This year gave us remakes, sequels, and prequels of horror movies that nobody asked for. The original movies are cult classics because they have captivated audiences for decades through bone-chilling narratives with creepy imagery that leave you wanting more. Here are five slasher films that have stood the test of time.
- Halloween (Dir. John Carpenter, 1978)
You’ve heard the Halloween theme song, but have you ever watched the movie? With 13 total movies in the franchise, I’d like to take you back to the first one that started it all. The 1978 Halloween is an iconic film that pioneered the essential backdrop for a slasher movie: a masked killer chasing unsuspecting victims in a suspenseful game of cat-and-mouse. It innovated cinematography and suspenseful storytelling through every scene. This original cult classic is significant because it is arguably one of the most remarkable and influential horror movies ever produced. To grasp the roots of the slasher genre and experience the only “Halloween” you’ll need, step into the world of Michael Myers who provides a killer experience that has solidified its place in cinematic history.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (Dir. Wes Craven, 1984)
After watching the nightmares in this movie, you’ll be scared to sleep. Wes Craven wrote, directed, and created this film—and with it came the slasher character that was distinct from other killers of the time: Freddy Krueger. Freddy is an iconic antagonist and different from the others’ tropes since; in slumber, he enters your dreams to torture you. The film elevated its genre by blending reality and nightmares ultimately creating an uncanny sense of dread.
- Friday the 13th (Dir. Sean S. Cunningham, 1980)
The beginning of the Jason Voorhees saga, Friday the 13th (1980) was written by Victor Miller and directed by Sean S. Cunningham. It left an incredible mark on the horror genre and gained praise for its cinematography and unique storyline, which started the summer camp killer trope. Our main slasher and Halloween costume icon is Jason Voorhees, who murders teens at a summer camp he drowned in. This movie was inspired by John Carpenter‘s Halloween. You can see the similarities between the films’ main killers. However, Friday the 13th is visually stunning and more of a rollercoaster that rides into its iconic, critical plot twist which was missing in its sequels and remakes.
4. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Dir. Tobe Hooper, 1974)
Tobe Hooper, the creator, director, and writer of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, redefined the boundaries of the horror genre. Based on true events, the movie dives into uncharted territory with its raw intensity and gritty realism. There are nine films in total, with various reboots, remakes, and prequels that span the course of almost five decades. None compare to the original movie. The film’s main antagonist, Leatherface, has become a symbol of horror. Prepare for an unsettling journey that reshapes cinematic terror and reminds us why it’s a significant piece in the puzzle of slasher horror’s evolution.
- Scream (Dir. Wes Craven, 1996)
This is another cult classic slasher film written and directed by Wes Craven. The original movie was meant to be a parody of other horror films but became a cult classic instead. Currently, there are six movies in the franchise with hints of a seventh on its way. However, none can compare to the original because it was an innovative idea for its period. By blending self-awareness with genuine scares, the film serves as a satire and homage to horror tropes. It reinvigorated the genre by seamlessly merging humour and horror. Scream revived interest in slashers while inspiring a new wave of self-referential horror films.