A Comprehensive Guide to the Golden Age of Slashers, Part 2: 1981-1984

0
70

One of the foundational sub-genres of horror is the Slasher, a type of horror film that sees a killer stalk and slay a group of characters. Usually, the killer is masked, and the preferred weapon of choice tends to be of the bladed variety. Slashers have been around for decades, with films like Peeping Tom and Psycho credited as prototypes for the sub-genre and Halloween touted as the seminal slasher that set the mold for the modern slasher. It was the latter’s massive success that heralded in the Golden Age of Slashers.

This period, from Halloween’s release through 1984, marked an endless wave of slashers. They dominated horror’s output. But what exactly does that look like?

To give an idea just how immense this slasher boon was from 78-84, we’ve put together a comprehensive look at the slashers released during this period. Starting with the film that inspired it all, of course. Slashers lend well to the murder mystery, noir, and crime thrillers so there is some overlap. What’s not included are Giallo entries, as that’s a whole other category that warrants its own discussion. While there are likely a few titles that slipped through the cracks, this lengthy guide should get you well on your way to checking off all the Golden Age titles, and give context to the enormous scope of the craze. In Part 1, we covered 1978-1980.

Part 2 is all about the slashers released between 1981-1984…


1981

At this point in the cycle, the market had become completely saturated in slashers. So much so that many slashers simply fell through the cracks. It was up to sequels of successful films to carry the box office for the sub-genre. Hello, peak Golden Age.

A Day of Judgment

Set in a 1920s Southern town, a stranger dressed in black arrives to punish wayward sinners. With murder, of course.

Absurd

Also known as Monster Hunter, Joe D’Amato’s slasher follows a priest who’s tracking a man enhanced by medical experiments that makes him extremely tough to kill. Too bad the mutated man has traveled to America to embark on a killing spree.

Blödaren 

An all-girl rock band is touring through Sweden when their tour bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere. A remote location that happens to be the killing ground of one psychotic killer, and he intends to hunt them down one by one in this shot-on-video slasher.

Bloody Birthday

Three children are born during the peak of an eclipse of the sun. Cut to ten years later, and the children become ruthless homicidal killers. Not even their family is safe from them.

Bloody Moon

Exploitation master Jess Franco takes a stab at the American slasher. A group of girls studying at a language school in Spain soon fall prey to a crazed killer. Gore and mayhem ensue.

The Burning

A vicious prank leaves a summer camp caretaker horribly disfigured. He returns years later to stalk and slay any teens connected to the camp. Notable for Tom Savini’s gore effects, The Burning also boasts a cast with names like Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, and Holly Hunter.

Corpse Mania

This Shaw Brothers production sees the prostitutes of a brothel getting picked off in grisly fashion by a sadistic killer. A killer that also happens to be necrophiliac. Technically, Corpse Mania leans more into giallo than American slasher, but the deaths are plenty gory.

Deadly Blessing

Wes Craven

Before Wes Craven’s seminal A Nightmare on Elm Street, he experimented with the supernatural slasher in Deadly Blessing. After becoming a widow, a woman suspects the Amish-like religious community nearby might have it out for her. Things get super weird and deadly. Look for Sharon Stone, Ernest Borgnine, and The Hills Have Eyes’ Michael Berryman.

Don’t Go Into the Woods…Alone!

Despite all the warnings and tales of killers, four campers decide to head into the woods anyway. Lo and behold, a killer is on the loose and the body count rises. If only the sheriff could stop blaming bears.

EvilSpeak

Clint Howard stars as a bullied military cadet unleashing bloody vengeance upon his tormentors when he accidentally summons Satanic evil through his computer. The gory climax and Satanic themes earned this film a spot on the Video Nasties list.

Eyes of a Stranger

A serial killer is on the loose in Miami. A reporter suspects her neighbor in the adjacent skyrise to be the culprit. This slasher marks the first credited feature role for Jennifer Jason Leigh.

The Fan

Horror Queers The Fan

Michael Biehn stars as Douglas, a man obsessed with actress Sally Ross (Lauren Bacall). Douglas is so obsessed that he doesn’t take her rejection well, and goes after her and those she holds dear. The Fan also stars Hector Elizondo and James Garner.

Final Exam

A handful of college students aiming to complete their mid-term exams get slaughtered instead. Featuring an insane college prank early on that shows the film’s age. You’ll know it when you see it.

Friday the 13th: Part 2

The slasher sequel that introduced Jason Voorhees proper, irrevocably altering the course for this popular series. A new group of erstwhile camp counselors learn the hard way that opening a camp in the vicinity of Camp Crystal Lake is a bad idea.

The Funhouse

Spending the night in a traveling carnival funhouse is all fun and games until an ill-fated foursome discover its home to a deformed man in a mask. Directed by Tobe Hooper, The Funhouse offers one of the more creative set designs in slashers.

Graduation Day

After winning a race, a high school prized track athlete drops dead. After, a masked killer begins murdering the athlete’s team mates and wreaks havoc on graduation day. Anyone and everyone is a suspect!

Halloween II

Picking up immediately after the events of the first film, Sheriff Brackett and Dr. Loomis continue the hunt for Michael Myers. Laurie Strode is rushed to the hospital, but Michael Myers isn’t far behind her.

Happy Birthday to Me

Virginia suffers blackouts due to a freak accident a year ago. Now, just ahead of her 18th birthday, her friends start dying in unpleasant ways. Is Virginia losing her sanity, or is there someone else out to get her and her friends?

Hell Night

Four college pledges must stay the night in an old mansion for their initiation ritual, where their peers have rigged pranks to scare them silly. No one is aware until it’s far too late that the mansion is inhabited by the survivor of a family massacre years ago. This is the slasher that earned Linda Blair a Razzie award.

Home Sweet Home

A rare entry in Thanksgiving horror, this one sees an escaped mental patient steal a car and hijack the Bradley family Thanksgiving. Though, the escapee is bringing murder to dinner.

The House Where Death Lives

Also known as Delusion. This slasher whodunnit sees a nurse arrive at a home to care for a crippled man. People start dying, naturally.

Just Before Dawn

Five campers arrive at the mountains, only to be warned by the Forest Ranger that there’s an ax-wielding maniac on the loose. Instead of heeding his warning, they decide to stay and their numbers dwindle. An underseen gem that stars George Kennedy.

Lady Stay Dead

When a young woman arrives to visit her sister at her remote beachside villa, she’s unaware that the sister has just been murdered and the killer is still there. A slasher meets home invasion thriller, the body count rises and a cat and mouse game ensues.

Love Massacre

A college co-ed’s romance with her boyfriend turns sour after the suicide of his sister. As in, he becomes a deranged stalker.

Madhouse

Julie suffered at the hands of her twin sister as a child. In the present, her father urges her to make amends ahead of her birthday. Instead, the deaths of her friends begin to mount.

Madman

The local urban legend of Madman Marz spells doom for the camp counselors that dare utter his name during campfire tales. The maniac is summoned, and the body count rises quickly.

Murder Syndrome

Also known as Murder Obsession. Michael accidentally killed his father as a child, but has since amended his ways and grown into a successful actor. Too bad that a production gathering at his mother’s house leads to the demise of many of his friends and colleagues.

My Bloody Valentine

A deadly mining accident on Valentine’s Day caused survivor Harry Warden to embark on a murder spree, with the solemn promise to slay anyone that dares to celebrate the romantic holiday. Twenty years later, a young group defies that warning and the killing begins anew.

Night School

A helmeted serial killer decked out in black has been decapitating young women around a local night school. The police soon suspect an anthropology professor.

Nightmare

A mental patient suffering from horrific nightmares escapes from the institution and goes on a killer spree. A Video Nasty that also drew controversy for claiming that Tom Savini provided the gory special effects.

No Place to Hide

After the death of her father, Amy notices she’s being followed by a man in black. A man that seems to know her routine and when to disappear when she tries to alert someone. Is she really being followed by a murderous stalker, or is she going crazy?

The Phantom Killer

All of the ladies fall for the handsome Siu, even though he’s not interested. What’s worse is that women who fall for Siu wind up dead shortly after meeting him. An action-horror-slasher mashup.

The Prowler

The Prowler

Nearly forty years after a grisly murder at a homecoming party in 1945, a masked killer in WWII Army fatigues begins killing those associated with a college spring dance. Look for excellent gore and kills from Tom Savini.

Road Games

From the director of Link and Patrick. Stacy Keach stars as a truck driver that suspects the driver of a van to be behind a series of gruesome murders. When he picks up a hitchhiker (Jamie Lee Curtis), she volunteers to help him catch the killer. Cat and mouse games ensue.

Scream

A group of friends on a rafting river trip stop at an old ghost town for the night. Someone steals their rafts and gear, then begins picking them off one by one.

Strange Behavior

Also known as Dead Kids. An evil scientist is turning teens into ruthless killers. The sci-fi slasher hybrid stars Louise Fletcher and boasts music by Tangerine Dream.

Student Bodies

This slasher satire sees a homicidal maniac known as The Breather off promiscuous high school students in wacky ways. It features zippy one-liners and silly murder weapons including paper clips and eggplants.

X-Ray

Also known as Hospital Massacre. A maniac dressed as a doctor traps a woman on the 8th floor of a hospital when she checks in for a routine visit. He’s so hellbent on keeping her there that he’ll slaughter anyone that comes near.


1982

As with the previous year, the oversaturation of the market meant an overwhelming number of titles. Most of them, however, were relegated to direct to video. The most successful, in terms of box office, tended to belong to the slasher sequel.

Alone in the Dark

During a blackout, four psychopaths escape their mental institution and lay siege to their doctor’s family home. A home invasion slasher that stars Donald Pleasence, Jack Palance, and Martin Landau.

Blood Link

Michael Moriarty stars as an American man plagued by psychic visions of murder. Visions that prompt him to travel to Europe, where he discovers a doppelganger is behind the murders.

Blood Song

A psychopath escapes from his mental hospital and targets the young handicapped girl who once received a blood transfusion from him. Featuring teen idol Frankie Avalon.

Boardinghouse

A boardinghouse closed down after a grisly massacre took place there. Years later, the slaughter begins anew when the boardinghouse is reopened. Who would’ve guessed?

Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker

Cheryl’s obsession with her nephew veers straight into taboo and unhealthy territory. She’s so hellbent on keeping him for herself that she’s willing to go to any lengths. Naturally, the body count piles up, but police aren’t so sure it’s Cheryl doing the slaying. Also known as Night Warning.

The Clairvoyant

A police officer and a TV talk show host rely on the drawings of a clairvoyant to help them nab the Handcuff Killer. The only hitch is that the drawings are of murders that haven’t yet occurred.

Class Reunion

In this horror-comedy, all the cool kids reunite for their ten-year high school reunion. It’s all fun and nostalgia until a bitter classmate wants vengeance. Class Reunion stars Gerrit Graham and Michael Lerner.

Dark Sanity

A recovering alcoholic moves into a new home where the former tenant was brutally murdered. Inflicted with psychic visions of more death, the woman soon suspects she’s seeing her future murder.

Deadly Games

The intended victim of a serial killer targeting women escapes his clutches. Now, she’s determined to discover his identity and enacts a plan for justice.

Death Screams

The last night of a small-town carnival makes for the perfect setting for a murder spree. Also known as House of Death, this slow burn slasher saves most of its mayhem for the final act.

Death Valley

Road tripping turns lethal when a mom, her young son, and her new boyfriend run afoul of a serial killer. Look for Stephen McHattie as the killer, Catherine Hicks as the mom, A Christmas Story’s Peter Billingsley as the son, and Wilford Brimley as the sheriff.

Devil Returns

It’s Halloween meets The Exorcist in this Hong Kong horror mashup. A psycho rapes and impregnates a woman, then later returns from the grave to exact revenge when an exorcism is forced upon his evil son.

Don’t Go to Sleep

In this made-for-TV slasher, the angry spirit of a young girl possesses her sister to get revenge on those that let her die in a car crash. It stars Valerie Harper.

The Dorm That Dripped Blood

College students that volunteer to clear out a dormitory scheduled for demolition over Christmas break find themselves subjected to an unknown assailant with murder on his mind.

Double Exposure

A men’s magazine photographer suffers horrifying nightmares in which he murders women. He discovers these nightmares coincide with a serial killer’s recent string of murders in his hometown, causing him to wonder if he might be the killer.

Early Frost

Private Detective Mike Hayes is investigating a divorce case when he stumbles upon a corpse. In turn, that leads him to two suburban families filled with suspects. An Australian murder mystery turned slasher.

Exposed to Danger

After being released from prison, a woman simply wants to start over. A series of horrific events leaves her feeling that someone might hold a serious grudge against her, however. This psycho thriller waits until the final act to unleash its gory slasher elements.

Friday the 13th Part III

Picking up immediately after the previous film, Jason Voorhees returns to Crystal Lake for more killing. Enter a new group of campers to become slaughter fodder. The only entry in the franchise to receive theatrical release in the 3D format.

The Forest

Unlucky hikers and campers run afoul of a reclusive cannibal that relies on wayward travelers for meal time.

GhostKeeper

A group of friends on a snowmobiling trip become stranded at an abandoned lodge in the mountains. It’s inhabited by a woman who keeps an evil entity locked in the basement.

Girls Nite Out

A group of cheerleaders are participating in an all-night scavenger hunt at a local college. Someone in a dancing bear suit decides to stalk and murder the girls. A dancing bear suit, guys.

He Lives by Night

A happily married man is horrified to discover his marriage isn’t so happy when he walks in on his wife cheating with another man in fishnet stockings. It spurns him into dressing like a woman as bait and murdering anyone in fishnets.

Honeymoon Horror

A weekend of love at a remote honeymoon retreat for multiple newlyweds turns paradise into a nightmare thanks to a killer on the loose. One that happens to target lovers.

The House on Sorority Row

Just before graduation, the sisters of a sorority house play a prank that goes catastrophically awry. The night of their graduation party, they’re murdered one by one. Pranks are bad, kids.

Humongous

A woman is brutally raped, and her monstrous offspring grows up in isolation on a remote island. Cut to thirty-six years later, where a group of friends shipwreck on the island. Cue the massacre.

The Icebox Murders

A slow-moving character study full of dialogue that eventually reveals a maniac with a penchant for storing the victims of his murders in an icebox.

The Incubus

A young boy has nightmares about women being brutally raped and murdered. A doctor and the local sheriff realize the boy’s dreams are real, and that an evil cult might be behind the crimes in this supernatural slasher. The film stars John Cassavetes (Rosemary’s Baby).

Invitation to Hell

A shot-on-video horror film that sees a woman held prisoner as an intended Druid sacrifice when she’s discovered to be a virgin at her high school reunion. As one does.

Island of Blood

If slashers this year have taught us anything, it’s that islands should be avoided. A film crew shooting a low-budget feature on a remote island find themselves falling victim to a vicious killer instead.

The Last Horror Film

Maniac’s Caroline Munro and Joe Spinell face off once again. This time, Munro plays an actress heading to the Cannes film festival, and Spinell plays the deranged taxi driver that follows her there. Naturally, people around her start dying. Unlike Maniac, though, The Last Horror Film is one-part satire.

Midnight

From writer/director John Russo, the co-writer behind Night of the Living Dead, Midnight follows a young girl on the run after her stepdad tries to rape her. She hitchhikes out of town and winds up in the clutches of a sinister cult family. Also known as Backwoods Massacre.

Mongrel

After a vicious dog attacks a tenant of a boardinghouse and is put down, another tenant begins dreaming of more brutal dog attacks. Strangely, bodies that appear to have been victims of dog attacks start piling up. Is it another killer dog on the loose, or something else? The feature debut by actor Mitch Pileggi and directorial debut by Robert A. Burns, who served as art director for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, and Tourist Trap.

Murder by Phone

Nat Bridger (Richard Chamberlain) is the only one who can stop a disgruntled phone employee murdering people through the phone with an electrical device. From the director of Logan’s Run.

Next of Kin

In a dreamy giallo-like Australian slasher, a woman reads from her mother’s diary found at the family nursing home. Events mentioned in the diary begin to happen to her, including a string of murders.

Pandemonium

It’s up to a brave Mountie and an angry deputy to thwart a serial killer targeting cheerleaders at a nearby camp in this horror spoof. Carol Kane, Phil Hartman, Judge Reinhold, and Paul Reubens are among the recognizable comedians in the cast.

Pieces

Pieces

It’s exactly what you think it is! College co-eds are targeted by a killer aiming to create a human jigsaw puzzle from their body parts. Over the top antics and gore ensue.

The Seduction

Directed by David Schmoeller (Tourist Trap), this one follows Morgan Fairchild as a popular anchorwoman targeted by an obsessed photographer. He’s willing to go to any lengths to win her affections, including homicide.

Silent Rage

Chuck Norris stars as Dan Stevens, a sheriff hot on the trail of a serial killer enhanced by genetic experimentation. As a result of the experiments, the killer has the ability to regenerate, making him extremely tough to kill.

The Slayer

Surreal artist Kay dreams of a man-slaying monster. She agrees to take a break on a weekend getaway with her significant other, her bother and his partner. It turns out that they might be stranded on an island with the creature from her dreams.

The Slumber Party Massacre

Amy Holden Jones’s well-loved slasher kicked off a series, and followed a slumber party under attack by an escaped mental patient with a power drill. It also happens to be a Roger Corman production.

Superstition

In 1692, a witch swears vengeance before she’s put to death. In the present, a family moves into her former home, and the witch returns from beyond the grave to destroy everyone.

Tag: The Assassination Game

College student Alex Marsh is trying to woo crush Susan Swayze by helping her play the Assassination Game, a twist on tag in which players shoot each other with toy guns until only one player is left standing. The only hitch is that someone seems to be playing for real. Written/directed by Halloween’s Nick Castle, Tag stars Robert Carradine and Linda Hamilton.

Till Death Do Us Part

Three couples attempting to repair their marriages through a marital retreat find their relationships further complicated by a killer. Their marriage counselor is not as trustworthy as they think.

Trick or Treats

It’s bad enough that a bratty child plays endlessly mean pranks on his babysitter over Halloween night. Then the boy’s deranged father escapes from an institution with murder on his mind. Babysitting doesn’t pay enough for this.

Unhinged

A trio of college students on their way to a concert crash their car during a torrential downpour. Seeking shelter, the friends come across a bizarre family living in isolation at a sprawling estate. They’ll soon wish they hadn’t.

Victims

Serial rapist Charles Galloway’s case is dismissed due to tampering, causing one of his victims to turn the table to seek vengeance. The stalker becomes the stalked in this made-for-TV movie.

Visiting Hours

When a journalist survives her attack by a deranged killer, he follows her to the hospital to finish what he started. Michael Ironside stars.

Wacko

Cops try to track down this infamous Lawnmower Killer in this slasher spoof. Look for cast standouts Elizabeth Daily, Andrew Dice Clay, and George Kennedy.


1983

The seemingly endless well of slashers was starting to dry up. Quick, low budget cash-ins or international slashers dominated the offerings this year.

10 to Midnight

Charles Bronson stars as a police detective determined to take down a serial killer with an affinity for murdering young women while in the nude. Inspired by numerous real-life cases, including the Richard Speck murders, 10 to Midnight boasts a zero-star review from Roger Ebert.

A Night to Dismember

Dismembered corpses start popping up shortly after a woman is released from her mental facility. A plot set up that reads far more coherent than the final, low-budget product.

American Nightmare

After his sister goes missing, a man uncovers a trail of prostitution, incest, and murder in his search to find her. Michael Ironside stars.

Angst

In the vein of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, this disturbing horror film follows a crazed man that targets an unsuspecting family right after his prison release. Based on the true story of serial killer Werner Kniesek.

The Antwerp Killer

The city of Antwerp is being terrorized by a serial killer in this rare deep cut with a notorious reputation. Considered the worst Belgian movie ever made, a then 18-year-old Luc Veldeman convinced the government to fund his movie, arrived to a local film festival for the premiere with incomplete footage, and disappeared into the night with money he’d received. The result is a 51-minute, unfinished and incoherent slasher of legend.

Blood Beat

In this wacky holiday slasher, a woman in rural Wisconsin becomes possessed by the spirit of a Samurai warrior. Nothing says Christmas like Samurai demons in deer country, eh?

Boogeyman II

One shard remains from the previous film’s haunted mirror, and Lacey brings it with her to Hollywood as proof of her ordeal. When a director wants to turn her tale into a horror movie, the slayings begin anew.

Code of Hunting

A criminal lawyer will rethink her stance that everyone deserves a second chance when her latest defendants make her their next victim. They steal her car, intend to rob her home, and murder her husband. That’s only the beginning.

Curtains

Six actresses gather at a remote mansion in the winter for an audition. The competition for the part gets a lot stiffer when a masked killer begins picking them off one by one. The Brood’s Samantha Eggar stars.

Deadly Lessons

A made-for-TV slasher that sees its killer stalking victims at an all girls’ school. Alternately titled Highschool Killer, this slasher is stacked with names like Bill Paxton, Diane Franklin, Donna Reed, and Ally Sheedy.

Disconnected

Frances Raines (The Mutilator) plays twin sisters in this atypical slasher. After breaking up with her boyfriend, whom she suspects to be sleeping with her sister, Alicia beings receiving bizarre phone calls. Also, there’s a killer on the loose.

The Final Terror

Park rangers and their girlfriends embark on a work detail trip into the woods, but there’s a killer on the loose. Look for Daryl Hannah in an early role, and for this slasher to break the typical slasher rules.

Frightmare

Leave it to horror fans and drama students to dig up the grave of a horror icon so they can simply party with his corpse all night long. The horror icon isn’t so thrilled about the violation, and decides to murder them.

Hanging Heart

Denny becomes the primary suspect in the death of his girlfriend when her body is found in the theater where they work. That’s hardly the first death surrounding their upcoming production, so Denny’s acting aspirations might need to be put on hold until he clears his name.

The Last Night

The stage play “Murder in the Dark” is in the midst of its final performance when two escaped psychos sneak in through the back door. They turn the theater into their playground for murder and mayhem.

Microwave Massacre

Starring comedian Jackie Vernon in his final film role, Microwave Massacre is a horror-comedy that sees a man get so fed up with his wife’s terrible cooking that he kills her. Then he turns to cannibalism.

Mortuary

Plagued by nightmares of her father’s drowning, Christie isn’t convinced that it was an accident. Her search for the truth leads her to a mortuary, where she discovers a cult conspiracy. Bill Paxton plays the demented son of the mortician.

Mountaintop Motel Massacre

After years in an insane asylum, Evelyn is released and resumes her duties running a motel. She snaps, though, and starts killing her guests one by one.

Ogroff

Hailing from France, this slasher doesn’t really have a plot. It plays more like a series of vignettes in which people wander into a forest and get mutilated and murdered by a mad maniac. Think low budget splatter. Alternately known as Mad Mutilator.

Psycho II

Written by Tom Holland and directed by Richard Franklin (Road Games, Patrick), this sequel sees Norman Bates attempting to adjust to life outside of an institution after twenty-two years. But the ghosts of his past, and his mother, come back to haunt him. Vera Miles reprises her role from the first film, alongside Anthony Perkins. Meg Tilly also stars.

The Red Panther

In this Hong Kong slasher, a cop hunts a serial killer that seeks out victims with medical conditions so he can slice them up surgically. It so happens that the cop suffers from posterior ulcers, putting him in the killer’s crosshairs. Gore galore.

Scalps

College students travel to an old Native American burial ground for an archaeological dig. One of them becomes possessed by an angry spirit, and the scalping starts. This slasher was paired with The Slayer on its VHS release.

Sketch

There’s a serial killer on the loose, and the police are trying to crack the case. The inspector’s wife claims to be the killer’s target, but a previous psychotic break from trauma means that no one believes her.

Skullduggery

When Adam puts on a suit of armor for a stage play, a medieval curse is transported into the present and turns Adam into a killer. Though, it takes a lot of surrealism and Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying before Adam gets to the slashing.

Slayground

A botched robbery of an armored vehicle results in the death of a child. The child’s father hires a sociopathic hitman to seek revenge on the thieves.

Sledgehammer

This shot-on-video slasher features a boy who murders his mother and her lover with a sledgehammer. Ten years later, his area is inundated with a string of teen murders.

Sleepaway Camp

Does Angela Baker need any introduction? Angela is a painfully shy girl with a traumatic past. When she arrives at camp, some embrace her and others bully her. The latter find themselves suffering from fatal accidents. Sleepaway Camp, and its iconic final shot, birthed a series.

Sweet Sixteen

Poor Melissa just wants to make new friends in her small town. Especially as her sixteenth birthday party is fast approaching. It’s just too bad that any of the boys she meets wind up dead soon after.


1984

The final year of the Golden Age. At this point, public interest in the slasher had waned; advances in special makeup effects meant horror tastes leaned more toward the supernatural. Studios were now looking elsewhere to capture horror audiences. That didn’t mean 1984 was devoid of any solid offerings. Far from it. The Golden Age of Slashers closed out with a bang.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

The golden age of slashers might be winding down, but leave it to Wes Craven to ignite a new, enduring franchise with this supernatural slasher. The evil spirit of a child murderer seeks revenge against the parents responsible by invading the dreams of their teens. He kills them in their sleep. A Nightmare on Elm Street didn’t just give us a final girl for the ages in Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), it introduced horror icon Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).

Blind Date

A man suffering from psychosomatic blindness is equipped with a device that allows him to see through the aid of a computer and headphones. He then uses his new sight to catch a serial killer that targets women. Kirstie Alley stars.

Blood Theatre

Three friends decide to reopen a movie theater that once hosted a series of grisly homicides. A series of unexplained accidents indicate that history is doomed to repeat itself. From the director of Hobgoblins, Blood Theatre stars Mary Woronov (Night of the Comet, Eating Raoul).

Day of the Reaper

Five women on vacation in Florida are stalked by a cannibalistic maniac. Shot on Super-8, this splatter and camp-filled slasher was directed by a seventeen-year-old Tim Ritter.

The Dark Side of Midnight

Written, directed, edited by, and starring Wes Olsen in his only film credit, this slasher features a town living in terror from masked psycho The Creeper.

Don’t Open till Christmas

Don't Open till Christmas

Giving a twist to the traditional Christmas slasher, this time it’s not a maniac in a Santa Claus suit handling all the slayings, but someone targeting those dressed as Santa. It’s up to Scotland Yard to stop him before Christmas is ruined. Directed by and starring Edmund Purdom, who most notably starred in 1982’s Pieces.

Evil Judgement

The police fail to catch a serial killer, so a young woman takes it upon herself to finish the job. Being that the woman is an eye witness to one of the murders, the stakes are high.

Fatal Games

Athletes are offed in gruesome ways at a school for Olympic hopefuls. The killer’s preferred weapon is a javelin, and his favored hunting ground is the dressing room or sauna.

Fear City

Abel Ferrara (The Driller Killer, Ms.45) once again explores New York City’s sleazy underbelly in this murder mystery slasher. A psychopath is ruthlessly dispatching strippers, and its up to a cop and a former boxer to solve the case. Tom Berenger, Billy Dee Williams, Rae Dawn Chong, and Melanie Griffith star.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Friday the 13th The Final Chapter

This franchise entry might be the final chapter in the Golden Age, but it’s far from Jason Voorhees’ last trip to Crystal Lake. This entry marks the first in the Tommy Jarvis trilogy. Corey Feldman plays Tommy, but look for Crispin Glover and his memorable dance number too.

The Hills Have Eyes Part II

The flashbacks run amok in the sequel that Wes Craven publicly disowned. Even the dog gets a flashback. When the plot kicks in, it follows a group of bikers that run afoul of the inbred cannibal clan.

The Initiation

A college pledge is coaxed into breaking into her father’s mall department store by her sorority sisters and their boyfriends. Of course, their trip happens to coincide with the arrival of a deranged murderer. This one stars Clu Gulager, Vera Miles, and Daphne Zuniga. It also happens to be set over Christmas.

The Mutilator

The Mutilator

Also known as Fall Break, with an upbeat theme song to match, this slasher doesn’t waste any time trying to mask the killer’s identity. As a child, Ed accidentally murders his mother. As an adult, his father seeks bloody revenge when Ed and his friends opt for a weekend getaway over fall break. This one’s got a real emphasis on gore.

The Prey

Six horny kids head out to the woods for a camping trip. They happen to choose the same spot where a grisly crime was committed years prior. Something inhuman with an axe is lurking out there, too.

Rocktober Blood

Billy, the front man for a rock band, embarks on a murder spree before committing suicide. When his former bandmates replace him with a new singer, he returns from the grave to kill again.

Satan’s Blade

A local becomes possessed by a mountain man and terrorizes guests at the ski lodge. Look for relationship drama as the focal point long before the slashing starts.

Shadows Run Black

The police are trying to discover the identity of The Black Angel killer. The more he kills, the more they realize that perhaps his victims are connected. Mostly bloodless, but look for a young Kevin Costner.

Silent Madness

After a computer glitch accidentally releases a homicidal maniac from the hospital, he returns to his former slaying ground, a sorority house. His doctor is determined to correct the mistake before the body count gets too high.

Silent Night, Deadly Night

As a child, Billy witnesses the brutal deaths of his parents. As an adult, his childhood trauma rears its ugly head, spurning Billy to don a Santa suit and commit a series of murders. This controversial slasher ruffled major feathers prior to release, but eventually launched a franchise.

Sleepwalker

Two couples head to a nearby inn after a storm ruins dinner plans. Mounting tensions between them escalate as personalities clash, eventually erupting into visceral chaos. A 50-minute obscure British entry in horror.

Splatter University

Teaching sociology at a new college just got extra complicated when an escaped mental patient turns up. Murder, obviously, ensues.

Strangler vs. Strangler

This Serbian horror-comedy emphasizes the comedy. The plot sees a flower salesman develop an affinity for strangulation, and a rock star somehow develops a psychic connection to him.

They’re Playing with Fire

Sybil Danning (Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf) stars as a married college professor that seduces one of her students. As if that’s not bad enough, a masker murderer shows up.

Vultures

A dying, wealthy family patriarch summons his loved ones to his bedside. Someone is aiming to inherit his money, and they’re willing to kill to get it. But who? The Munsters’ Yvonne De Carlo stars.

Zombie Island Massacre

Americans on vacation in the Caribbean observe a voodoo ritual. Shortly after, they’re stranded on an island and killed one-by-one.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here