Friday, 30 October 2015

The Top 5 Slasher Flicks

With Halloween tomorrow, it’s time to count down some of the best horror films. In this list, we’ll be looking at some of the best and most influential slashers. 


PSYCHO



Let’s start at the beginning. Many people consider the ‘slasher film’ genre to have began with Alfred Hitchcock’s timeless Psycho, and they’d probably be right! You all know the story, you all know the twist, and you all know that shower scene. Anthony Perkins’ Norman Bates is easily one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, and with several sequels, a remake, TV spin-offs and even a dramatization of the making of the film (Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins); Psycho is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most influential films in the history of cinema, as well as one of Hitchcock’s best. It still holds up remarkably well, even 55 years on. Fun fact - it’s also the first film to show a flushing toilet! Scary...

Best momentother than the iconic shower murder, Psycho’s best sequence has to be the uncomfortably tense investigatory visit to the Bates Motel from Detective Arbogast (Martin Balsam), climaxing in a rather nasty fall.


HALLOWEEN



An obvious choice perhaps, but what ‘Top Slashers’ list would be complete without John Carpenter’s iconic Halloween. Made in the Golden Age of slashers, the 1970s, Halloween ticks every box; a masked silent killer, young women screaming and, well, slashing. Produced on a budget of just $300,00 and grossing almost $50 million at the box office in the US alone, Halloween is one of the most profitable independent films in cinema history. Many people credit the film as being inspired by Hitchcock’s Psycho, with a character here sharing a name with one from Psycho and of course the casting of Janet Leigh’s daughter Jamie Lee Curtis, but the film is also the originator of many more clichés still found in horror today. Timelessly scary and always my go-to viewing on Halloween night, you can’t do any better than this. But please, and this applies to a few of the films on this list – don’t go anywhere near the remake. My fun fact for Halloween is this...Despite all the lead female characters in the film being high school students, Jamie Lee Curtis was the only teenager at the time of filming.

Best moment for me, Halloween’s best scares don’t come from the slashing and murders on Halloween night, but rather the fleeting glimpses of masked killer Michael Myers throughout the day. I get chills whenever I look into my garden and imagine him standing there, looking in. The dirty bugger.



THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE



Another low-budget slasher out of the 1970s, Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre paved the way for films like The Driller Killer by introducing power tools to the slasher genre. The relentless and exhaustingly disturbing classic was banned outright in several countries with numerous cinemas in other countries stopping the screenings due to complaints about the violence - you must remember that although the violence may seem somewhat dated now, in its day it was unprecedented – the film still on to be a huge financial success. A confident directorial debut from Hooper with a cast of largely unknown actors who add to the film’s harrowing faux realism, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is rightly considered one of the finest horror films in cinematic history. Your fun fact for this film? The opening narration was done by John Larroquette, who was paid with a marijuana joint for his work on the film. Gotta love the 1970s! 

Best momentthe harrowing dinner time sequence with the terrifying cannibalistic Sawyer clan, ending with 1 grandpa and 1 hammer. Even scarier still would be a porno with those 2 things. 


A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET



Into the 1980s we go, with Wes Craven’s nightmarish creation taking centre stage for the beginning of one of horror’s most profitable and recognisable franchises. Despite becoming more of a comedic figure in the later films, there’s no denying the power of Robert Englund’s Freddy Krueger here. In his trademark striped jumper and hat, Krueger terrified a generation in the unique and original tale of a nasty burned bastard who kills teenagers in their dreams. Sure, some of the special effects and music are a little dated now, but the A Nightmare on Elm Street is still an iconic game-changer that brought something different to the genre. Who’s ready for another fun fact? ALL OF YOU? I thought so. The first time Robert Englund tried on the iconic Freddy glove, he accidentally cut himself. Bless him.

Best momentit has to be the trick ending, in which everything seems fine until you realise it really isn’t. Very bleak, and still shocking.



SCREAM



And of course, the iconic slasher film of the 1990s, credited to this day as being the film that revitalised the horror genre. Wes Craven scared a whole new generation with Scream, a post-modern horror film that plays with all of the clichés of the horror genre, incorporating whodunit, slasher and even comedy. The film was completely unique at the time of its release for including characters that were aware of horror films and openly discussed the clichés within them, culminating in the iconic ‘rules to survive a horror movie’ sequence. But despite this self-aware, tongue-in-cheek satirical delivery; Scream still has some good scares in it that still hold up well for certain viewers – my dad can’t even look at the Ghostface mask without getting scared, let alone watch the film. Just ignore the increasingly disappointing sequels and shite TV series. And my final fun fact for you is this. Scream was originally titled Scary Movie. You love that, don’t you?

Best momentof course, it has to be the opening sequence in which Drew Barrymore’s character is shockingly killed off despite prominent billing and appearing on the poster. Straight away, Scream is not what you expect.


Sam Love



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