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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

GeekRex Horror Essentials: Slasher Films

Halloween is fast approaching, and the mood for horror movies has been struck. If you're looking for something scary to watch, look no further: all month we'll be giving our list of essentials horror movies in a given subgenre! This time: Slasher Films!

Kyle's Pick
American Psycho (2000)
Directed by Mary Harron
The movie that cemented Christian Bale in my consciousness. Mary Harron's 2000 adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' revolutionary novel is a sardonic take on the slasher genre and a pretty poignant piece of social commentary that is literally ripped right out of the early 80's, and can be taken at face value or examined deeper for metaphorical meanings. The ambiguity of its final moments hammer home its messaging even further. American Psycho is daring in a way that few horror films even attempt to match, and in its way, carries a wicked sense of humor and a flair for the absurd.

Alexander's Pick

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Tobe Hooper's iconic 1970s film might just be horror's most intense experience. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre feels like a documentary in a way few horror films, even found footage, can manage. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is surprisingly bloodless to modern audiences used to something more extreme, but in Marilyn Burns' screaming, pleading, powerful performance, Hooper found something infinitely more chilling than gore.

Hannah's Pick
Zodiac (2007)
Directed by David Fincher
I'm going to cheat and pick a movie that's not really a slasher but has plenty of gory dead bodies, suspense, and a terrifying serial killer to boot. If you need a 'real' slasher film here then I'd just tell you to watch Psycho instead, but if you're willing to blur the genre line a bit, I think Zodiac is one of the more psychologically enthralling and intense films I've seen in years. The film centers around a cartoonist-turned-amateur-detective who relentlessly pursues the Zodiac killer, a real serial killer from the 1960s and 70s who purported to kill 37 victims. Seven of those victims were confirmed and the identity of the killer is still unknown. 

Shane's Pick
Halloween (1978)
Directed by John Carpenter
After debuting 36 years ago, Halloween is still a classic standby for those wanting to get their thrills on Halloween night.  John Carpenter's beautiful film has truly stood the test of time, helping to establish the entire slasher genre as well as having the best and most memorable score of any horror movie.  Michael Myers, aka The Shape, is absolutely terrifying in this film, almost entirely due to the mystery surrounding just who this guy is.

Harper's Pick
 Scream (1996)
Directed by Wes Craven
From one of the masters of the genre came a movie that both parodied slashers while not pulling any punches, falling firmly in the camp of horror. If you like your horror fraught with teens fighting for their lives against knife-wielding maniacs but are looking for something a little smarter and meta, Scream is just for you.
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