Looking back on the decade that now seems like a foreign time, these slasher films help capture a certain nostalgia that certain moviegoers (such as myself) crave. While slasher fans definitely love a good villain, some scary stalking sequences, and creative kills, they also undoubtedly yearn for the 1980's culture - from the big hair to the heavy metal music.
Here is a list of the complete 1980's slasher movie guide (and I might even be leaving some out! Please let me know if I have). Enjoy!
The Biggest Body Count Ever in 1982...
With a record 33 releases, 1982 saw the highest number of slasher films. Ever. Yet despite the massive output, the box office returns were showing that, while the genre was still strong, the Golden Age of Slasher films had a definite end approaching. Out of all the films from 1982, only the sequel Friday the 13th Part III was a smash, as most of the others quickly came and went from theaters.
Over time, some of these slashers gained huge cult followings, especially after their home video releases. Movies like Basket Case and The Slumber Party Massacre have been praised for their self-awareness and black comedy, thus adding to their huge home video appeal.
The main reason for decline was a lack of originality and a "we've seen it before" mentality. Camping slashers like Madman, Midnight, and The Forest looked like knock-offs of FRIDAY THE 13TH. Girls Nite Out and The Dorm That Dripped Blood seemed too similar to PROM NIGHT or FINAL EXAM. Movies like Trick or Treats was sold as a HALLOWEEN rip-off, and Unhinged echoed MOTHER'S DAY a little too much. Both Pandemonium and Wacko tried to be horror spoofs that seemed to similar to the previous year's STUDENT BODIES. And the twisted Slipping into Darkness was the same exact plot as MACABRE.
Some slashers fused in supernatural elements to differentiate them. Blood Link, Dark Sanity, and The Slayer all had psychic protagonists while Boardinghouse had a telekinetic character. "Don't Go to Sleep" and Superstition both dealt with ghosts and possession, and monsters replaced human madmen in Humongous and Ghostkeeper. The slasher genre also took a stab at action thrillers with Kill Squad.
The locations of slasher movies became just as important as the film's plot. Hospital Massacre, Blood Song, and Visiting Hours used a hospital setting in a similar way that HALLOWEEN II did the previous year. Whodunit? took place on an exotic island, while Death Valley took place in the desert. Rural-set horror movies like Deadly Games, Death Screams and Honeymoon Horror juxtaposed those set in the seedy urban underbelly like The New York Ripper did to Manhattan or The Last Horror Film did to Cannes.
Even Academy Award winning stars like Donald Pleasance, Jack Palance, and Martin Landau could not help make slasher films mega-successes, as evident by the box-office disappointment of their joint-collaboration Alone in the Dark. The Chuck Norris slasher Silent Rage was also met with mediocre success. 1982 was not a bad year for slasher movies, and many of them are now considered cult classics. But it was obvious that the magic was starting to fade, although the films would still prove to be successful enough to last another two years. So here's what 1982 had to offer...
Alone in the Dark - At a secluded mental institution, a power outage releases three maniacs, who hunt down their young doctor and his family in the blackout. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
Basket Case - Duane carries his Siamese twin brother, Belial, in a wicker basket and heads to New York’s Times Square to hunt down the sleazy surgeons who separated them. Available on Blu-ray and also on DVD. View Trailer.
Blood Link - Spurred by prophetic dreams of murder, a physician flies to Europe in search of his Siamese twin brother, whom he believes may be behind the grisly acts. View Home Video TV Spot.
Blood Song - After receiving a blood transfusion, a young woman witnesses the murder of a hospital attendant by the psychopath who supplied her blood, and she becomes his next victim. Available on DVD.
Boardinghouse - A telekinetic man inherits a big house with a horrible past and opens it as a boardinghouse, awakening the long sleeping evil that starts killing off the tenants. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
Dark Sanity - Running from her troubled past, a psychic moves into a house where the previous owners were gruesomely killed, and soon starts to see visions of her own grisly demise.
Deadly Games - When she survives an attack by a serial killer, a young woman devises a plan to catch the psycho as more young women around town are slaughtered.
Death Screams - After a town carnival ends, several townspeople make their way down to the lake, where a machete-wielding maniac starts killing them.
Death Valley - While on a road trip through the famed Death Valley desert, a divorced mother, her young son, and new boyfriend run afoul of a local madman. View TV Spot.
"Don’t Go to Sleep" - A year after young Jennifer died in a tragic car accident, her little sister starts seeing her vengeful ghost... and that's when the bodies start dropping. ABC television movie.
The Dorm That Dripped Blood - On the eve of Christmas vacation, several students volunteer to help close down a run-down dormitory, unaware a psychopathic lunatic is hiding in the shadows. Available on Blu-ray and DVD. View Trailer.
The Forest - After her friend is killed by a cannibalistic madman, a young woman escapes into the wilderness to find her boyfriends, while the killer stalks her every move. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
Friday the 13th Part III - Donning his trademark hockey mask for the first time, Jason slashes his way through a group of rich kids as well as a gang of grizzled bikers. Available on 3-D Blu-ray and also on 3-D DVD. View Trailer.
Ghostkeeper - On a wintry New Years Eve snowmobile excursion three friends are caught in a blinding blizzard and take refuge at a deserted hotel where they encounter a strange woman known as the ghostkeeper.
Girls Nite Out - A campus-wide scavenger hunt provides victims to a psycho in a playful panda costume as the campus security officer, whose daughter was a victim of a similar killer, tries to find catch the maniac. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
Honeymoon Horror - Three couples vacationing at a rustic, secluded lover's paradise lodge fall prey to a maniac who kills them in creative ways.
Hospital Massacre - A recently divorced young woman goes to a hospital for a routine exam and finds herself stranded in the building as a psycho from her past slaughters the staff to get to her.
Humongous - Shipwrecked teens end up on a mysterious island and, while searching for help, come across an old house that harbors a monster born of a vicious and evil crime years ago. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
Kill Squad - After his wife is raped and murdered by nasty hoodlums, a wealthy wheelchair-bound businessman assembles his old motley crew of Vietnam buddies to get revenge. View Trailer.
The Last Horror Film - An obsessed fanatic trails a beautiful actress to the Cannes Film Festival, determined to have her star in his first film, while a killer begins slaughtering her entourage. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
Madman - After a camper disobeys the warnings of his legend, the crazed "Madman Marz" starts hanging and hacking counselors at a summer camp for gifted children, one by one. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
Midnight - On the run from her abusive stepfather, a teenage hitchhiker gets picked up by two guys, but before long the trio runs across a family of Satanists who keep their dead mother in the attic. Available on DVD. View TV Spot.
The New York Ripper - A blade-wielding psychopath is on the loose, terrorizing The Big with the blood of beautiful young women while NYPD detectives follow the trail of butchery. Available on Blu-ray and also on DVD. View Trailer.
Pandemonium - A brave mountie, along with his trusty companion horse and bitter deputy friend, tracks down a murderer killing teens at a nearby cheerleader camp.
Pieces - A killer stalks a Boston campus, dismembering nubile young co-eds and collecting body parts to create the likeness of his mother whom he savagely murdered with an axe years ago! Available on DVD. View Trailer.
The Scorpion with Two Tails - A language specialist travels to Italy to investigate the bizarre death of her husband, whose demise she foresaw in a nightmare based around Etruscan sacrificial rites. Available on DVD.
Silent Rage - A tough small town sheriff goes up against a criminal who's been brought back from the dead and genetically altered to become an unstoppable killing machine. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
The Slayer - While vacationing on a barren island with her husband, brother, and sister-in-law, a young woman has nightmares about a murderous creature, and then people in her party start dying. View Trailer.
Slipping into Darkness - After the object of his affection accidentally dies in his home, a disturbed young man keeps her body and murders anyone who stumbles upon his secret.
The Slumber Party Massacre - When Trish decides to invite her high school basketball teammates over for a slumber party, she has no idea the night will be ruined by an escaped mental patient with a portable drill. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
Superstition - A series of ghastly ‘accidents’ near the site where a witch was drowned centuries earlier spark an investigation from an idealistic young priest and a cynical police detective. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
Tenebre - An American novelist promoting his latest tome in Rome becomes tied to a series of slayings that are enacted in the stylish manner as those in his unreleased book. Available on Blu-ray and also on DVD. View Trailer.
Trick or Treats - On Hollywood night, a teenage girl is burdened with baby-sitting a creepy little brat who's crazed father has escaped from a mental institution and begins terrorizing her.
Unhinged - Three beautiful women crash their car in a blustery rainstorm and wake up in a mysterious old mansion run by a spinster and her demented mother, soon discovering their host's truly violent intentions. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
Visiting Hours - An outspoken TV journalist's crusade against domestic violence enrages a creepy loner who brutally attacks her, leaving her hospitalized. He hides himself inside the hospital to finish what he started. Available on DVD. View Trailer.
Wacko - Local police officers are baffled by the campus murders attributed to the "Lawnmower Killer", a maniac with a pumpkin mask. Available on DVD. View Home Video TV Spot.
Whodunit? - Ten young actors go to a deserted island to make a film are hunted by someone killing them according to the lyrics of rock n roll song.