Ready for Halloween? Everyday is Friday the 13th with these slasher films.
From Michael Myers to Freddy Kreuger, who would most likely become besties if these iconic slashers met IRL? Whatever the answer is, I’m sure of one thing: nothing will beat these masked madmen of cinema. We’re talking The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. However, some modern slasher films like Happy Death Day and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark keep the subgenre alive and kicking today — which is more than most stereotypical villain can say to their victims.
If you’re seeking to add some spine-tingling thrills to your Halloween night, we’ve got you covered with a carefully curated selection of binge-worthy classics and new releases. From psychological thrillers to a blood bath, everyday is Friday the 13th with these slasher films. Spoiler alert: you won’t find sequels on the list, (hot take: no lucrative franchise was that good—ever).
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho remains a timeless masterpiece of thriller and psychological horror. To this day, the iconic shower scene and the mention of Bates’s motel sends shivers down my spine. It’s actually the first film that started my obsession with horror movies.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is an unrelenting classic in the slasher genre. Tobe Hooper’s gritty direction and the film’s raw, unsettling portrayal of family horrors make it a haunting experience that leaves a lasting impression. Not to mention, it introduced the infamous Leatherface.
John Carpenter’s Halloween gave the world Michael Myers, the embodiment of pure evil. This slasher set the standard for the genre, emphasizing suspense over excessive gore. And, while we’re on the subject of the fan-favorite villain, we know that the franchise wouldn’t be the same without Jamie Lee Curtis’ portrayal of Laurie Strode.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Now, there’s just something about summer slashers that will forever hold my heart in the shape of a hockey mask. I’m all about the suspenseful reopening of the Crystal Lake Camp, slow deaths, and the revelation of the masked madman that set the stage for the long-running horror franchise Friday the 13th. Not to mention, the debate over whether Jason Voorhees deserves to be called a villain makes this classic a must-watch.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced Freddy Krueger, a dream-dwelling slasher who haunted the dreams of teenagers in a small suburban town. With its inventive premise, the film blurred the lines between dreams and reality, creating a literal nightmare. This iconic killer, with his scarred face, fedora, and razor-fingered glove, delved into the deeper fears of the human psyche, making it a standout in my long list of slasher films.
Drew Barrymore and Courtney Cox rolled into one slasher film? Bet! Another one of Wes Craven’s creations, Scream reinvigorated the slasher genre by cleverly deconstructing its own conventions. With a self-aware script, a star-studded cast, and the iconic Ghostface, no one should hang up first in this classic.
Child’s Play (1988)
Chucky, one of the most memorable slasher killers in movies, made his debut in this horror classic. With a balance of humor and horror, Child’s Play introduced a unique, if somewhat unhinged, concept to the gruesome genre. The film beautifully blended the chilling presence of a possessed doll with moments of dark humor, setting the stage for a franchise that would leave audiences with both laughter and shivers. I remember watching this for the first time and thinking it wasn’t that scary—until I had my dolls removed from the room. LOL.
My mom is a sucker for the Saw franchise, and I remember her being first in line at the cinema for its return with Jigsaw. While classic slasher films hold a special place, Jigsaw is still just as gruesome as the original. It was one of my first mind-bending movies, not due to the puzzles and riddles, but because it forced me to reflect on what’s morally right or wrong when lives are at stake. And we’ll break our own rules a little by mentioning Saw X as a worthy watch in cinemas.
Happy Death Day (2017)
One of my irrational fears? The time-loop concept. I would rather run away from Michael Myers than living out my death day in a never-ending cycle. But if you’re into that type of story, Happy Death Day centers around a self-absorbed college student who becomes trapped in a time loop, repeatedly reliving her own mystery murder until she uncovers the identity of the Bayfield Babyface Killer.
Ready or Not (2019)
If you’re getting married soon, this slasher film adds a scare to the thought of having monster-in-laws. Ready or Not serves a darkly comedic take on the deadly game of hide-and-seek on a silver platter. While the ending could’ve been better, it does radiate WTF energy and there’s no denying that we were all rooting for the strong and savage Samara Weaving.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
Based on beloved children’s not-so-scary stories, this film brings classic Halloween themes to life with impressive visuals and a spooky vibe. Think scarecrows, haunted houses, and your worst nightmares coming to haunt you. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark isn’t for those seeking a lighthearted Halloween adventure; it’s created for those who crave spine-tingling chills and hair-raising thrills.
Imagine Freaky Friday meeting The Hot Chic in the slasher genre. As you might have guessed, the plot twist in this horror-comedy is that the villain swaps bodies with their teenage victim. Don’t worry, no spoilers ahead. To say the least, Vince Vaughn’s performance as the killer in the young girl’s body strikes the perfect balance between thrills and laughs.
Totally Killer (2023)
Claire from Modern Family and Sabrina the Teenage Witch in a star-studded film? Consider my Halloween night sold. The newest film on this list, Totally Killer serves a fresh take on the slasher genre, mixing it with themes of time travel and mother-daughter drama. Now, the bloody cherry on top is the introduction of another villain, the Sweet Sixteen Killer, with the modus operandi of stabbing its victims sixteen times. That’s sixteen times the horror.