Skip to main content

The Evolution of the Slasher Movie Genre

A horror movie geek and fan of the genre. I have been writing for many years now mostly freelance.


Why the love for the slasher genre? Learn about the evolution of the genre below

Slasher movies have been a staple in horror movies and can be traced back to a few different originators. Bay of Blood (1971), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Black Christmas (1974). But some people credit the classic by Alfred Hitchcock: Psycho (1960) as the true first slasher movie, even if it only had two murders throughout.

The eighties was when the slasher movies really peaked and is known as the Golden Age by many genre lovers. The movies which furthered the genre include Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), and Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). These three movies are what we like to call the three of the genre and continue to grow in popularity to this day. Halloween introduced us to Micheal Myers a towering mysterious figure, which did not speak throughout the whole film. “The Shape” was someone who simply could not be killed and only stopped for a short time to come back in a sequel a year later. Friday the 13th was different when we were introduced to the plot of the story. An enraged mother who was avenging the death of her son, due to the neglect of camp councilors. Originally Pamala Voorhees was going to be the main killer, but as we know at the end of the movie she was killed. In the end, we were introduced to the new front of the series, Jason who grabbed Alice dragging her into the lake. Jason then became the focus, not sporting his iconic mask till Part 3. Nightmare on Elm Street followed the killer known as Freddy Krueger who was a child murderer who was burned to death by the angry parents as revenge. But he came back being able to attack people through their dreams. These three movies are known for shaping the genre as we see it today.

All three of these movies spawned many sequels and remakes throughout many years of cinema. There were a plethora of more movies coming out in the ’80s including Prom Night, Child’s Play, and The Burning among many others. But slashers became to shift and audiences became bored of it when the likes of the Leprechaun franchise were released. The revival of the genre occurred when Wes Cravens Scream in 1996 released which got the genre back on track. Scream introduced a fun narrative, with interesting characters and a twist that left the audience engaged/ wanting more. Also introduced is meta-commentary about the horror movie genre, which felt relatable and real to many moviegoers at the time. Other fellow loved movies Valentine and Urban Legend also came out within the next few years.

Scroll to Continue

But what about now? What has happened to the genre?

Now in the crazy year known as 2020, we have had fewer and fewer slasher movies than seen in the past. Sadly we have seen more remakes than ever, including Child’s Play and Halloween which were decent. Some standouts thought include Hush (2016), Terrifier (2016), Happy Death Day (2017), Hellfest (2018), Us (2019) Creep 2 (2017), and Freaky (2020). The genre continues to grow even with the madness that we currently live in.

But something we did not have before, is the introduction of many TV Shows, which have been consumed by lovers of the genre. This includes the Scream TV series, which was great (not including the last season), Slasher, and American Horry Story 1984. This craze of tv shows/streaming services is a blessing in disguise for the slasher genre and will further the love for the genre.

As an avid lover and geek of this genre, I think we have had some great slashers throughout the last few years. This genre is still very alive and the fans will continue to be there. Directors and producers continue to be influenced by the genre, so there will always be movies that continue to come out. With the virus, movies are not coming out as much as before, but this will only be a temporary setback in the long run.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Jared Martin

Related Articles