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Slashing Back! How to Revive the Slasher Genre

With new entries in several classic slasher franchises coming around the bend (Halloween, Friday the 13th, Child’s Play, and more) it looks as if we’re headed for a stalk n’ slash renaissance. Not since Wes Craven’s Scream and its many imitators has the subgenre racked up the the box office dollars to go along with its massive body count. As a huge fan of “dead teenager” flicks and an aspiring (read: “wannabe”) writer/director myself, I’m often contemplating what the new iteration of the slasher will be.

The popularity of these films always tend to run in cycles. Each cycle contains its own specific clichés and characteristics. Despite this, a slasher-is a slasher-is a slasher, and they all retain certain tropes and themes that are instantly recognizable.

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The Slasher’s Past

For instance, the 70’s proto-slashers such as Black ChristmasHalloween, and The Redeemer were setting the groundwork for what the subgenre would become. Their focus was more on building suspense and less concerned with piling up the bodies. The “Golden Age” of the 80’s saw the rise of the psycho-killer as an anti-hero. Audiences flocked to the Friday and Nightmare films. They could care less about most of the characters. Fans were practically rooting for the next successive death to outdo the last in terms of shock and gore.

After that, the slasher film laid dormant for quite some time until the late 90’s. Films released during this era were too hip to simply follow the previous blueprint. All the clichés and tropes were old hat, the mystery of “who is the killer” came to the forefront with self-referential humor poking fun at what had come before. All the more salacious bits of T&A, creative kills, and the unstoppable madmen fell to the wayside. Then, audiences grew tired of it all. Our slasher surrogate for the early 00’s was “torture porn”. So…what’s next?

I’m genuinely asking. You see, I’m currently hashing out an idea for a screenplay that would present the slasher from a different angle. It’s not what I would call groundbreaking in any way, but it provides a modern update to all the tropes we’ve come to love and fear. At least, this is my intent with the project. There’s a fine line to toe between “something different” and “something unrecognizable”.

The Redeemer 1978


Breaking the Slasher Mold

The truth is, there has been a lot of innovation within the subgenre through the years. If Freddy never came for the Elm Street kids in their dreams, we might not have ever gotten the supernatural slasher. If the giallo (Italian murder mystery) film didn’t greatly inspire the original Friday the 13th and it’s shocking (spoiler alert) reveal of Jason’s mother as the killer, would we have gotten Scream? However, while innovation and “original” concepts are always begged for, we don’t always welcome them.

The Friday series has become the quintessential poster child of the body count film. When you plop down in your seat for a new Jason flick, you know just what you’re getting into. That said, some Friday films have taken pretty big risks throughout the years, much to the chagrin of some fans. Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning dared to give us “Fake Jason” in a twist that hearkened back to the original. The franchise has also gifted us “Slug Jason” and “Uber Jason” (I prefer the term “Mecha-Jason”, but I’m a Big G nerd).

The majority of fans have not have not been too kind to those chapters in the franchise. I happen to enjoy all three to various extent, but am fully aware they don’t fit in the provided F13 mold. Every time a cinema psycho is launched into space (Pinhead, Leprechaun) or given familial ties (Freddy, Chucky) to try and spice up the formula, they are greeted with less than mild applause. Why change things up at all?

Love Jason X


The Slasher’s Present

I personally believe, in essence, there’s no original stories left to tell. There’s only so many ways to seclude a group of characters and only so many ways to unleash a murderous evil upon them. When Carpenter made Halloween he was already cannibalizing Clark’s Black Christmas. He pretty much copied the man’s idea for a sequel and made it his own. 

Mark Twain put it best:

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

Those same pieces of colored glass are coming back into play, and while I believe a lot of horror fans are hungry for “more of the same”, will they be happy if that’s all they get? If the new Friday the 13th is nothing but a bunch of quick murders, minimal suspense, and no actual plot – would fans rejoice? Or would they prefer the same pieces to be presented in a new combination?

A simple shift could make all the difference. A group of teens return to Camp Crystal Lake for “insert reason here”. They soon learn the legend of Jason Voorhees only to be slaughtered one by one by the hockey masked murderer. The new angle would have all the “filler” characters bite the dust half way through the film, leaving only our final girl. An entire 45 minutes could be spent with the lead trying to escape, outsmart, and survive.

My favorite part of most slashers are the chase scenes, so why not make that the major focus? See? There’s nothing really original in that concept, but we take a tired story and present it in a slightly different way…Or do we change nothing?

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The Retro Slasher Revolution

The release of Rodriguez and Tarantino’s Grindhouse opened the floodgates to faux-retro cinema. I can’t stand it (this coming from someone who utilized fake film scratch on a movie I shot years ago…lame). I’m all for a “throwback” or an “homage” if done through ones own creative kaleidoscope. No matter what, though, digital video looks like modern technology. I don’t care how many scratches, “missing reel” inserts, or cigarette burns you add to your footage. This is not the 80’s. Why is it that indie filmmakers insist on doing this?

Because, the 80’s were the Golden Age, and nothing has come along since to ignite the subgenre the same way. Yes, Scream was great, and some the films that followed its success were fun. The point is, the revival of the 90’s didn’t last very long. Upon Scream 3’s release in 2000, the slasher was already on its last leg…again. So, whether we grew up in the 80’s or the 90’s, we still fondly look back to the Golden Age with memories from either the cinema or the video store. We want to recreate that magic.

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The Possible Slasher Solution

Two recent indies that come pretty close to that magic are All Through the House (2016) and Lake Nowehere (2015). ATTH is a blast of Christmas cruelty, shot with slick digital photography, served up with all the sex and gore an 80’s stalk n’ slash fanatic could dream of. It works because it plays its ludicrous killer Santa plot straight, and it delivers on the expectations of the genre without resorting to faux-retro gimmicks. Lake Nowhere does exactly what I’ve already rallied against; it presents itself as a lost VHS classic. Hypocritical? Sure, but the filmmakers handle this exceptionally well. The film only lasts about 50 minutes so as not to wear out its welcome. Different from ATTH, Lake Nowhere works by NOT delivering on the expectations of its premise, a partying group of kids spend a weekend at a cabin in the woods.

There are two examples of modern films in the subgenre that work for different reasons. ATTH is a film that borrows the tropes and clichés of the 80’s and presents them without any knowing winks to the audience. Lake Nowhere passes itself off as an old school slasher only to go in a wildly different direction, ending on an almost mystical note. Is this the future of the slasher, an amalgam of old and new?

All Through the House


The Slasher’s Future

I don’t claim to have all the answers. I believe the key for future slashers’ successes are in the details. Filmmakers must crack the modern audience code in order to elicit maximum scares and minimum eye rolls. Only it can’t be done by ignoring the over 40 years of lessons the subgenre has to offer.

We can’t rely on the meta approach of the 90’s. This brand of humor has been done to death with increasingly diminished returns. Maybe “self-referential” could be replaced by “self-reflective”? If general audiences won’t show up for the meat and potatoes vibe of the 80’s, a subgenre has to make money to thrive after all, maybe we can at least bring back the crazy practical effects and inventive kills of the period. The pacing of 70’s genre fare may bore some of today’s moviegoers, but suspense is always in style. If you can’t blow people away with an original idea, blow them away with masterful filmmaking.

My idea is far from revolutionary or game-changing. It’s pretty simple. Take some of the old, subvert the expectations of the audience, add a pinch of personal style and voila! You have yourself a modern slasher film.

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I hope I’ve given you something to chew on. Do we want more of the same, something radically different, or just a fresh take on an old idea. I’m genuinely curious to know what you guys think. What do you want from the upcoming slate of slasher movies? Do you agree there’s no original ideas? Let’s chat down below, fiends!


75 Comments
  • john

    “The release of Rodriguez and Tarantino’s Grindhouse opened the floodgates to faux-retro cinema.”

    Grindhouse was a box-office bomb. Okay, so some direct to video, no-namers bit off this technique.

    What floodgates were opened at the local multiplex with high-budgeted product from Hollywood studios?

  • nowaygetreal

    It really is as simple as adding new concepts to old ideas. Remember that Friday the 13th in the winter idea? That was brilliant to me. Even the found footage angle, though a maligned idea, was fresh and would have at the very least been interesting.
    Hell, even putting Chucky in an insane asylum setting is fresh, by simply putting two old ideas together.
    Makes sense to me.

    • lostboy408

      Chucky in a insane asylum was done in the first Child’s Play

      • nowaygetreal

        Well, hardly. I was referring to the narrative of Cult of Chucky in which the asylum appears to be the main setting.

    • Spooky Kooky

      I’d love to see Jason in the winter, not so much the found footage angle though. I also think bringing back all of the final girls from the Friday films would be amazing! They said they were up for it in Crystal Lake Memories!

  • Mamet006

    A whole bunch of filler and no actual answer as to how to revive the genre. Was this one of the new guys writing?

    • C_ Bad

      i know, i kept looking for some kind of point or revelation in the article. the question in the headline was never answered :@ yeah ok, let’s update old ideas … that’s it?

      • Thanks for or the feedback. The intent was to really pose the question and discuss it, not to answer it. But I hear where you coming from. Perhaps the headline was misleading.

        • Mamet006

          The headline was very misleading, but that is the speciality of the web so, I guess you committed no sin.

  • HurricaneSeasonHasReturned

    I love the idea of music having a big factor in the killing. Like an Eminem or someone you hear the music often in cars or backgrounds. Still a guess who the killer is but the famous musician isn’t introduced to the big reveal. But theyre super recognizable and with repeat viewings it makes sense.

  • WALKTER

    I think it’s as important for a filmmmaker to put their own mark on a project (slasher or otherwise) as it is for them to stay true to the genre their film inhabits. I think the only thing holding back the slasher genre is the genre itself, it’s not the cash cow it once was. I’ve seen plenty of new or original slasher films released over the years that had an interesting new take on the genre, but they didn’t get the exposure a studio backed found footage haunted possession flick does. Any successful movie will have it’s imitators, if these Friday or Halloween remake/reboot/sequels work out we might see a boom for the slasher genre.

  • ScriptGiverTJ

    Well that was whole lot of nothing.

  • Saturn

    I suppose a more “modern” take on the slasher would be something along the lines of a killer being created in the “creepy pasta” world, and due to the character becoming so popular online it becomes a thing of the flesh in the real world, perhaps due to a form of A.I. that is lurking on the dark web.
    A simple idea, but done well could be a franchise starter.

    • Harley Mitchel Dirk

      There’s something about this idea that intrigues me. The thought of a disembodied slasher is kind of interesting.

    • J.Ryall

      so,a tulpa.

      • Saturn

        I suppose so, yes.
        It would be an interesting, modern spin, on the creation of a magikal thought-form.

    • lostboy408

      So… New Nightmare?

      • Saturn

        Yeah, I suppose it’s a similar idea.
        But wasn’t New Nightmare about an ancient force, that had been trapped in tales (ie Elm St movies) being re-released into the world as the stories had stopped being told?
        So not exactly a new entity that was created by mass “will” of the people using the internet.

    • Mark Nye

      Was done in Smiley….and it was utter crap

      • Saturn

        *******SPOILERS********

        I don’t remember much about Smiley, but didn’t it just turn out that it was just an average, run of the mill, person wearing the mask?

        ******END OF SPOILERS******

        • Mark Nye

          Kinda, SPOILERS….the ending showed it was a group of malicious teens but then by their actions created an actual Smiley ‘ghost’ so it was a bit of both

          • Saturn

            Ah, to be honest I don’t remember much about the movie, aside from it being shite, but having a cool mask.
            I remember thinking that there was potential for a franchise, but maybe it was already dead due to the first movie being a little bit “meh”.

  • Jake

    I feel a lot of the problems with innovation in the slasher genre isn’t about what’s being done or taking the genre out of the mold, but rather HOW it’s being done. It’s much more about execution than content. For example, the Curse of Chucky backstory reveal was much more satisfying because of how it was executed (not the best example, I know, but I couldn’t think of anything else); however, when F13 and NOES did it, the execution was sloppy with bad music and silly effects and too much self-reverence. I think placed in the hands of someone more capable, re-inventing the horror genre with new and interesting motifs could really pay off if it’s done correctly. I’d love to see Jason Goes to Hell again with a MUCH better director, better writing and better actors. Keep the story the same, and improve on the execution and you’d have a much more revered and worthy entry into the series.

    • Cool. That goes back to the idea of solid filmmaking being the difference. I don’t think the subgenre can skirt by anymore by hiring directors who aren’t passionate for it. A lot of fillmmakers might be able to shoot an effective slasher, but that doesn’t mean they should.

  • Jared Patrick

    What about “The Cabin In The Woods”? It broke the mold of original slasher flicks, with it’s own unique take and twist to the slasher genre.

    • WALKTER

      The Cabin in the Woods is a perfect example of how to innovate or subvert our expectations while delivering an enjoyable film fans of the slasher genre would appreciate. “I Didn’t Come Here to Die” was another unique take on the genre that was quite entertaining, you might enjoy that if you haven’t seen it yet.

    • Travis_Bickle

      Not a slasher movie at all though. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on cabin in the woods but it is definitely not a slasher flick

    • I agree that Cabin is an amazing film, but I think it falls closely to the “self referential” camp of horror. I feel as if that film was sort of the final nail to that style. I’m not sure it could be duplicated again for quite some time.

  • Rocky

    Slashers are my fave horror genre. I don’t want them to be funny, supernatural, overly complex or imagined.
    Some of the best where the ones were things were simple and to the point;
    The Burning, The Prowler, Stagefright, My Bloody Valentine spring to mind straight away.
    A good modern one is HELLBENT.

  • Millegeo

    So to be honest, I think the only direction to go with the slasher genre to resurrect it is to make a story that would be compelling even if the slasher wasn’t in it. forget cabins in the woods, or camps, or woods, or ghosts on hand held cameras. Make a story where we actually care about the characters, and a plot that deals with something tangible that isn’t just a convenient set up for a massacre. Maybe explore a professional field that you don’t see in movies a lot; for instance, I used to work in a half way house of sorts for youth that wasn’t quite jail or juve. maybe explore a world like that where there is actual drama between the characters and a story arc that is compelling before the monster/villain appears. Once the audience is invested, then bring on the gratuitous violence and practical effects that we love. Unfortunately most horror movies have just become interchangeable, and that’s the one thing no director should want of their film

  • Travis_Bickle

    Everytime this article says “Slasher”…take a drink

  • REC03

    I think strong characters and drama other than kids go to remote location and die (although i do love those kinds of movies tbh)is important. i mean even taking away the meta-ness of Scream the backstory with Sidney’s mother is very intriguing and the side characters like Gale are weaved into the story make it interesting.

    • True. I think simply providing characters worth rooting for can make a world of difference. Sometimes it’s as simple as relatable dialogue (Halloween). Other times it’s the backstory or growth of a character over time, like you mentioned with Scream.

  • Leslie James Dalzell

    No more re-boots or re imaginings or prequels or sequels! Seriously is there no one with an original thought anymore!? No more stories on how they became the way they are, who cares just give us scares! Less supernatural and demon possession stories and more human stories. Humans are the most evil species exploit it!

    • Kil Xéno

      I care about how they became what they are, I love the study of, and looking into human psychology and behaviour. But no more remakes and reboots, I agree with that part.

      • Steve

        My writing partner and I have written something like this. It’s basically the origin of a brand new slasher villain. I could send you the script if you’re interested in that sort of thing?

  • Spooky Kooky

    The Hatchet trilogy is my favourite addition to the modern slasher films, we just need more amazing talent like Adam Green!! Or maybe another slasher from Adam himself? (please!) But until either of those things happen I think I’ll stick to watching my old favourites

    • Mamet006

      In the end, the best one was the one Green didn’t direct.

      • Spooky Kooky

        I enjoyed the third one, which Green didn’t direct, but it definitely wasn’t the best in my opinion. I’d rather have Green in the directors chair any day!

        • Mamet006

          Three for me felt like a step up in the directing department. I would have preferred Green to have directed for purposes of ‘his own trilogy! All written and directed!’ but in the end I was mighty surprised. I almost had no interest in it when I found out he was directing. Then I watched it and damn….it was fucking good.

        • Beanis

          All or some the previous finals girls being involved would be amazing for this “13th” film. Unfortunately, I don’t think the makers of these Platinum Dunes films give a flying crap about continuity or history within the series. They just want to make money, period.

          • Spooky Kooky

            Sadly true, but we can still dream.

    • I’d love to see a new slasher from Green.

      • Yeah, I think he’d be the right guy to tackle a Friday the 13th film. I’d love to see him do a slasher film but with the serious tone he brought to Frozen.

        • Spooky Kooky

          I’m sure I’ve heard him say in his podcasts he would love to do a Friday film if he was offered so someone just needs to ask him!!

    • Weresmurf

      It’s definitely time for HATCHET IV, let’s see Victor Crowley return from the dead to wreak havoc away from the swamp this time, for whatever reason!

      • Spooky Kooky

        Personally I’d only want a new hatchet film if Green was involved but it seems he’s finished with the hatchet films. I’m looking forward to the new comic though!

  • Bloodspatta

    There are no more original ideas, hence the avalanche of remakes over the past decade.

    • Steve

      As a writer I wholeheartedly refute this statement. There are endless amounts of original ideas, or at the very least unique takes on old ideas, but Hollywood is too risk averse to try it out and THAT’S why they stick to remakes mostly. They have a built-in audience and something new doesn’t, or at least that’s what they tell themselves. What they don’t seem to grasp for some reason, is that Horror fans are as rabid as they come and are almost always seeking something “new” to watch. Bugs me to no end.

  • A new sort of threat like Final Destination Movies did for instance or a slasher movie with great story, good actors and a lot of long-takes to strengthen the immersion.

    And stop reboots, remakes and reboots of remakes and remakes of the reboots.

  • Brian VonDerahe

    Have a great, hulking, cool looking and scary bad guy. If you go 100% practical and write some likeable characters that are chased by said crazy then you have a winner. Jason, Freddy, Pinhead, Cropsy, Crowley are all bad ass dudes. Have a big dude spend half a day in the make-up chair and make the kills fun (once again, practical fx only) then you will have a winner. Keep it simple. Pitchfork and Fender Bender almost had a cool bad guy while Hatchet went 3 movies deep off of its villain.

  • Jared Patrick

    It may not be original, but I recently finished writing a full length draft for a Friday the 13th remake. I took it back to the modern age approach, but pay a lot of homage to the original franchise itself. Also borrowed a few ideas from the previous films and the Nick Antosca draft. But all in all, I think it works for it. If you guys would like to check it out and let me know what you think, it’s right here.
    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12077969/1 … CALIBRATED

  • Gabbi Cordero

    why would you want to reinvigorate this genre? it held the title as the most formulaic brand of Horror until the zombie craze ripped off Romero ad nauseam. make a list of Horror cliches, the smart money is that all or most of them come from a film type involving a guy with a knife killing teenagers. it’s telling that in the 20 years since scream that Slashers have contributed nothing to fear fiction, god forbid actually innovate. the fact of the matter is that it’s had it’s time in the sun, it experienced two booms, and at present is in such dire straights that they’re rebooting 3 of them (texas chainsaw massacre, halloween, and friday the 13th) because they have to rely on the past because the present has nothing left for the future. there are other genres more deserving of the limelight like sci-fi horror or dark fantasy. Enough with the Slasher Trash

  • Маразм Клинический

    Jason X is SO fucking overrated. Hate everetyng about this crap.

    • Beanis

      Jason X is dumb but does have some creative deaths (liquid nitrogen face splat being the best), a good sense of humor and a David Cronenberg cameo. Definitely low on the “Friday” totem but certainly better than Jason Goes to Hell.

      • Маразм Клинический

        Jason Goes to Hell has way better deaths and MUCH better acting.

        Also David Cronenberg cameo was absolutely pointless. And I FUCKING HATE humor in JX. F13 is not a fucking comedy franshise, I don’t watch those films for get laught.

        • I agree. I’ve never been able to get into Jason X and I have a pretty high tolerance for silly films. But, hey, to each their own.

  • Jack Blank

    The best innovation would be diversifying the slasher. For example: a group of teenagers come to suspect an elderly man in their neighborhood is actually a slasher from the 70s. To keep his identity concealed he has to kill them, only being elderly and a bit disabled, from age and wounds accrued in the slasher biz, he needs to be more innovative in how he nails his victims. And let’s not forget there’s a disappointing lack of female slashers, especially considering Mrs. Voorhees was one of the first. Plus, I know everyone likes the brutal juggernaut, but imagine a nimble gymnastic killer who comes cartwheeling into a room, butcher knife taped to a hand, a veritable whirlwind of death. We usually only see spryness in creature features, but why not borrow elements from other subgenres?

  • Blade4693

    The Slasher genre IMO just needs some films that don’t follow the played out tropes and cliches people have gotten tired of, but at the same not going out of it’s way to be meta and make fun of itself either.

    Make something interesting, give the viewer time care about the characters, maybe not make them all mostly stupid teenagers doing irresponsible things so we can’t point at them and be like “that guy is going to die” . Make it so they aren’t just out looking for a good time and party. Make it so the viewer actually feels bad for the character that just got mauled to death, rather than us laughing because that guy was a dick and deserved it.

    Just break the mold a bit. We can still have our 80’s style sex and drug abusing teens getting slaughtered by our favorite slashers (The ogs, Michael, Jason, Freddy etc.) but I think something that maybe tried to tell a deeper story could work if done correctly and again, doesn’t fall into the same word out tropes/cliches.

    • Weresmurf

      See I disagree there, tropes and cliches *make* the genre what it is. The urgency to run away from them, often leaves the film or story wanting. For example, look at “The Final Girls”, a movie that celebrated the tropes and cliches of the genre, ending up with a wonderful love letter to movies such as Friday the 13th. While it was a sendup it ended up being a great little slasher movie in its own right too. One of the greatest problems of the modern day in my own opinion is the adherence to the believe ‘everything has to “make sense” ‘ (thus taking away the fantastical) or ‘everything has to be over explained’. Let’s look at probably the two worst examples of overexplaining from remakes:

      1. Jason has tunnels all under Crystal lake:
      F13 remake gave Jason Voorhees tunnels all over Crystal lake he supposedly jumped into and popped up out of allowed him to ‘fast travel everywhere’ all over the camp thus ‘appearing everywhere’ and ‘disappearing everywhere’. Really, this makes zero sense as it’d actually slow him down…

      2. Michael Myers was a deranged, psychotic child who was abused. Did we need to see Mikey was an abused child with psychotic tendencies? No, not at all. We had a more fearsome situation when we thought he was an everyday normal child who out of nowhere flipped out and murdered his sister. The over-explanation of Myers took him into terrible cliche mode, wow he killed animals, wow he killed someone, wow he was in a mental asylum. Whoopee he was a terrible stereotype. Again he was over-explained to the moon and back thus taking away any true fear or mystery. Thus the mystery of Michael Myers was gone.

      When we get movies that don’t adhere to these, when they step away from them and say ‘bugger it, the fantastical CAN AND WILL happen’, unless there’s an exact reason (Scream for example being based in the very real world), the movies generally all the better for it imho.

      • Blade4693

        We might have to agree to disagree then. Also, I did mention our classic slashers could stay the way they are since its part of their identity and I think they should always embrace what made them what they are, my post was referring to all new original slasher movies/series.

        I think there is room for both as mentioned in my original post. We can have our 80’s style trope slashers (Which I love mind you) but going in another direction could be fresh for new viewers that aren’t horror nuts like us who love the cliches. Again, trying different things imo is not a bad thing and can even lead to some good things lol

        • Weresmurf

          Trying new things is never bad, I think what’s bad is when they try to reinvent the old, i.e. remaking, by shoving the new into it. Specifically remakes with new rules. For instance, SCREAM worked well, because it was a new property with new rules at the time which inspired a new set of movies. Cabin in the Woods worked well for the same reason, new movie, new set of rules etc. But when you have remakes that come about, go ‘fuck it we’re throwing out all established sensibilities and gonna shoehorn in stuff that doesn’t make sense’ it all goes to hell.

          • Blade4693

            Now that I agree with. I think all new original slashers are the ones that should try the things I mentioned above, not our classics that we know for being a certain way.

          • Mike tantatelli

            Well said

          • Steve

            This is where I sit on the subject too. I think RZ’s Halloween is a prime example. If you took that movie virtually as it is, changed the names of the characters and had the killer in a different mask etc I think it’d have went down really well as a ‘new’ slasher film. In fact, it’s a good slasher film, it’s just not a good ‘Halloween’ film.

      • I completely agree that we need more of the fantastical in horror. I think that’s a key characterisic that helped make the 80’s stand as such a magical time for the genre. I also agree that some cliches “work” which is why we see them repeated so often. I just think there’s a way to rely on them while still subverting expectations.

  • Keith

    Is this Zachary guy new here? I feel like I just started seeing his name haha. I’ve enjoyed his articles though. Seems cool. I’d write a movie with him haha. This one had some good points in it. Good stuff to ponder while in the bathroom. The only one I was somewhat weary of was the back story part. Sometimes when they put too much focus on the killers back story I think it hurts the movie.

    • Thanks, and yes, I’m a newbie. Always feel free to chime in and let me know what you like and even what you don’t.

  • Susan Leighton

    I tend to agree with you, Zachary. In order to retain fans familiar with the genre, you need the familiar elements. However, there is room to play within those constraints. Wes Craven did it with the Scream series. I grew up during the golden age of horror so those are my go tos. However, I would personally love to see the Hitchcockian formula (Psycho) come into play again. Psychological scares can be very powerful because what is real & what isn’t? Perhaps if you throw in a couple of good 80s style kills, you might be on to a riveting formula. Great article!

  • Chris Johnson

    Check out 2016’s the Barn…an amazing 80s retro film…great acting, great practical effects…cool looking villains, and easily could have come out of that decade….

  • SlashN Bash

    How is High Tension, Scream 3, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Freddy vs. Jason, Cherry Falls, Wrong Turn, Jason X, Final Destination, Final Destination 2, Valentine, Halloween Resurrection, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Satan’s Little Helper, Toolbox Murders, and Malevolence “torture porn?”

    The problem we’re having these days is that people like yourself are glossing over their homework. If this article is anything like your script, please, spare us. I’m not trying to be a dick, but come on, are you even a fan of the genre? Connections aren’t what makes good movies, man.

    Also, that whole quote about how there are no original ideas left is total bullshit. It’s that kind of thinking that’s limiting good slashers. Keep working at originality, don’t give up on it and fall in line with all the other little connected, genre dropouts with handhelds.

    This genre is just getting started.

  • Steve

    My writing partner and I have written a pretty unconventional Slasher film that made it into the Quarter Finals of the Screencraft Horror Contest and the Bluecat Screenplay Contest. It plays with the tropes in ways I genuinely haven’t seen done before but still has all the hallmarks.

    I think it would play well with fans of the sub-genre but there just doesn’t seem to be a desire from the industry to give the Slasher a chance anymore.

    • Ocelot006 .

      Oh Jesus. Share details or it didn’t happen. 😛

      I think that may be the current problem with slashers. Attempting to be unconventional. My Bloody Valentine 3D was the last great slasher as far as I’m concerned and that’s because it just sat back and relaxed and was nothing more than a sincere slasher film. It was everything Adam Green wishes his Hatchet films were. Not homage but a sincere addition to the slasher canon.

  • Carlton Fisher

    I don’t know that the subgenre has necessarily spun out at all. I think we see slasher films coming at us in different was–It Follows comes to mind as something that very much follows the slasher format, but offers a new twist to it.

    I don’t know if we need to look at “new and innovative” ways to reinvigorate the slasher–we just need to make good films. There was a period of time when studios got lazy and relied on “brand power” to carry their franchises, and we got some terrible installments of series that had at one point been classic. You can’t expect he movie to please just because it has Jason or Michael or Freddy. The movie needs to still be solid quality.

  • Carlton Fisher

    Something else that could work, though, if we want to consider what has been at the root of slasher resurgences in the past, is to look at what we are currently afraid of as an audience now. What scares us in the day-to-day world?

    1980’s, with a focus on “stranger danger”: the bulk of slashers were strangers who had somehow been wronged, but not by the innocent victims within the film. Maybe it was their parents, or maybe it was other children/teens like them at some point, but it was not someone they knew.

    Post-Columbine: The slasher becomes “the boy next door.” It’s someone in your class. It’s someone you slighted in someway, perhaps without knowing. It’s the kid who’s cracked up. You know this person; they live in your town; you go to school wit them.

    Post-9/11: The slasher is a foreigner. Look at the huge onslaught of movies that boil down to “don’t travel outside the country.” Hostel, Turistas, Borderland, etc. OR, the slasher is a COMPLETE stranger who just wants to kill, and doesn’t particularly care if it’s you or someone else: The Strangers, Vacancy, Funny Games, etc. The same kind of mindless, pointless death that’s simply about killing with no specific target. Or, in the case of the biggest franchise of the time–SAW–it’s someone who has been watching you, calculating your individual sins, and is going to make you pay for them. All three seem to go directly back to that fear of being killed by the stranger who we may have somehow wronged without knowing it.

    I’d say the current “on the pulse” series would actually be The Purge, in terms of knowing what we currently fear. Never has the government seemed to be the thing people fear most )as evidenced by the level of governmental paranoia in the last ten years or so), and never has that been more explicitly expressed than in each film of The Purge series–each one becoming less and less subtle about the cultural commentary.

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