What's Wrong With Slasher Movies?

What's Wrong With Slasher Movies?

Between critics and moral guardians, they can't seem to catch a break.

Back in their 1980s heyday, slasher movies were frequently criticized as excessively violent and formulaic. It’s never been a respectable genre, but there was a time when it was popular. In recent years, slasher movies have largely been beaten out by competition like monster movies, found footage, and paranormal horror. All this criticism isn’t entirely undeserved. Frankly, the vast majority of slasher movies are not only terrible films, but terrible horror films.

Among the most notable elements of the slasher genre is its use of stock characters. These films usually revolve around a group of high schoolers or college students, each of whom is a lazy stereotype. There’s the obnoxious jock, the awkward nerd, the selfish dumb blonde, and so on. Most slasher movies delight in making their characters as simplistic and unsympathetic as possible, so the audience hardly cares when they die. They’re disposable cardboard cut-outs to be creatively slaughtered and forgotten about. Little to no time is spent on character development, as most characters are killed after very little screen time.

As slasher franchises continue, they become increasingly oriented around the killer. Horror fans may be able to name a few of the killer’s victims, but everyone knows Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. As the sequels and bodies pile up, we learn more about the killer, often regarding their backstory or motivation. They become the central character of the franchise, while their victims remain shallow as ever. We’re not supposed to feel the terror of the everyday people, but rather revel in the killer’s bloody deeds.

This results in poor storytelling and ineffective horror. The plots of slasher movies are primarily about people trying to survive a killer on the loose, but the characters are written specifically so that we don’t care about their survival. While memorable stories make the audience care about the characters and the outcome of the plot, slasher movies deliberately inspire indifference. Some people might say that horror movies don’t need to tell good stories, as long as they’re scary. I would argue you can’t make a movie genuinely scary if it isn’t a well-told story. Sure, you can focus on jump scares, but that doesn’t inspire real fear, just momentary surprise. In order to really scare us, horror movies have to give us characters that we can feel empathy for, and then subject them to frightening scenarios. If we’re rooting for them to die, we simply can’t feel fear.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, everything I’ve said has been in reference to “most” slasher movies. There are some slasher movies, particularly the earlier ones, that are a different story. While the genre drew influence from earlier films, most notably Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho,’ it’s foundations were laid in 1974 with two films: ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Black Christmas’ (from the director of ‘A Christmas Story,’ oddly enough). Both films attempt to make the audience uncomfortable with images of victimization, rather than identifying with the killer. Though these films feature horrific murders, the actual on-screen violence is surprisingly restrained (Tobe Hooper, director of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ actually hoped the film would be rated PG, although it received an R rating). It should also be noted, both films have fantastic, memorable endings. Although controversial upon release, both films have since received critical approval and enduring popularity.

The film that really created the slasher phenomenon was legendary director John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ from 1978. Unlike most slasher films, ‘Halloween’ actually has well-defined characters like the protagonist Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance), the killer’s psychiatrist. Carpenter depicted only as much violence as necessary, getting most of the scares by creating tension. ‘Halloween’ set the standard for the invincible, soulless masked killer that would come to dominate the genre. It created a template almost every subsequent slasher movie has borrowed, but what was innovative at the time has become cliche through repetition.

By the mid-80s, the slasher genre was dominated by lackluster sequels and rip-offs, and some of the earliest direct-to-video films. The one bright spot was director Wes Craven’s ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street.’ While adhering to the basic elements of the genre, it managed to distinguish itself from its predecessors with an original concept: an inescapable killer that attacks his victims in their dreams, rather than the real world. The result was surreal, creepy, and actually kind of fun. Wes Craven continued to redefine the slasher genre in the ‘90s, with the sequel ‘New Nightmare’ (which I’ve written about before) and ‘Scream.’

Admittedly, good (or even decent) slasher movies are few and far between. Rather than condemning an entire genre, however, I think it’s best to see where it usually goes wrong, and to praise the films that manage to avoid those pitfalls.
Cover Image Credit: Bryanston Pictures

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14 Inspirational 'Winnie The Pooh' Quotes For College Kids Feeling Like Eeyore

Of course he with the help of his friends.


Winnie the Pooh and his friends were my best buds as a child. Now, as a college student, I've realized they knew more about life than I thought.

These 14 quotes from the 'Winnie the Pooh' movies, TV shows, and books, is getting me through this difficult semester, and maybe it will help you, too.

"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." -Christopher Robin

"The nicest thing about rain is that it always stops. Eventually." -Eeyore

"The things that make me different are the things that make me." -Piglet

"It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine." -Eeyore

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day." -Winnie the Pooh

"Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering." -Piglet

"Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be." -Eeyore

"Spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count." -Rabbit

"There's no difference between falling a thousand feet to the jagged rocks below and tumbling out of bed." -Tigger

"People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day." -Winnie the Pooh

"I always get to where I'm going by walking away from where I have been." -Winnie the Pooh

"To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks." -Eeyore 

"You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for other to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." -Piglet

"When you are a bear of very little brain, and you think of things, you find sometimes that a thing which seemed very thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it." -Winnie the Pooh

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Music Review: Greta Van Fleet, "Anthem of the Peaceful Army"

The best rock album of the year.


Greta Van Fleet is a rock band with a classic rock sound. But what is so amazing is that the four members, 3 of which are brothers, are between the ages of 19 and 22. You have Josh, the lead singer; Jake, who plays guitar; Sam, who plays the bass and piano; and Danny, who plays the drums. They just released their first full album this year, back in October. I have been waiting for this album for so long and it is just so awesome! I love it. I ordered a vinyl record when it was released and it is amazing. This is a breakdown of each song, and what you can expect from each one.

1.​ Age Of Man

Age Of Man: This is the opening song of the album. The song starts off slow, but it reminds me of something mystical. The lyrics of the whole song remind me of an oral story that is being told from an elder to the younger people about how we as people have come about. Josh's vocals are just amazing in the chorus, he can really belt! Overall I think this is a great song, and it's a great opening to what these guys want to tell.

2. The Cold Wind

The Cold Wind: This song is just so fun. Sam does an amazing job in the bass in this song. It sounds so intricate and really adds a lot to this song. Furthermore, Jake's little guitar solo is so fun. One thing that is starting to grow on me about this song is the vocals in the middle of the song where Josh is just saying "Ma ma ma ma ma…". It sounds a little funny and the first time I heard it I actually laughed out loud because it reminded me of a confused dodo bird. But the more I listen to it, the more I like it because it's just such a fun thing. This is the kind of song that I can just stupidly dance around to and have fun with it.

3. When The Curtain Falls

When The Curtain Falls: I actually had this song stuck in my head for the past few nights while trying to sleep, which was interesting. But this song is so fun. Just every aspect of this song, from the vocals to the guitar, to the drums, to the bass, perfectly melds together to create this masterpiece. Also, Jake does a sick guitar riff. Like I am blown away! Just so good.

4. Watching Over

Watching Over: We're slowing it down again. But it has a psychedelic feel to it. This song is much more serious than some of the other ones. The chorus really hits on the point how much we have ruined our planet, but we don't want to see it or fix it because many people are acting like it's fine. Kind of a deep and depressing song, but so relevant and thought provoking. A very interesting detail that I hope you hear when listening to this, it kind of freaked me out the first time I heard it, but during the part when Josh sings, "With the water rising" you can hear like a deeper voice singing it too. Perhaps it's the one watching over?

5. Lover, Leaver

Lover, Leaver: This song is one of my favorites. It reminds me of a 70s song because of the way the instruments come together. It gives a feeling of Woodstock and nostalgia. Furthermore, the lyrics are a fun play on words. For example, "Lover, leaver" sounds like "love her, leave her". I don't know if they meant for that to happen, but it just adds a bit extra to the song. The ending is mind boggling. Danny does an amazing job on those drums. I can only imagine how tiring it must be.

6. You're The One

You're The One: This song is just so cute and loving. Sam does a great job on the piano, which adds a lot of character to the song. It sounds like a song I've heard before, like this could be a cover to an older song, but I can't find anything about it. Obviously they've done a good job achieving that older sound if I think it sounds like an older song. This is a great song and I highly recommend this song if you want something a bit more relaxed and loving.

7. The New Day

The New Day: I love this song. It makes me feel so inspired to just go out and love people. The opening line, which is my favorite, just says it all, "Let the new day shine its light on me". What a powerful opening line! However, there's a line that says, "You're growing up I'll watch you bloom" but I always think he's saying "You're throwing up". I think that's just a "me problem", but it makes the song a bit funnier. Anyway, I feel like a flower child when I listen to this song, and that's all I want in life. I hope that this song inspires you too and that you wake up each day with a fresh start.

8. Mountain of the Sun

Mountain of the Sun: Another great song. This is an awesome song to listen to while hiking or just out and about. The opening guitar sounds so cool, and makes you feel like you're on a journey. Josh's voice is just so incredible, but it really shines in this song. Jake has an awesome riff in this song, and one of my favorite parts is when they use the tambourine. It's such a simple sound, but it adds another layer to this song.

9. Brave New World

Brave New World: This song is much darker than the others, in respect to both content and sound. This song again reflects on the damage that we have done to this earth, but a more social commentary on it. One of my favorite lines of the song is "kill fear, the power of lies For we will not be hypnotized" because fear is a powerful thing, and fear is a liar. It makes us believe lies that we tell ourselves or that we hear from others. Once you realize this, you will not give in to fear and you will know the truth. Again, Jake has an amazing rift near the end and Sam does some awesome things with the bass. They just kill it every time.

10. Anthem

Anthem: This song is personally one of my other favorites. It's one of their slower songs but it ties the whole album together since it is the "Anthem" of the Peaceful Army. The song talks about how there are so many problems in the world and everyone has different opinions, but we should "agree to disagree" on our opposing views and just love each other. This is a chill song. It almost has a tropical feel to it, so you feel so relaxed.

11. Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)

Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer): This is an extended version of "Lover, Leaver" and it is just as amazing. It's a bit longer because there is more of a rif in the middle. You get so much more from all of the members. You just have to listen to this song because they all just do such an amazing job making this song even more perfect, which I didn't even know was possible.

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