You guys know that I am a slasher flick fanatic and that I take pride in the fact that I have seen just about every one of them, especially the ones that were made in the 80s. While I dig the big ones like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street I also love some of the lesser known ones that have somehow flown under the radar that a lot of people aren’t aware of as well. There are a ton of great slasher flicks out there that a lot of people haven’t seen and I feel that it is my duty to shine a spotlight on them so they can finally get the attention that they deserve. A lot of them are very underrated and hold a special place in my heart for a number of reasons, and I think that if you seek them out and give them a shot you will love them as much as I do.
Without further ado I give you my list of the 15 Most Underrated Slasher Horror Movies…
****Warning: Possible Spoilers Ahead!!!****
15. Offerings (1989)
Offerings is a low-budget little slasher flick that has a lot of people in it that never acted in another movie ever again. I’ll admit that it is pretty much a rip off of Halloween in a lot of ways but that’s okay because it’s a fun movie that just works for a number of reasons. It is about a weird little boy that everyone picks on that ends up in a mental hospital after being injured when a prank is played on him that goes horribly wrong. He escapes from the hospital years later and returns to his home town where he stalks and kills all the people that were responsible for bullying him. After he gets rid of his tormentors he leaves one of their body parts on the doorstep of the only girl in town that was ever nice to him as a weird offering of sorts (sort of like when your pet cat brings you the dead body of the mouse that she has killed as a sort of gift to you). Of course, the girl isn’t exactly thrilled by the fact that he is leaving her such presents and is understandably freaked out as a result, which eventually causes him to target her as well. Even though it isn’t the most original slasher flick in the world and has some mighty bad acting in it it’s still an enjoyable movie for what it is and worth taking a look at if you can find a copy.
14. Hauntedween (1991)
One of the reasons I dig this movie is that part of it was filmed on the campus of Western Kentucky University, the college that I graduated from back in 1999. It revolves around a group of college kids that decide to open up an old haunted house attraction where something horrible happened years earlier. Before you know it, a killer is lurking around the haunted house and killing anyone that he comes into contact with. Like Offerings, Hauntedween is pretty low-budget and the acting is less than phenomenal but it is an entertaining little slasher that is loads of fun to watch. It’s more than a little goofy at times but it has a lot of heart and you can tell that the people behind it put a lot of effort into it when they were making it. It’s a great movie to watch late one Friday night with a group of friends, some beers and a couple of pizzas.
13. Death Screams AKA House of Death (1982)
I saw this one back in 1991 with my mom on VHS when I was a junior in high school and didn’t really care for it, but I watched it again years later and actually really dug it. It’s your typical slasher flick about an unknown maniac terrorizing a group of teenagers in a small town and taking them out in a variety of ways but there’s just something about it that I can’t put my finger on that makes it stand out from other movies with a similar plot. One of the things that works for it is that I really like the characters that appear in it. Yes, they are your typical slasher film stereotypes (such as the slut, the weirdo, the jock, etc.) but you actually care for them and want them to make it out of the movie alive. It’s a little too dark at times as it is hard to see what is happening (especially during the first death scene and toward the end when the identity of the killer is revealed) and things don’t really get going until the last 20 minutes or so but I still think that it’s a great movie and one that you will enjoy if you are into these types of films. It won’t change your life or anything, but it will keep you entertained for 90 minutes and you may just be surprised by how much you like it after everything is said and done.
12. Evil Laugh (1986)
Co-written by Scott Baio’s less insane and more likable brother Steven (who also stars in it), Evil Laugh is an underrated little gem about a group of medical students spending the weekend at a house where several people were murdered 10 years earlier. They all have a good time partying, drinking, and having sex until a masked killer shows up and starts slicing and dicing them. This one has some pretty cool death scenes (love the head in the microwave one) and some great cornball dialogue that makes it a load of fun in general. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and if you don’t either you will really dig it. I had a great time trying to figure out who the killer was while I was watching it and thought that it had a great final scene that I didn’t see coming that really stands out and leaves things open for a sequel (that sadly will probably never happen). If you’re in the mood for a good old school slasher with a little bit of humor thrown in for good measure then Evil Laugh is definitely for you.
Starring the always awesome Jill Schoelen and Brad Pitt, Cutting Class is an awesome horror film that just never got the love and attention that I feel that it deserves. For some reason it is pretty much ignored by most horror fans and didn’t do so well when it was released in theaters back in the day, which is a shame because I think it is pretty damn good. Someone is killing off high school students and it’s up to Schoelen’s character to figure out who is responsible for the murders before she’s the next victim. We have a list of potential suspects to choose from and part of the fun is trying to figure out who the killer is before Jill does. It has some pretty decent death scenes in it (the one involving the flag pole impalement being my favorite) and is just a great movie in general for a lot of reasons. Do yourself a favor and check this one out if you get the chance to do so, you won’t be disappointed.
10. Curtains (1983)
I remember seeing the trailer for this film when I was younger and it freaked me out a bit (that creepy doll standing in the road while it is raining….brr!!!) so I knew then and there that I had to see it. I didn’t get a chance to do so until it was on cable a couple of years later and I wasn’t let down when I finally got to check it out. A group of actresses all go to a mansion in the middle of nowhere to audition for a role in a movie when they start getting knocked off one-by-one by someone wearing one of the creepiest masks in the history of horror cinema. We don’t know the killer is until the end and the payoff is quite awesome. I always thought that the final scene was very powerful and unsettling and it is one of those that stays with you long after the end credits start to roll. A true underrated classic.
When I was in 7th grade one of my classmates told me about this movie and I thought that it sounded awesome so I made sure to rent it the next time my family went to our local video store. I thought that it ruled when I first saw it back then and to this day I still think that it kicks all sorts of ass. It has a pretty cool premise (a masked killer starts knocking off students at a high school after one of their classmates dies while running track at the school) and we get to play detective as we try to figure out who is behind the murders and why they are doing it. If you look closely you’ll see a young Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune fame in a few scenes and genre regular Linnea Quigley also shows up at one point as well. Like most of the films on this list, Graduation Day is a lot of fun and if you are in the mood for an obscure slasher that never really got a lot of attention then I suggest you give it a shot.
8. Last Dance (1992)
I’ve talked about this movie on several of my other lists and think that it is one of the best underrated slasher flicks of all time. I had never even heard of it until I saw it on USA Up All Night back in 1996 or so and thought that it was terrific. It is about someone killing off the contestants of a dance contest and features some very creative and unique death scenes that really make this one special (the one that involves the chick drinking the glass full of fish hooks never ceases to amaze me). I don’t know a whole lot of people who have seen it but those who have absolutely dug it and thought that it was an excellent little slasher. I watched it again not too long ago and it still holds up pretty well to my relief. It may be harder to find than other movies on this list but if you run across a copy of it take my advice and grab it as it is a winner.
This film is the perfect example of showing up too late to the party. It was released in 1992, around the time that people were losing interest in the slasher flick and as such it just sort of came and went really fast without gaining much attention which is a shame because it’s so much better than that. I have a feeling that if it had come out around 1986 or so it would have been a huge success and there would have been a number of sequels as the title character would have been in the same league as Jason, Freddy, Michael, and the like. I always thought that it was an awesome movie and you can tell that Larry Drake had a blast playing the film’s villain as he chews up the scenery (and delivers a number of Freddy-like one liners) like there’s no tomorrow. I a little surprised that no one has tried to reboot the film but it’s probably a good thing that they haven’t since Drake unfortunately passed away a few years ago and I can’t see anyone playing the character other than him. If you haven’t seen it do yourself a favor and check it out as soon as you can as I assure you that you will love it.
Who doesn’t love movies about killer kids? This one has not one, not two, but three of them and these kids don’t mess around when it comes to taking people out. I first saw it during the summer of 1987 and thought that it rocked. I remember telling everyone about it when I went back to school that year and it was pretty damn popular for a while among my classmates as they all wanted to see it after hearing me brag about how good it was. It has a nice drive-in movie feel to it and features three of the creepiest kids you will ever see in any horror film. Since most people are into the whole “killer kid” movie thing I am honestly surprised that it isn’t bigger than it is because it really is that good. I got a copy of it on DVD not too long ago and showed it to my wife and she was all into it. If killer kid flicks are your thing then Bloody Birthday is right up your alley.
“You Don’t Have to Go to Texas for a Chainsaw Massacre!” With a tagline like that you’ve already won right out of the gate. My sister saw this at a slumber party when I was a kid and after hearing her talk about it I couldn’t wait to see it. It was one of the first movies I got to see on VHS after my family finally got a VCR and I wasn’t disappointed in it in the very least. It centers around a guy killing women with a chainsaw and taking certain parts from their dead bodies afterwards to construct his own Frankenstein’s monster-like female body that he feels compelled to put together after a disturbing event that took place when he was a kid involving his mother and a pornographic puzzle he was working on. Loaded with some cool death scenes, a nerdy protagonist (that is supposed to be some sort of lady’s man), and an incredibly strange final scene that just comes out of nowhere, Pieces has a little something for everyone and is sure to satisfy anyone that loves slasher flicks.
Slaughter High is a guilty pleasure of mine and is one of my all-time favorite slasher movies. I love films that involve some sort of prank gone wrong and the victim of said prank coming back for revenge on his or her tormentors as a result, and that’s exactly what we get with this movie. A nerdy guy named Marty is disfigured in a science lab after some bullies sabotage one of his experiments so years later he sets up a class reunion and invites all the people involved in the prank. He then traps them inside the school and goes about killing them off in a variety of gory and painful ways. I know a lot of people that hate this movie and I never quite understood why because I think it is awesome. As I write this I am actually wearing my Slaughter High shirt that I got at a convention a few years ago, and it is one of my favorite horror-related pieces of clothing that I own. Slaughter High has a decent body count, a funky music score, and a bizarre ending that is so kooky that it actually works. In short it has a lot going for it and is a lot better than most people give it credit for.
I know several people that love this movie but in general it just isn’t as well-known compared to other slasher flicks which is a shame because it rules. We have the spirit of a huge, homicidal maniac named Madman Mars running around killing off people at a summer camp after one of the campers summons him by calling out his name in order to freak out his fellow campers. Mars shows up and then goes about doing what he does best, leaving a trail of bloody and broken bodies wherever he goes. I have a feeling that Adam Green was inspired by this movie when he came up with the concept for the Hatchet movies as Victor Crowley is very similar to Madman Mars in a lot of ways. I keep hearing rumblings that a sequel is in the works and hopefully this is true as I would love to see Mars make another appearance very soon. If you haven’t seen this one you’re missing out.
I saw American Gothic when I was in the 8th grade and for the next couple of days at school it was all I could talk about, which made half of my classmates want to see it too. It is an excellent film that has a lot going for it so I’m not sure why it isn’t bigger than it is with horror fans as I only know a handful of people who have seen it. It revolves around a group of friends stranded on an island that run across a weird family that lives there that has their own beliefs and ways of doing things. Even though things start off somewhat well between the group and the family the relationship soon sours and the bodies start piling up. It has a great cast including Rod Steiger, Yvonne De Carlo, and the always great Michael J. Pollard (who is more over the top than usual this time around), some great death scenes, and a brilliant ending that is hard to top. Not only is a lot of fun, but it is also genuinely creepy and unsettling at times as well. In short it has everything needed to make a top-notch slasher flick and if you give it a shot I am certain that you will agree.
I have praised Intruder many, many times before on the site so there really isn’t a whole lot more that I can say about it that I haven’t already mentioned before so I’ll keep it short and sweet. It has some awesome, painful-looking death scenes, cool camera work, a decent body count, a wicked sense of humor, and features both Ted and Sam Raimi in roles as well as a short cameo by Bruce Campbell at the end. Speaking of the ending, it has one of the most creative and original final scenes of all time and is one of those movies that you will want to watch over and over again. I can’t say enough great things about this movie so I’ll just shut up and let you go watch it now. You can thank me later.
There you have it ladies and gents, my list of the 15 Most Underrated Slasher Horror Films. Please feel free to agree or disagree, I love hearing back from you!
Stage Fright (1987)
New Year’s Evil (1980)
Day of the Reaper (1984)
The Toolbox Murders (1978)
The Nail Gun Massacre (1985)
Killer Movie (2008)
Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
Truth of Dare?: A Critical Madness (1986)
Savage Weekend (1979)
Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
Tourist Trap (1979)
Hell Night (1981)
Funeral Home (1980)