They’re brutal. They’re maniacal. They’re stabby. They’ve got an entire horror sub-genre named after them. They are our beloved Slashers. These psychotic killers are always lurking in the shadows, but tend to come out in full force around Halloween to delight the hidden sadism in all of us!
Strangely one of my favorite slashers is not from a classic slasher film but actually a female slasher from a movie made in 2012. American Mary is by no means a cinematic master piece or award winning film. But it has got a whole lot of slashing and cutting and is fairly twisted.
Mary Mason is a medical student on her way to becoming a surgeon but is having problems paying the bills. So Mary goes out looking for money, she figures a strip club is the place to go. This is where she steps into the world of shady medical practices. But with this she figures out she can make a lot of money, especially in the world of underground consensual extreme body modification. This is where Mary starts to flourish, she makes a bunch of money but there is a dark secret she is harboring. This dark secret brought wrongness unto Mary. In response Mary does some wickedly demented stuff to this person.
The main reason that I like this character is some female surgeon out there is going down the same path as Mary or she already has. This one correlation to reality makes me seem to understand the motivation of Mary. This film creates a human connection to the main character. Many excellent and award winning films do not even pull this off. No one is killing characters in a dream world or coming out of a lake on a certain day. I mean extreme body modification can be seen everywhere now a days. The two things that really impress me about this movie are that no visual effects where used in the movie. Everything was filmed practical and most of Mary’s patients are actually members of the body modification community. And lastly, Mary herself, she is an excellent character. American Mary is available on Netflix Streaming.
Psycho is a cornerstone of the slasher genre, and could even be considered the grand-daddy of all slasher films. Released in 1960 just a year after the book (similarly titled) by Robert Bloch, Psycho became one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most lasting legacies. And where would Psycho be without the psycho himself?
Norman Bates: by day, mild mannered hotelier; by night, schizophrenic murderous representation of his dead preserved mother! It’s a gruesome train wreck where Oedipus meets Jack the Ripper. Norman tries to struggle against the side of his personality he identifies as “mother”, but when mommy dearest catches him doing things she doesn’t approve of “She” takes control, and Norman is forced to don the wig, bathrobe, and personality of the mummy (haha) he keeps in the attic.
The truly gruesome lengths Norman is willing to go to while hiding the secret of “mother” culminates with the murder of Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) in the now infamous “shower scene”. The screams, the music, the knife, and the blood washing down the drain! Norman Bates was slashin’ them up before we even knew what a slasher film was!
There’s just enough horror in the story to keep you jumpy, just enough drama to keep you intrigued, and just enough Bosco’s chocolate sauce to make you think Janet Leigh actually bleeds out in the rented motel tub.
He slices, he dices, he makes… well, probably stew or BBQ. My all-time favorite Slasher is the large-and-in-charge Leatherface! His childish demeanor, family loyalty, and proficiency with a chainsaw, all make Leatherface one of the most brutal and terrifying Slashers of them all.
There’s also the cannibalism, which, while unconscionable, is simply his means of sustenance. (well, I guess the family could get real jobs and buy cold cuts) But what I’ve always loved about Leatherface is that as exaggerated a character as he is occasionally portrayed, he’s one of the most plausible Slashers. Someone exactly like him could actually exist in the backwoods of Nowhereville, USA. In fact, Leatherface and his maniacal family are the major reason I have an irrational fear of lonely roads in rural areas. You don’t know!
The Texas Chainsaw franchise has swollen over the years. While the original Leatherface is, and will always be the best, some of the newer incarnations have really captured the horror of this iconic character. The Leatherface in the 2003 remake (the Jessica Beal one) is a fantastic, realistic, and chilling vision that lurks at the end of the lonely road in my mind!
Being the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” fanatic that I am, most of my friends would probably assume that Freddy is my all-time favorite slasher. That is just not true…although Freddy is awesome and is probably the most creative slasher…in my opinion, the most fearsome cold-blooded murderer to ever appear on the big screen is Michael Myers.
His silent and completely emotionless approach is by far the most frightening. His goal is to search for and kill all that remain of his blood relatives and every single person that crosses his path along the way. One of my favorite things about Michael Myers is his ability to take silent pride in his work after mutilating his latest victim. The way he tilts his head while admiring his “art” is enough to make you cringe.
Halloween is a classic and Michael Myers is a badass. Every person in your house could be dead right now and you wouldn’t even know it until you stumble over their bloody corpses, running around trying to save yourself from being impaled by the biggest butcher knife ever created…