Wednesday, June 7, 2017

10 Slashers to Watch on Shudder

by Patrick Bromley
Happy Slasher Day!

Regular visitors to this site know that I'm a big fan of slasher movies (just listen to our latest episode of the podcast!) and of Shudder, the all-horror streaming service to which I've been a subscriber since it was in beta testing. As such, I thought it might be fun to put together this list of some slasher titles I think are worth watching on Shudder.

These aren't necessarily the "best" slashers available on the service. Some are genuinely great, but there are others I like more that I've left off the list in favor of including a few that are either slightly less known or just a lot of fun. Hopefully this list offers some variety, a couple of scares and a whole lot of characters making bad decisions. Enjoy!

Black Christmas (1973, dir. Bob Clark)
Of course I'm going to start with one of the best slasher movies ever made and a film that continues to climb up my list of favorite horror movies. I know that Black Christmas isn't technically the first slasher movie, but it is one of the most influential for the way it helped create the formula. Great characters, great atmosphere, great scares. Great, great movie.

Tourist Trap (1978, dir. David Schmoeller)
One of the earliest Charles Band productions is a really offbeat, really creepy little slasher movie from the late '70s that will give nightmares to anyone with a phobia about mannequins. It's the only movie on this list that's PG, but it's probably still too scary to show to kids. Dig that Pino Donaggio score.

Blood Rage (1987, dir. Bruce Rubin)
Shot in 1983 but not released in 1987, this Thanksgiving slasher is nuts in so many ways. The twin brother "hook" is crazy, the actors are all in different movies and the gore is insanely over the top despite a tone that's often sort of silly. It's so much fun and has experienced a new life in the last year or two thanks to the Blu-ray from Arrow and the fact that Shudder is offering it to stream. It's not cranberry sauce!

Fender Bender (2015, dir. Mark Pavia)
This recent slasher is the first original, in-house production from Scream Factory and the first feature from director Mark Pavia in almost 20 years (his last film, The Night Flier, was released in 1997). The concept and execution of the slasher are cool and Pavia directs the shit out of the movie, really trying to maximize the tension and scares with a small cast and what basically amounts to a single location. The film has its limitations, but there's a ton to like in it.

Stagefright (1986, dir. Michele Soavi)
The debut feature Michele Soavi, a former actor and assistant to Dario Argento, features a killer in a giant owl mask carving up a bunch of actors rehearsing a show ("Whoooo is murdering us?"). The most gialloesque title on this list, the movie features a crazy amount of style and some really beautiful set pieces. It's eccentric in the way that Italian horror often is, but that's what makes it special. Also, did you see that mask?

Cold Prey (2005, dir. Roar Uthaug)
This Norwegian import is one of the best slashers ever set in the snow (though alongside titles like Shredder and Iced, that's not a high bar to clear). There are good characters and the movie is incredibly well put together; while pretty formulaic, the wintery location offers enough novelty to set the film apart from other modern slashers. Check it out if you've never seen it.

Last Girl Standing (2015, dir. Benjamin R. Moody)
A really interesting indie slasher from last year works as a deconstruction of the genre and an examination of PTSD. Star Akasha Villalobos gives an incredible performance as a final girl who, as the movie opens, has already survived the slasher attack that claimed the lives of her friends. Naturally, she's a little fucked up as a result and the movie follows her attempts to heal after that kind of trauma. It takes some other directions that I won't get into, but it's all very well done. I like the way the movie examines certain tropes of the slasher genre without ever patting itself on the back.

Happy Birthday to Me (1981, dir. J. Lee Thompson)
I observed on the podcast this week that many of my favorite slashers seem to come from that golden period of the first few years of the 1980s. Well, here's another entry right out of that period, directed by future Cannon staple J. Lee Thompson and starring Little House on the Prairie's Melissa Sue Anderson as a girl who finally gets accepted by the cool kids only to see them killed off shortly after. Best known for a murder involving a shish kabob skewer, the movie is not great but scratches a very specific itch for me.

Madman (1981, dir. Joe Giannone)
Like The Prowler and My Bloody Valentine, Madman is the kind of slasher that seems like it would have inspired a franchise thanks to a killer that feels iconic right from go. Instead, it's just a one-off that's all rough edges (that hot tub scene will confound me until the day I die, which I imagine will be any day now) but charming in the way that only certain second-tier early '80s slashers can be.

Hide and Go Shriek (1987, dir. John Hough)
A completely goofy and often stupid slasher that could only exist in the '80s. A group of teenagers spend the night in a department store so they can drink and have sex, but quickly discover they're not alone. The acting is often amateurish and the direction sometimes sloppy, but the whole thing is very entertaining and deserves credit for including a handful of surprises. It may sound completely predictable, but it's not.


  1. That's how I used to eat shish kebabs before I was informed that one is supposed to remove the meat and vegetables from the skewer before consuming them. I still do it the old way sometimes, just to show my palatine uvula who's boss. That thing acts like it owns my mouth.

    I don't know where it's available (I watched it on British telly a couple of years ago), but there's a recent horror movie called just F, set in an English comprehensive school. It has one of the most horrible scenes I've ever watched in a film, that's all I'll say. Certain things from movies can really stick with you, and not always in a good way. I genuinely wish I had never seen this thing. Other F-Heads might be made of stronger stuff than I.

  2. You have good taste, not seen Cold prey though, onnit

  3. You have good taste, not seen Cold prey though, onnit

  4. You have good taste, not seen Cold prey though, onnit

  5. If you can't get a Shudder subscription for 'X' or 'Y' reason, "Madman" and "Blood Rage" are also available for streaming on Amazon Prime.