A slasher film is a sub-genre of a horror film, and it could also be seen as a thriller, usually involving a
mysterious psychopathic killer stalking and killing a chain of victims usually in a distinctly violent manner.,
often with a knife, axe, chainsaw etc. The term ‘slasher’ is frequently used as a common term for a
typical horror film using striking acts of murder. The film genre is normally set in a high school, with the
central characters as young and attractive especially the group of girls who are seen as sexually
Horror films are quite similar to stalker slasher films. A horror is a film genre seeking to express a
negative emotional feeling from viewers by playing on the audience's highest fears. The killing in these
films are all organized and contains kills occurring at a climax. Horror films often feature scenes
that shock the viewer such as paranormal activity, which are frequent themes. Furthermore they may
overlap with the fantasy, supernatural, and thriller genres.
Defining the sub-genre…
The definition of a slasher film varies depending on different
opinions. But in general it normally contains several specific
aspects that combine into the genre’s plan.
In stalker slasher films they often define the sub-genre by its
typical fixed plot structure. Slasher films loosely consists of the
Slasher films can be separated into two different sub-types.
One types displays the killer’s identity which is known from
the beginning. Another one shows the killer’s identity is
hidden and which indicates at twist or a cliff-hanger at the
The young generation is guilty of a wrongful action.
The killer sees an injury, fault or death.
The killer experiences a loss.
The killer kills the guilty members of the young generation.
An incident commemorates the past action.
The killer's critical force is reactivated.
The killer re-identifies the guilty events.
A member of the old community tries to warn the young
The young community takes no attention.
The killer stalks members of the young community.
A brave member of the group attempts to hunt down the killer.
The killer kills members of the young community.
The her witnesses the degree of the murders.
The hero notices the killer.
The hero battles with the killer.
The hero kills or pacifies the killer.
The hero survives.
But the hero is not free…
The horror genre first originated in Germany in the 1890s. The typical plot of this genre is an invasion of an
evil being such as vampires, demons and serial killers going after victims. The first original creator of the
horror genre was known as “George Méliés” with the first horror film called “The house of the devil” which
was translated from the the german name “Le Manoir du Diable”. Many of the first horror films originated in
Germany and would effect the future of horror, setting the conventions in the genre.
The genre of horror has changed rapidly over the past years moving from monsters to ghostly demonic
monsters and started to fade away from the first sub-genre stalker slasher films. The first film that
considered to be a stalker/ slasher is called ‘Thirteen Women’, however the most significant first slasher
was called ‘Psycho” which portrayed the typical genre conventions such as the disturbed killer, the “final
girl” and the twisted ending.
Common characteristics of a
The victim also known as "final girl", is seen most slasher films who
is usually the only one survivor. She is also referred to the last girl
alive to face the killer and left to tell the story. She is normally a
female associate of the victims but is eventually developed in
comparison to others. She frequently does not get herself attached
in the wrong activities of her friends. The last girl has been
introduced in many films such as: Scream, I know what you did last
summer, The Ring, The Cabin in the Woods, The Grudge etc.
The stalker also known as the killer in the slasher film is generally a
male. His identity is often anonymous or hidden either by a mask or
by de focusing or showing short glimpses of him. He is also often
quiet which generates his mysterious character. He is frequently
very big and strong making it almost impossible for anyone to kill
him. In addition, his past sometimes consists of a childhood torture
that reveals his choice of victim.
The hero could be the protagonist. The main character is usually a
female or sometimes the male who is the quietest and most afraid
one. In most stalker/slasher films one of their friends goes missing
and they are the first to notice it. The main character does not
display bad behavior, unlike their friends.
The police are often involved with the activities that occur in a horror
and especially slasher films. They are either extremely
unreliable/unhelpful, and get killed, or turn up at the end of the
movie when most characters are dead to arrest the perpetrator.
The location – Many slasher films are set in hidden locations
such as deep forests, small towns, abandoned buildings and
dark warehouses and also in domestic settings. The killer may
have a connection their chosen location from a past tragic event
or just happen to live there. The location are frequently in low
populated areas, far away from civilization which makes it hard
to make contact and receive any help from the police or the
community. Also any electrical devices such as a mobile phone
can be too weak in terms of the signal due to the fact that the
killer disables electrical lines making it hard to the victim to
communicate and also making it hard for them to escape.
The quiet one who hardly interacts with others and is usually
the nervous or most suspicious character.
The brave one who is not afraid to step up and face anything.
The smart one who thinks and chooses the right thing to do
within any situation.
Pioneering slasher films...
Blood and Black Lace
Friday the 13th
Twitch of the Death Nerve
Nightmare on Elm street
The Last house on the Left
Early Slasher films…
This film helped create the archetype
of the hidden, mentally disturbed
stalker/ killer who seeks upon an
innocent young women and has
influenced many films in the future. As
the slasher obsession took over in the
1980s, many successful stalker films
have been fortunate in the
significance of this film. The most
original and influential moment in the
film is the "shower scene", which
became iconic in pop culture because
it is often regarded as one of the most
terrifying scenes ever filmed.
This film again portrayed many of the
This film also established the typical
stereotypical characters that most
stereotypical character of the “final girl”
stalker/ slasher films have. These
which most horror films consist of.
Halloween was one of many films that has include the mask to cover their face, the
“final girl” who is usually the last to
been influenced by films such as Texas
survive and the one to face the killer at
chain saw massacre where their hide their
identities by wearing a mask to cover their the end. The film combined comedy and
"whodunit" mystery with the violence of
faces. Halloween was the first with a
the slasher genre to spoof the cliche of
masked killing machine, and also the first
the horror genre. The film was
film to introduce the killer being a
considered unique at the time of its
seemingly indestructible force. Through its
release for featuring characters who
success, it is often considered to be
were aware of real world horror films and
responsible for the proliferation of the
openly discussed the parody that
slasher trend, popularizing the key
Scream attempted to subvert.
elements in the genre. A long progression
of slasher films were produced, though
Halloween actually had far less graphic
violence than the later films in the genre.
Modern slasher films…
Most modern day slashers are sequels or remakes of previous slasher films, which are now
more bloody and gruesome. Slasher films are still very popular in modern day.
Behind the Mask (2006)
Prom Night (2008)
Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
Sorority Row (2009)
When a Stranger Calls (2006)
The Hitcher (2007)
Modern slasher films cont.
Sorority Row (2009)
This film is centered around a college
prank from a group of sorority girls trying
to cover up the death of their house-sister
that goes wrong and comes back to haunt
the sisters of Theta Pi. Like existing
slasher films, this film portrays a
stereotypical convention of a stalker
slasher with the intentions of killing
everyone in the group leading to one
survivor also known as the ‘final girl’. Most
stalker/ slasher films consist of female
characters like this film as they are seen
as sex symbols to men and are usually
When a Stranger Calls (2006)
Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
This film is another typical stalker film
where the killer expresses a hidden
identity. The fact that you can’t see their
face, it makes the film more frightening as
you do not know who the killer is and
what he or she can be capable of. As a
modern slasher film, the film doesn’t use
all the conventional iconography
symbolism for instance a knife and
masks. Instead it uses more modern day
conventions such as a telephone to
shelter their identity.
This film is combined with the two killers in
Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm
Street who seem to cross each others
killing territory. Both characters continue
to pursue the convention of blood and
gore with more trill and horrifying deaths.
This film is different to the typical structure
of a slasher film as it only involves the
killers in conflict with each other and
possibly a few victims that interfere.
STALKER/ SLASHER REMAKES…
Initially the remakes of slasher/ horror films has not changed much through the years. In terms of the
iconography, it is still the same and the technical aspects are still based on the same objectives. Despite
the development of technology has been able to change and improve the way in which horror films are
shown on the screen making it more realistic and more appealing to the audience.
In 1998, Halloween was a successful film, however
the new film Halloween H20: 20 years later was
studied as a sequel to the 1981’s Halloween II and
would therefore lead to another sequel called
In 2003, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was
introduced. The success of this film led to influences
of other slasher remakes that include, Black
Christmas, Prom Night, Friday the 13th, Nightmare
on Elm Street and many more.
In 1996, Scream was released which led to a
successful sequel. The characters in Scream created
their own horror trilogy by fulfilling the killer’s role.
The newest Scream 4 was launched in 2011
featuring the the previous killer. This displays the fact
that they made a re-make of the original film.
Most popular stalker/ slasher films…
Freddy Vs. Jason
The Texas Chainsaw
I Know What You Did Last
Friday the 13th
A Nightmare on Elm
My bloody Valentine 3D