Dark Dreams
Resurrect the Slasher Film!

Devan Sagliani | 12 Aug 2014 13:40
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Michael Myers of Halloween fame nips at Jason's heels with 111 bodies to his credit. Halloween wasn't the first Slasher movie to push the limits, not by a long shot, but it was the first to suggest the idea of an unstoppable evil force that would not stay dead, a true killing machine intent on wiping out everyone in his path with no mercy. Halloween enjoyed massive commercial success, making it responsible for the explosion of Slasher titles afterward, as well as establishing many of the main staples of the genre in the process.

Meanwhile, the Leprechaun managed to take down 45 people trying to steal his gold. Freddy tore apart 42 teenagers with is fancy razor gloves. Jigsaw and his acolytes wiped out 40 people who didn't appreciate what they had. Pinhead ripped a meager 35 people to pieces on his journeys from here to hell and back, but with the highly anticipated reboot of the series (which Barker is helming), he might just get his numbers up after all. Leatherface, one of the first iconic Slashers, tore 31 people into tiny pieces of Texas barbecue. Serial killer turned wise-cracking toy doll Chucky wiped out 30. The trench coat-wearing, one-handed, lethal bee dispensing former slave badass known as Candyman took down 22 brave souls willing to gaze at their image in the mirror and say his name thrice. By comparison Pennywise, the deranged child eating clown that sprang from the mind of horror master Stephen King, seems weak with his 9 meager kills confined to the town of Derry, Maine.

It seems like a fairy tale now to say that once upon a time, Slashers ruled the realm of horror, especially with the genre fallen on such hard times. Over the years their popularity with moviegoers dwindled: these days it's witches and ghosts, vampires and werewolves, and always, always zombies that rake in the big bucks with horror fans. The Conjuring took in $137.5 million in 2013 followed by the Insidious sequel, which brought in $83.5 million. World War Z, which bore only the title in common with the Max Brooks bestselling novel, raked in a whopping $202 plus million dollars, making it far and away the most popular zombie movie of all time. A sequel is already in the works with Brad Pitt despite people's insistence that the zombie fad is going to wither up and die any day now. By comparison the terrifyingly bad Texas Chainsaw 3D reboot managed just $34 million despite a no holds barred PR campaign. It was the only slasher-type movie widely released in theaters last year.

Slasher Santa

I say it's time to change that. I'm making an open call here for the next generation of horror directors to dream up new and interesting Slasher flicks. Yes, the old franchises, much like their characters, never seem to die. Jason will be returning to television soon (hopefully this time will be better than the abortion they tried to pan off on us in the late 80's with Friday the 13th the series.) And there is a new something in development now for IT as well. (We all hope it will be much, much better than the last, all due respect to Tim Curry.) But fuck that noise. I don't want revivals, and I definitely don't want any of the rehashed, warmed over reboots from the last few years. I'm talking about brand spanking new antiheroes to fall in love with, deranged mad men with tortured pasts ripping into the sweet nubile flesh of unsupervised promiscuous teenagers in isolated and creepy locations.

Half of last year's most profitable movies were horror films. The Purge took the number one slot with a bullet. On a budget of just $3 million dollars, it managed to rake in $81 million worldwide according to Forbes. Well, Slasher films are by their very nature low budget, which makes them perfect for the job of unexpectedly screaming all the way up the box office charts and into our hearts. Hollywood is so predictable that we all know even a timid commercial success will kick start a fury of imitators and revitalize the sleeping genre.

The simple fact of the matter is that we need new nightmares, new bad guys, new ways to feel shocked and afraid and alive. It's time we stood up and demanded them. It's time for this generation to stop living off their parents nightmares (and bands, television shows, movies, and fashion trends for that matter) and start coming up with some shit of their own. Who knows? Maybe one of you reading this right now might be the next John Carpenter or Wes Craven or Clive Barker.

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