The main purpose of this articul is to popularize forgotten films from the horror genre.Also to make it more clear that what we believed was the first slasher film,Halloween (1978),it IS NOT TRUE.It's about time to find the first slasher film.
A lot of people know that Texas Chainsaw Masscre (1974),Psycho (1960) and Black Christmas (1974) pre-date Halloween.But there are other films before and in between those previously mentioned.First is the cult classic,Alice Sweet Alice (1976).Some horror fans know and love this film,but while it's before Halloween and after Psycho,it's still after Texas Chainsaw Masscre and Black Christmas, so we have to eliminate it from the list.Next one is a public domain gem Silent Night , Bloody Night (1972).A creepy and unsettling,but a bit slow , christmas horror that got small attention when it was first released.Since the years had past, it gained a small cult following and it has being rediscovered.It was made in '72, after Psycho and before Halloween,Chainsaw,Black Xmas and Alice.It might be the first one???No my friend,it IS NOT.One year before ,in 1971 legendery filmmaker Mario Bava released the horrors of the classic giallo film A Bay of Blood.The film has two sub-plots.One of them is about four horny teens on vacation.This is the usual plot every single slasher had and still has.Also it is worth mentioning that Friday the 13th Part 2 shares a same scene with the '71 classic.This one...
The film has also POV shots and a murderer with a machete for a weapon of choice.So yeah Bay of Blood is the first classic slasher film.
Wait ,what...???? There are two other films that pre-date Bay of Blood.
Well,yeah!The first one is Peeping Tom (1960).It pre-dates even Psycho!!!All moviegoers know this British masterpiece.But something is missing.Two things actually.The first one is the mystery of who the killer might be.We know from the beginning of the film who is our villan and also our main character.The second one is the blood! We all know that slasher films have a lot of the red stuff!But Peeping Tom dosen't come with the blood.So it also eliminated.Bloody Pit of horror (1965) has a lot of the slasher films trops and plotpoints but there is a film that was made two years before this.
Before I say which in my opinion is the first slasher film I want to clear up some things.First Blood Feast (1963) is not a slasher but a splatter film.Sorry Herschell Gordon Lewis' fans.But I will give it gredit for being the first splatter film.
Secondly, you might wonder why I was mentioning that most of the films were made after Psycho.While Psycho, by many, is considered to be the first slasher film (I put it in the list just because I knew that people were going to comment why I didn't mentioned it) in my opinion it has nothing to do with the slasher or generaly the horror genre.Psycho is low on body count and it is a serious psychological thriller.NOT A HORROR MOVIE.
Now ,when it's all said and done it's time for the big reveal...
Dementia 13 (1963)
The plot follows a scheming young woman (Luana Anders) who, while visiting her husband's family castle in Ireland, inadvertently causes his heart attack death. She attempts to have herself written into her rich mother-in-law's will since her husband (Peter Read) has pre-deceased his mother (Ethne Dunn). Her plans are permanently interrupted by an axe-wielding lunatic who begins to stalk and murderously hack away at members of the family.Directed by the legendery film-maker Francis Ford Coppola and produced by notorious Roger Corman,Dementia 13 is the prime example of a well executed slasher film.It is creepy,it has a descent body count and the weapon of choice by the killer is an AXE! It has blood and decapitations.And the reveal of the killer's identity at the end is pretty amusing.Well it has its flaws ,it's still one of my favourite films and Coppola's directorial debut.
If you want to go deeper in the barel of the slasher sub genre,The Spiral Staircase (1946) have some slasher elements but it is more of a psychological thriller.Same as Psycho.
Also worth menstioning is The Girl who knew to much (1963) (a.k.a The Evil Eye) and Blood and Black Lace (1964) both films directed,again, by Mario Bava. It's very debatable if Dementia 13 or The Evil Eye is the first true slesher film. I hope you enjoyed!