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.
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
#24 on The Best '70s Movies
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
#63 on The Best '70s Movies
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
#12 on The Goriest Movies Ever Made
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
#8 on The Best Movies of 1984