John prepares for Halloween the only way he knows how… by watching a lot of sick sh*t.
Please strike back with your own choices or additions below.
10. Victor Crowley
Victor Crowley is an amalgamation of several demented killers who had arrived before him. The Hatchet films in which he stars are a blood-soaked love letter to the slashers of the 80s. This is old school American horror at its best, riddled with clichés and over-the-top gore. The Hatchet series is an immature joy to watch, with Crowley dispatching his victims in the most audacious manner.
Saw brought horror into the 21st century and created what is known as “torture porn.” Jigsaw is a cancer victim with a new outlook on life, determined to leave behind a morbid legacy by forcing victims to endure an array of death traps in the hope they will re-evaluate their lives. It’s pretty heavy stuff, but a fascinating concept all the same. Even though the real Jigsaw was just a dying old man, it is the creepy tricycle-riding puppet that always manages to send a chill down your spine.
Having a sweet tooth won’t save you from the clutches of Clive Barker’s Candyman. Dare say his name five times, and before you know it, you will have fallen prey to a mysterious individual with a deadly hook for a hand. Candyman takes the definition of an urban legend to the extreme. So, think twice before messing with supernatural forces you know nothing about.
By the 90s, the slasher genre was pretty much dead and buried. Horror had become less important to audiences as a new wave of technological filmmaking was beginning to take shape. But in 1996, the good old slasher was back, reinvented for a new generation of fans. With its comic referencing to the genre and suspenseful set-pieces, Wes Craven’s Scream had given life to a new icon in the form of Ghostface.
6. Norman Bates
1960’s Psycho has always been considered the granddaddy of slashers. Hitchcock’s classic is a true masterclass in tension and suspense, especially with that infamous shower scene. And the ultimate mama’s boy, Norman Bates, is pretty much as recognisable in the history of horror as Dracula and Frankenstein. Psycho and its main character set the benchmark for all others to follow.
Some people have always found dolls to be slightly creepy, but the thought of a doll actually coming to life and committing murder is truly terrifying. Chucky is everything a child’s toy shouldn’t be. He is a wise-cracking, unremorseful son of a bitch who you just can’t help but love. Chucky represents all our childhood fears and escalates them to dramatic effect.
In 1974, two genre classics were released: Black Christmas and Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Both can be sighted as inventing the teen slasher, years before Halloween even came on the scene. A raw and disturbing exploitation about a family of murdering cannibals made Chainsaw infamous, with Leatherface and his gang giving a whole new meaning to the phrase home improvements.
3. Michael Myers
Without John Carpenter’s Halloween, films like Friday the 13th certainly wouldn’t exist. This stylistic movie was responsible for a slur of copycat slashers in the late 70s and early 80s. And despite The Shape (better known as Michael Myers) not being the most interesting of killers, he is certainly one of the most iconic in the genre.
2. Freddy Krueger
Freddy is arguably the most unique character to ever be created for horror/slasher cinema. A vengeful child molester who could only terrorise his victims in their dreams, the thing that really made this scarred-faced menace so frightening was the fact that there was never any escaping him. Everyone has to fall asleep eventually. Spawned from the twisted mind of the late, great Wes Craven, Freddy had us mere mortals fearing bedtime, just like Jaws had us afraid to go in the water.
1. Jason Vorhees
No other horror icon is more synonymous with the slasher genre than the psychotic hockey-masked killer Jason Vorhees. Appearing as the main antagonist in every instalment of the Friday the 13th series – except the original, of course – Jason’s cruel demeanour and relentless motivation to kill is still, to this day, a firm fan-favourite. You always know what you’re going to get with Jason, and that’s what makes the franchise so enjoyable and re-watchable.