So, you love slice and dice movies, but you’ve already cruised down Elm Street and visited Camp Crystal Lake. Where do you go from here? If you’re reading this article, chances are you know about the wealth of slasher films that exist and are already very familiar with titles like Sleepaway Camp, My Bloody Valentine, and, Silent Night, Deadly Night, but the fact is that there are so many hack-em-ups out there that you’ll never really see them all (I know, it’s depressing).
Here are ten of the best obscure slasher films to slice off your watch list, some you’ve likely seen, a few you probably haven’t.
BLOOD CULT (1985)
This slasher flick, which concerns murders taking place on a college campus, isn’t heavy on the gore, but it more than makes up for it with quirky performances and fun themes about the occult. This film holds the distinction of being the first direct-to-video film, being produced solely for the purpose of hitting video rental shelves. The VHS box-art claims that the film is “so gruesomely realistic, it was banned from two mid-western campuses,” but nothing can be found to support this claim.
THE MUTILATOR (1985)
Also known as Fall Break, this title is well-known to die-hard fans of 80’s slashers, but perhaps less known to casual horror enthusiasts. The movie follows a group of college friends who fend for their lives on a vacation to a private island. They are pursued by one of the college kid’s father, Big Ed, who has never forgiven his son for accidentally shooting his wife (the kid’s mother) when he was a child. This film is a must-see for slasher buffs and also boasts one of the single greatest posters in horror history.
When John Radley was a child, he was pressured by the neighborhood kids into performing a dangerous stunt of walking around the edge of a well. He falls in the well, which leaves him disfigured and a permanent resident of the local mental hospital. Now an adult, John escapes, dead-set on revenge on those who ruined his life. He seeks out his offenders one-by-one collecting body parts to give as “offerings” to the only person who was ever nice to him, his first crush, Gretchen. Offerings is a by-the-book slasher film, but fans of the genre will find a lot to enjoy here.
Here’s another title that is pretty common to devout slash-ites, but perhaps not as familiar to many fans of the genre as a whole. Slaughterhouse is a staple of the VHS era, with its striking cover and fantastic tagline (“BUDDY HAS AN AXE TO GRIND. A BIG AXE.”). Steeped with comedy, this film acts as a great companion piece to the beloved horror classic, Motel Hell. Both films are very humorous and take place in farm-like settings, with food being central to the shocks.
TRUTH OR DARE?: A CRITICAL MADNESS (1986)
Underground horror legend, Tim Ritter’s most celebrated film is a delirious slice of slasher bliss. When Mike Strauber (John Brace) walks in on his wife cheating with his best friend, it kicks off a series of events ending in a rampage that has to be seen to be believed. Tons of gore, so much (probably unintentional, but fantastic) humor, and a truckload of heart.
Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness is an overlooked slashterpiece that has spawned four sequels and has been praised by the likes of actor Elijah Wood, who told Entertainment Weekly it is one of his “favorite films.”
WELCOME TO SPRING BREAK (1988)
Late Italian genre maestro, Umberto Lenzi (Cannibal Ferox, Nightmare City), and James Justice directed this interesting slasher film that is also known as Nightmare Beach. The film is about a murderous motorcyclist who goes around killing spring breakers with a sport bike that’s fitted with equipment to electrocute people. Yes, you read that right.
Also a fairly decent whodunnit, this film is highly entertaining and completely original. Some may even find the end reveal…shocking (ducks to dodge flying tomatoes).
ROCKTOBER BLOOD (1984)
Rocktober Blood sits beside films like Black Roses, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, and Trick or Treat as one of the classics in the heavy metal horror sub-genre. The film follows metal singer, Billy “Eye” Harper (Tray Loren), who kills his band-mates and is executed. Two years after Billy’s execution a figure, who looks exactly like Billy, begins another string of murders. Lynn, Billy’s ex-band-mate fights for her life as those close to her die and she struggles to uncover the mystery of Billy’s return. This movie hits all the right notes for slasher fans and stands a largely unknown gem in the sub-genre.
Scott Spiegel, who co-wrote Evil Dead II, wrote and directed this slasher film, which takes place after-hours in a grocery store. With some fun characters, an original setting, and some really great practical FX, this film is sure to delight fans of classic slasher fare. The film features both Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi is small roles, as well as Danny Hicks (Evil Dead II) in perhaps the best role of his career.
Many versions of this film were cut for content in the past, omitting some of the best parts, so be sure to seek out an uncut version. The Synapse Blu-ray release is a wonderful option for those looking for max splatter. This film contains one of the most graphic and memorable kills in slasher history, the infamous “band saw scene.” Make sure you have a barf bag handy.
KILLING SPREE (1987)
Another film from indie horror icon Tim Ritter, Killing Spree is an absurd descent into madness that fans of low-budget horror are sure to instantly fall in love with. The film follows a jealous husband (seemingly a theme in Ritter’s work) who sets out to kill any man his wife interacts with, all stemming from the discovery of a notebook she’s filling with stories of her daily affairs.
Fans of cheesy horror and funny gore gags will love this film, which is as hilarious as it is gruesome. It’s amazing that Killing Spree isn’t more popular than it is, because it is unlike any slasher film you’re likely to ever watch. Lead actor, Asbestos Felt (who also appears in the aforementioned Truth or Dare?) turns in a neurotic and ridiculous performance that is absolutely unforgettable.
Perhaps it’s because it came out at the tail end of the slasher boom, or maybe it’s because it was originally released in such a limited quantity, but HauntedWeen remains a grossly under-appreciated and unknown slasher movie. Twenty years after a grisly murder took place in the Burber family haunted house attraction at the hands of young Eddie Burber, a wild fraternity is using the old haunt as fundraiser destination. Now Eddie, who’s been missing all this time, is back and knocking off frat boys one-by-one much to the amusement of the haunted house visitors.
HauntedWeen has an awesome set-up, a neat setting, fun kills, and is just dripping with that classic slasher vibe. Go find this film. You’ll be glad you did!
Love Slashers? Also Check Out…