You know Halloween. You know Friday the 13th. Those are great movies, and yeah, they had some good entries during the 1980s. But there are so many more that people have forgotten about! Let’s take a look at some of the great Slashers from this forgotten time, where the masked maniacs, hatchet-wielders, and dudes who kill just because it’s a holiday reigned supreme. Seriously, those killers love holidays. The films on this list generally have some glaring plotholes and unconvincing storylines, but who the Hell cares!? I’m watching these for the cheese and the practical effects. It makes up for the writing…trust me. Come with me as we go through some awesome Slasher movies from the Golden Age that was the 1980’s.
8. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
This movie about a crazed killer dressed as the lovable Santa Clause caused quite a stir upon its initial release. Suburban moms and their minivans everywhere were outraged and picketed the movie, causing box office sales to go drastically down and eventually get it pulled from theaters. Television trailers were pulled. The actor who played Billy, the lead killer, was so embarrassed that he urged his friends and family not to see the film. The whole world seemingly went up in flames. Luckily, Deadly Night was not silenced completely. It has since become a cult classic, and on the BluRay special features there is an entire section dedicated to angry letters that the film got. That’s one way to handle a situation! Joke’s on you, Angry Mom! However, you won’t see any films on this list past this year. You can thank this movie for that.
7. Maniac (1980)
This is the first of many times that you’ll see Tom Savini’s name on this list, so get used to it. What separates this one from the other titles on there, though, is that we actually get to see Tom Savini get his brains blown out! Wow! Maniac is a nice little family flick in which a crazed killer runs around in an attempt to kill women and take their scalps as trophies until he meets one that’s just too special to scalp. Will he change his ways? Probably not, man. It’s the 1980’s. Times were crazy. It was shot in New York City, a place very close to my heart (and home), and the crew did not have the right permits to actually film in the city. Apparently there was a lot of running from the cops after the scenes were wrapped.
6. Prom Night (1980)
It’s really hard to watch this movie and see Leslie Nielson acting like he wasn’t born to play Officer Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun. We get to see his serious side as he plays Mr. Hammond, the father of the child (yes, child) who was killed in the first ten minutes of the movie. It’s not very faced pace, but there is a grittiness about this film that I really enjoy. Jamie Lee Curtis is an excellent addition to this movie, and I have often wondered if this film would have resonated with me so much if she wasn’t included in the cast. To be honest, I’m going to go with no. Still, it’s one of my favorites and I think the kills are very well-executed. Give it a chance! Extra points for Ms. Curtis’ totally groovy dance moves.
5. The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
“The Ultimate Driller Killer Thriller!” Do I really need to say more? That tagline just screams schlock, and I fucking love it. I’m sorry about the curse words, but really, stuff like this gets me so excited. A near perfect example of a ridiculous slasher movie, completely with female nudity, unbelievable plot, and awesome kills. What’s not to love? It was originally written as a cheesy parody movie, but when it came to filming, a lot of humor was written out. Which is funny, because they added a ton of unintentional humor on top of the intentional humor that was left in.
4. The Prowler (1981)
A college graduation party becomes the setting for a masked killer’s…well, killing spree. What’d you think I was going to say? Birthday party!? The plot in this is alright, but nothing to write home about. The real sell in this movie is the effects. Tom Savini (remember him?) considers this film to be his best work. Many will agree with that statement. Director Joseph Zito landed the directing spot on Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, in which Savini worked on as well. Many consider that entry to be their favorite; maybe the pair should have worked together more often.
3. The Burning (1981)
I’ve gotta give it to my man Cropsy. He’s like Jason, in the sense that he stalks and kills teens in a summer camp, but he doesn’t wear a mask. He doesn’t need one because his face is so deformed and frightening as it is! Cropsy was a caretaker at camp Blackfoot, and the campers were not too fond of them. So to pull a prank on him, they set up a burning skull-candle-thing near his bed and wake him up, causing his entire little shack to go on fire. It’s completely ridiculous and doesn’t make much sense as to why the campers would do something so stupid, but hey, it’s a fun movie. Once again, Tom Savini works his magic here and the effects look great. Rick Wakeman of the rock band Yes does the score, so if you’re a prog-rock fan, this movie will be fun. Personally, I like Rush better, but that’s just me.
2. My Bloody Valentine (1981)
In the 80s, if there was a holiday, there was a horror movie to go along with it. So, right in the beginning of this booming decade of the slasher, we have this wonderful Canadian piece called My Bloody Valentine. It deals with a deranged miner going on a killing spree. Duh! Valentine contains shots that were filmed in a real mine in Nova Scotia. Get this: when the local population found out that the film was to be shot in their mine, they didn’t protest and they didn’t argue. Instead, they spent $50,000 to clean up the mine. Nice gesture, eh? Unfortunately, it was pointless. The mine was selected because it looked old and rustic…so, $75,000 of the film’s budget went into making the mine look all dirty and old again.
1. Sleepaway Camp (1983)
I remember watching this movie many years ago when I was around 15 years old. There was a channel called Monsters HD that played horror movies exclusively, and I caught this just as it began. I had a huge television that probably weighed one hundred pounds that was an old throw away from my aunt, and I will never forget sitting down and watching the entire thing on it without getting up once. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was insane. I had been a fan of the bigger horror movies, but I had no idea that smaller ones like Sleepaway Camp existed. And that ending…that ending! It definitely changed my life forever and gave me a deeper appreciation for horror movies than I had ever known.
Damn. It’s over already? I feel like it’s 10 pm on Christmas Day. There are so many great Slashers and cool facts to talk about that I feel like I can write about this all day. So don’t worry, my friends. If your favorite Slasher from the 1980’s wasn’t included on this list, stay tuned to iHorror, and you might just get a Part 2 if you’re lucky!