10 Best Slasher Movies of All Time

The slasher movie genre is a niche in the horror genre. The provenance of the genre can be traced back to the 1960s, when visionary auteurs like Alfred Hitchcock turned a new leaf in the book of Hollywood. The films are usually panned by critics and generally don’t do well at the box office either. The kitschy potboilers though did find success in the formative years of the conception of its idea. Over the years, its popularity has faded. Neither do the film-makers or the audiences like to be a part of such films. The genre is survived by remakes, sequels and reboots, which lack imagination and the original essence of the movies. The golden period for the slasher genre was the 1980-2000 period, when it gained popularity and saw directors come up with new ideas. The following list comprises of top slasher movies ever. You might be able to watch some of these good slasher movies on Netflix. Most of the these are slasher horror films. There are also a couple of 80s slasher movies.

10. Cabin in the Woods (2012)

This was Drew Goddard’s directorial debut. The story chronicles the deadly sojourn of five friends in a remote cabin in the woods, getting hunted by retrograde zombies and two obscure technicians from an underground facility. The film attempted at “revitilizing the slasher genre”, and a satire on torture porn. The film opened to rave reviews, with critics praising “It is an astonishing meta-feat, capable of being funny, strange, and scary – frequently all at the same time.” The film was a commercial success as well, grossing $66 million world-wide. It is actually remembered as the re-birth of the slasher genre.

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9. Black Christmas (1974)

The film was directed by Bob Clark. The story follows a group of sorority sisters who are receiving threatening phone calls, while being stalked and murdered during the holiday season by a deranged murderer hiding in the attic of their sorority house. The film opened to mixed reviews, with critical acclaim following after re-consideration. It is credited for originating the unsolved ambiguous identity for the killer. The film has achieved a cult status and is one of the most revered piece of cinema in the slasher genre.

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8. Dementia 13 (1963)

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This was the great Francis Coppola’s directorial debut. His revolutionary vision and bold subject matter depicted by the use of gory killing scenes didn’t sit well with the producers. This prompted them to change directors, and hired Jack Hill to re-shoot certain scenes. As a result, the quality of the film depreciated, opening to mixed reviews. The film chronicles the journey of a young woman Louise Haloran to the castle of his deceased husband. Convoluted events take center-stage as axe-wielding lunatic begins hacking down family members. Coppola received much praise for his direction and the imaginative use of the locations.

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7. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

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The film was one of first of Kevin Williams’ many slasher films. The plot centers on four friends who are being stalked by a killer, one year after covering up a car accident in which they were involved. The film was a big commercial hit, going to gross $126 million world-wide, almost eight times its budget. Despite the mixed reaction from critics, the film has been repeatedly parodied and referenced in popular culture. The flick was followed by two sequels, none of which retained the star cast but sustained the plot and the story-line.

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6. Candyman (1992)

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This supernatural horror film, written and directed by Bernard Rose, is based on a short story “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker. The setting though is changed from England to America. The plot follows a graduate student (Madsen) completing a thesis on urban legends who encounters the legend of “Candyman” (Todd), an artist and son of a slave who had his hand severed and was then murdered. The film opened to very positive reviews, with many critics calling it a “nuanced, effectively chilling tale” and one of the surprises of the year. The film set the cash registers ringing, making almost three times its production budget. As has been a familiar cadence with the films of the genre, the movie saw two sequels, none of which could emulate the eerie original.

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5. Friday the 13th (1980)

Probably the most adapted and recreated film of the genre. But none of the innumerable adaptations have managed to scare and excite the audiences like the original. Directed by Sean Cunningham, the film tells the story of a group of teenagers who are murdered one by one by a unknown killer while attempting to re-open an abandoned campground. Boasting a plethora of up and coming stars like, Kevin Bacon, Harry Crosby and Laurie Bartram, the film became the biggest independent hit of all time, making almost 110 times of its budget! Critics praised the film for its gripping plot-line and the non-convolution of the underlying theme of the genre. This ws the start of the Golden period for the slasher genre.

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4. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

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The film was banned outright in more than 30 countries when it was received. But that couldn’t deter its collections as the film went on to gross more than $30 million world-wide, alsmot 100 times its budget. Its iconic status in the industry is much thanks to it being the putrefying provenance, originating several elements common in the slasher genre, including the use of power tools as murder weapons and the characterization of the killer as a large, hulking, faceless figure. The film has seen repeated attempts to recreate the magic on screen. It is one of the few films of the genre which have been appreciated by the critics for its pragmatic approach and holistic use of gory violence.

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3. Scream (1996)

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Probably one of the only films to have been gut-wrenchingly funny. The film is the second Kevin Williams movie to feature in the list. Its status as one of the most iconic films of all time in the slasher genre remains intact even today, thanks to successful sequels and remakes. It is one of the only franchises which have bettered the previous films with quality sequels. The original film had a stellar cast, including names like Courtney Cox (Monica Geller), David Arquette (Courtney’s husband), Rose McGowan and Drew Barrymore. The film turned out to be a huge hit, making almost 15 times its budget, also getting universal critical praise. The critics appreciated the “subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it’s a little too cheeky for some.”

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2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

The film was Johhny Depp’s debut feature. The plot revolves around several teenagers who are stalked and killed in their dreams (and thus killed in reality) by Freddy Krueger. The teenagers are unaware of the cause of this strange phenomenon, but their parents hold a dark secret from long ago. The movie is iconic for the creation of an anti-antagonist, someone who has been the victim of social and mental oppression. It is often credited as being the film to instill pragmatism and substance over non-nonsensical and gory violence. The film’s villain is today one of the screen’s most iconic idols and has seen parodies and references in popular culture.

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1. Psycho (1960)

Ta-Da. The film is the most critically acclaimed film of not only the genre, but also in general. Alfred Hitchcock is considered as a pioneer of the crime thriller genre, and is credited as the founding father of anti-climaxes. The film that is remembered as the most Hitchcockian ever is ‘Psycho’, starring Anthony Perkins as the manager of the doomed Bates Motel. Initial acclaim was mixed, with many believing it to be too dark. But outstanding box office returns prompted reconsideration, which then garnered critical acclaim and four Academy award nominations. It set a new level of acceptability for violence, deviant behavior and sexuality in American films, and is considered as the earliest example of the slasher film genre. The shower scene even today is considered as the greatest cinematic scene filmed on celluloid.

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