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Slasher Movie
aka: Slasher Movies
Slasher Movie killer in its natural habitat; stalking the Final Girl.

Zombie movies are about groups: outside, the zombies are legion; inside, the humans struggle to work together. Slasher movies are about individuals: one man is doing all the killing, and only one girl will outwit him and survive.
Sara Bickley, reviewing The Ruins

Near-indestructible serial killers stalking attractive young girls, a combination that allows for buckets of gore and enough flesh to titillate.

The killers, mostly driven by revenge, are Made of Iron, at a minimum, and usually Implacable. Many are explicitly supernatural. All of them can appear and disappear as if by magic, and the corpses of their victims are equally elusive. A slasher killer can whisk away a full grown adult's corpse in seconds, leaving not a single drop of blood behind, or swiftly arrange all its victims in an elaborate tableau, without ever being seen lugging the dead bodies around. The more explicitly supernatural killers will have powers ranging from Super Strength (all the better to pull victims through walls), the ability to appear in dreams and attack the dreamers, or other ghostly abilities.

The victims are usually teenagers or young adults, all usually guilty of some minor vice. Once the audience has had a convincing demonstration of their (usually sexual) misdemeanours, they are spectacularly slaughtered. If there's more than one sin or minority to pick from then the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality comes into play.

Eventually, there will be only one girl left standing, the Final Girl, normally the only "morally pure" member of the main cast. With considerable help from her death battle exemption, she will kill the killer.

Come the next sequel, it will be revealed that the killer was actually Not Quite Dead.

A subset of the Horror genre, although the schlockier examples replace suspense almost entirely with gore. They are often considered B-movies. Early examples of the genre were heavily influenced by the giallo films of Italian directors like Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and Mario Bava. The genre first became popular in the late '70s and early '80s, with the release of the three most iconic slasher flicks: Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). The genre would burn itself out in the late '80s, as the established franchises grew stale and the ripoffs grew more desperate. The slasher genre was revived in the mid-late '90s, when Wes Craven's Scream (1996) satirized the genre and became a hit. Once again, studios sought to cash in on the film's success, releasing their own post-modern, teen-focused slasher flicks. Today, the slasher genre may be entering a third wave, with the remakes of Halloween, My Bloody Valentine, and Friday the 13th all being hits, a remake of Nightmare on Elm Street just arrived, and the backlash against the gore-driven "Torture Porn" that dominated horror in this decade.

Roger Ebert called these movies "Dead Teenager Movies" due to their focus on teenagers getting killed. Another popular nickname is "Bodycount Films/Movies".

Keep in mind that, while every slasher movie features a serial killer or a spree killer, not every serial killer or spree killer movie is a slasher movie. Also note that a slasher film is quite different from a Psychological Thriller, which tends to emphasize the Sympathy for the Devil part using a Freudian Excuse or two (and possibly a few Pet the Dog moments in the killer's favor), and de-emphasize the Final Girl, often killing off all characters.

Want to write your own slasher flick? We have a handy writer's guide for anybody looking to do just that.


    Tropes Applicable to the Genre: 

    Slasher Films with TV Tropes Articles: 

Homages, Parodies, Other Stuff Regarding the Genre:

Advertising

  • There was a Nike commercial were a sporty female outran the chainsaw-toting psycho during a chase scene. Some of the viewers missed the positive message and it eventually got banned.
  • Another commercial had a couple pick up an Obviously Evil man because, along with a giant axe, he had a case of beer with him. The guy at the wheel's sure he has a good reason for the axe, and lets the guy in when he says it's a bottle opener. Then, further down the road, they see another guy with a mask, a chainsaw, and another case of beer.
    Driver: Look! He has Bud Light.
    First Psycho: And a chainsaw!
  • Yet another ad had a masked and machete-totting maniac barge in on a cabin full of partying teenagers, who are unable to emit anything louder than forced whispers because they've been saving their screams for the Much Music Video Awards.

Anime and Manga

Comics

  • The comic book Hack Slash stars a former Final Girl who hunts down slashers. Essentially, every distinct story arc is its own 'movie' — Cassie even refers to the return of Father Wrath (actually a copycat) as a "sequel".
  • The genre is played with Andrea Mouse-themed storylines from Horndog. Given the comic's style, it teeters between straight example and Affectionate Parody.
  • The ShadowLine/Image Comics miniseries Gutwrencher.

Film

  • Camp Cuddly Pines Powertool Massacre, a porno-slasher notable for sharing its set with Hatchet. Amusingly, the villain's origin is mish-mash of Freddy, Michael and Jason's respective backstories.
  • Cry_Wolf is worthy of mention here for being a "faux-slasher". Only two people die in the entire movie. I'm not saying who. And neither of them really dies in a particularly brutal fashion as has become accustom to the genre.
  • The comedy film Psycho Beach Party is a homage to the old slasher movies and beach movies from the 60s.
  • Scary Movie parodies the genre, mostly Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Its sequels venture into other genres.
  • Shriek if You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth, which also heavily parodied Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer.
  • Stan Helsing features various Captain Ersatzes of various horror icons, including from Slasher movies.
  • Student Bodies and Wacko predate Scream and Scary Movie by more than a decade.
  • Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil parodies the 'degenerate hillbilly' variation on this genre by flipping it; the two main characters are a pair of sweet-natured but not very bright hillbillies who, through a bunch of misunderstandings, are mistaken for psycho killers by a group of college students camping in the woods. Very Gory Hilarity Ensues.
  • Unmasked Part 25 is an existential British satire of the Friday the 13th series, in which a deformed slasher named Jackson tries to leave his life of meaningless slaughter for his love of a beautiful blind woman. It's somewhat reminiscent of The Toxic Avenger.
  • Cabin By The Lake centers around a serial killer who performs his murders to write a more "sophisticated" horror movie script than the usual slasher fare he puts out.

Literature

  • There are a few "slasher novels" like Slay Bells, Joyride, Deadly Detention and Apeshit.
  • Where The Bodies Are Buried and sequels by Kim Newman, are about a series of slasher movies of the same name, whose slasher, Rob Hackwill, has a nasty habit of becoming real.
  • A group of phobophages (shapeshifters who feed on fear) attack a convention while disguised as horror film characters (including slasher villains like "Hammerhands" and "The Reaper") in the The Dresden Files novel Proven Guilty.

Live-Action TV

  • Boy Meets World did an episode that parodied slasher movies. It involved the main characters getting killed off one by one by masked killer while trapped in detention after school (it was All Just a Dream, of course). The episode came out during the revitalization of the genre in the late 90s and even guest-starred Jennifer Love Hewitt who had recently starred in I Know What You Did Last Summer.
  • The Charmed episode "Chick Flick" had a Monster of the Week who could travel in and out of films; he brought a pair of slasher villains, Bloody Mary and Axe Husband, to life to help him kill the Charmed Ones. And in a later episode Phoebe starts having slasher film-based nightmares in which she is chased around the manor by a lunatic with a Hockey Mask and Chainsaw.
  • The Farscape episode "Eat Me" is a Genre Shift into horror that starts off with Zombie Apocalypse tropes, but becomes a Slasher Movie once its primary bad guy appears.
  • The Tru Calling episode "Valentine".
    Harrison: Can you believe we're in a motel with a cemetery next door, and a freaking psycho on the loose? Can it get anymore Friday the 13th, huh?
    Tru: That was a summer camp.

Music

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • Clock Tower, released in 1995, while a game, is very similar to a slasher movie. You've got your near-indestructible slasher villain who murders young women off-screen. A movie in and out of Development Hell is being made.

Web Original


Romantic ComedyFictionSlice of Life
Religious HorrorHorror TropesSubverted Innocence
Silent MovieFilm GenresSlice of Life
The ProwlerImageSource/Live-Action FilmsPsycho

alternative title(s): Slasher Flick; Slasher Film; Slasher
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