The Essentials: Slasher (Proto --> Giallo --> Golden Age --> Post)

The American slasher that was formalized and calcified in the late '70s/early '80s did not come out of nowhere; in fact, some of its narrative/structural antecedents date as far back as the '20s and '30s. Most notably, the subgenre draws from the Italian giallo of the '60s/'70s and the 1960 watershed double-threat of Psycho (U.S.) and Peeping Tom (U.K.). Here is my highly subjective, constantly fluctuating canon/genealogy/watch-log of the subgenre.

Required reading: Carol J. Clover, Men, Women, and Chain Saws (1992)

Bro banter aside, this episode of Talk is Jericho featuring Eli Roth and editor Mark Goldblatt is hugely informative. Also essential: Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film.

Subject to change. Recommendations welcome.

  • The Hands of Orlac
  • The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
  • M
  • Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • Murders in the Zoo
  • Night of Terror
  • Mad Love
  • The Man They Could Not Hang
  • The Devil Bat
  • Before I Hang
  • Invisible Ghost
  • The Leopard Man
  • The Seventh Victim
  • Bluebeard
  • The Lodger
  • Monsieur Verdoux
  • House of Wax
  • The Night of the Hunter
  • Grip of the Strangler
  • Peeping Tom
  • Psycho
  • Blood Feast
  • Blood and Black Lace
  • Strait-Jacket
  • Corruption
  • Lila
  • The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
  • Five Dolls for an August Moon
  • The Abominable Dr. Phibes
  • A Bay of Blood
  • The Cat o' Nine Tails
  • Four Flies on Grey Velvet
  • Hatchet for the Honeymoon
  • She Killed in Ecstasy
  • Slaughter Hotel
  • The Case of the Bloody Iris
  • Don't Torture a Duckling
  • Frenzy
  • Torso
  • Black Christmas
  • Deranged
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  • Deep Red
  • Strip Nude for Your Killer
  • Eaten Alive
  • The Town That Dreaded Sundown
  • The Hills Have Eyes
  • Halloween
  • Day of the Woman
  • Beyond the Darkness
  • Don't Go in the House
  • The Driller Killer
  • Tourist Trap
  • Cruising
  • Dressed to Kill
  • Friday the 13th
  • Maniac
  • New Year's Evil
  • Prom Night
  • The Saviour
  • Bloody Moon
  • The Burning
  • Eyes of a Stranger
  • Final Exam
  • Friday the 13th Part 2
  • The Funhouse
  • Halloween II
  • Hospital Massacre
  • My Bloody Valentine
  • The Prowler
  • Alone in the Dark
  • Friday the 13th Part III
  • The New York Ripper
  • Pieces
  • The Slumber Party Massacre
  • Tenebre
  • Angst
  • The House on Sorority Row
  • A Night to Dismember
  • Psycho II
  • Sledgehammer
  • Sleepaway Camp
  • Folies Meurtrières
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
  • Murder-Rock: Dancing Death
  • The Mutilator
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night
  • Special Effects
  • Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge
  • April Fool's Day
  • Chopping Mall
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
  • Psycho III
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
  • Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness
  • Blood Rage
  • Killer Workout