The 10 Best Slasher Movies in Horror History

Ready for the 10 best slasher movies ever made?

You know the deal. It’s night and you’re alone in the house. The phone doesn’t work, and suddenly the power goes out, plunging the room into darkness.

Then you hear the tap, tap, tapping of a butcher’s knife against the window. And you know you’re the star of a slasher movie.


When a Stranger Calls (1979)

When a Stranger Calls 1979

When a Stranger Calls was every babysitter’s worst nightmare in 1979. Built around the urban legend of a psychotic killer making prank calls from inside the house, When a Stranger Calls made Carol Kane a star. For those of you who grew up with mobile technology, the concept of a rotary phone might be mind blowing. Alas, any age group should find this slasher absolutely terrifying.

The opening scene might be the best directed in horror history.

Stage Fright (1987)

Stage Fright 1987

Directed by Michele Soavi, this Italian-American horror gem combines elements from the giallo and slasher genres to great effect. Picture a chainsaw-wielding psycho wearing a giant costume owl head. Well, you don’t have to picture it. Just look at the picture above.

Soavi’s artful direction sets Stage Fright apart from the competition, making this film one of the best slasher movies from the 1980s. Stage Fright spurts plenty of gore and contains a jump scene you will never forget.

Candyman (1992)

Candyman 1992

Based on Clive Barker’s story, The Forbidden, Candyman perfects urban legend horror in one of the most terrifying films of the last 50 years.

Part slasher, part ghost story, this film dares you to look into the mirror and say, “Candyman,” five times. Gory, artistic, and brilliantly directed. Candyman is horror’s finest moment.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Tobe Hooper’s dark masterpiece isn’t just one of the best slasher movies of the 1970s, it’s one of the most disturbing films ever made.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A group of students traveling in the middle of nowhere stop at creepy, abandoned farmhouse and decide to take a look around.

One of them winds up on a meat hook.

Halloween (1978)

Halloween 1978

The classic movie responsible for starting the slasher craze.

A madman escapes from a sanitarium and returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, where he butchered his sister on Halloween night as a child. Now another Halloween arrives, and a group of babysitters is about to learn the boogeyman is real.

Black Christmas (1974)

Billy - The Eye - Black Christmas

Black Christmas, directed by the late Bob Clark (Porky’s, A Christmas Story), might be the most frightening slasher to curse the screen.

Disturbing phone calls terrorize a group of sorority girls after a young girl is murdered in a nearby park. Now the sorority sisters begin to disappear as Christmas approaches.

If Billy’s eye peering out of the closet doesn’t chill you to the bone, you need your pulse checked.

Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th

If Halloween defined the slasher movie, Friday the 13th turned the genre into a full-fledged mania.

More blood, more kills, more amazing jump scares, and an arrow through Kevin Bacon’s throat. A group of camp counselors are picked off one-by-one by a psychopath loose in the forest. Don’t think too hard about the plot. Just strap yourself in for the ultimate roller coaster ride.

The perfect popcorn-munching horror movie.

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday the 13th Part 2

You know what the problem is with great horror movies? The sequels always suck.

Not so fast, my friend.

Friday the 13th Part 2 picks up where the original left off, and man, does it kick the horror up a notch. Amy Steele steals the show and makes a strong case for being the best “final girl” to star in a slasher movie. Like its predecessor, Part 2 is chock full of creative, bloody kills.

And the world meets Jason.

Scream (1996)

Scream 1996

“What’s your favorite scary movie?”

Written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven, Scream reinvented the genre and deserves mention among the best slasher movies of all-time.

The ghost-face killer (and no, I’m not referring to Wu Tang Clan in this case) is as intelligent as he is frightening. Scream’s success spawned multiple sequels, though none quite approached the brilliance of the original.

Just Before Dawn (1981)

Just Before Dawn Waterfall scene

A group of youngsters travel to the deep forest, where they encounter a murderous presence. Sure, you’ve heard this one before. Rest assured Just Before Dawn is cut above the rest, a true hidden gem in the annals of horror history.

One-half Friday the 13th, one-half Deliverance, Just Before Dawn excels at creating an unforgettably creepy atmosphere.

If you missed this lost classic, you aren’t alone. One of the very best slasher movies of the 1980s.

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