Everybody knows what a slasher film is - but what is a slasher, really? It's a term commonly used to describe a violent attacker who inflicts wounds with a sharp weapon like a knife or a razor blade. Not all slashers kill solely with knives. Take, the Dallas Slasher, for instance - who shot his victims but mutilated them with a scalpel after death.
Serial slashers have some pretty disturbing crimes, and prey on everyone from the affluent to the vulnerable, like transient men and women who happen to cross paths with them. The worst slashers in history have lived all over the world, though typically come from heavily populated areas, and are some of the scariest serial killers on Earth. These slasher killers give any horror movie villain a run for their money, that's for sure.
Joseph Danks, The Koreatown SlasherPhoto: Mugshot from San Quentin State Prison / Los Angeles Times
Joseph Danks was dubbed the "Koreatown Slasher" for killing six transient men in the Central Los Angeles neighborhood over the course of two weeks. Danks was only 26 when he went on his killing spree in 1987. He said he stabbed his victims to death while they were asleep, and felt no remorse for it. During his trial, he told members of the jury: "I'd do it to you if they'd let me." Less than three weeks after he was sent to the Tehachapi Prison to a serve a life sentence for the six murders, he killed Walter Holt, his 67-year-old cellmate, by strangling him to death with a bed sheet.
A few years later in 1993, Danks stabbed his lawyer in the face during his trial for murdering his elderly cellmate. Danks was given the death penalty for killing Holt.
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In 1980, three young women were brutally stabbed to death in the Ann Arbor, MI, area by an unknown assailant. The press dubbed their killer "The Sunday Morning Slasher," because of the time of day he committed his crimes.
Carl Eugene Watts was quickly identified as a suspect in the killings: law enforcement in nearby Detroit had already questioned him about a series of murders in their jurisdiction, but they didn't have enough evidence to charge him. He realized police in Michigan were watching him, so Watts went back to his home state of Texas. While in Texas, Watts killed 12 more victims. He was finally arrested on May 22, 1983, after he was caught breaking into the Houston home of two women.
He was only found guilty for two of the Michigan womens' deaths, and received a plea deal in Texas if he agreed to confess to his crimes. He received life in prison for his crimes, but he died of prostate cancer at the age of 53 while he was incarcerated. Before his death, the head of a special task force set up to investigate Watts said the Sunday Morning Slasher was a suspect in approximately 90 criminal cases.
Vaughn Greenwood, The Skid Row Slasher
Vaughn Greenwood was dubbed the "Skid Row Slasher" because he murdered at least nine people from 1974 to 1975 in the seedy section of downtown Los Angeles, CA. Greenwood targeted transient people who were living on the streets of Skid Row. Authorities believed he attacked his victims while they were asleep, cutting their throats from ear to ear.
Law enforcement officials also believed he consumed the blood of his victims, causing some people to suspect he was involved in satanism. Greenwood was arrested in 1975, and in 1977 he was convicted of multiple murders and sentenced to life in prison.
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In the early 1990s, three women in Dallas, TX - Mary Pratt, Susan Peterson, and Shirley Williams - were shot to death. During their autopsies, the medical examiner discovered someone had surgically removed their eyeballs from their sockets. Because the women had been mutilated post-mortem, their unidentified murderer was called the "Dallas Slasher" by the local media.
On March 22, 1991, 57-year-old Charles Albright was apprehended and charged with murdering all three women. During their investigation, officers learned he had an obsession with eyes that began when he learned taxidermy as a boy, an uncommon hobby that gave him the skills required to remove people's eyeballs with surgical precision. Ultimately, Albright was only convicted of killing his final victim, Shirley Williams, and on December 19, 1991, he was sentenced to life in prison.