Top 100 Slasher Horror Movies
With the release of Rob Zombie’s Halloween II this week, I thought it would be only appropriate to take a look at the top 100 slasher horror movies ever made. This entire list is devoted to the guys (and a few gals) who like to creep around in the woods–and other remote locations–and dispatch teens in new and clever ways. We’ll cover the classics of the genre, plus take a look at more modern slasher flicks such as Scream and Hatchet. In addition, we’ll also feature the best foreign slasher films available on DVD or Blu-ray disc. When you’re done, you should have enough slasher movie recommendations to last you a lifetime. And don’t forget, each entry contains a link to a site which has additional information on the listed slasher film, so be sure and check them out.
Classic Slasher Horror Movies
There are plenty of modern slasher movies to keep us entertained, but the classic slasher horror movies were the best. Most of these films came along in the ‘80s, and they proved to be box-office gold. Before long, studios both big and small were cranking out tales of nubile teens being cut to ribbons. Sure, the whole trend fizzled out in the ‘90s, but it was quite a ride while it lasted. If you’re new to the genre, be sure to check out these classic slasher horror movies, as they’re the best of the bunch.
1. Blood Feast (1963) – Known as the first splatter film, Blood Feast was directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. The plot of the film revolves around a crazed caterer who chops up people and uses them in religious rituals (as well as adding them to his food).
2. Friday the 13th – Pamela Voorhees has an axe to grind with camp counselors over the drowning of her son, Jason. The film that launched a franchise, and Betsy Palmer is great in the role of the deranged mother.
3. Halloween (1978) – After escaping from a mental institution, Michael Myers returns home to kill off his remaining family member (played by Jamie Lee Curtis). Another film which launched a franchise. Donald Pleasence simply rules as the gun-toting Dr. Loomis.
4. Halloween II (1981) – Picks up right where the previous film left off. This time around, Michael chases his victim through a hospital and even kills a young Dana Carvey.
5. Child’s Play – A dying serial killer transfers his soul into that of a child’s doll. He then resumes his murderous ways in this inventive slasher series which increasingly devolved into self-parody.
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street – Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) was a child murderer killed by angry locals. Not content to stay dead, Freddy returned to kill teens in their dreams. A number of sequels followed, but this is the only one to make the top 100 slasher horror movies. Look for Johnny Depp in a small role.
7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – A group of young people stumble across a maniacal family of Texas cannibals in this Tobe Hooper classic. With his mask made from people, and his crazy chainsaw dance, Leatherface is one dude you don’t want to mess with.
8. Stage Fright (1987) – Okay, I’ll admit that this should be in the foreign slasher horror movie section, but I was too lazy to move it once I realized my mistake. Give me a break, okay? As for this Italian film, it deals with an insane ex-actor who escapes from an institution and begins killing all those in attendance at a late-night theater rehearsal.
9. Black Christmas (1974) – A sorority house is targeted by a creepy killer during the holidays. Stars Elizabeth Hussey, Margo Kidder, John Saxon and more. The first real slasher film, although the later Halloween gets all the credit.
10. The Majorettes – A psycho killer is stalking a group of majorettes and killing them off one by one. Written by John A. Russo, one of the men behind Night of the Living Dead.
11. Maniac – Joe Spinell stars as a psychopath who scalps his victims and then places the trophies on mannequins in his apartment. Caroline Munro looks very fetching in the role of Frank Zito’s would-be girlfriend.
12. Candyman – Tony Todd plays the hook-handed Candyman, a being which can be summoned when you look into a mirror and say his name five times. Virginia Madsen plays a student researching urban legends. Wanna take bets on what happens next?
13. Happy Birthday to Me (1980) – Glenn Ford and Melissa Sue Anderson star in this brutal slasher movie about a girl suffering mental trauma and all the people who are dropping dead around her. If you’ve ever wanted to see Glenn Ford get killed with a fireplace poker, then this is the movie for you.
14. Hell Night (1981) – College students undergo a night of hazing in an old mansion, but they end up getting killed off by a lunatic. Stars Linda Blair.
15. Prom Night (1980) – Leslie Nielsen and Jamie Lee Curtis star in this 1980 film about teenagers getting murdered during the prom. I’ll bet it has something to do with that flashback at the beginning of the film (the one where the little girl is accidentally killed).
16. The Mutilator – A teen and his pals visit a remote beach house at the request of his father. Unfortunately, his father has went nuts and soon begins to carve up the kiddies.
17. Massacre at Central High – When a high school student is crippled at the hands of the school bullies, he decides to take his revenge in a rather bloody fashion. Robert Carradine and Andrew Stevens lend their acting talents to the film.
18. The Stepfather – Terry O’Quinn plays a madman who’s looking for the perfect family. If his currently family doesn’t measure up, he kills them and moves on to the next candidates. A must-see film for fans of the television series Lost.
19. The Hills Have Eyes (1977) – Wes Craven directed this classic slasher horror movie about a family stranded in the middle of nowhere and hunted by an inbred family of mutants. Michael Berryman is great in his role as Pluto.
20. Eyes of a Stranger (1981) – A serial killer is on the loose in Miami, and a reporter is certain that one of her neighbors is actually the lunatic. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays the reporter’s deaf and blind sister. Not to be confused with the badass Queensryche song.
21. Alice, Sweet Alice – Brooke Shields makes her film debut in this film about a young girl named Alice and the strange number of murders which occur when she’s around. Hold onto your seat when the warehouse scene comes on, as it’s pretty damned scary.
22. Unmasked: Part 25 – A full-time serial killer begins to grow bored with his career in this comedy/horror spoof of slasher films. Not a well-known film, but certainly one of the top 100 slasher horror movies.
23. When a Stranger Calls (1979) – Carol Kane plays a babysitter repeatedly phoned by a maniac. He keeps asking her, “Have you checked the children?” Guess where the calls are coming from?
24. The Burning – A grouchy summer camp caretaker is horribly burned after a prank goes wrong. He returns later to take his revenge, which is exactly what we would expect from a classic slasher horror film. Jason Alexander and Fisher Stevens star in early roles, and the raft murder scene is one of the all-time best in the slasher genre.
25. Scalps – After going on a archeological dig, a group of students are hunted down and killed by the spirit of a pissed-off Indian. No word on whether or not Iron Eyes Cody witnessed the carnage and shed a single tear.
26. Just Before Dawn – A pair of crazed mountain men terrorize anyone who comes into their woods. A group of teens naturally get terrorized, and George Kennedy plays a forest ranger whose warning they ignore. The moral of the story? Don’t ignore warnings from George Kennedy.
27. The Last House on the Left (1972) – A pair of girls are tormented and murdered by a gang of thugs. But the killers then make the mistake of turning up at one of the girl’s homes. Her parents are less than pleased, and they prove that payback really is a bitch.
28. April Fool’s Day – A group of friends gather to celebrate Spring Break at an isolated island mansion. Predictably, they soon start dying off in rather unique ways. There’s a major twist at the end, and you’ll either love it or hate it.
29. Alone in the Dark (1982) – Jack Palance, Donald Pleasance and Martin Landau play escaped lunatics. That cast should be enough to sell any film, regardless of the plot.
30. Tourist Trap – Chuck Connors plays Mr. Slausen, a kindly man who takes in a group of teenagers with car trouble. But his friendly façade soon drops, and the young people realize that something is seriously wrong with this guy and his collection of mannequins. Tanya Roberts looks really great.
31. Motel Hell – A crazed farmer murders people and make them part of his award-winning meat. Often plays out like a dark comedy. Stick around till the end, as that’s when the iconic chainsaw duel takes place (complete with someone wearing a severed pig’s head).
32. Hospital Massacre – Barbi Benton plays a beautiful woman stalked by a deranged admirer. When she goes to the hospital for some tests, her stalker begins killing everyone in sight.
33. The Funhouse – Tobe Hooper directed this slasher film about teens who stumble across the deformed son of a carnival owner. Things go downhill from there for the youngsters.
34. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives – After taking one movie off, Jason returns to renew his feud with Tommy Jarvis. Some cool deaths in this one, including Horseshack getting his heart punched right out of his chest. Alice Cooper contributes a song to the soundtrack.
35. I Spit on Your Grave – A woman is brutally raped by a gang of men. Surviving the ordeal, she decides to make them pay.
36. Maniac Cop – Bruce Campbell stars in this film about an undead cop on a vigilante killing spree. Several sequels came out of this one.
37. Sleepaway Camp – As we’ve come to expect from slasher movies, this film centers around teens being killed off at a summer camp. The final shot of the film is one you’ll never forget.
38. My Bloody Valentine (1981) – Armed with a pickaxe, a killer returns to wreak havoc during the annual Valentine’s Day dance. An underrated slasher film.
39. The Prowler (1981) – A deranged G.I. returns from World War II and kills his girlfriend and her new lover. 35 years later, the killings begin again. Some great special effects work by Tom Savini.
40. The House on Sorority Row (1983) – When a sorority house mother is accidentally killed, the girls responsible start dying one after another. The remake is due to hit theaters in a couple of weeks.
41. Terror Train – A bunch of college kids pack onto a train to celebrate graduation. Unfortunately, a masked killer is also among them, and he’s looking to get revenge for something which happened in the past. Jamie Lee Curtis stars.
42. Silent Night, Deadly Night – After watching his mother and father get murdered by a man in a Santa suit, a boy goes completely insane. Escaping from an institution, he dons a Santa outfit and begins killing anyone he deems “naughty.”
43. Slaughterhouse (1987) – A couple of lunatics live in an abandoned slaughterhouse. When it’s about to be seized by the bank, the father and son duo decide to go on an epic killing spree. Also known by the title Bacon Bits.
44. Graduation Day – As high school graduation approaches, members of the school’s track team are being killed off. Vanna White makes an appearance prior to a career spent flipping letters.
45. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 – Dennis Hopper stars as a Texas Ranger on a personal mission to track down the murderous cannibals from the first film. Bill Moseley is great as Chop-Top, and don’t miss the epic chainsaw duel between Hopper and Leatherface.
46. The Driller Killer – Abel Ferrara directs this movie about a frustrated young man who turns to power tools as a way to cope with the stress of living in New York City.
47. Mother’s Day (1980) – A trio of females fall victim to a pair of backwoods killers and their sinister mother. As you might expect, this is another one that’s getting a modern-day makeover.
48. Slumber Party Massacre (1982) – A group of teenage girls gather for a slumber party, oblivious to the fact that there’s a madman on the loose. Lots of scantily-clad young women, so it’s no surprise that a number of sequels got made.
49. Madman (1982) – A local legend goes on a killing spree after having his name called out by an arrogant camper. Why don’t kids ever learn their lesson?
50. Mountain Top Motel Massacre – The former keeper of a motel in the mountains escapes from an asylum and resumes business hours. Of course, bad things quickly start happening to the guests.
51. Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter – Jason vs. Corey Feldman. Who wouldn’t stand in line to see that dream match?
52. Friday the 13th – Part 3 – Presented in glorious 3D, this film features Jason getting his iconic hockey mask. It also includes the best death in the history of slasher movies (in my opinion).
53. Friday the 13th – Part 2 – Jason Voorhees dons a sack over his head and begins his legendary killing spree. Definitely one of the top 100 slasher horror movies.
54. The Hitcher – C. Thomas Howell plays a young man driving across America, and he makes the mistake of picking up a hitchhiker (Rutger Hauer) in the middle of a downpour. The rest of the movie is a cat-and-mouse game between the two men. By the way, avoid this film’s remake at all costs.
Foreign Slasher Horror Movies
When it comes to slasher movies, there’s nothing that says America has a corner on the market. In fact, foreign slasher horror movies have really increased in popularity over the last few years, mainly due to the efforts of the Japanese and French. If you decide to give foreign slasher films a try, I’d recommend you start with those listed below.
55. Deep Red – After witnessing the murder of a psychic, a music teacher tries to track down the killer. Considered by many to be director Dario Argento’s finest work.
56. Tenebre – Another film from Dario Argento. This time around, an American novelist tries to find a killer while on a book tour in Italy.
57. Wolf Creek - A group of Aussie youngsters stray across a backwoodsman who isn’t nearly as nice as he initially seems. Loosely based on a true story.
58. Watch Me When I Kill – An Italian horror flick from 1977, Watch Me When I Kill concerns a man and a woman desperately trying to solve a mystery before a killer strikes again.
59. Blood and Black Lace – An influential giallo film which served as inspiration for everyone from Quentin Tarantino to Martin Scorsese. A masked killer stalks fashion models in an attempt to retrieve a scandalous diary.
60. Case of the Scorpion’s Tail – A wealthy widow in murdered, as well as anyone connected with her. It’s up to an insurance investigator and his journalist lover to get to the bottom of the mystery.
61. Peeping Tom – This British horror film doesn’t exactly fall into the slasher category, but it certainly had a major influence on the genre. In it, a lonely man kills women and records their dying moments. In some cases, he also has a contraption which allows the women to see themselves as they expire. Made in 1960, it was an incredibly controversial film at the time, and director Michael Powell’s career greatly suffered after its release.
62. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage – The directorial debut by Dario Argento. After witnessing an attack by a mysterious gloved figure, an American writer in Rome must try to catch the killer before he becomes the next victim.
63. Haute Tension – While taking a break from their college studies, a pair of young women are stalked by a madman in this modern French slasher movie. One of the best foreign slasher horror movies.
64. Hatchet for the Honeymoon – If you ran a bridal shop, wouldn’t you murder all of your customers? That’s what the main character in this Mario Bava film does.
65. The New York Ripper – Lucio Fulci directs this film about a killer loose in New York City. Filled to the brim with gore and sex, it’s a great example of the foreign slasher horror movie.
66. Pieces – After suffering a childhood trauma, a killer grows up and begins to work on making a jigsaw puzzle out of various parts of different victims. Some great chainsaw action. .
67. Them (2006) – A French couple live out in the middle of nowhere. Big mistake, as they soon find themselves stalked by an increasingly menacing stranger.
68. Torso (1973) – After a number of college students turn up dead, four girls head to the safety of a country estate. Of course, the killer follows them there. This Italian film is considered a forerunner to the modern slasher movie.
69. Twitch of the Death Nerve – Directed by Mario Bava, this influential Italian film follows several different characters as they kill off anyone who stands between them and a sizable inheritance. Incredibly violent and certainly worth a spot on our list of the top 100 slasher horror movies.
70. The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh – A sexually liberated woman does her thing while a mysterious killer is hot on her trail. If you’re looking for great nudity to go with your slasher movies, then look no further.
71. Severance – A company retreat turns bloody after the group stays in the wrong cabin. Lots of humor to go along with the bloodletting.
72. Evil Dead Trap - This bizarre Japanese horror film features bloodthirsty fetus-men, snuff films, and murderous simpletons. Especially noted for its elaborate death scenes (the crossbow scene is my favorite).
73. Inside – A woman on the verge of giving birth is stalked by a mysterious woman who wants her baby. She wants it so bad, in fact, that she’s willing to carve it out with a pair of scissors.
74. Opera – Another classic from Dario Argento. This time around, a young opera singer is stalked by a killer who makes her watch his murders. The scene where she has needles taped to her eyelids is especially cringe-inducing.
75. Cold Prey – A mysterious figure and the creepy hotel provide the chills in this Norwegian slasher film from 2006. It took two years to shoot the film, but being included on our list of top 100 slasher horror movies no doubt made it all worthwhile.
Modern Slasher Horror Movies
Slasher movies faded away in the middle of the ‘90s, but they came roaring back to life with the release of Scream. Since that time, modern slasher horror movies have been enjoying a great deal of popularity, and many classic films of the genre are being remade for a younger audience. When ranking the top 100 slasher horror movies, these are the best that modern cinema has to offer.
76. Scream – Wes Craven brought back the popularity of the genre with this modern slasher horror movie. In it, a killer with a love for scary movies kills off the local teen population. The fourth film in the series is currently being planned.
77. Saw – A doctor awakes in a small room with another man and a corpse. In order to survive, he must play a game devised by the villainous killer named Jigsaw. Meanwhile, a cop tries to track down the killer before he can strike again.
78. The Devil’s Rejects – Rob Zombie directed this sequel to House of 1000 Corpses. This time, the murderous Firefly family is on the run from a vengeance-minded sheriff. Plenty of appearances by genre veterans.
79. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon – A would-be serial killer explains his motivations to a documentary film crew. Brilliantly fresh take on the slasher movie genre.
80. Final Destination – After escaping the clutches of Death, a group of high school students find themselves stalked by the Grim Reaper. Some very elaborate death scenes.
81. Hostel – Eli Roth directs the film which kicked off the whole “torture porn” thing. A group of American youths fall prey to a club where the wealthy pay to torture and kill people.
82. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – In an inventive twist, the spirit of Freddy Krueger begins to terrorize the real world. The star of the first Nightmare film stars as herself, as does director Wes Craven.
83. Wrong Turn – Eliza Dushku heads up a cast of characters stalked by backwoods mutants. She looks great in the obligatory white tank top.
84. Wrong Turn 2 – Reality show contestants fall victim to more hillbilly mutants. Some really great kills in this one, including someone literally getting split in half. Even better than the original.
85. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane – Mandy Lane is the girl that all the guys want to get with, but a protective lunatic wants to keep her all to himself. This one never got a chance at the box office, but it’s certainly well worth a look for fans of modern slasher horror movies.
86. Satan’s Little Helper – A young boy obsessed with video games becomes the helper to a killer. An overlooked gem of the slasher genre.
87. Scream 2 – Sidney (Neve Campbell) and friends are off to college, but that doesn’t stop a new killer from taking up the mantle of Ghostface. Not as good as the first, but certainly better than the third.
88. Hatchet – Victor Crowley is an enraged killer living in the swamps of Louisiana. When a group of tourists stumble across his home, he gets really pissed off. Features some of the most brutal murder scenes you’ll ever see, mostly due to the passion which Crowley puts into his work.
89. Urban Legend (1998) – Young people start getting killed off in the style of various urban legends. Featuring Jared Leto, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid and many other young stars.
90. Freddy vs. Jason – Two legends square off in this dream match-up. Will Freddy or Jason be left standing when it’s all over? Place your bets, slasher fans.
91. Hellbent (2004) – Known as the first gay slasher film, Hellbent does a nice job of subverting the usual tropes found in the slasher genre. There’s also a lot of attention given to an artificial eye, so that’s always a plus.
92. I Know What You Did Last Summer – A group of teens accidentally kill a young man. The next year, they’re stalked by a killer in a yellow rain coat and wielding a hook. Plenty of young stars are featured in this one.
93. Toolbox Murders (2003) – Tobe Hooper directed this remake set in L.A. and concerning a married couple who move into an apartment building with a sinister, unseen tenant.
94. Creep (2004) – Franka Potente stars as a woman who gets locked in overnight in the London Underground and is stalked by a hideous killer. I realize it’s a foreign film, but it’s also modern (hence its inclusion), so get off my back.
95. Cabin Fever (2002) – Eli Roth’s first film is about a group of friends who stay at a cabin in the woods. Unfortunately for them, a deadly flesh-eating virus gets loose. Don’t miss the weird kid with the martial arts moves.
96. Reeker (2005) – A group of teens go looking for a party in the desert only to become stranded at an out-of-the-way motel. They’re soon stalked by a supernatural killer who stinks to high heaven (I’m not making that last part up).
97. House of 1000 Corpses – A group of curious teens encounter a family of killers in Rob Zombie’s first film. Sid Haig steals the show as a sinister clown who makes a mean bucket of chicken.
98. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning – See how it all started. R. Lee Ermey is back, and we also get to see how Leatherface was set on his murderous path.
99. The Midnight Meat Train – A photographer looking to capture the essence of New York City ends up crossing paths with a killer (Vinnie Jones) who haunts the city’s subway system.
100. American Psycho – Christian Bale is awesome as the handsome-yet-psychotic Patrick Bateman. Based on the controversial novel by Bret Easton Ellis.
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