was the stepping stone for many films to come, employing key slasher identifying tools that would set the tone for the boom to follow- and it’s about to get a reboot in 2021 with Halloween Kills.
In the film where Jamie Lee-Curtis made her name as Laurie Strode, Myers escapes a mental institution to return to his hometown 15 years after murdering his sister on the night of Halloween in search of his next victim.
This one is a heart-racing, peeping through your fingers as you scream “Don’t go in there!” at the TV kind of movie, so if you’re not keen on a full-on terrifying experience best you give it a miss.
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Nick Castle and more
How to stream Halloween
Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
There’s a reason this story has been remade, rebooted and continued again and again.
Of all the Texas Chain Saw Massacre movies, the first is arguably still the best- followed closely by the 2003 remake.
Don’t let the fact that it’s not a gore-filled fiesta deter you. It’s fascinatingly twisted, dark and suspenseful the whole way through as we are both intrigued and horrified by the cannibalistic family and the iconic chainsaw-wielding, mask made of human skin wearing Leatherface.
Cast: Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Teri McMinn and more
How to stream Texas Chain Saw Massacre
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
Another Wes Craven masterpiece, the slasher genre guru continued his successful career with this imaginative thriller about a disfigured demon with a bladed hand preying on teens in their sleep, as it explored the blurred lines between dreams and reality.
Freddy Kreuger is perhaps one of the most recognised and cruelest of all slashers, as Craven creates a character with a gleeful approach to murder that is in his own league of supernatural killers.
The film’s simple yet well-executed premise, twisted and iconic murderer and morbid humor make for one hell of a ride, definitely earning its status as one of the best horror movies of all time.
Cast: Robert Englund, Johnny Depp, John Saxon and more
How to stream A Nightmare On Elm Street
From the moment Drew Barrymore was killed off horrifically within the opening 10 minutes Scream made one thing very clear, no one is safe.
When you talk about a slasher that defined the ‘90s and breathed life back into the genre, this is it. Perhaps its greatest achievement though, was giving Neve Campbell (Sidney) the chance to redefine the ‘Final Girl’ trope.
Wes Craven has constructed the ultimate high school slasher masterpiece, creating the perfect blend of comedy and horror that is so hard to perfect. It’s smart and self-aware, nodding to horror movie references throughout and keeping you on the edge of your seat the whole time as it breathes life back into the then dying slasher genre.
Cast: Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell, David Arquette and more
How to stream Scream
Black Christmas (1974)
Bob Clark’s dark Christmas movie is an absolute gem in the horror world.
It’s spine-tingling, skin-crawling and genuinely unsettling to watch as an anonymous psycho killer preys on a group of sorority girls. Jessica Bradford (Olivia Hussey) is also up there in our final girl hall of fame, widely recognised for her strong resourcefulness and believable character.
Although they absolutely butchered the remake, the original should never be compared- it’s high in ick factor (even for today’s standards) and one of our all-time faves.
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, John Saxon and more
How to stream Black Christmas
The Cabin In The Woods (2012)
This one is not your typical horror movie, and turned out way better than many thought it would.
More funny than horrifying, but not to be completely written off on the horror factor, Cabin In The Woods takes the most predictable slasher premise- five college kids escaping to a remote cottage- and turns it upside down in a sci-fi/comedy/horror jumble.
It’s a unique must-see that is simply so smart and satisfying it had to earn a place on this list.
Cast: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison and more
How to stream The Cabin In The Woods
Death Proof (2007)
As soon as you see the name Quentin Tarantino stamped on a movie you know you’re in for a wild ride, and this one is often an overlooked entry in his incredible collection.
A homage to classic chase films, Death Proof is a mix of over-the-top characters, action sequences and witty dialogue packaged up nicely in the story of a Hollywood stuntman who kills women and makes it look like a car accident- until one group of girls decides to fight back.
Cast: Kurt Russell, Vanessa Ferlito, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and more
How to stream Death Proof
Arguably one of the best Clive Barker adaptations, this film is so much more than just your typical slasher.
It’s mind-boggling, trope-defying and psychologically challenging, planting seeds of America’s ugly racist history throughout.
The storyline is based on the urban legend (cue plenty of spook) of the Candyman- a supernatural being who haunts a public housing project with a hook for a hand, and a curious scholar (Virginia Masden) who goes to investigate. You can probably guess what happens next.
Cast: Tony Todd, Virginia Madsen, Bernard Rose and more
How to stream Candyman
You’re Next (2011)
Directed by Adam Wingard, You’re Next is a fun, gruesome home-invasion style thriller that feeds on the final girl trope we keep mentioning, following a strong female lead that actually makes logical and smart decisions- shocker.
It’s a blend of cliche horror with unique and alternative ideas, taking the aspect of a simple home invasion and turning it into a bloody masterpiece (literally).
Cast: Sharni Vinson, Barbara Crampton, Joe Swanberg and more
How to stream You’re Next
The Burning (1981)
As we all well know, the ‘80s was a golden age of the slasher genre.
Enter The Burning, a film revolving around a camp caretaker who is left burnt and disfigured after a teen prank goes horribly wrong. A few years later, he returns to the camp ready to release his vengeance on a whole new group of teens.
It’s probably one of the greatest as far as horror rip-offs go, so if that’s your jam then dig in.
Cast: Leah Ayres, Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens and more
How to stream The Burning
The Fear Street Trilogy (2021)
New kid on the block, Fear Street is a recently released three-part horror movie series to Netflix.
It’s basically an R-rated version of Goosebumps and caused quite a stir on its release as it follows the mystery of Shadyside. The films have all the usual hallmarks of good slasher movies while adding their own twist, taking inspiration from plenty of the classics and the more modern.
If you’re a die-hard horror fan you may find yourself slightly underwhelmed, but the film is oozing in enough confidence to make it an entertaining watch regardless.
Cast: Kiana Madeira, Sadie Sink, Olivia Scott Welch and more
How to stream The Fear Street Trilogy
Scream 2 (1997)
As hard as it is to compete with the iconic first movie, Scream 2 does a pretty damn good job. It takes the time to really build on the foundation of the first film, taking the ideas and character development to a whole new level.
We’re back with Sidney Prescott as she heads to college following a movie that’s been made of the first killings, prompting a brand new slasher nightmare that follows on from the original idea of horror films making killers more creative.
One of the greatest sequels of all time? We’ll let you be the judge.
Cast: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette and more
How to stream Scream 2
Friday The 13th – The Final Chapter (1984)
Now as the name may suggest, this in fact is not the final chapter in the Friday The 13th series. In fact, it’s not even close.
Universally praised, The Final Chapter is often cited as one of the best. It introduces Tommy Jarvis, Jason’s soon to be considered arch enemy’, and our favourite masked killer revived and ready to kill again just in time for new vacationers on Crystal Lake.
It was a total box-office success, so good that they decided to make eight more movies afterward.
Cast: Corey Feldman, Kimberley Beck, Ted White and more
How to stream Friday The 13th- The Final Chapter
Friday The 13th (2009)
A lake house setting, and a group of college kids staying the weekend- Friday The 13th 2009 version is reading straight out of the slasher handbook for this one.
After the original helped pave the way for the slasher genre, this 2009 reimagining of the horror icon hit the mark in a weird way. Although it faced backlash from critics and hardcore fans, mainly for its portrayal of Jason, it took together elements of the first four films and modernised them into a gore-filled fiesta.
And, let’s be real, any re-imaginings or sequels are never better than the original, but the beauty of this one is that it doesn’t try to be.
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Derek Mears and more
How to stream Friday The 13th (2009)
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