The horror genre is jam-packed with many, many subgenres; from creature features and haunted house pictures, to satanic cinema and folk horror. But one of the most popular, and most iconic is the subgenre known as the slasher film.
The slasher film is typically defined as a movie in which a killer stalks a group of people, and often (but not always) centres around a masked individual with a mind for murder. The subgenre usually contains a ‘final girl’ who survives the picture, is categorised by its use of set pieces and brutal kill scenes, and is incredibly popular with horror fans.
Over the years, horror has produced countless slasher movies – some have been good, some have been bad, and some have been downright awful. But because so many slasher movies have been produced, it can often be very difficult to know what to watch and what to skip.
If you’re new to horror, and have only just started getting into slasher movies, what are the films you should see? Well, hopefully this blog post can answer that question, because contained below is a list of 50 slasher movies you should check out.
Whether you’re getting into slasher movies for the first time, you’re looking to broaden your horror horizons, or you simply want to reconnect with this subgenre, the following list should prove useful. So, dive in, and see what slasher films await!
Up first on this list is one of the best-loved, and best-received slasher movies of all-time – the post-modern horror hit, Scream. The movie – directed by Wes Craven – follows the story of a group of teens who become terrorised by a serial killer known as Ghostface, who appears to be an expert in horror lore.
Next up, Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton take centre stage in this fantastic body-swap slasher from director Christopher Landon. In the movie, a teenage girl switches bodies with a middle-aged male serial killer, with some hilarious and blood-thirsty consequences.
Urban Legend (1998)
In Urban Legend, a masked killer picks off teens, using myths and lore as their modus operandi. The film utilises many ‘legends’ to creates its kill scenes, resulting in a quirky horror which puts a post-modern twist on the genre.
Happy Death Day (2017)
The slasher subgenre is given a shake-up in this timeloop horror, about a young woman who finds herself at the mercy of a killer while reliving the same day over and over again. Happy Death Day stars Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard, while Christopher Landon directs.
The Hitcher (1986)
In The Hitcher, a good-natured motorist falls victim to the whims of a blood-thirsty hitchhiker, after picking him up in the West Texas desert. The movie quickly turns into a tense game of cat-and-mouse, with Rutger Hauer taking on the title role and C. Thomas Howell playing the part of his victim.
Wrong Turn (2003)
A group of youths who become stranded in the mountains, find themselves at the mercy of cannibal killers in this dark slasher from director Rob Schmidt. Eliza Dushku, Jeremy Sisto, and Kevin Zegers star.
A woman is stalked on the London Underground in this claustrophobic horror from writer/director Christopher Smith. Creep stars Frank Potente and Jeremy Sheffield.
High Tension/Switchblade Romance (2003)
Directed by Alexandre Aja, High Tension (aka Haute Tension) follows two students who are attacked by a serial killer, after they travel to a secluded farmhouse. This superb French horror – which sometimes goes by the name of Switchblade Romance – stars Cécile de France and Maïwenn.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
In this mockumentary horror feature from director Scott Glosserman, a journalist and her crew document an aspiring serial killer who models himself on slashers. Robert Englund and Zelda Rubenstein are amongst the cast of this cult favourite.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
In A Nightmare on Elm Street, deceased child molester Freddy Krueger returns from beyond the grave to haunt the dreams of a group of teenagers. Popping up in increasingly inventive sequences, Krueger works his way through the group, despatching his victims with carefree abandon.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
From one Nightmare to another, Freddy Krueger returns in this post-modern slasher which positions Freddy as both a fictional character and a real-life bogeyman. The movie is incredibly inventive, and with its mind-bending approach to storytelling, it essentially acted as a precursor to Scream.
Adam Green writes and directs this brutal slasher, about a group of tourists who accidentally get stranded while out on a tour of a New Orleans swamp. Kane Hodder, Robert Englund, Mercedes McNab, and Tony Todd, all appear in this throwback to old-school slasher flicks.
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
While travelling home from college during spring break, a brother and sister become the focus of a mysterious truck driver. What follows is a dark and sinister horror-thriller, as the pair try their best to evade the driver who has set his sights on the siblings.
A couple on the verge of divorce, stop off at a motel on their way home from a family party. However, the motel is not quite what it seems, in this horror-thriller starring Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson.
My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)
In this remake of the 1981 horror of the same name, a serial killer terrorises a small town on Valentine’s Day. Originally released in 3D (hence the name), the film is a call-back to ‘80s slasher pictures, with Jensen Ackles, Kerr Smith, and Tom Atkins amongst the cast.
Ready or Not (2019)
On the night of her wedding, a bride is hunted by her in-laws, as part of a deadly family game. Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, and Andie MacDowell star in this deliciously dark black comedy.
You’re Next (2011)
In You’re Next, an estranged family come under attack from a group of masked assailants while holding a family reunion. Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, and Barbara Crampton star, while Adam Wingard directs.
Scream 2 (1997)
No list of best slashers would be anything without Scream 2 – a horror sequel almost as good as the film that spawned it. Meta-hijinks and sliced up teens feature in this superb slasher from Wes Craven, which sees Ghostface causing more havoc as the bodies pile high.
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Two titans of horror clash in this slasher mash-up featuring Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. The movie brings the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchises together for one epic showdown, with a bunch of hapless teens caught up in the middle.
Joy Ride (2001)
In Joy Ride (aka Road Kill), two brothers and their friend run afoul of a trucker, after they play a prank on him over a CB radio. The trucker then hounds them relentlessly, in this tense horror-thriller starring Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, and Leelee Sobieski.
Peeping Tom (1960)
In this curious psychological thriller from 1960, Carl Boehm stars as Mark Lewis – a photographer who uses his portable camera to murder his victims, while at the same time capturing their final moments on film. The movie looks at Lewis’ obsession with voyeurism, as the titular ‘peeping Tom’.
Last Night in Soho (2021)
Director Edgar Wright mashes together modern-day London with the swinging ‘60s, in this fantastic psychological thriller, about a young girl who gets caught up in a troublesome murder mystery. Thomasin McKenzie stars, alongside Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, and Diana Rigg.
Fear Street Part One: 1994 (2021)
A group of teens find themselves at the mercy of a serial killer, in this frightfully good first entry in the Fear Street trilogy – a trio of movies based on a collection of books from horror scribe, R. L. Stine. This film is a throwback to ‘90s slashers, and is ideal for those who love the likes of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer.
Child’s Play (1988)
When serial killer Charles Lee Ray is cornered by a police detective, he recites a voodoo chant which transports his soul into the body of a doll. Given a new lease of life in a child’s toy, Ray (who know calls himself ‘Chucky’) sets about on a murder spree, while trying desperately to transport his soul into the body of a young boy.
Arguably one of the most famous slasher movies of them all is Halloween – a frighteningly simple horror in which disturbed murderer, Michael Myers, escapes from an asylum and returns to his home town. Here he dons a mask and sets about killing local residents, with his prime target being babysitter, Laurie Strode, as played by Jamie Lee Curtis.
Elijah Wood stars in this psychological slasher movie, which follows the story of a brutal serial killer. The movie is a remake of the 1980 film of the same name, with Franck Khalfoun in the director’s chair.
The Babysitter (2017)
In this somewhat tongue-in-cheek slasher movie, a young boy discovers his babysitter is a member of a demonic cult. Judah Lewis and Samara Weaving star, while McG directs in this over-the-top horror hit.
A deaf author finds herself becoming the unwitting victim of a killer in this tense horror-thriller from director Mike Flanagan. The movie follows the author as she tries to stay alive, all while relying on her other senses.
Cherry Falls (2000)
Starring Brittany Murphy and Michael Biehn, Cherry Falls tells the story of a small town in Virginia, where a serial killer stalks virgins. Geoffrey Wright directs this oft-overlooked slasher movie.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
If you have never watched a Friday the 13th movie then there are certainly plenty of them to choose from, including the 1980 original. But if you want the best of the bunch, take a look at Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, the fan-favourite entry which brings plenty of splatter.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
After a group of teenagers accidentally kill a fisherman while out drinking and driving, they dump his body and agree never to speak of their crime. But a year later, the past comes back to haunt them in this frightfully good ‘90s slasher-thriller starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
A group of teens cross paths with a cannibal and his family in this grim and gritty slasher from the 1970s. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre introduced the iconic Leatherface, in a brutal and shocking picture from director Tobe Hooper.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Almost 30 years after the original hit cinema screens, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre received a reboot. The film updated the story for a modern audience, but included all of the gore and splatter fans had come to expect from the series.
Based on Clive Barker’s short story, The Forbidden, Candyman tells the story of a hook-handed killer who can be summoned from beyond, by calling his name five times while facing a mirror. Directed by Bernard Rose, the movie features Tony Todd in the title role.
Prom Night (1980)
Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielsen star in this ‘80s horror slasher, about a group of high school seniors targeted by a masked killer at their prom. Paul Lynch directs.
Black Christmas (1974)
A group of sorority sisters become a target, when they receive sinister phone calls from a killer, in this festive frightener. Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, and John Saxon star, while Bob Clark directs.
He Knows You’re Alone (1980)
Inspired by the success of 1978’s Halloween, He Knows You’re Alone is a slasher which follows a soon-to-be-wed bride, stalked by a killer on the weekend before her wedding. Armand Mastroianni directs, while Caitlin O’Heaney stars.
A dangerous killer stalks the crew of a space ship in this tense and iconic sci-fi horror from director Ridley Scott. Alien is not necessarily a movie that most film fans would think of when they discuss slasher movies, but it is a slasher film through-and-through, complete with a ‘final girl’.
The Burning (1981)
Regarded as a cult classic within the horror genre, The Burning focuses on a summer camp caretaker who becomes a killer, after a prank leaves him disfigured. The movie is loosely based around the urban legend of the Cropsey, with Tony Maylam on directing duties.
Wolf Creek (2005)
Originally marketed as being ‘based on true events’, Wolf Creek follows the story of three backpackers who become the victims of sadistic killer, Mick Taylor. Greg McLean writes and directs this tense Australian slasher.
Don’t Breathe (2016)
A trio of teens break into the house of a seemingly defenceless blind man, in this superb horror-thriller from Fede Álvarez. But the trio soon discover the man is far from defenceless as they fight for their own survival.
When a Stranger Calls (1979)
A babysitter receives a terrifying call from a mysterious stranger, in the appropriately titled movie, When a Stranger Calls. The film features an iconic opening sequence, which is regarded as one of the all-time greatest opening scenes for a horror film.
The Prowler (1981)
A group of college students are stalked by a killer during their graduation party, in this slasher from Joseph Zito. Not a hit upon its original release, The Prowler has built up a cult following over the years.
Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
In this creepy made-for-television horror movie, a murderous scarecrow goes on a killing spree in a small American town. Larry Drake and Charles Durning star, while Frank De Felitta directs this cult favourite.
Play Misty for Me (1971)
Not a slasher in the traditional sense, but there are certainly shades here and there in Play Misty for Me – a tense movie in which a radio DJ finds himself stalked by a woman he has a brief fling with. Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this classic psychological thriller.
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Similar to Play Misty for Me (see above), in Fatal Attraction a married man has a brief fling with a woman who becomes obsessive. While he is keen to dismiss the fling as a one-off, she is not so agreeable, in this disturbing thriller starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close.
Final Destination (2000)
The slasher genre gets a reworking in this sharp and inventive horror about a group of teenagers who cheat death, but soon find themselves at the centre of a series of accidents. Final Destination spawned multiple sequels, all with varying degrees of success, but the original stands out as the best of the bunch, with some truly superb ‘kills’.
American Psycho (2000)
In this ’80s-set satirical horror-thriller, Christian Bale takes on the role of a New York City investment banker, who moonlights as a serial killer. Marry Harron directs this big screen adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ book of the same name.
In this French-Romanian horror, a young couple become the target of a mysterious gang of assailants, who seem to attack the pair for no reason. Them (aka ‘ils’) is a tense, brutal movie from directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud.
And finally, one of the best-loved slasher movies of all-time is Psycho – a taught thriller from director Alfred Hitchcock. Anthony Perkins takes the role of a motel owner, while Janet Leigh becomes a victim in this must-see movie for any horror fan.
Best slasher movies
To save you having to scroll back up, here is a list of the best slasher horror movies to watch. Make a note of this list, and you’ll have all the slasher films you could ever need.
- Scream (1996)
- Freaky (2020)
- Urban Legend (1998)
- Happy Death Day (2017)
- The Hitcher (1986)
- Wrong Turn (2003)
- Creep (2004)
- High Tension/Switchblade Romance (2003)
- Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
- Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
- Hatchet (2006)
- Jeepers Creepers (2001)
- Vacancy (2007)
- My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)
- Ready or Not (2019)
- You’re Next (2011)
- Scream 2 (1997)
- Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
- Joy Ride (2001)
- Peeping Tom (1960)
- Last Night In Soho (2021)
- Fear Street Part One: 1994 (2021)
- Child’s Play (1988)
- Halloween (1978)
- Maniac (2012)
- The Babysitter (2017)
- Hush (2016)
- Cherry Falls (2000)
- Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
- I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
- Candyman (1992)
- Prom Night (1980)
- Black Christmas (1974)
- He Knows You’re Alone (1980)
- Alien (1979)
- The Burning (1981)
- Wolf Creek (2005)
- Don’t Breathe (2016)
- When a Stranger Calls (1979)
- The Prowler (1981)
- Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
- Play Misty for Me (1971)
- Fatal Attraction (1987)
- Final Destination (2000)
- American Psycho (2000)
- Them (2006)
- Psycho (1960)
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post about slasher movies. I hope it expands your horror watchlist, giving you plenty of new movies to view.
For more posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.
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