Friday, May 6, 2011
Horror Genre: Slashers
Recipe For A Slasher:
1. A location with a past
-a dash of collective secret/urban legend
-a soupcon of shared trauma that has in some way stunted the location
2. A Killer with a vague motive
- beat in a sense of loss or witness of harm
- fold in a phallic themed weapon
- sprinkle liberally with un-killableness
3. A group of local young people.
-should be taken from the same stock as the dash of the collective trauma
- be sure to include a Final Girl, otherwise your Slasher will not rise
-boil until all their personalities meld into one.
I love me some slasher movies. I take pride in knowing a lot about them (by no means have I seen every one of them) but I like to think I'd be the one to make it out of the woods/town/dreamscape ... I mean, it sucks and all my friends would be dead, but I look at it like the potential for a social upgrade.
The classic trifecta of slasher films would have to be Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street. But that list also doesn't include Black Christmas, Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Peeping Tom, Scream and many, many others. For a sub-genre that's so formulaic it also spawns some of the most impassioned debates. For everything the three biggies have they lack something one of the smaller ones do.
My personal favourite is Nightmare On Elm Street. It's the most experimental and ambitious and it really pulls off a lot of what it sets out to do. My favourite all time scene is when the bloody bag containing Tina gets dragged along the hallways of the school. It still gives me chills. It also contains my favourite Final Girl Nancy Thompson. While the other major Final Girls fight in hopes to survive, Nancy fight and wins... at least in the original version Wes Craven wanted.
Slasher films are a mixed bag. For every great one, there are 10 God-awful ones. It's a use-with-caution or with-great-power-comes-great-responsibility kind of situation. But hey, if you don't go off into the woods alone, you'll never know if you make it to the sequel.