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"All people want to see nowadays is men running around in ski masks, hacking up young virgins."
Peter Vincent, Fright Night (1985)
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Sub-Trope of Our Monsters Are Different. This one deals with the Near-indestructible Serial Killers stalking teenagers, college students, or the people around a Final Girl. Even ridiculously cute critters arent't immune! This is further elaborated on in the Slasher Movie trope.

Slashers are not traditionally thought of as a kind of monster, though many of them display supernatural powers. Most of them are motivated by some sort of Revenge based motivation, are Made of Iron, and stalk the young. If there's a sequel, they usually possess some form of Resurrective Immortality.

The majority of slashers never receive any sort of explanation for the source of their powers. While Freddy Krueger is a ghost, Jason Voorhees is simply a deformed serial killer living in the woods before he suddenly becomes an unkillable zombie. The origins of their powers are less important than what they do with these powers, which is kill. However, slasher franchises that run long enough often do Retcon an explanation to the source of the killer's powers if there wasn't one before (Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th).

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Despite this, some works of fiction have actually made it so slashers are their own distinct type of monster. They apply rules, a commonality of origin, or a category to their activities that does not normally apply to fiction. It also implies that there are many slashers in existence and not just a single unpleasant monster stalking the teenagers of whatever city they're in. Some of them expand on the supernatural elements while others do away with them entirely, revealing them to just be a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax.

This trope is about works that take time to get into the worldbuilding of their slasher villains and how they might or might not be dealt with. This is primarily a nostalgia-based look back onto the original slasher movies and attempting to apply some logic to something that didn't previously possess it (or need to).

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Examples

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     Comic Books 
  • HackSlash is set in a universe where slashers are a kind of zombie that comes back from the dead after violent death. Slashers are genetic in nature and they are compelled to kill in their normal lives, though they may be normal people for most of their lives. Much of the protagonist's issues stem from the fact her mother was a slasher that she was forced to kill. Cassie Hack, herself, has the same urge to kill as her mother but expresses it against her fellow slashers.
  • Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series has the first Corinthian. He occupies a position as both an all-powerful supernatural slasher as well as the muse of other serial killers. He was created by Dream to be the embodiment of humanity's worst fears but, much to his master's disappointment, just became an immortal monster. The second is a more nuanced but still terrifying figure.
  • Jei in Usagi Yojimbo is basically an immortal slasher in a Medieval Japanese setting. Constant Slasher Smile, wielding a black-bladed spear, never stopping, slaying people for inscrutable reasons... It takes the legendary sword Kusanagi to kill him, and even then he just takes a new body.

     Film 
  • The Alien movies take the Slasher Movie trope and apply it to a science fiction universenote . How is the alien able to stalk its prey so well? Because it moves around the ventilation system and tunnels. Why is it so dangerous? Because it's a predatory animal that evolved that way. Why it so mindlessly hostile? Because it's territorial and reproduces via its prey. How is it almost invulnerable? Because it has natural armor and an exoskeleton.
  • Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon proposes that slashers are actually Badass Normal and Crazy-Prepared mortals who are obsessed with killing in ways that terrify people, to the point that Urban Legends later arise attributing supernatural abilities to them. This may not be true, however; Leslie Vernon claims slashers exist to provide an Evil against which Good must rise up and fight, but he is an Unreliable Narrator. They also seek out and re-enact urban legends. In-Universe, an abused boy was lynched after he murdered his parents with a sickle during a house party, and that's the end of it. Leslie attached himself to the town folklore that he came Back from the Dead for revenge. Famous spree-killers, such as Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Pinhead (Leslie's mentor) are largely the same. A deformed, mentally-handicapped kid drowned while at summer camp, some people died in their sleep, and someone stole a puzzle box with a shady history, and that's it until the Slashers modelled themselves on the stories surrounding the events.
  • In The Cabin in the Woods, slashers and other horror movie monsters are captured and contained by the Organization, which uses them for the purpose of carrying out Human Sacrifices. It is mentioned that they are relics of an old world where magic reigned instead of science.
  • The Candyman deals with the concept of urban legends, one example being that the Candyman was created by people fearing him and making legends about his death. He is required to kill by the nature of their beliefs and wants to pass on his curse to make more of his kind. He succeeds with the film's protagonist.
  • Final Destination is essentially a Slasher Movie series with a twist: Death itself is hunting the protagonists and killing them off one by one after they survive a major freak accident or incident. Separate movies adopt slightly different attitudes towards the exact nature of the connection.
    • Final Destination 2 played this twice in separate ways: All of the protagonists previously survived events on their lives that were directly or tangentially related to the Flight 180 explosion in the first film. E.g. Eugene avoided getting stabbed to death by a student because he was subbing elsewhere for Ms Lewton, who was killed in the events of the first film, and Kimberly was watching a news report about Todd's suicide that prevented her from being with her mother when she was killed in a botched robbery. Then Kimberly appears to circumvent it altogether by dying and then being revived. However, this was ignored by the sequels, which show that she died offscreen between the sequels.
    • Final Destination 4 revealed that it was actually Death itself that sent these visions, meaning that Death was essentially just playing with the people who survived before killing them off the way they'd always intended.
    • Final Destination 5 introduced the element that if the survivors killed someone else, they would gain their years and survive much longer. However, the one person who gets killed like this (even if by accident) turns out to have had an enlarged blood vessel in his brain that gave him only a few weeks to live anyway. Nathan, who was responsible for his death, learns this just before he gets squashed.
    "Life's a bitch."
  • Friday the 13th: Jason Voorhees was a malformed, possibly mentally impaired serial killer who became an unstoppable zombie thanks to a lightning bolt in Part VI and was given a Healing Factor even later. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday also made him a demon linked to the Evil Dead's Necronomicon. The Friday the 13th (2009) reboot actually attempts to explain away Jason Voorhees' abilities non-supernaturally. He is a self-trained survivalist who uses traps, knowledge of the land, and a series of underground mining tunnels to stalk his prey. He is not an immortal zombie but simply a terrifying woodsman that his victims are unaware of.
  • Halloween: Michael Myers was a chilling but still very human sociopath before he became an incarnation of pure evil whose mysterious power was even sought after by a Religion of Evil, etc. Notably, his powers were inexplicable in the first movie, attributed to him being "pure evil" by Doctor Loomis and the Boogeyman by Laurie Strode. Later ideas would be that he had a psychic connection to his niece Jamie and was tied to a Samhain-worshiping cult. Most of these were retconned away by Halloween (2018).
  • It Follows is a slasher film using the Sex Equals Death principle. Teens are being stalked by an invisible, seemingly invincible killer only visible to them and eventually mercilessly kills them. The movie adds two major changes: it's a curse of unknown origin passed through sexual intercourse and it only targets teenagers who've been exposed to the curse.
  • The Jeepers Creepers franchise has the Creeper following carefully constructed rules.
    • Jeepers Creepers has the Creeper, which is a being of unknown origin who returns every 23 years to eat humans and to use their body parts to replenish his body. Unlike most slashers, though, he hunts boys or men as a preference to women/girls, although there are female victims.
    • Jeepers Creepers 3 also expands the mythology by demonstrating that the Creeper has been around for thousands of years, and that he will apparently return to hunt anybody who is on the property where Kenny buried the Creature's hand.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street:
    • Freddy Krueger came Back from the Dead after being subjected to a Vigilante Execution by the angry parents of the children he murdered, cursing the town by coming for their children through their dreams as a vengeful spirit. Later films revealed that he was also a Child by Rape after his mother, a nun who worked at an insane asylum, was accidentally locked inside late at night and gang-raped, and that the reason for his immortality is because he's actually serving three dream daemons.
    • The spinoff Wes Craven's New Nightmare proposes that slashers such as Freddy Krueger are in fact the avatars of an ancient entity of pure evil, whose essence can be captured by stories. Unfortunately, it liked being Freddy Krueger so much that it started to think it was him, and starts targeting Heather Langenkamp and her loved ones in the real world because he thinks she's really Nancy. It notably employs many of the metatextual ideas that Wes Craven would explore in greater depth in Scream.
    • In the remake, Freddy is now a child molester instead of a child killer. The film alludes to the idea that he might have been wrongly accused, and that his killing spree is vengeance against the parents who murdered an innocent man on the basis of suspicion, but it's later revealed that he did, in fact, abuse those children.
  • Reeker features a malodourous zombie cyborg slasher who is the embodiment of Death by Car Accident, who kills the people who enter his stretch of Limbo by giving them the injuries that killed them in Reality. Presumably, this lets them go to their actual Final Reward, whatever that may be. He still plays fair, though, pretending he'll be hurt/killed by being shot or run over, and if his victims can escape him, they get to survive their accident.
  • The Scream franchise is a deconstruction-reconstruction of slasher movies and clichés. The killers aren't supernatural monsters, but merely evil, mortal men and women wearing a crappy Halloween costume, and their seemly supernatural abilities have mundane explanations. Offscreen Teleportation? There's more than one killer. The killer keeps returning for each sequel? Ghostface is a Legacy Character, and once the killers in the movie are killed, they don't come back for the sequel; somebody else puts on the mask and cloak. The creepy voice on the phone? They're using an electronic voice changer to mask their identity. However, the Ghostface killers are still dangerous enough to rack up a high body count, and while most everyone is Genre Savvy, people still get killed by being overpowered or by making poor decisions.
  • The Terminator films, specifically the first one, introduce a Science Fiction aspect to their Slasher, the T-800. It's an imposing, cold-blooded, and seemingly indestructible killer, with the twist being that it's actually a Killer Robot covered in artificial human flesh from a post-apocalyptic future who was sent back in time to assassinate the mother of a human resistance leader who will lead his army to victory against Skynet. Also, rather than use bladed weapons like other Slashers, T-800 prefers using ranged weapons (firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, etc.) and even its bare hands to kill its main target and anyone who gets its way. Ironically, it's the villain of the second one, which did away with the slasher angle for a more purely action-focused approach, who preferred using bladed weapons.
  • Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is human, though heavily deformed, and a Psychopathic Manchild born to a cannibalistic hillbilly family who sends him out to cut people up with a chainsaw and make meat of them.

     Literature 
  • Darkly Dreaming Dexter does a Doing In the Scientist version during one of its books where it states Serial Killer types like the protagonist are all possessed by demons. The author eventually backtracked from this and it was rarely mentioned thereafter.
  • Final Girls by Riley Sager is a Deconstruction of the concept. The story is about how three serial killers are elevated by the media into "slashers." Their attacks each result in lone female survivors and spur a tasteless public interest in the titular Final Girl heroines. Played with as the three murder sprees in the book are eerily similar to slasher movies.
  • How to Survive a Horror Movie groups slashers into five categories.
  • I Hunt Killers initially appears to be a pretty archetypal serial killer novel, but by the end of the trilogy, it's revealed that all of the serial killers seen thus far have been members of a Crow King cult of serial killers, and have been participating in "games" to match up or exceed each other's crimes, ruled over by Jazz's parents Janice and Billy Dent.
  • Psycho Killers In Love by C.T. Phipps is set in the United States Of Monsters universe and has slashers as a kind of monster related to urban legends. It is an Urban Fantasy take that has them as both Antihero and Villain Protagonist. Slashers are all descendants of the original Nephilim and were once warriors that defended the world as long as they were worshiped by mortals. Becoming tainted by demons, they now derive their worship from the fear they generate in their victims. Apparently, the horror industry is controlled by demonic cultists who make movies similar enough to the crimes of the real-life slashers to empower them, with the Weinsteins being alluded to.
    • Despite actual slashers being a thing in-universe, the slasher in A Nightmare on Elk Streek for the Bright Falls Mysteries set in the same universe is actually an indestructible spirit. It is the Boogeyman, the King of the Boggarts, and a literal god of fear invoking a movie slasher from the script they're working from.

     Live Action TV 
  • Zig-zagged and explored in Hannibal: The serial killers hunted by Will Graham vary widely in their methods of killing and personal reasons; his work always involves deducing their internal logic, motivations and weaknesses. While no practical links are formed between them, the killers are all obsessed with committing various artistic/surrealist murders (and many can be traced, in one way or another, to Dr. Hannibal Lecter).

     Tabletop Games 
  • Crimson Jack from the Betrayal at House on the Hill scenario Stacked Like Cordwood is a serial murderer with Resurrective Immortality. He has his Identical Grandson lure him more victims, since he went into hiding in the emponymous Haunted House. The entire premise sounds like a middle installment in a long-running slasher movie franchise, doesn't it?
  • The Implacable Stalker template from Pathfinder is based on this archetype, allowing for the creation of unkillable, inhuman murderers. The abilities granted even include a Shout-Out to A Nightmare on Elm Street, allowing them to be reborn from their victims nightmares.
  • In the Ravenloft campaign setting, there is a template for human beings driven mad by horror called Broken Ones. A small number of these become murderous killers. The most famous of these is the Midnight Slasher that goes after couples due to her parents being murdered by Gabrielle of Invidia after seducing her father.
  • In the Vampire: The Masquerade setting for the Old World of Darkness, there is a group of Nosferatu vampires called Leatherfaces. These basically act like slashers in their indiscriminate stalking and murder of humans. They do it because their deformities and the Beast have driven them mad.
  • World of Darkness: Slasher is a supplement for Chronicles of Darkness by Chuck Wendig. It gives numerous types of slashers based on a variety of archetypes. They gain their supernatural powers as an inverse of the Vigil, becoming more obsessed with killing than protecting humans. One of them might start with a motive like stopping rapists after their child is assaulted but gradually will suffer Motive Decay until they're killing everyone with the slightest interest in sex.

     Video Games 
  • Alien: Isolation takes the Slasher Movie tropes of Alien up to the eleven. The alien is completely indestructible for the majority of the game and stalks our protagonist relentlessly. Amanda Ripley must hide, run, and distract the stalker because she's one of us Puny Humans compared to an evolved killing machine that's mastered the endless labyrinthine tunnels that are around the space station. It even explains why it seems to be stalking her, in particular. It's not. There's dozens of aliens on the station due to the original having had time to procreate. Amanda is possibly running into multiple ones versus being hunted by a single one.
  • Clock Tower 3 explains that vulnerable people are recruited by dark Entities and turned into serial killers. Once these killers are invariably executed for their crimes, the Entity resurrects them as immortal undead Subordinates to continue these sprees unimpeded. Both the Subordinates and Entities can only be truly stopped by the Rooders, a bloodline with supernatural, evil-fighting powers (although Entities are created by blood relatives sacrificing another Rooder at the peak of their power, creating a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario).
  • Dead by Daylight has slashers coming from a variety of supernatural and natural sources but all of them are recruited by the Entity. They are then forced to hunt a group of survivors over and over again in a "Groundhog Day" Loop. While some of the slashers resent this and how their powers have been altered, others relish the fact they can continue hunting their prey for all eternity.
  • Friday the 13th: The Game takes time to explain away Jason Voorhees Offscreen Teleportation powers as well as other abilities. His abilities are further explained away as due to being a Child by Rape with an unknown (possibly supernatural) father.
  • The Mortal Kombat franchise has featured at least four slashers as Guest Fighters in the Continuity Reboot trilogy: Freddy Krueger in Mortal Kombat 9, Jason Voorhees and Leatherface in Mortal Kombat X, and (depending on whether you count him as a slasher) the Terminator in Mortal Kombat 11. They're as frightening as ever, but for gameplay purposes, they're as vulnerable to conventional weaponry and martial arts blows as any kombatant.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 2 (Remake) is a video game where the two primary enemies are variations on the slasher concept. Mr. X is an immortal regenerating bioweapon that is programmed to stalk the protagonists throughout the police station as well as Raccoon City. William Birkin is similarly also empowered by the G-Virus to be nearly indestructible as well as have an animal-like cunning. A humorous inversion is there's a stealth segment where the protagonist faces a much more powerful unkillable foe. It's just that said opponent is an adult male while you are temporarily playing an eight-year-old girl.
    • In both the original as well as remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil 3 (Remake), the titular Nemesis is designed to invoke many of the tropes of a slasher. Nemesis is unkillable, possessed of of Offscreen Teleportation, and chasing a beautiful woman in a short skirt. Jill, notably, can defeat Nemesis but only temporarily until she blasts it to pieces with a rail gun.
  • Until Dawn does a Bait-and-Switch with the initial set up being a traditional slasher stalking a group of teens at a ski lodge. The slasher is an escaped mental patient with a grudge against the family. POV shots indicate that the slasher has thermal vision and the lodge may be haunted too. It's actually their friend, Josh, who is the son of a special effects genius and has set up the house as a place to invoke Slasher Movie tropes. Only after he's unmasked do they discover there's a real supernatural threat; Josh's sister, Hannah, who was presumed dead when she vanished after being pranked by Josh's friends the year prior. Only now, she has transformed into a Wendigo hell-bent on killing that entire group.
  • Rare E-rated example. Yoshi's Crafted World, an otherwise Tastes Like Diabetes Nintendo game, has Shadowville, whose first level is home to several Creepy Dolls brandishing huge axes that emit hellish screams whenever they see the player character Yoshi and chase after him. They cannot be defeated by any means. Even the hint-giving Message Boxes have been given a foreboding upgrade:
    If he
    sees you,
    run
    away...


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