The horror subgenre known as the “slasher film” is a combination of mystery thriller and conventional horror. Although some slasher movies incorporate the supernatural into their storylines, many slasher movies offer a more pedestrian view, with their killers made out to be demented human beings out for revenge or a good time.
Films like Hitchcock’s Psycho and Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom delved into facets of psychological horror, skirting any supernatural elements. Another film, Silent Night, Bloody Night, tapped into a gothic atmosphere, thus perhaps inspiring other filmmakers to push the genre solidly into the horror genre. Another prototype for the genre was Black Christmas, which introduced many of the elements of the modern slasher movie, including a set of young adults serving as victims, a mysterious killer, and a secluded location in which the killer has free reign to torment his or her victims.
These prototypes for the genre led to two pivotal flicks: 1978’s Halloween and 1980’s Friday the 13th. The success of these two movies stimulated the proliferation of the slasher film, a genre that continues to pay dividends to this day.
The following list chronicles the top five slasher movies made to date. This list focuses more on the supernatural horror slashers, as these are more fitting to the genre than are the more pedestrian “killer” movies, including Italy’s giallo genre.