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SLASHER FILM FESTIVAL

by Count Fosco
I’ve set myself a little fun project of watching and more often re-watching cult & classic American/Canadian slasher films from the 70s and 80s. This festival will also see me include the odd non-North American slasher to include the likes of European slashers STAGEFRIGHT & PIECES. I’ll rank them in order of preference as I go along. NOTE: I’ve started this ‘Slasher Film Festival’ from films watched in 2011. Slasher Films Missing From MUBI: MORTUARY (1983) aka EMBALMED – Directed by Howard Avedis. Sub-par oddity starring a young Bill Paxton. Would rank below mid-tier slashers such as HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME and CURTAINS. Actually, bottom of the… Read more

I’ve set myself a little fun project of watching and more often re-watching cult & classic American/Canadian slasher films from the 70s and 80s. This festival will also see me include the odd non-North American slasher to include the likes of European slashers STAGEFRIGHT & PIECES. I’ll rank them in order of preference as I go along. NOTE: I’ve started this ‘Slasher Film Festival’ from films watched in 2011.

Slasher Films Missing From MUBI:
MORTUARY (1983) aka EMBALMED – Directed by Howard Avedis. Sub-par oddity starring a young Bill Paxton. Would rank below mid-tier slashers such as HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME and CURTAINS. Actually, bottom of the pack for me or just above the insipid MY BLOODY VALENTINE remake and below SPLATTER UNIVERSITY.

HOUSE OF DEATH (1982) aka DEATH SCREAMS – Directed by David Nelson. Not a classic but silly, cheesy fun with likeable characters and added bemusement due to the reels being put in the wrong order on DVD release. Rank between FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 and THE SLAYER.

FUNERAL HOME (1980) aka CRIES IN THE NIGHT – Directed by William Fruet. Likeable lead in 15 year-old Lesley Donaldson but pacing is very slow and lacks kills. Ending is bonkers in a fun way. Rank between CURTAINS and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER.

KILLER PARTY (1986) – Directed by William Fruet. A little coy in places and totally bonkers in others but jolly good cheesy fun & an under seen slasher. The biggest plus aside from the 80s fashions and dialogue is it’s extremely likable trio of sorority girl wannabes! Rank between MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981) and THE INITIATION.

FATAL GAMES (1984) – Directed by Michael Elliott. Obscure and little known sub-par GRADUATION DAY wannabe slasher (yes, you read that right) with terrible acting, dull pacing & an absurd twist. Rank between SCREAM 3 and SPLATTER UNIVERSITY.

INCUBUS (1982) – Directed by John Hough. Supernatural slasher worth seeking out for some real menacing atmosphere & harrowing violence. Plus there is a superb sequence with a lady in a wheelchair hurrying toward a bathroom door as her sister is murdered the camera at level of wheels of the chair. Upon reaching the closed bathroom door we see the murdered women through the crack at the bottom. Also memorable for the opening line… “You bitch!” INCUBUS must also take the prize for the number of times the phrase ‘dry intercourse’ is used in a film. Both cheesy & nasty! Rank between FRIDAY THE 13TH and TERROR TRAIN.

ISLAND OF BLOOD (1982) – Also known as ‘Whodunit?’ and ‘Scared Alive’ this mess of a flm is directed by William T. Naud and ranks alongside MORTUARY down at the very bottom of the slasher film pile. ISLAND OF BLOOD has had terrible acting, non-existent plot, awful script, shoddy VHS image quality and that bloody song with lyrics inspiring the kills is fuckin’ doing my tits! Not even final girl called ‘BJ’ snigger, running around house in nightie can save it. I didn’t actually nod off to ISLAND OF BLOOD but kinda wished I had.

THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY (1988) – Directed by Stephen Tyler. Each individual element of filmmaking process in this slasher flick is truly dire. Holistically it’s comedy gold. Viewed in the cold light of day without intoxication this could very well be the worst slasher film I’ve ever seen. Bottom of the pack with a thud.

NIGHT SCHOOL (1981) – also known as ‘Terror Eyes’. Directed by Ken Hughes. ather slow and relatively tame slasher film which bafflingly was identified as a ‘video nasty’ by the DPP during the 80s in Britain. The plot does boast a playfully bizarre ‘head hunter’ killer, dressed in bikers’ black leather and helmet, brandishing a machete who decapitates victims to stage grisly tableaux featuring water akin to an ancient African ritual. NIGHT SCHOOL also has some memorable kills with the stalk and slash sequence set in an aquarium a particular stand out. Finally, the film is notable for the debut appearance of actress Rachel Ward who gives an unintentionally hilarious wooden performance as the lead. Worth a watch for 80s slasher enthusiasts otherwise it may prove a little to languid in pace for a more mainstream audience. Would rank on a par or slightly below likes of CURTAINS.

HUMONGOUS (1982) – Directed by Paul Lynch. Even watching this on a fuzzy VHS copy the opening scene was pretty damn grim. Luckily the dumb teens soon arrive featuring a cast/plot which smacks of a fun ‘Scooby-Doo’ vibe & the film has some suitably cheesy 80s paraphernalia & fashions. However, ultimately it’s all a bit meh. The incredibly dark & rough VHS image transfer can’t of helped matters. The audio in particular is very poor on the version I watched. Even so despite the shortcomings of the audio/visual presentation there’s no denying the wooden acting! Would probably rank alongsode other average to sub-standard fare like FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III.

CRIMINALLY INSANE (1975) – Directed by Nick Millard. Expectations set low for this one and CRIMINALLY INSANE (1975) proved to be ultra-low budget (short) slasher in grindhouse tradition which had it’s moments. Would rank pretty far down though rubbing dirty shoulders with likes of SPLATTER UNIVERSITY and FATAL GAMES.

CRIMINALLY INSANE 2 aka CRAZY FAT ETHEL 2 (1987) – Directed by Nick Millard. A piss poor zero-budget non-entity of a slasher film with ugly camcorder visuals. This mess of a sequel replays all significant and insignificant scenes from the first film for no other reason one would assume than it’s easier than actually coming up with a new storyline. I may have finally found what has to be THE worst slasher film, beating off some stiff competition. Fuckin’ awful. Ranks at the very bottom of the bottom rung of slashers.

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