Freddy, Jason, Michael, everyone has seen these famous slashers in their various films. What about Trevor Moorehouse, Basement Jack, or Smiley? No, not nearly as widely known. I’m here to help you with that with this list of 15 slasher films that may have, until now, flown under your radar.
1. Bad Dreams (1988)
A lot of slasher movies can be seen as taking some influence and inspiration from other films in the genre. And some are just blatant rip-offs. But, hey, rip-offs can be fun too! Bad Dreams came out one year after A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, arguably the most beloved film in the franchise. And, well, the similarities are impressive. The film is about a young woman named Cynthia who used to be a part of a hippie suicide cult that was led by a man named Franklin Harris. He convinced everyone to commit suicide together by mass incineration. Only Cynthia survived but is in a coma for 13 years. Upon waking up, she is put through psychological therapy in a hospital for her trauma. But the horribly burned Harris returns to kill those around her.
It’s actually a pretty fun movie, even if i wasn’t a fan of the twist ending. Really solid 80’s slasher.
2. Basement Jack (2009)
This film is about a killer teenage known as Basement Jack. He is named as such because his MO was to live in secret in the basement of his victims for days before finally killing them. The sole survivor of his killing spree was a girl named Karen Cook. She survived and Jack was arrested and imprisoned. Then, eleven years later, the conviction is overturned because apparently Jack did not receive a fair trial and he is released. Karen sees the killings begin again and rather than wait for Jack to come after her, she goes after him.
I’d give the movie a C+. It’s not great, but certainly worth a watch. The backstory for Jack is a little forced, but the majority of the action is pretty solid.
3. Bloody Murder (2000)
Remember what I said about rip-offs? This is a slasher movie about a hockeymask-clad killer at a summer camp. Where have I heard that before? It’s a pretty straightforward camp slasher film with a bit of a twist at the end.
Honestly, the first one sucks. The sequel (yes, there are two), Bloody Murder 2: Closing Camp, is considerably better and actually rather enjoyable as it did not suffer from the severe budgetary constraints this one did.
4. Bones (2001)
Hey, kids! Wanna see Snoop Dogg as a vengeful, murderous ghost? Snoop Dogg plays Jimmy Bones, a neighborhood protector from the late 70’s who kept a tight grip on what crime was allowed in his area. One drug dealer wanted in and Jimmy said no. The dealer didn’t like that and Jimmy was summarily killed and his body was dumped in his own brownstone building. The building is closed. 22 years later, 4 teens buy the building and renovate it into a night club. In the process, they wake up Jimmy Bones…
The movie is pretty good. Heavily effects laden, and not prac fx either. I’m talking lots of cgi. But it’s decent quality cgi, so it’s bearable. The story just kinda loses it’s way in the third act, I feel. Definitely worth a watch, though.
5. Silent Rage (1982)
A serial killer is gunned down. His body is experimented on. The scientists test regenerative serums on him and the result is he now heals from any wound. The only side effect is he can no longer talk. The killer breaks loose and continues his spree and it’s up to, who else, Chuck Norris to stop him.
Yes, you read that right. Chuck Norris vs a superhuman serial killer. Do I really need to say more here?
6. Camp Slaughter (2005)
Also called “Camp Daze”, what this slasher film lacks in budget, it makes up for in creativity. A slaughter happened at a summer camp in 1981. 24 years later, four friends traveling near the site are inexplicably transported back in time to that day. The teens at the camp are trapped in a time loop, slaughtered over and over night after night. It’s up to the four friends from the future to try to save them and stop the loop once and for all.
Yeah, like I said, definitely creative. The main antagonist can be seen as not actually the killer so much as the situation. It’s actually pretty entertaining.
7. Cold Prey (2006)
Called “Fritt Vilt” (translated: Open Season) in it’s native Norwegian, this foreign slasher film is the first in a trilogy. It’s about a group of friends who go out into the hills to snowboard. One of them breaks his leg and the group takes him to a nearby abandoned hotel to rest for the night. But they aren’t alone. Something happened in this hotel. And it’s about to happen again.
This movie is amazing. You gotta love foreign horror. It’s very atmospheric and I highly recommend it. Also, check out the second one. It takes place in the after math of this one, inside of a hospital, and it very Halloween 2-esque. The third movie… meh, not so great.
8. Evil Laugh (1986)
This film is about a group of med students who go to fix up an old house. But some murders took place there 10 years ago, and you know what that means!
The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. And it is notable for being one of the first films, even before Scream, to talk about the tropes of the slasher genre and how to survive a slasher movie if you are in one.
9. I, Madman (1989)
A clerk at a book store becomes engrossed in a book called “I, Madman”. It is about a killer who is obsessed with a girl and begins killing people, taking bits of their faces and sewing them onto his. But as the clerk reads, someone starts emulating the killings.
It’s an original concept and I quite enjoyed it. We see a lot of “killer item” movies, from video games to video tapes. But this is the only one in my recollection about a killer book. I highly recommend it.
10. Left for Dead (2007)
An homage to the 80’s and, specifically, the Halloween films, this movie is about several college students who are stalked and killed after an accident that resulted in a person’s death.
I would rank it as strictly average. But, hey, Danielle Harris is in it. That alone makes it worth a watch, right?
11. Pledge Night (1990)
Pledge night never got much attention at all. No major studio and it came in at the end of the slasher craze, before it was revived by Scream. It’s about a frat pledge named Sid (played in a flashback by Joey Belladonna, lead singer for Anthrax) who dies in a prank gone wrong. Decades later, he returns from the dead to seek revenge on the fraternity.
I really like this movie. It’s just fun! And Sid is an awesome slasher! I won’t give away too much about him, but he’s the inspiration for the villain Acid Angel in Tim Seeley’s slasher comic series Hack/Slash!
12. Psycho Cop (1989)
The successful Maniac Cop came out in 1988, so it doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together here. Still, I love the character of the “Psycho Cop”, Joe Vickers. Unlike the undead Matt Cordell from Maniac Cop, Joe is alive and talks. A lot. He is a one liner machine and I find him hilarious! Especially in the higher-budget sequel!
13. Smiley (2012)
This is a slasher film specifically geared towards the internet age. It’s about an urban legend that says if you go to a specific imageboard and type in “I did it for the lulz” three times, the killer “Smiley” will come get you. It’s an interesting concept reminiscent of Candyman.
Interesting, yes, but I hate this one. It stars a lot of big name Youtubers who I have had personal dealing with and feel are buffoons. Also, it breaks rules 1 & 2 of the internet. What are rules 1 & 2 of the internet? I can’t tell you. That would be breaking the rules. You have Google. It is your friend.
14. Wrestlemaniac (2006)
Wrestlemaniac is a film about some people traveling around in a van, going to different places to make a porno. They hear about an abandoned village in the Mexican desert and travel there thinking it will be an awesome spot. Little do they know that locked up in this town is El Mascarado. El Mascarado was a luchador who went insane and began ripping off the faces of his opponents. Oh, also he is played by Rey Mysterio Sr, the father of the WWE superstar.
It’s a fun movie. I love gimmicky killers. This one is a guaranteed good time for fans of cheesy, horror goodness.
15. Slashers (2001)
The Japanese have some really weird game shows. Seriously, Google it. This movie is about a fictional Japanese game show called $la$her$. A group of voluntary contestants are put into a series of environments and hunted by slasher themed killers. If they can survive til the end of the episode, they win a bunch of cash!
The movie is another very original idea and really serves as commentary on what people will do for money and also on the fascination with violence for entertainment, even if it’s real violence.
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Nice list! Kill Theory’s another way overlooked one.