The slasher film. Is it the blood and gore? The sex and drugs? The tension teens feel facing their final moments of life? Yes and no. It’s quite hard to put it into words really, the thrill of a good slasher flick.
Of course it started with Friday the 13th. Not the genre but for me. My love of slashers that it. I believe the first one I have vague memories of partially watching was part 3. I remember the hippies and the biker gang. I distinctly remember that damn cool van. Ah, how I’ve always wanted that van in my life.
As a kid I only caught bits and pieces of them. Whenever a friend would try to get me into Friday the 13th I would cringe. I was a solid Freddy Krueger nut. If a horror film didn’t take place on Elm Street, I wasn’t interested. But they kept trying. It took me years to finally get over my Jasonphobia and sit down with the box set and watch them all back to back.
At first I felt a slew of emotions. The first movie was boring. The second was GOOD. The third was a true 80’s horror film. Then I got to part four. It felt like the series was trying too hard. Then part five. Ugh what the crap was that? Then part six, ah yes life again this was the goods zombie Jason had arrived. Then parts seven and eight washed it down the drain ugh garbage pure junk.
I had watched Part 7, A New Blood, in its entirety when I was a kid. The age eludes me but whatever. I do remember it was on a black and white set I had in my bedroom. It was on TV so cut up with commercials and edited for content. Even though it was lame, and I often considered it my representation of the franchise, I was thrilled to be hiding in my room, in the dark after bedtime watching this slasher film.
It wasn’t until many years later I even learned what the word slasher meant. I had heard it used on rare occasion as I had other horror fans as friends but I didn’t quite understand how it was used. Until I did.
It was Slumber Party Massacre that fueled my love for slashers. Then, all of a sudden one day I wrestled with the claim that the Elm Street flicks were often considered slashers, as was alien. With a new appreciation for the genre and a better understanding of horror in general I went in gung ho. Sorority House Massacre. Sleepaway Camp. Last House on the Left. Halloween. Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Black Christmas. My Bloody Valentine. Scream. I Know What You Did Last Summer. Silent Night, Deadly Night, Stepfather 2, Prom Night. Child’s Play.
By the time I figured out what a slasher flick was I was obsessed. Give me more blood splatter please. Give me more teen screams. I wanted all the deadliest sex. I needed the darkest most evil villains. Give me a monster to hate while rooting for the body count to climb ever higher. There is also the thrill of the chase. Which unslightly victim will be the last? Who will become the lone survivor, branded as a final girl for the rest of her days. Until she meets her untimely end in the sequel that is.
Slashers are therapy for me. I enjoy the thrills. The jump scares. I crave the creative dismemberments. It isn’t the bloodlust but rather death itself. All horror movies force us to face death constantly. You have to look it square in the face and confront it. If that disturbs you I get why horror might not appeal to you. Wanna know why it does to me? Because I often sit alone. I watch alone. I walk this life, alone. Horror movies take a group, thrust a loner in the midst and who survives? The last person to get out alive is the loner. The one who nobody fucked. Nobody made out with. Nobody paid any attention to. The one who went into the woods on their own to think. To check on the kids. The one who jumped out the window instead of running up the stairs. The lone survivor. It is a trope I identify with. After all my friends are long gone, either metaphorically dead to me or buried for real, I will continue on, the final girl.