Knives, masks, and psychopathic killers, oh my!

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Suspenseful slashers for the season

By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor

As we reach the middle of October, scary movies are everywhere we look. One all-too-common horror theme is of the “slasher”—films where a killer terrorizes a group of unsuspecting (and, usually, dumb and horny) teenagers one by one. There are countless low-budget and low-quality slashers released every year. Most of them are predictable, cheesy, and barely frightening. It’s a declining genre for this very reason, but there are still a few classics deserving of your time this holiday season.

Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Tina and her friends are having terrifying (and fatal) dreams of a certain figure with an orange-striped sweater, disfigured skin, and sharp metal claws. It turns out that deceased child murderer Freddy Krueger—perhaps the most iconic horror movie character of all time—is seeking revenge on all the promiscuous and helpless teens. Masterfully directed by the late great Wes Craven, this one will make you never want to sleep again.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974 or 2003)

The original and the remake tell the same story of teenagers getting slashed by the deranged yet child-like Leatherface and his cannibalistic hillbilly family. The original focuses more on performance and suspense than gore to terrify. It’s filmed in a documentary-like style and feels much too real for comfort. The remake contains more explicit blood and guts, if you can stomach that sort of thing. Be careful in the backwoods.

 Scream (1996)

The other iconic horror franchise by Wes Craven. Sidney and her friends find themselves targeted by the mysterious Ghostface killer. But unlike most slashers, they’re well aware of the cliché situation and openly discuss the similarities to other horror films. Hilarious, scary, and suspenseful all at once, Scream is truly an essential example of the slasher genre and among the very best.

 Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

Tucker and Dale are a couple of good ol’ boy rednecks who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but due to huge misunderstandings and their unintentional creepiness, they’re mistaken by a group of college kids as the typical psycho killers one would normally encounter in a horror movie. Things only get worse when the kids start getting picked off by a real killer. As hilarious as it is gory, this is a refreshing twist on modern slashers.

 Psycho (1960)

Truly the original “slasher,” and one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most iconic films. On the run after stealing from her employer, Marian Crane stops at the Bates Motel for a stormy night. It’s run by the charming, if socially awkward, Norman Bates, along with his mysterious mother—“a boy’s best friend.” To wind down, Marian decides to relax with a nice, hot shower… While best known for one scene in particular, the entire film is masterfully suspenseful and unnerving, and widely considered one of the best horror movies of all time.

 Halloween (1978)

Yet another pioneering slasher movie that’s made truly iconic by its execution. After killing his own sister at six years old, masked killer Michael Myers escapes from an insane asylum 15 years later. As the title suggests, it also happens to be the scariest night of the year. The film builds its fear with an eerie soundtrack and a direction style of suspense and mystery. Often the most fright comes from a feeling of less, not more—and John Carpenter may have portrayed that better than anyone else ever has.