12 Slasher Flicks to Plan Your Year By


?Like many of you, I watch way too many awful films. Slasher films, almost by definition, fall into this category, and I’ve watched too many for it to be funny (seriously, I sat through Swinger’s Massacre before it was cool). But, like me, you’ve probably run into the dilemma of, “I want to watch gory films, but I want to do it in an organized, classy manner that will impress my friends.”

Ta-da! Think of this list as “the year in slasher flicks.” No, not 2011, obviously — I mean a full year’s worth of horror movies, January through December. I’ve put together a list of the perfect horror films, one for each month of the year! Most of them, obviously, are holiday-based, as movie murderers tend to love a good theme as much as they love killing teens who have just had sex. But even for those months without any decent holidays, I’ve found seasonal solution. Ladies and gentlemen, grab your calendars.

12) New Year’s Evil

Evil! No, not just an adjective, it’s the slasher’s name. He calls himself “Evil” because, well, he doesn’t want to waste time by explaining a more clever name. Just “Evil.” He terrorizes an aging new wave DJ during her New Year’s countdown by killing someone every time the clock hits 12 in every time zone in the US and telling her about it. It’s not a big body count. Instead of closing down the lamest New Year’s party since I spent 1998 watching Beverly Hills Cop 3 and going to bed early, the cops just let it go on until the DJ is tied up in an elevator, ready to be killed. This flick is tons of fun, and streaming on Netflix!

11) My Bloody Valentine

Valentine’s Day can mean so many things to so many people. For the filmmakers of My Bloody Valentine, it means industrial mining. No shit, most of this movie takes place in the least romantic place possible, an underground mine. It might have something to do with the phrase “Be Mine” that is related to Valentine’s Day, or the producers may have come up with an awesome mine slasher film but needed a good hook. No consensus. It does have boxes of chocolates and some delightful Valentines messages written in blood, plus the title, so it counts as a damn good Valentine’s slasher film. Also good if you want to be more scared of mines than you already are.

10) Leprechaun

Ah, Warwick Davis. You honor St. Patrick with your portrayal of a murderous leprechaun in not one but six slasher films, beginning in ’93. All of our stereotypes about the Irish were reinforced by your roles, from cursed gold (which I know every Irish person has) to poison shamrocks (I don’t trust shamrocks given by the Irish, as they will probably kill me) to drinking a lot (which I have heard is a stereotype of the Irish). Also, during Warwick’s classic run as the little murdering imp, he played a good leprechaun in A Very Unlucky Leprechaun, mostly to confuse children.

9) April Fool’s Day

Oh, it was so ’80s but it was soooo good. Mostly because it stars Biff from the Back to the Future series. The man can do no wrong (and hates manure). April’s #1 holiday gets the slasher treatment in a film that’s just so stupid that it’s funny. Lots of silly murders and a special twist ending (I won’t give it away, but it’s the same as the ending to Gene Wilder’s Haunted Honeymoon) as well as bad clothes straight from the ’80s, make this one of the iconic holiday murder films. Do not confuse this with the 2007 April Fools that was more like I Know What You Did Last Summer, and starred someone named “Lil’ Flip.”

8) Mother’s Day

You wouldn’t think that there are more Mother’s Day slasher films than Thanksgiving ones, but Netflix lists this one, a 2010 remake with Rebecca DeMornay, and a 2007 film with the word “massacre” added to the title. The only real version, in my mind, is the 1980 original where two hillbillies (most people call them rednecks, but I prefer hillbillies) kidnap and rape some girls because their mom told them to. It becomes a triumphant story of revenge against the brothers and mom (and their deformed sister, Queenie) that makes you want to call your own mother and tell her you’d never kill her with an electric carving knife.

7) Graduation Day

June isn’t chock full of holidays, but for high school seniors, it’s all about graduation day. For the filmmakers, it’s about murdering teenagers on a day approximating graduation day. See, graduation day is only one period of 24 hours, not enough for a good slashing streak, so the nut who tries to off the track team has to spread it out over a couple days. Not saying this early ’80s flick is awful, it just doesn’t have enough graduating for my taste. And I love me some graduation footage.


6) Uncle Sam

It’s only the most patriotic of slashers for the 4th of July! A Gulf War soldier comes back from the dead to kill… well, just about anybody he thinks is un-American. He kills a performer dressed like Uncle Sam and goes about killing pretty much everybody. Kids burning a flag? Dead. Kid who sang the national anthem badly? Dead. Draft dodger? Dead. He’s pretty much an unstoppable killing machine in red, white, and blue. If you’ve ever had positive thoughts about Ronald Reagan, rent this 1996 classic!

5) Sleepaway Camp

Let’s face it: August has no good holidays. Air Conditioning Appreciation Week (3rd week in August) and National Filet Mignon Day (August 13th) don’t make for good movies. But kids are spending time at camp in August, and 1983’s Sleepaway Camp is one of the best camping slasher films ever! Someone keeps killing amorous teens and pervy adults at a summer camp in the woods. Who is it? The counselors? The cook? The weird moaning girl with the bloody knife who ends up actually being a boy made of plastic? Your guess is as good as mine.

4) Class Reunion Massacre

September is light on good holidays as well, so it’s back to school again with this joyful nugget full of blood. Also called Redeemer: The Son of Satan, Class Reunion Massacre is one of the best examples of “guy goes nuts, finds victims, and figures out amazingly clever ways of killing them.” I’ve seen it twice and I’m still not sure why anyone really had to die, or why the killer felt he needed to kill them, but anytime you have a papier mache clown with a flamethrower killing someone, it’s a movie that needs to be shared with everyone. There are a bunch of confusing scenes in a church as well, but don’t be disappointed if they don’t make sense, since they have nothing to do with the hack n’ slash.

3) Jack-O

There are so many Halloween slasher films that I don’t necessarily know which one to pick. Sure, there’s the original Halloween films, but that’s a whole mythos there that kinda drones on and on (except Halloween 3, that’s about people keeping Stonehenge in their basement). For my money, you can’t go wrong with the absolutely pitiful Halloween rat turd Jack-O, a film so bad that it stars John Carradine seven years after he died. Big pumpkin-headed monster goes apeshit on a town full of boring, unlikeable people, all centering around an abysmally bad child actor who was the director’s son.

2) Blood Freak

Aside from some recent straight-to-DVD stuff made to fill the gap in the slasher calendar, Thanksgiving horror films are as rare as balls on a goose. So instead of capitulating to the killer turkey in ThanksKilling, go old-school with the outrageous (and I virtually never use that word) Blood Freak. Made during in 1972, back when people were actually worried about hippies, it features a hippie biker so addicted to pot (really) that he takes part in a medical experiment that… gives him the head of a turkey (really). He’s so hopped up on marijuana that he goes around killing drug dealers, all while wearing this silly turkey costume. Sadly, it’s not available from Netflix, and the only DVD release was in an out-of-print 4-pack that now runs $43.

1) Black Christmas

Like Halloween, Christmas is chock-full of murder and mayhem. Santa Claws, Elves, Do Not Open ‘Till Christmas, Christmas Evil, Silent Night Bloody Night, To All A Good Night, Santa’s Slay, Silent Night Deadly Night, and Jack Frost all can be standard viewing for your family Christmas. But for this one, I’m going to have to give props to one of the oldest and best, Black Christmas, starring Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, and Andrea Martin. Slasher, Christmas, sorority house. It’s like they read my Christmas list.