While I love all the permeations of horror to varying degrees (supernatural, hauntings, werewolves, zombies, J-horror etc…), slashers are probably my favorite sub-genre. While I can occasionally get myself in the headspace of being frightened by a poltergeist or work up enough suspension of disbelief to get on-edge during a zombie film, slashers require me to do a lot less mental projection in order to go along for the ride.
Why? Because I’m afraid of real people chasing me through the woods with knives. While it’s of course an extremely unlikely event, it’s still something of a possibility. I consider home-invasion films a branch of the slasher genre for this very reason. The reason I lock my door every night? I’m taking an active step (or empty gesture) against someone entering my home and dismantling me. It’s a far bigger concern to me than my residence being built on an ancient burial ground (though I’ll let you know if that changes the next time I move).
I also think I love slashers the most because of the nostalgia factor. They remind me of simpler times. The fact that they’re typically in rural settings holds them in stark contrast to my daily life in the city. Many of them are downright relaxing and comforting to watch in the moments when someone isn’t getting killed. Of course this is part of the point – something evil infiltrating something idyllic. It also doesn’t hurt that the 80’s were the heyday of the slasher film (obviously Scream aren’t Halloween rural or from the 80’s. But they exude a charming small town optimism that I like). I know many people who considered that era a dark time, but its cinematic depiction in these films is positively utopian compared to our current reality. Plus, there’s usually sex. That always helps.
To that end I ask, “what’s your favorite slasher film?” Mine changes daily, actually. I know that when I did my Friday The 13th Rankings I pegged Part 6 as my favorite entry in the franchise. Oddly enough I feel that Jason Lives doesn’t feel like much of a slasher to me tonally. So I’m going to keep it in the family, but go with Friday The 13th Part 2 as my favorite slasher under the criteria discussed above. Again, this changes all the time. Halloween is obviously a much, much MUCH better film, but I’m in a rural mood today.
What about you? Does your favorite slasher change day-to-day like mine does? Or is it consistently your favorite?