A collage featuring some of the best slasher horror movies (clockwise from top left): 'Candyman,' 'Halloween,' 'Scream,' and 'You're Next'

The Best Slasher Movies Ever Made

Welcome one, welcome all to the Used VHS Emporium! I’m so glad that you’re here! We almost NEVER get any customers around this time of night (or ever) but it looks like things are looking up! At the VHS Emporium, we’re practically GIVING these old VHS tapes away (please take them dear God). Now, what kind of films are you in the mood for? We’ve got period piece romances! 50 for a dollar! Or perhaps you’d like to peruse our collection of the best (and worst) ’90s Disney movies. If you buy one of the best, you get one of the worst for free!

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PLEASE DON’T LEAVE. We’re only just getting to know each other! I can’t believe I didn’t see it before, but I can tell just by looking at you now that you’re a horror fan. What kind? We’ve got ghosts! Aliens! Videos from the Republican National Convention! None of those suit your fancy? What about slasher films?

I saw that little gleam in your eyes! Oh, we’ve got LOTS of slashers for you. In fact, we’ve got the best slasher movies the horror genre has to offer. I’ll even slash a couple zeroes off the price tag for these tapes if you’re willing to buy! (They never had any zeroes.)

Halloween

A masked Michael Myers (Nick Castle) holds a kitchen knife at the top of a staircase in ‘Halloween.’
(Compass International Pictures)

You can’t go wrong with John Carpenter’s Halloween! True to his surname, Carpenter built one of the sturdiest slasher films of all time! All slashers since have been built on this scaffolding! Trade-related puns aside, Halloween is about a sleepy suburban town terrorized by an escaped mental patient named Michael Meyers. Wait till you get a load of his mask—you won’t sleep for a week! Sometimes I put it on just to keep myself awake.

Friday the 13th

Pamela Voorhees from "Friday the 13th"
(Paramount)

It’s your unlucky day! Friday the 13th is one of the most iconic slasher movies ever conceived! It’s about a group of teenagers (par for the slasher course) who are hunted down and hacked to bits by a mysterious killer at a sleepaway camp. What happens at sleepaway camp stays at sleepaway camp. Especially if they never find your body!

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Have you ever had a dream so vivid that you thought it might be real? My dream was to become a member of the traveling circus, but instead I inherited my dad’s used VHS store, and that dream died faster than the kids in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Wes Craven’s slasher masterpiece is about a deranged child-killing psychopath with razor-fingers who enters the dreams of teenagers and murders them. If only he could murder my regrets!

Scream

Courtney Cox, Jamie Kennedy, and Neve Campbell in Scream
(Dimension Films)

This little tape is just Scream-ing to be bought! They say that lightning never strikes in the same place twice, but Wes Craven proved them wrong and made horror movie history AGAIN. Scream is set in a quiet little town that soon gets LOUD with the sounds of murder! A masked killer is murdering teenagers at an alarming rate, and only those with expert knowledge of horror movies are capable of surviving. I’m sure you’d be fine! I know I would, my life is a horror movie already.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Marilyn Burns as Sally Hardesty fleeing in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
(New Line Cinema / Bryanston Distributing Company)

Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre gives ol’ Johnny Carpenter a run for his money for the greatest slasher film of all time. The film takes place in East Nowheresville, Texas. A group of teenagers are riding down the highway when they pick up a hitchhiker who pulls a knife on them. After throwing the hitchhiker out, they decide to keep on driving. Just kidding! They stop a few miles down the road and go “exploring.” And then they explore their way right into the arms of a family of cannibals.

You’re Next

A young woman holds an ax in "you're next"
(Lionsgate)

I’m selling this tape of Adam Wingard’s You’re Next for next to nothing! How did I get a tape of a film made in 2011? It starts with “boot” and ends with “leg”! Speaking of illegal activities, You’re Next is about a rich family hunted by a mysterious group of masked strangers during a dinner party. Luckily, one of the sons brought home his fiance, who is unreasonably good at killing people—and tests her skills on the assailants. It’s a reverse slasher!

X

A woman looks over her shoulder while doing her makeup in "X"
(A24)

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Just because this crusty old VHS tape is labeled X doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s porn! Then again, it’s not NOT porn! Ti West’s X is about a group of filmmakers who decide to shoot a skin flick on a farm owned by a creepy old couple. Little do they know that little old lady on the farm is seriously horny, and seeing all these young people get down and dirty makes her feel murderously jealous.

Candyman

The ghostly Candyman (Tony Todd) wields a hook hand covered in blood in "Candyman"
(TriStar Pictures)

A college grad student who majors in semiotics is researching the modern myth of the “Candyman.” And I thought I made poor life choices! The titular specter of Bernard Rose’s Candyman is a hook-handed dude who will murder you if you say his name five times in a mirror. That’s so easy to avoid, right? One would think, but the characters in this film somehow cock it up anyway.

Black Christmas

jess staring out the window in Black Christmas
(Ambassador Film Distributors / Warner Bros.)

In Bob Clark’s Black Christmas, a group of sorority girls are stalked and murdered by an unseen killer. I get it—I mean, I could totally see how a person who never got to go to clown college like they wanted and was instead forced to manage their dad’s dying VHS store would harbor murderous resentment towards college kids lucky enough to be allowed to follow their dreams. But this ain’t about me!

Peeping Tom

A creepy man caresses his film camera in "Peeping Tom"
(Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors)

Peeping Tom was panned by critics and single-handedly destroyed the career of director Michael Powell. Oh, to have had a career in the first place! Some people have all the luck. This classic is about a camera operator who gets his kicks by asking women to pose for photos, releasing the hidden blade on his camera, and then snapping a photo of their terrified faces before he kills them! Me, I prefer to capture it all on VHS. A picture is worth a thousand words, but a novel is basically a novel.

Did I say that out loud?

(featured image: TriStar Pictures / Compass International Pictures / Dimension Films / Lionsgate)


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Author
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.