Top 25 Best Slasher Films to Watch Today

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Enough sequels! You're toast!

How Many of These Slasher Films Have You Watched?

Teenagers in the 80s used to rent slasher films on VHS tape. 

Modern kids reading this are probably thinking, VHS? What’s a VHS? Never mind guys - for the best thrills and kills, we can luckily “Netflix & chill”. Though you may not think slasher flicks are date-friendly, you’d be surprised how gore and death make couples cling to each other. Try it – there is a legacy of classics (and newer movies) where serial killers wield machetes, sharp knives, and wear scary masks. For date night (or just random bloody fun) take a look at our Top 25 Slasher Films to Watch Today:

25. Halloween (2018)

Halloween 2018, Michael Meyers, Jamie Lee Curtis

Forty years after the original events took place in Halloween (1978), we find Laurie and Micheal Myers, ready to duel. Who will kill whom first? This 11th installment in the Halloween series is expected to hit theatres on – naturally – Halloween of 2018. The original director, John Carpenter returns as an executive producer and artistic consultant. Because Carpenter was not satisfied with other directors’ takes on his murdering, mask-wearing freak, the style of this new film will be a direct sequel to the original. Thus, the continuity from the existing Halloween 2 (1981, directed by Rick Rosenthal) will be bypassed to retell the tale. Get ready for this one – Carpenter vows to make it the scariest Halloween to date. What’s more, he has signed on to do the film score. This will be such a treat to horror movie fans who will never forget the original Halloween theme song.

24. Laid to Rest (2009)

Laid to Rest Trailer

Funny guy, that ChromeSkull. He glues a skull mask to his face (toxic, much?), and likes to send recordings of his crimes to the police. His gruesome murders are executed with a video camera strapped to his shoulder. Nice balancing act, bud. An amnesiac nicknamed Princess and anyone who tries to come to her aid, are prime targets. Bobbi Sue Luther, as Princess (at the time, writer-director, Robert Green Hall’s spouse) is a bonafide scream queen, and steals the show during the climax. Take note of the nastiest usage of toxic glue ever. Gross.

23. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Halloween: Resurrection Trailer

Laurie has had it. Now in a sanitarium, she is faking mental illness as a smokescreen to reunite with Michael Myers (since revealed to be her brother, further back in the series). This might be a case of like brother, like sister. Laurie has become a murderer now, too, just like Michael. But she is doing it for certain reasons, and not because she is a psychopath – despite what the sanitarium staff have been led to believe. This installment in the Halloween saga is less about Laurie. It focuses on a group of young men and women recruited to play a sort of reality show game. The project takes place in Michael Myer’s old house, and enables past and present to collide with Myers always coming out the winner. Hey, nobody has been able to kill this bastard in decades – why would a bunch of wannabe TV stars be any different?

22. My Bloody Valentine (1981)

My Bloody Valentine Trailer

When your project becomes famous for having a large amount of its gore scenes cut, you know you have a winning slasher film. That is, of course, for those who like their slasher flicks like most people like their porn: stripped of storyline, proper dialogue, and all embellishments. Just give us the blood and guts! My Bloody Valentine does however offer something a bit more fleshed out for plot and script. The object: a mining town in Nova Scotia, Canada. A threat that people will die if they hold their annual Valentine’s Day dance event. Townsfolk that don’t take heed, and frolic in the mines - too bad for them, because revenge is bloody disgusting.

21. See No Evil 2 (2014)

See No Evil 2 Trailer

Canadian director-twins known as the Soska Sisters took on the sequel to the original 2006 See No Evil. The first film received rotten reviews, so it made sense for See No Evil 2 to be released straight to DVD. And the reception – though slightly better than the first film – was still somewhat hot-and-cold. WWE Wrestler Kane reprises the role of killer Jacob Goodnight. Goodnight appears to have deep-rooted problems with religion. This is just barely touched upon, and could have been elaborated further, but oh well. Overall though, this is standard slasher fare. Nothing groundbreaking, but not a terrible film in its genre. It’s exactly why we call certain movies “straight to DVD” – fine to watch at home, but not worth paying money for the whole theatre and big-screen experience.

20. Freddy VS. Jason (2003)

Freddy VS Jason Trailer

Johnny Yu is a big deal in Hong Kong cinema, but he has also directed a few films for the US market (including Bride of Chucky). His battle royale between the two most influential horror movie killers is a must-see for all fans of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th series. Its box office success does not mean the movie was an epic win. It is corny and stretches the limits of all the slasher clichés we’ve by now become accustomed to. However, the idea of Freddy Krueger resurrecting Jason Voorhees to do his bidding is comical and worth a look. Even when Jason starts stealing Freddy’s kills. It’s a pretty good showdown if you take it with a grain of salt (and blood, duh). Think of it as Pokémon. With serial killers.

19. Hatchet (2006)

Hatchet Trailer

Victor Crowley was a deformed, taunted child who was accidentally killed by his dad’s hatchet. Rumors claim the undead Crowley roams around the murder site in search of his father. In the meantime, the monstrosity kills those he encounters in and around the swampy area. Hatchet is not just a bloodbath. It is also quite the comedy. The Adam Sandler knockoff and the two bimbo pornstar wannabes steal the show for the first 30 minutes. A light-comedy horror, with the best (and grossest) 360-degree decapitation scene ever. Wait for the nice surprise finish. Robert Englund (of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise) also makes a cameo.

18. Hatchet 3 (2013)

Hatchet 3 Trailer

Hatchet 2 was the logical continuation of Hatchet 1. Likewise, the third installment picks up immediately where the previous film left off. Marybeth, our long-surviving heroine from the other films, has grown fierce and won’t let the menace of Victor Crowley continue for one more second. At the end of Hatchet 2, she had shot him in the head, but he continued to live. Here, she shoots him again and makes it so that he couldn’t possibly come back for more. But of course he does. Because that’s what happens in slasher sequels. It appears that for no apparent reason, he is an expert in reanimation! If you enjoyed the first 2 volumes of this now epic franchise, #3 is just part and parcel. 

17. Child’s Play (1998)

Child's Play Trailer

Catherine Hicks (as Karen) gifts her son a doll. Nice going, Mom. You’ve now allowed the soul of defunct serial killer Charles Lee Ray into your home. He possesses a creepy doll named Chucky, and does terrible, terrible things. Framed by the evil toy, Karen’s son becomes the prime suspect of several murders, and is sent to a mental health facility. Meanwhile, Chucky continues to wreak havoc. As with most murderers in the slasher genre, Chucky is not so easily destroyed. Hence...numerous sequels featuring the hideous creature. Interesting that such an ugly toy was designed to resemble the Cabbage Patch Kids. Aww.

16. Cold Prey (2006)

Cold Prey Trailer

This Norwegian film is already scheduled for an American remake. It takes place at a vacant ski lodge. Of course, the building is inhabited by a killer. (You mean, you weren’t expecting that?). The roles are well acted, and the interiors are always a grungy turquoisey-blue. This is a visual reminder about the winter environment outside. The claustrophobia of the inn’s many corridors and doorways enhance the fear factor. The sound design and musical score add to the feeling of dread as the young adults try to save themselves from the mysterious murderer. Lots of atmosphere in this one!

15. You’re Next (2011)

You're Next Trailer

Masks play an integral part of slasher flicks. Killers hide their identity this way, but also terrify their victims with lugubrious features or in this case, the faces of ugly-cute animals. The gore here is juxtaposed with black humor. It hinges on the stupidly amusing interactions of the prototype dysfunctional family unit. Ah, family. Gotta love ‘em. Home invasion, family tensions, and a secretly kick-ass outsider played by Sharni Vinson. Her character, Erin was re-scripted to incorporate the actress’s Aussie background. Self-defense training straight from the Outback is what makes Erin more relatable than the typical scantily-clad bimbo in standard slasher movies. 

14. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

A Nightmare on Elm Street Trailer

Wes Craven is a household name thanks to the Elm Street franchise. When the first movie in the series was released, it both terrified and titillated audiences. Child-killer Freddy Krueger was burned alive by the victims’ angry parents. Ever since, Freddy and his knife-fingers haunt teenagers’ dreams. The 2010 remake was in good hands with Samuel Bayer (known for his work on music videos of bands such as Green Day, Nirvana, and Marilyn Manson). The reboot is slick, and includes enhancements that could have only been achieved in 2010 versus the 1984 creation. Freddy’s old lines have aged poorly over the years, making him appear less a menace and more a crackhead comedian. Bayer toughened him up to make him more of a threat. Wes Craven had never been consulted about the remake. Though he, as well as critics were somewhat displeased with the outcome, it’s still worth a watch.

13. Maniac (2012)

Maniac Trailer

Maniac stars Elijah Wood as Frank. Frank grew up with a traumatic childhood and as an adult, has decided to take out his frustrations on women. Their beautiful hair becomes part of Frank’s mannequin restoration project. The project (minus the murdered womens’ scalps) was handed down to him by his family. When Frank falls for one of his soon-to-be victims, Anna, things get a tad bit messier. The film is a remake of the 1980 Maniac. The movie was initially criticized for its graphic violence, and fell under a seizing in the UK even though it was never prosecuted against. The 2012 take on this scalper-murderer has a slightly different approach, but each version is worth checking out for its own merits. And Wood does his character justice as a complete nutbag.

12. Halloween H2O (1998)

Halloween H2O Trailer

To coincide with Halloween’s 20th anniversary, we are brought back to the Halloween universe. Twenty years later. Jamie Lee Curtis again plays Laurie, now under an assumed name (Keri). The public thinks that Michael Myers is dead, but both Keri and Dr. Loomis (Michael’s doctor from the original Halloween) are convinced that he is still alive. H2O’s story was written by Kevin Williamson, who also worked on #9 and #7 in this list. Though John Carpenter was meant to direct the sequel, he was eventually replaced by Steve Miner, who worked on Friday the 13th 2 and 3. There are varying accounts of the reasons behind this, but we just care about the gore, don’t we? Interesting to note, Curtis’ mom, (the original scream queen from 1960’s Psycho) Janet Leigh appears in a bit part.

11. Friday the 13th (2009)

Friday the 13th 2009 Trailer

The reboot of the 1980 film was supposed to be a bit of a back-story to the original tale. Instead, it became more of a compilation and retelling of the first four movies in the series. It went on to be the second-highest grossing Friday 13th film, even though it was not among the best of the series. Here, we get to know Jason Voorhees a little better. What made him tick, what made him become the famous murderer at Camp Crystal Lake? The quintessential ‘Last Girl’ (see #4 in this list for deeper knowledge on last girls) uses Jason’s Mama issues to corner, subdue and ultimately kill him. Oh, his death is not a spoiler. Everyone knows Jason is indestructible! Where else would we get all those sequels if he would really die?

10. Halloween (2007)

Halloween 2007 Trailer

Yes, another reboot, but this time a little bit different from its counterparts. Rob Zombie (of the group White Zombie) has reimagined Michael Myers’ story and given it life (ironic in a film about death). Where John Carpenter didn’t seek to explain Myers’ behavior in the 1978 classic, Zombie does just that. We get a glimpse of the psycho’s innerworkings. Because who wouldn’t be dying to know what’s in that twisted mind of his? We also learn a bit more about his iconic mask. Carpenter gave Zombie carte blanche to really make Halloween his own film. It is a nice addition to the original. There is also a cameo by Dee Wallace Stone – one of the first scream queens in the industry.

9. I Know What You Did Last Summer (2017)

I Know What You Did Last Summer Trailer

Like Scream (#7 in this list), this one casts actors who were already relatively well known. The principal roles go to Jennifer Love-Hewitt and Sarah Michelle-Gellar. The screenwriter, Kevin Williamson (who also wrote Scream) adapted the story from a 1973 novel. It is also influenced by the folk tale of The Hook. Hooks make such handy weapons, after all. So what did who do that one summer, anyway? A group of friends accidentally kill someone in a car accident. Because the dumb teenagers hide the evidence and vow to never speak of the incident again, someone out there wants revenge. The film becomes more and more complex as clues are revealed. Slasher tropes are there, but the ensemble works well.

8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Trailer

Leatherface is up there among slasher icons like Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. The original 1974 version was disturbing and terrifying. To the movie-going public back then, chainsaws became fearful tools. Years later, a remake was made. Jessica Biel stars as our ‘final girl’. The remake relies more on visual gross-outs than the original, but is comparatively less scary. The plot also diverges somewhat from the 1974 version. Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics. Cannibals, freaky family, lunatic prancing around with a gory mask and a chainsaw. Classic! As is often the case, the remake was unnecessary, but Biel is a looker, so it’s still worth a watch. 

7. Scream (1996)

Scream Trailer

Wes Craven created another hit with the Scream series. The first installment stars a cast of well-beloved actors such as Neve Campbell and Drew Barrymore. Though it leans toward satire, the scares and terrors are as legit as the clichés it pokes fun at. The influence of earlier films like When a Stranger Calls (1979) and Halloween (1978) would be evident to longtime fans of the horror genre. Scream has it all. Unsolicited phone calls. Scream queens. Plot twists. And of course, creepy masks.

6. Black Christmas (2006)

Black Christmas Trailer

A loose remake of the 1974 film of the same title. In the slasher world, many murderers are tormented by childhood trauma. Not only was our culprit Billy born ill and abused by his mother, but he was also the victim of incest. This is the basis for the events that unfold on Christmas Eve, 1991, then again 15 years later. A blackout at Christmas sees sorority sisters die, one by one. But who (and where) could the killer be? The twist is the fun part, here. It was thrown in by Dimension Films, despite protests from the directors, Morgan and James Wong. It’s hard to say if Dimension helped or hindered the film’s sales. Despite mixed reviews, Black Christmas is well-crafted and story-driven. Plot points do get a little messy during the twist reveal, but hey...deranged murderers are a little messy, so it kinda works.

5. Girlhouse (2014)

Girlhouse Trailer

An oddball of a little movie. The Canadian-made film starts off expectedly low budget and cheesy, but quickly takes on a life of its own. From the bizarre German-only onscreen text (with no translations), to the psychopath’s mask and wig, Girlhouse delivers the gore, the screams and then some. Kylie needs college funds. She decides to earn a little by becoming a cam girl. She moves into the Girl House, where cameras roll 24/7, and the girls can chat online with harmless perverts. But are they so harmless when they can hack the porn hub security system and find the house’s secluded location? This cautionary tale about the digital age boasts quite decent acting, staging, and cringe-worthy moments.

4. The Final Girls (2015)

The Final Girls Trailer

Max (played by Taissa Farmiga) misses her mother. Before being killed in a car crash, Mom was a B-movie actress. As fate would have it, daughter and mother meet again in an alternate universe. Let’s call that universe Friday the 13th but with a different name and different actors. Yes, this film is that bizarre. It pokes fun at the teenagers-camped-out-in-the-woods type horror movies of the 80s. Though shaken by the reunion with her mum, Max needs to put her emotions on hold. She needs to be the Final Girl. The term represents the prototype last surviving female of the slasher genre. Girl, get out of that cheesy B-movie and save your mom from that masked murderer! Most of the gore only arrives in the last quarter of the movie, but to pass the time we can laugh at the collision of modern day teenagers meeting their 1980s counterparts. Hilariously stupid, yet such a smart idea for a comedy-horror.

3. Evil Dead (1981)

Evil Dead Trailer

Before Sam Raimi joined the Hollywood elite (for directing the first Spiderman feature film trilogy), he spent years perfecting his comedic take on the horror genre. His longtime pal Bruce Campbell became his go-to lead actor. Campbell’s “Ash” character is the oh-so-cool but slightly moronic Jim Carrey of the horror genre. His quirky quips and plastic facial expressions are forever part of cult cinema’s history. Ash and his friends go into the cliché cabin in the woods, and stumble across the Necronomicon – the book of the dead. And oops, all hell breaks loose, quite literally. His friends die one by one, and become undead menaces. Ash is a bit of a fail, and struggles to incant the proper spells to move the evil spirits back to Hell. Not only is there a long list of sequels, but also a bloody live musical-theatre production. The first installation in the franchise is a must-see.

2. Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th Trailer

One of the quintessential slasher movies of all time. Inspired by the success of Halloween. The premise in turn inspired a slew of other campsite slasher films. Teenagers – since 1980, you still haven’t learned a thing. You don’t just do the hanky panky carelessly without fearing retribution! The moral tale is that a killer will always seek out the most promiscuous of the characters. A memorable such scene features a bunk bed, an innovative use of weapon, and a young Kevin Bacon in one of his first roles. As with films like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, many horror movies feature murderers with some sort of mommy issue. Jason Voorhees is no exception.

1. Halloween (1978)

Halloween Trailer

This was Jamie Lee Curtis’ first starring role. The offspring of actress Janet Leigh (of Psycho, 1960) was destined to be a scream-queen, and went on to act in other horror movies. Curtis plays college student Laurie, whose town is terrorized by Michael Myers. Michael Myers was a murderous child who grew up to be a murderous adult. He is unspeaking and wears an ugly mask, and no real motive is given for his crimes. He is the cult classic figure of fear surrounding the rites of Halloween. Slashing his way from one victim to the next, he shows no mercy, and prefers female targets. But hey, if you’re male and you’re in the way, good ol’ Mike will take you down too, so stay clear!

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Daria is an octopus (multi-tasker!). Since graduating from Film Studies, she has freelanced as an arts & culture writer. Currently she focuses on film critique – specializing in horror and genre film.
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