Slasher films have been around for a few decades now, and in my opinion are the launching ground and backbone of the horror genre. Slasher films have brought us unstoppable killing machines, the guy next door that just snaps and a new found respect for caller ID, but in a vast sea of scary men chasing the pretty girl up the stairs, who is the best? Here are my top 10 slashers.
10.) Patrick Bateman - American Psycho
Some would argue that he is not a slasher, but I have to disagree. Patrick Bateman, played by the immensely talented Christian Bale, is perhaps the scariest type of slasher. Bateman is good looking, smart, goal-oriented and charismatic, but mostly, he is your average guy next door with a dark secret. He is not supernatural and that's what makes him so terrifying. That there are real people like Patrick Bateman walking around out there. American Psycho opened a lot of eyes and brought reality to a world dominated by fantasy.
9.) Benjamin Willis - I Know What You Did Last Summer
Another character to bring a bit of reality to the slasher world, Muse Watson's Benjamin Willis. Willis begins as an unsuspecting man taking a nice little moonlit stroll down a rural road (maybe not the best place to walk at night in dark clothing) when he is struck by a carload of drunk teens, but later becomes one of the scariest slashers of all time. While the film may be a bit cheesy and not on the top of many "top lists" in fact, Willis is pretty terrifying. Armed with a hook and a serious lust for vengeance, Willis doesn't have the largest body count, but he does have some of the coolest kills. Supernatural or not, that is up for interpretation, he certainly deserves a bit more notoriety.
8.) Ghostface - Scream
Who doesn't know who Ghostface is? Since Scream was released in 1996, Ghostface costumes have flown off the shelves of costume shops everywhere and we have started checking our caller ID twice before answering the phone. He has even inspired the "what's your favorite scary movie" prank (who hasn't said it at least once?). He is another example of the boy next door losing it and going on a murdering spree. Even after four films, and a new one on the way, Ghostface and his signature mask are slasher icons.
7.) Chucky - Child's Play
Oh Chucky, so many mixed feelings about you. Some think he is horrifying and others think that he is a joke, but regardless he is an icon nonetheless. What makes him a true slasher? There is nothing more scary to an 8-year-old than your doll coming to life and trying to massacre your family and steal your body. Combining a stand-up comedian with a homicidal maniac, Chucky preys on the fear that many have, Pediophobia, or the fear of dolls. Why wouldn't he be on the list?
6.) Leatherface - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Feeling ugly? Forget makeup, just throw on a new face. That's just what Leatherface has done since 1974. Based on real life killer, Ed Gein, Leatherface is frightening for many reasons. 1.) Giant chainsaw - not only is he wielding a chainsaw, but for a big man he is surprisingly graceful with it, and can run pretty fast. 2.) A new face every time you see him - there is something about skinning someone's face from their skull then applying it to your face that screams instability. Leatherface synonyms perfectly with slasher. No matter who is playing him or if it's an original or remake, he is without a doubt one of the best.
5.) Victor Crowley - Hatchet
From the twisted mind of Adam Green, Victor Crowley is Wrong Turn meets Jason Voorhees with a much angrier disposition. Crowley has one of the highest body counts in the slasher genre, and has taken out the largest number of people in a single scene (watch Hatchet III if you don't believe me). He is one effective killing machine. What makes him scary? No matter what you do to him, he's coming back. What makes Victor so appealing is the depth of his story. His father had an affair with the help while his wife was dying, he was cursed to be born a monster and then he gets killed in a terrible accident at the hands of his own father. Now he is just a spirit that wants to find his pops and be left alone. Green says he is done with the Hatchet series, but I hope that he is just taking a break because everyone would love to see more of Victor Crowley.
4.) Freddy Krueger - A Nightmare on Elm Street
The man of our dreams (see what I did there) Freddy Krueger is a more frightening version of Deadpool. He's funny, has questionable fashion tastes and he will kill you without thinking twice. Krueger attacks when we are at our most vulnerable, while we're sleeping. You can avoid a sketchy looking old camp, but you can't avoid sleep making him the ultimate predator. While it is unlikely that a child molester in a Christmas sweater will kill you in your dreams, just the idea is enough to give you nightmares.
3.) Michael Myers - Halloween
Yes, I used a picture of the remade Michael (gasp), but I am a fan of all of the Halloween films including the remakes (and Season of the Witch, yes I said it) and every Michael Myers that has graced the screen. While I doubt that someone can be shot, stabbed and blown up as many times as Myers and still live, there is something absolutely gut wrenching about a man breaking out of a mental hospital and roaming around a small town looking for a piece of his past. Myers is another character with a sympathetic note, especially in Rob Zombie's adaptations. He starts off as a sweet little boy who then snaps and his family is gone. The only link he has left to humanity is a little sister that has no clue he exists. Myers is a character that will stalk you until he kills you, so he is without a doubt one of the top dogs.
2.) Jason Voorhees - Friday the 13th
Jason Voorhees has been making summer camp a nightmare since the release of Friday the 13th Part 2 in 1981. He's massive, unstoppable and really angry. Another sympathetic killer having watched his only tie to love get beheaded, you almost want to hug him, but the giant machete he is about to impale you with makes you think twice. No matter how fast you run...he catches up. My personal favorite Jason is Kane Hodder's take on the character in The New Blood. I am a fan of all that have worn the mask, but Hodder brought the most to the character. Another thing that makes Jason so frightening is his choice of mask. The hockey mask isn't all that jump, but as soon as Jason puts it on it becomes the thing of nightmares. Perhaps even scarier than the mask was the sack from Part 2 with just the one eye showing. Jason Voorhees is a breed of monster all his own, for sure.
On to number one, but who else is there you ask? All of the big guys have already been listed, well my number one is a fairly new slasher that I feel has set a whole new tone for the genre...
1.) ChromeSkull - Laid To Rest
Okay, I'm going to give you a second to just look at the above picture. What is not utterly bone-chilling about him? Perhaps one of the best dressed slashers in cinematic history, Chromeskull is remorseless and extremely talented with a knife. Add Nick Principe's size and love of the genre to a well-written character and you get night terrors. A chrome-plated skull mask may not sound like such a big deal, but putting it on someone that would love nothing more than to introduce your intestines to the ground, throw in some dark lighting and a few foggy scenes and it will haunt your dreams forever. Chromeskull is Patrick Bateman meets Michael Myers times 10. Not only does he brutally murder people, he likes to video it. That adds a whole new level of uncomfortable crazy to the mix. What makes him even more intimidating is the fact that his motives, what exactly it is that he does to the girls in the coffin...Brian Austin Green's character in Laid To Rest 2 whispers into a girl's ear what really happens and the look on her face is sheer panic and disgust. Not knowing those key elements gives the character that bit of mystery that makes him even more dangerous. Add of of this up and it effectively puts Chromeskull at the top of my list.
Well there you have it. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the poll below, and feel free to explain in the comments section.
Slashers aren't going anywhere, and just remember, the average person walks past a murderer 2-3 times in their life. Sweet dreams.