PDA

View Full Version : What do you want out of a slasher movie?



Ian Jane
12-07-2012, 10:19 AM
Spinning off the discussion from the Silent Night remake thread, I figured I'd take some of what was being tossed about there solo! Alex and Body Boy were lamenting that the movie didn't offer enough character development or do anything new - which is fair enough criticism. Jason C. and I were basically content with the movie because it offered up some thrills, chills and kills even if it was lacking in character development.

So what do you want out of your slasher movies? Given that outside of maybe zombie movies they're generally the most formulaic of horror movies, do you go in expecting originality? New ideas? Fresh visuals? Or do you 'turn off your brain' after you pop the disc in, sit down with a six pack and oogle the gore and the boobs that inevitably pop up on screen?

I'm going with the later and maybe it's a case of watching too many of them in my younger days to really expect much out of the genre. Not that I don't enjoy them, because more often than not I enjoy even the really bad ones, but I freely admit I have lower expectations for slasher movies than I do for a lot of other horror movies simply because there are so many of them and honestly I feel like the idea has been run into the ground over and over again.

Scott
12-07-2012, 11:23 AM
I like teenage kids having a good time smoking dope, fondling breasts and then some nut slaughters them all for no reason.

Mark Tolch
12-07-2012, 11:44 AM
What he said. I think that you can have a slasher with good character development and a whole lot of logical plot execution, but I like it much more when there are hijinks and then a whole lot of carnage.

Andrew Monroe
12-07-2012, 01:11 PM
I don't expect a reinvention of the wheel with a slasher but some style in execution and some memorable characters certainly helps. Some of my favorites tend to have good casts - THE BURNING, JUST BEFORE DAWN, THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW - even if they're sketches, the actors are capable enough to make 'em individual with a few strokes. Glaser from THE BURNING is a jackass but he makes an impression...he's a memorable jackass and you feel kinda bad when he gets it.

There are some modern slashers I've enjoyed like SORORITY ROW, though it seems to me the foreign ones tend to be better these days; like HIGH ROAD and SLAUGHTER NIGHT.

Apronikoff
12-07-2012, 02:45 PM
Yeah, I'm pretty much with you guys. If I stumble across one that does something really inventive plot-wise, or has terrific characters or just a really stylish approach -- then great, I'm ecstatic!

But I don't demand any of those from the genre. If I did, I don't think I could be a fan of the genre because they're few and far between. Instead, when I pop in a slasher that I haven't seen before I'm hoping to see a spooky setting, some gory kills, and some nudity.

The one thing most likely to ruin a slasher movie for me is "winking." Whether it's the post-modern "we know the rules" kind of thing like in Scream, or people setting out to make a "so bad its good" kind of movie on purpose -- that just sinks it for me.

Alex K.
12-07-2012, 03:16 PM
My point is this: there's so much shit out there right now, just tons of obscure and insane movies, why watch your every day bad slasher? If I'm going to watch a bad slasher or any bad film, I want to see the most insane picture imaginable. I want to see the 'Pieces' of slashers. If it isn't even close to that high bar of bad then what's the point? If I'm watching a good slasher I expect a few tolerable or even identifiable characters whose deaths might actually mean something. Great death scenes heighten the experience and feed off of the characters and atmosphere and pulls together to make a memorable slasher film.

There's no how-to manual for making genre films and I appreciate thinking outside the box. But I think the new era of horror is largely a step backwards. We're able to get away with content 10X more graphic then back in the 80's and 90's but we're still stuck in this pandering mentality and not doing anything in terms of story or execution to push the genre. I think if you are a fan of the genre and you have the money and the means then there is no excuse for making a by the numbers picture that will be forgotten shortly after being watched. You don't even have to come up with new stories, just do it in a different way that makes it seem fresh.

Apronikoff
12-07-2012, 03:29 PM
Alex's point reminds me of one factor in my appreciation of slashers -- time.

Whether it's fair or not, I have a WAY higher tolerance for various things that we might call "bad film-making" when they're in a movie from the 70's or 80's then I do in a modern horror film. I guess that's both because the time capsule aspects of the music/fashion/locations are such a pleasure in their own right for me, whereas there's so much of the way modern horror films are filmed and edited that I just find tiresome.

Koukol
12-07-2012, 03:35 PM
A creepy weird-ass killer!

Horace Cordier
12-07-2012, 05:25 PM
Shits and giggles. Good kills and a meanspirited streak always help. But sometimes something little like an excellent score (like in PRANKS/THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD) can tip the scales. Some of the movies listed here are actually pretty clever - THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW has a neat nod to Clouzot's DIABOLIQUE and an interesting back story for the killer for example. And slasher or not, BLACK CHRISTMAS is a meticulously plotted thriller.

Alex K.
12-07-2012, 06:10 PM
Black Christmas is a masterpiece. It's very well shot, amazing score, good acting from all around, and it's still genuinely unnerving.

Ian Jane
12-07-2012, 06:53 PM
Black Christmas is a masterpiece. It's very well shot, amazing score, good acting from all around, and it's still genuinely unnerving.

And it definitely qualifies as a slasher.

Alex, as far as your point goes, it circles back to what as brought up earlier - you know most of them are bad and offer little in the way of originality. But you watch a lot of them. Splain it!

I think Apronikoff also brings up a good point. I prefer bad, by the numbers slashers from the 70s and 80s, most of which are completely watchable if often terrible, to newer slashers many of which are technically probably superior in terms of production values, editing, etc. Why that is I don't know, outside of an appreciation for the look of those two decades.

Alex K.
12-07-2012, 07:23 PM
I don't know. I don't really watch a lot of the bad ones except for Pieces and a handful of others and that's because they're so insane or take "So bad it's good" to another level. As far as Slashers that I really like and would recommend to anyone into horror or curious about it. These are among my favorites:

The Burning, Hell High, The Final Terror, My Bloody Valentine, Rituals, Sleepaway Camp 2, Hell Night, Black Christmas, Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (Does this count? I don't know anymore.) and others. I enjoy guilty pleasures like everyone else so I'm not trying to play the snob card but the guilty pleasures I have are for the most part totally different from the usual schlock. And the ones that I really like I like not just because of the gore -though it is a highlight- it's the overall execution. The characters in those movies were interesting. In the case of say The Burning, they came off as believable. I knew kids like that. Sleepaway Camp 2 is a caricature but you still have memorable characters. I think the slut in Sleepaway Camp 2 is one of the most interesting slut characters in a slasher. There's more to her than just being horny and acting like a bitch, she lacks something in life. The pointless sex scene ending with her asking "You don't have AIDS or anything do you?" illustrates this. I'm not saying this is Oscar or even Golden Globe worthy material, but there's something more than what we're usually offered.

There's nothing wrong in watching bad movies all the time and I'm not trying to make that implication. I just think the filmmakers involved should aim a little higher and give their audience more credit.

Body Boy
12-07-2012, 07:56 PM
I don't expect a reinvention of the wheel with a slasher but some style in execution and some memorable characters certainly helps. Some of my favorites tend to have good casts - THE BURNING, JUST BEFORE DAWN, THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW - even if they're sketches, the actors are capable enough to make 'em individual with a few strokes. Glaser from THE BURNING is a jackass but he makes an impression...he's a memorable jackass and you feel kinda bad when he gets it.

There are some modern slashers I've enjoyed like SORORITY ROW, though it seems to me the foreign ones tend to be better these days; like HIGH ROAD and SLAUGHTER NIGHT.

Yeah, here's the thing with me. If you try and reinvent the wheel, you better know what the hell you're doing. I'm not the biggest fan of Scream, but it did it's job right. Then films try to one-up it and do something completely different and make it unrecognizable to the sub genre, which won't work because why the hell are we watching all the others to begin with? Because we like formula. A film doesn't even have to be more than "Past Traumatic Event + Happy-Go-Lucky Teens + Hidden in the Shadows Killers + One by One Killed Off Inventively but Not Too Outlandishly + Chase Scene". It doesn't even have to pose a question infiltrating the genre's roots or execution. But it must, as Alex said, MAKE AN IMPRESSION. I want a film that can be described as "The One with _______", and you know exactly what film it is. Something with charisma. Friday the 13th, My Bloody Valentine, The Burning and Humongous are among some of my favorites of the genre, and they are slashers to a T. But they did more than rent a white-washed generic house, add kids with booze having sex, and kill them off generically. They had personality, which is what a lot of people nowadays making these film have completely fly over their heads.

Which bugs me because watching these newers films, I'm just like "I COULD MAKE A BETTER FILM IF I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY!" which is just... sad :*(

Scott
12-07-2012, 08:39 PM
I think Apronikoff also brings up a good point. I prefer bad, by the numbers slashers from the 70s and 80s, most of which are completely watchable if often terrible, to newer slashers many of which are technically probably superior in terms of production values, editing, etc. Why that is I don't know, outside of an appreciation for the look of those two decades.

Me too, I guess it's just plain nostalgia for those two decades and how films were made then.

I also really like the slashers with monstuh killers (as opposed to guy next door lookin' types):

Funhouse (1981)
http://i53.tinypic.com/2uiahpf.jpg

The Burning (1981)
http://i54.tinypic.com/24qo7j6.jpg

Hell Night (1981)
http://i49.tinypic.com/bdmahi.jpg

Mad Man (1982)
http://i54.tinypic.com/s1ukvn.jpg

Bad Dreams (1988)
http://i53.tinypic.com/w9906a.jpg


and of course Jason and Freddy ....

Ian Jane
12-09-2012, 04:36 PM
I also really like the slashers with monstuh killers (as opposed to guy next door lookin' types)

I also tend to award bonus points to slashers with monster guys in them. Which is weird, because a big part of what I tend to criticize in slasher movies is breaking from 'realism' and monster themed slashers tend to do that way more so than non-monster themed slashers. So it's a bit hypocritical of me maybe, but I can justify that hypocrisy by saying 'fuck you, monsters are rad' so it all works out in the end.

Richard--W
12-16-2012, 12:44 AM
What do you want out of a slasher movie?

Slashing.

Highly stylized and pictorial slashing with enough atmosphere to burn.

My idea of a slasher movie comes from the early films of Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

No monsters, just trangressive behavior extending all the way to the edge of a nice sharp reflecting blade. In a suspense plot with blood flowing and elaborate set-pieces. Character development, beautiful women and female nudity are always an asset to a good slasher film.

Randy G
12-16-2012, 05:39 AM
I'm not a big fan of slashers, I'll watch almost all of them, including the very bad ones, but that's because I love horror films and will check out even the bad ones because occasionally one of them is so sublimely awful they are kind of surreal and enjoyable (Mardi Gras Massacre for example).

Ian Jane
12-16-2012, 10:47 AM
As bad as Mardi Gras Massacre is, it definitely delivers on what most of us have said we want out of the genre.

Alex K.
12-16-2012, 11:38 AM
As bad as Mardi Gras Massacre is, it definitely delivers on what most of us have said we want out of the genre.

For you charlatans maybe. :D

Robert W
12-16-2012, 09:13 PM
Slashing.

Highly stylized and pictorial slashing with enough atmosphere to burn.

My idea of a slasher movie comes from the early films of Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

No monsters, just trangressive behavior extending all the way to the edge of a nice sharp reflecting blade. In a suspense plot with blood flowing and elaborate set-pieces. Character development, beautiful women and female nudity are always an asset to a good slasher film.

I think it would be pretty hard, if not impossible, to out Bava's Blood and Black Lace in terms of sheer artistry. The only other film that comes to mind is Halloween.

Body Boy
12-20-2012, 02:43 AM
Slasher Confession: I don't really care for the original Halloween.

Marshall Crist
12-20-2012, 02:55 AM
Slasher Confession: I don't really care for the original Halloween.

Great score, great cinematography; don't like it either.

Newt Cox
12-20-2012, 03:51 AM
Slasher Confession: I don't really care for the original Halloween.

I am not a huge fan of it either. And I hate the original Halloween 2.

Alex K.
12-25-2012, 11:17 PM
Brad Jones say's a lot in regards to this:

http://thecinemasnob.com/2012/12/25/silent-night-review.aspx

Robert W
12-26-2012, 05:12 PM
I've seen a good many slashers in my days and my fav is still Friday the 13th Pt. 4. That film for me pretty much sums up what a perfect 80s vintage slasher should look like. Plus the ending features what has to be the single best/biggest pay-off in slasher film history.

Going back to the OP's question, "what do you want in a slasher flick?" I think you need a killer with personality, a decent body count, and, of course, some T&A.

Generally speaking, I prefer giallos to slashers, but the difference between the two is often so negligible that it's sort of pointless sometimes trying to draw distinctions between the two genres. Tenebrae is, imo, the quintessential blurred giallo/slasher hybrid though.