Slasher horror films are trademarked by their presence of gore and an evil murderer or sadistic group. The killers are always tracking and stalking their prey with almost maddening patience which makes the frantic victim’s panic even more impactful.
Within this genre there are other subgenres such as “splatter” films which refers to the over-abundance of the splattering blood scenes. An Italian subgenre, known as “giallo” became known for their weird storylines and dramatic, extended murderous scenes that push the boundaries of graphic allowance. And lastly, “exploitation” slasher horror which incorporated sex, drug use, mayhem, anarchy and freakish characters.
The Start of an American Favorite: Slasher Horror is Born
Many people attribute the 1932 film Thirteen Women as being the earliest film that could be called a slasher. In the film, the former members of a sorority are turned against each other by a bitter member. Also of reputable note was the 1945 film And Then There Were None.
These films were the first that offered horror fans the prospect of a bloody death at the hands of a crazed freak intent on cutting everyone to shreds.
The Slasher Horror in its Hey Day
Slasher horror found true success in the 1970s and early 1980s after a sudden surge in popularity in the late 1960s. Films such as the Friday the 13th and Halloween series, as well as sadistic grouped murderers as is seen in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre sparked an appeal to the American and world public that had never been seen before in films that contained so much explicit material.
These horror films, along with “A Nightmare on Elm Street” were also the first ones of the genre to find wide audiences outside of the United States which resulted in a world-franchising campaign.
How the Slasher Horror Movies Grabbed Everyone’s Attention
There are other characteristics within slasher horror that is always present and that the fans of this genre almost always expect to find.
-The killer is usually a male and usually of an unknown identity.
-The victims are more often than not young and attractive.
-There is always one lone survivor after all the blood has cleared the camera lens and that is usually a girl.
-Violence is heavy and often takes place in isolated locations where escape and contact with anyone is difficult and screams less likely to be heard.
Slasher horror has found success because of the amount of taboo acts that it portrays. Those things must never happen? How could someone do that? I can’t believe that! But we can’t look away. We DO believe that it could happen. We know that there MUST be people out there able to do those types of things because it wouldn’t be possible to look so vivid –so real—if it had never happened before.
A good slash horror is like going to an amusement park, really. When you’re riding the roller coaster or one of the larger rides you don’t really want to be thrown out of your seat and splattered on the ground yet you can’t ignore that feeling that comes with the adrenaline rush.