Graveyard Shift The Top 25 Must-See Quintessential Slasher Movies  

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163 votes 42 voters 24 items

List Rules Vote up the slasher movies that define the genre and should be required viewing for beginners in an Intro to Slashers class.

If there's one thing that remains true about slasher films, it's that they come and go in clusters. If one becomes a mega-hit, you can be certain a slew of sequels will follow. For this reason, villains from slasher films often become widely recognized - even by people who have not seen a single film in the franchise. Who doesn't recognize Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger? But isn't about time to see all the essential slasher movies, if only to better understand the references to them in pop culture? Over the years, popular franchises have formed a pretty extensive list of must-see slasher movies.

Slasher movies are a unique brand of horror film that tend to seep into the culture for a long time. Slasher films are notorious for sequels, prequels, and reboots because there's something uniquely terrifying about those villains that keep audiences interested for generations. The most famous slasher movies seem to touch on some kind of universal fear. If you're curious what makes people shudder, these slasher movies for beginners should help you find out. 

If you're new to the genre, you can consider this list an intro to slasher movies. Here, you will find all of the must-see and most popular slashers that everyone should watch. Check out the list below and vote up your favorites. 

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Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher horror film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut. The film was the first installment in what has become the Halloween franchise. The plot is set in the fictional Midwestern town of Haddonfield, Illinois. Fifteen years after Halloween night in 1963, Micheal Myers escapes from a psychiatric hospital, returns home, and stalks teenager Laurie Strode and her friends. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence, Sandy Johnson, Charles Cyphers, + more

Initial Release: 1978

Directed by: John Carpenter

Also Ranked

#58 on The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

#24 on The Best '70s Movies

#15 on The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

#6 on The Greatest Horror Films of All Time

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This movie is a 1974 American slasher film, directed and produced by Tobe Hooper, who cowrote it with Kim Henkel. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar Hansen, who respectively portray Sally Hardesty, Franklin Hardesty, the hitchhiker, the proprietor, and Leatherface, the main antagonist. The film follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibals while on their way to visit an old homestead. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, John Henry Faulk, Jim Siedow, + more

Initial Release: 1974

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

Also Ranked

#63 on The Best '70s Movies

#6 on The Goriest Movies Ever Made

#7 on The Greatest Horror Films of All Time

#15 on The Most Rewatchable Horror Movies

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Friday the 13th is a 1980 American slasher film directed by Sean S. Cunningham and written by Victor Miller. The film concerns a group of teenagers who are taken out one by one while attempting to re-open an abandoned campground, and stars Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Kevin Bacon, Jeannine Taylor, Mark Nelson and Robbi Morgan. It is considered one of the first "true" slasher movies. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini, Betsy Palmer, Irwin Keyes, Laurie Bartram, + more

Initial Release: 1980

Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham

Also Ranked

#64 on 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

#80 on The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked

#12 on The Goriest Movies Ever Made

#14 on The Greatest Horror Films of All Time

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A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American supernatural slasher horror film written and directed by Wes Craven, and the first film of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The film stars Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia, Robert Englund, and Johnny Depp in his feature film debut. Set in the fictional Midwestern town of Springwood, Ohio, the plot revolves around several teenagers who are stalked and attacked in their dreams by Freddy Krueger. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Lin Shaye, + more

Initial Release: 1984

Directed by: Wes Craven

Also Ranked

#28 on 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

#8 on The Best Movies of 1984

#52 on The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked

#5 on The Greatest Horror Films of All Time

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