Being a horror hound since the early '80s, one of my truest loves has always been the slasher sub-genre. In the '80s and somewhat even further out, slashers were as common as found footage movies are today. While there are still a few new, worthy entries each year, the Golden Age of the axe wielding, blood soaked maniacs has sadly passed. Oh well, at least we have the memories. Without further nostalgic profession, here are five slashers I truly enjoyed throughout the years, but rarely hear mentioned anymore.
5. 'Intruder' (1989)
Intruder is a 1989 horror film written and directed by Scott Spiegel, and co-written by Lawrence Bender. Intruder marked the feature directorial debut of Scott Spiegel. The film was partially based around Scott Spiegel's experiences working at the real Walnut Lake Market in Michigan. It was also something of a remake of an earlier Super-8 short film by Spiegel. The short was a slasher story called Night Crew and featured a more Halloween-inspired killer. The film slowly sets itself up as the overnight stock crew of a local supermarket find themselves being stalked and slashed by a mysterious maniac. Intruder excels in the gore department and even presents a small whodunit to its audience. Unfortunately, the film was very poorly marketed by the Paramount goon squad that cashed in hard on the success of the genre. The Paramount VHS video cover (along with various other video and DVD releases) and the film's trailers all reveal the identity of the killer, thus spoiling the film's dramatic tension. (You'll noticed those covers aren't used here.) All in all though, Intruder is a nicely spun slasher from the late '80s that keeps finding new fans. 6.5 out of 10.
4. 'Venom' (2005)
Venom is a 2005 American voodoo horror-of-the-demonic film starring Agnes Bruckner, Jonathan Jackson, Laura Ramsey, Meagan Good, D.J. Cotrona and Method Man. Venom was the last Dimension Films project to be distributed by Disney before the former left Miramax Films to become part of The Weinstein Company in 2005. The film also marks the re-teaming of Kevin Williamson, writer of Scream, and director Jim Gillespie from I Know What You Did Last Summer and is loosely based on the video game Backwater. This little voodoo flick starts out on a lonely Louisiana bridge where several lives intersect in tragic fashion. Similar to Hatchet, a group of everyday local teenagers run for their lives through the swamps of Louisiana, as they are chased by Mr. Jangles, a man possessed by 13 evil souls, who is relentless in his pursuit of new victims. With decent kills, great cast, and plenty of production value, Venom is a fun horror film that sticks to the basics and adds a little bayou flavor to each bite. 6.5 out of 10.
3. 'The Burning' (1981)
The Burning is a 1981 slasher horror film directed by Tony Maylam and written by Peter Lawrence and Bob Weinstein. It is based on an original story by Maylam, Weinstein and Brad Grey, with a musical score by Rick Wakeman of the progressive rock band Yes. The film is also the feature-film debut of Seinfeld's Jason Alexander as well as future Academy Award winners Fisher Stevens and Holly Hunter. Made at the height of the low-budget slasher film craze, fueled by the success of Halloween and Friday The 13th in the early 1980s, The Burning has become notable for being the first from Miramax Films. The film is loosely based on the upstate New York urban legend of Cropsey, a tale that became popular at summer camps in the 1960s and '70s. In the film, a summer camp caretaker, who was horribly disfigured from a prank gone wrong, is released from the hospital with severe deformities and seeks revenge on unsuspecting campers. Horror effects icon Tom Savini famously turned down Friday The 13th Part 2 in favor of working on this film. It's a fun slasher, and is even a few of my friends' favorite film in the entire genre. 7 out of 10.
2. 'Dr. Giggles' (1992)
Dr. Giggles is a 1992 horror film directed by Manny Coto, starring Larry Drake as the titular antagonist and Holly Marie Combs as the protagonist. The film co-stars Cliff DeYoung and Glenn Quinn and was released on October 23, 1992. The plot follows a mentally deranged doctor who escapes from a mental asylum to seek revenge. Dr. Giggles quickly finds his way to the town where his similarly crazy father was murdered and soon begins murdering people himself, all while becoming infatuated with a young teenage girl who has a critical heart condition. In my opinion, this film is solid horror/comedy gold. The late and great Larry Drake drops one-liners and bodies at a fever pitch rate. The Dr. is out of his mind, and for all of us horror hounds lucky enough to snag an appointment, it's time for a bit of very physical therapy. It might not be everyone's favorite, but it screams '90s slasher at the top of its lungs. 7 out of 10.
1. 'Curtains' (1983)
Curtains is a 1983 Canadian slasher film directed by Richard Ciupka, and stars John Vernon, Samantha Eggar, Linda Thorson and Lynne Griffin. A horror yarn at heart but also a scathing narrative about theater and filmmaking, Curtains isn't necessarily you're average '80s slash trash. The plot tells the story of a group of actresses targeted by a masked killer at a prestigious director's remote mansion where they are auditioning for a role in a movie. This film is a classic whodunit with just a tinge of that '80s slasher magic. Of all the bloody films of its era, Curtains is different. It's not totally reserved, but it does seem to hold itself to a more intellectual standard than its teenage-filled compatriots. Definitely worth a late night or lazy Sunday look. 7.5 out of 10.
Well, that's all for now my fellow horror fan friends; but have no fear, I'll be back with more bloody and gooey gore to darken your paths. Until then, drop me a few of your favorite forgotten slashers and who knows, maybe I'll even add them to the next installment: "Five More Forgotten Slashers For Horror Fans."
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