Saturday 6 September 2008

No dice

Amanda By Night has a great article up at Horror Yearbook called Slasher Movies That Aren’t Really Slasher Movies At All but Totally Feel Like Slashers Because of All the Slashing (although I think she may have come up with a snappier title). It’s all wonderfully helpful stuff for genre fans looking for new leads after running out of actual slashers to watch, and I highly recommend you read it, but it also got me thinking about some so-called slasher movies that really aren’t slashers full-stop. You know, the ones people often cite as slashers but which, when you watch them, just don’t cut it (no pun intended) for whatever reason. Here are a few of the main offenders...

When a Stranger Calls (1979) – Everyone remembers the classic, Scream-inspiring opening scene of this creepy thriller, just as everyone tends to forget that most of the rest of it is a grubby-looking urban character study. Wash your hands after watching, and perhaps try the 2006 remake, which basically stretches out the original’s first twenty minutes to feature-length.

Halloween III (1982) – Despite being made at the height of the slasher boom, Halloween III managed to be nothing whatsoever to do with parts 1 and 2 – and nothing to do with slashers. In fact, it leaned more towards Body Snatchers-type territory, mixing in deadly masks, ancient witchcraft and killer robots. It was also a pile of crap, so part 4 thankfully returned to the more reliable Michael Myers formula.

Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005) – Another third part of a slasher series that’s not actually a slasher at all. Cross Final Destination with Prom Night II and you get lots of elaborate deaths but too much supernatural stuff – not to mention a lack of a real killer – for this to qualify as a genuine slasher.

The Majorettes (1986) – A borderline case, The Majorettes certainly starts off as a slasher movie but, just when it should be getting good, does something rather drastic to its final girl and becomes a vigilante-revenge movie instead.

American Psycho (2000) – As far as most critics seem to be concerned, anything that features a chainsaw-wielding chase scene has to be a slasher. But Mary Harron’s take on Bret Easton Ellis’s shock-classic novel instead offers 80s satire, character comedy, and a distinct sense of restraint when it comes to the red stuff.

April Fool’s Day (1986) – If you don’t already know why this one isn’t technically a slasher, then I’m not going to spoil it for you. What it is, however, is a fantastic comedy-thriller and all-round enjoyable film – which certainly can’t be said of the dire recent remake.

Cry_Wolf (2005) – This tame, college-set offering doesn’t make the cut for similar reasons as the aforementioned April Fool’s Day, but at least it entertains, while also using a few slasher movie trappings effectively.

Death Proof (2007) – Just what was Quentin Tarantino whittering on about when he described his half of Grindhouse as a slasher movie? Yes, it’s cheap-looking, sleazy and features a car-load of ill-fated teens, but the stuff of slashers it ain’t.


Anonymous said...

Wow! This is an AWESOME article. I'm going to post a link to it over at Retro Slashers after I've had my coffee.

I love this article MUCH more than I like my own! It's a great list... When a Stranger Calls and its sequel definitely fall into that "I though this was a slasher", but I'm kind of glad it's not (because it's so damn good!). Oh look, that's another list!

Thanks for the love!

Anonymous said...

Great list! I like HALLOWEEN III, but talk about missing the boat with that one. THE MAJORETTES is a strange one (or ONE BY ONE as my old VHS promised). Sometimes it's good to be thrown a curve ball, and other times not - and this was definitely the latter.

As for the APRIL FOOL'S DAY remake. I'm still sniffing the smelling salts after watching the staggeringly bland PROM NIGHT remake.