Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Are Slasher Films Dying?

By: Ben Marble/Junior Writer

Slasher films such as Friday the 13th, Halloween, and a Nightmare on Elm Street are widely popular movies amongst fans. Slasher films were extremely successful in the 1970s and 1980s, with major slasher franchises such as the Elm Street series and Friday the 13th grossing millions of dollars. But these days, there aren’t as many slasher films being made. Is the slasher genre on its way out?

For more than a decade, slasher films such as Friday the 13th had sequels after sequels, and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre story was remade over and over again. There is no longer any originality. The slasher film is a subgenre of horror film that usually involves a psychopathic killer stalking and graphically murdering a series of teenage victims in a largely random, unprovoked manner, killing several in a single day or night. Sure, each film has its own backstory and characters, such as, Leatherface and Freddy Kreuger, but they all seem to be the same. A group of teenagers were murdered by a psychopathic murderer in the opening scene, which occurred months or years before the current events. The main characters are then introduced after the opening scene. There is usually a couple in love, a nerdy pal, a drug addict, and a “final” girl and the guy she likes are generally all going on a road trip or holiday together. Honestly, they are all the same. 

Between 1978 and 1984, slasher films were at their peak. For years, the slasher genre reigned supreme as the go-to horror genre, with legendary murderers and unforgettable films dominating pop culture. We saw the birth of Halloween, Friday the 13th, and a Nightmare on Elm Street during this time frame. These 3 movie titles are the most known and popular in the slasher genre, causing sequels upon sequels. For example, films like: My Bloody Valentine and Silent Scream to be made using the same elements from the classic film Halloween. Halloween is the father of the slasher sub-genre, defining what we know about slasher films to this point. After the release of a Nightmare on Elm Street, it seems the slasher genre has been on a non-stop decline. Following the golden years of the 1970s and 1980s, several films struggled to achieve the popularity that studios had hoped for.

Slasher films aren’t a fading genre, but they’re less popular and successful as a horror tradition than they were decades ago. Slashers are still being made, but not as often as in the past. Slashers have been created in recent years, including MTV’s Scream, Leatherface, a sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween, a reboot of Child’s Play, Happy Death Day, Hellfest, and others. The slasher genre isn’t dead or dying; it’s just that films aren’t being made as often as they once were. 

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Kimberly Davenport
Kimberly Davenport grew up in Montrose, Pennsylvania. She currently teaches English and digital journalism at Blue Ridge High School, and is the adviser for the school's online newspaper, the Raider Reader. Kimberly loves traveling, spending time with her family (especially her grandchildren), and can often be found reading a good book.

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