A slasher film is similar to a
horror or a thriller film. It
usually contains a murderer or
a psychopathic killer which
kills a sequence of people
throughout the whole film and
could also be stalking them.
Slasher film villains generally
kill their victims in a violent
manner and the scenes are
usually very graphic. In a
typical slasher film, the victims
are usually young people who
take drugs and typically do
something that they know
they shouldn’t be doing. There
are also sex scenes in many
slasher films such as Friday the
Slasher films are usually set in places such as forests or in a country side after the group of young
people decide to go on a road trip or to go somewhere where they don’t belong. The characters
in slasher films tend to go to an abandoned building or some type of hospital; mainly places that
would be very difficult for the victims to communicate with someone that may help them.
In films such as “The Blair Witch Project” the three young people are in a forest which is
unfamiliar to them and they get lost. Shortly after they get lost they separate and consequently
die. Below is a picture of one of the characters and the location of the film behind him.
The characters in slasher films
are mainly young people
excluding the killer who’s
identity is sometimes
unknown. We looked at
various slasher films to get an
idea of the characteristics
which the characters who we
use in our film should have.
We thought that studying the
characters of slasher films,
such as Friday the 13th, would
be really useful in helping us
understand what our film
opening should include.
The pictured characters are from the slasher/thriller film Friday the 13th. Typical slasher film characters
are young people and a psychopathic killer with a troubled past that kills the young people. The
characters also do drugs, in this case: Chewy does that. There are also the characters which have sex,
these are usually the popular guy and the most attractive female of the group. As in many slasher films,
the damsel in distress survives which is more scared and tenacious than the other characters. Whilst the
other characters get killed one by one, most of the time; there is a couple left at the end of the film which
survive and some how kill the villain in the movie.
The lighting is very important in slasher films as they have a great impact on the
cinematography and plot in general. Slasher films consist of dark lighting in the majority
In Friday the 13th, bright natural lighting is used when the young characters are displayed
which connotes innocence. This type of lighting is mainly used in the beginning of the film
where nothing negative has happened yet. However, once Jason Voorhees, the killer, is
shown and approaches the young people, the lighting used is darker which creates great
atmosphere and adds dramatic effect. This lighting is natural, as night arrives as well as
artificial lighting such as power cut inside the house and dimmed lights along the tunnels
underground where Jason takes his victims.
After looking into the lighting of slasher films, this made us understand and realise more
about the lighting which we could use in our film opening.
Costumes in slasher films are important in relation to the characters. The costumes are a
representation of the characters. The young innocent victims are usually in casual clothing which
represents normality as they are unaware of any dangers. Their attire ruins when they’ve been
approached by the villain and have attempted to run away from him. Their attire could be ripped
etc. Usually, the identity of the villain in slasher films is restricted as they are masqueraded or
not even shown.
Michael Myers from
Halloween is masked.
Jason Voorhees from Friday
the 13th is masked.
Leatherface from Texas
Chainsaw Massacre is
The iconography in slasher films are significant as they contain various, powerful and iconic images
as well as certain motifs which are used in the majority of slasher films.
Some of the iconography used in slasher films include:
- A weapon (typically a type of blade such as knives)
- Masked villains
- Rural location/Unpopulated area (such as country sides where the victims have difficulty finding
Screenshot from: Friday the
Screenshot from: The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
Film Budget Gross
Friday the 13th (1980) $550,000 (estimated) $39,754,601 (USA)
Friday the 13th (2009) $19,000,000 $64,997,188 (USA)
The Texas Chainsaw
$83,532 $30,859,000 (USA)
The Texas Chainsaw
Halloween (1978): $325,000 (estimated) $47,000,000 (USA)
Halloween (2007) $15,000,000
House of Wax (2005 $30,000,000
See No Evil (2006) $8,000,000
Slasher films are incredibly popular to a younger demographic and younger audience. They
typically have a broad fan base of adolescents who enjoy watching films of this genre the most.
Many slasher films also have sequels, therefore the sequels usually have an already-developed fan
base which consists of loyal fans that are willing to watch the films. This is easier for the producers
and film-makers as they kind of have an idea of who they are aiming the film at.
Many slasher films attempt to create verisimilitude by having POV (Point-Of-View) shots during
scenes which consist of any type of pursuit. Either the villain chasing the victim or from the
victim’s perspective where they are running away from the villain. These type of shots create
verisimilitude because they envisage the running characters and attempt to make the audience
feel the fear of which the characters are feeling.
In Halloween, the opening scene contains a POV shot of Michael walking through the house. The
POV shot is effective because it makes the viewers empathise and puts them into Michaels shoes.
By making them see through his eyes, they are forced to see things in his perspective which has a
greater impact in comparison to a normal medium shot of Michael walking around the house. It
makes the audience feel as if they are in the scene and get to experience the murder for
themselves. In this scene you see through Michael’s mask as he repeatedly stabs the naked female
until she is dead on the floor. Furthermore, other slasher films have imitated the use of POV shots
such as this one of Wade (the victim) through Jason Voorhees’ perspective. This is very effective.
Halloween (1978) Friday the 13th (2009)