25 Best Slasher Movies of All Time, Ranked
Horror is a broad canvas that covers many unique sub-genres, from zombie movies to haunted house flicks. None of them are as intertwined with the genre, however, as the slasher movie. Some of horror’s biggest movies are slashers, with the sub-genre birthing some of the most recognizable characters in cinema. Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers have all transcended the medium to become essential parts of popular culture.
Everyone can remember the first time they watched a slasher movie, most likely as a child hiding behind a sofa, equally enthralled and terrified by what was happening. A good slasher movie will stay with you for days as the kills and thrills play over in your head, but a great slasher movie will stay with you forever, with some of the genre’s best movies helping to shape their fans into who they are.
25 ‘Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter’ (1984)
Seen by many as the peak of the franchise, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter follows another group of teenagers as they make the questionable decision of spending the weekend at Camp Crystal Lake. As the Jarvis siblings notice their new neighbors being carved up, they put a plan into motion to save the day.
The Final Chapter sees Jason in full swing as he delivers some of Friday the 13th‘s best kills, such as Jimmy’s (Crispin Glover) run-in with a corkscrew. It offers up everything one could want from a 1980s slasher movie: a savage killer, a cast of funny and likable victims, and plenty of the red stuff.
24 ‘Scream 2’ (1997)
Picking up two years after the first movie, Scream 2 sees heroine Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) trying to put that film’s massacre behind her as she attends college. Soon enough someone else has donned the Ghostface mask and begun their own killing spree, causing Sidney to suspect her new group of friends as she fights to survive once more.
Retaining the meta aspect that made the original so popular, Scream 2 shifts its gaze to sequels, laying down the rules of second entries while creating some of its own. Despite having to follow a slasher movie that was praised for its originality, Scream 2 never feels like a retread and has a great time lampooning slasher sequels while creating one of the best sequels in horror.
23 ‘X’ (2022)
Ti West‘s tribute to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre sees the cast and crew of an adult movie travel to a remote Texas farmhouse to film their latest project. The filmmakers are soon screaming from more than just pleasure as the elderly owners begin killing their guests, turning the porno into a snuff film.
From its 1970s backdrop to its Texas setting, X feels like a long-lost Texas Chainsaw movie. West creates his own identity, however, thanks to his unique killers and a great cast, including Mia Goth, who pulls double duty as hero and villain. A prequel named Pearl was released soon after, while the sequel Maxxxine is currently in production.
22 ‘You’re Next’ (2011)
Proving that nothing is scarier than dinner with your extended family, You’re Next sees a family gathering interrupted by a trio of masked killers. What the late arrivals do not expect, however, is for the son’s new girlfriend, Erin (Sharni Vinson), to be a trained survivalist as she turns the tables on the killers.
Described as a slasher take on Home Alone, You’re Next is a blast as it pivots from standard home invasion movie to something far more creative. Erin is one of the best modern final girls as she kicks all kinds of ass, while the wonderful Vinson is joined by a nice cast of indie horror veterans that includes Barbara Crampton and A.J. Bowen.
21 ‘Happy Death Day’ (2017)
College student Tree (Jessica Rothe) is the having the worst day ever: her dad is hounding her, the guy she ghosted is stalking her, and to top it all of she is murdered on her way to a party. That is not the end of it, however, as she finds herself stuck in a time loop that can only be closed once she unmasks her assailant.
Happy Death Day was a breath of fresh air at release, providing genuine thrills and laughs at a time when the horror genre was taking itself too seriously. Rothe is a revelation as Tree, showcasing remarkable character development as she goes from mean girl to a caring hero that one cannot help but root for as she endures constant death.
20 ‘Final Destination’ (2000)
After his traumatic premonition of a plane crash comes true, high schooler Alex (Devon Sawa) and the classmates who were kicked off the plane with him believe they have cheated death. They have merely delayed the inevitable, however, as the Grim Reaper comes back to kill them in a series of highly creative freak accidents.
While Final Destination does not seem like a slasher movie at first glance, it fits all the trademarks of the genre. Cast of attractive teenagers waiting to be offed? Check. Gruesome death scenes that will live rent-free in your head? Check. Iconic, unstoppable villain that you can build a franchise around? Check, even if you cannot see them. One of the most creative slasher movies out there.
19 ‘My Bloody Valentine’ (1981)
Providing a way for single horror fans to enjoy themselves on Valentine’s Day, My Bloody Valentine sees a group of dumb teenagers decide heading down into a mine shaft will be a romantic way to spend the evening. Rather than finding love, they find a killer in a mining costume who chases them through the labyrinth with a pickaxe.
Often considered one of the most underrated slasher movies of the 1980s golden era, My Bloody Valentine deserves a place alongside the greats of that decade. While it was neutered at release due to having its gorier moments censored, My Bloody Valentine strikes gold thanks to its claustrophobic setting and heart-stealing villain.
18 ‘Candyman’ (1992)
When graduate student Helen (Virgina Madsen) learns of an urban legend surrounding a hooked killer known as the Candyman, she ventures into the disadvantaged neighborhood he is said to haunt. Discovering that the boogeyman is more than a myth, Helen soon finds herself framed for Candyman’s murders as she struggles to prove his existence.
Alongside Hellraiser, Candyman is horror master Clive Barker‘s most famous work. Tony Todd is unforgettable as the Candyman, and he creates one of horror’s most iconic killers. Rather than just relying on gore, Candyman is a chilling tale thanks to its haunting atmosphere and will have you avoiding mirrors for a while.
17 ‘Blood and Black Lace’ (1964)
When a Roman fashion house begins to see its models being murdered by a masked man with a metal claw, a police inspector is called in to find the culprit. As he begins his investigation, more models are brutally slain in this classic murder mystery that is one of the first examples of giallo.
A movie’s legacy can be seen by its influence on the medium, and legendary directors Martin Scorsese and Pedro Almodovar have directly referenced Blood and Black Lace in their own work. Despite being over six decades old, Blood and Black Lace still holds up as one of the original slasher movies.
16 ‘Intruder’ (1989)
Showcasing that worse things than Karens stalk the aisles of stores, Intruder follows the night crew of a supermarket as they are killed off by an unseen assailant. With reinforcements not arriving until morning, the surviving workers try to escape the depressing reality of their low-paying job being the death of them.
Intruder is notable for the involvement of Evil Dead legends Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, who feature in a supporting role and cameo respectively. Never reaching the mainstream heights of its contemporaries, Intruder is a cult classic thanks to its unique setting and gruesome death scenes, which are some of the best kills in the horror genre.
15 ‘Sleepaway Camp’ (1983)
After watching her father and brother die in a traumatic boating accident, young Angela Baker (Felissa Rose) is sent to summer camp with her protective cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten). Bullies become the least of Angela’s worries as a brutal murderer begins killing the guests and crew of the camp, setting the stage for one of the most shocking endings in horror.
The most iconic summer camp slasher movie after Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp remains a favorite of 80s horror fans. Angela is one of the most memorable final girls in horror as her unique journey unfolds, and the kills are bound to make even the most hardened filmgoer squirm.
14 ‘The Burning’ (1981)
After Cropsy (Lou David), the caretaker of a youth summer camp is left horribly burnt after a prank gone wrong, he swears bloody revenge on the camp’s guests. When a new wave of kids and teens arrive for a summer of fun, they instead find themselves stalked and killed by the deranged murderer and his gardening sheers.
Another overlooked slasher movie from the 1980s, The Burning has gained new appreciation from horror fans in the decades since its release. While some deride it as being a Friday the 13th knockoff, The Burning carves its own identity as it features early appearances from Jason Alexander and Fisher Stevens and an unforgettable massacre aboard a raft.
13 ‘Opera’ (1987)
When young understudy Betty (Cristina Marsillach) suddenly receives the lead role in a production of Macbeth, her joy is short-lived as a deranged stalker begins killing everyone close to her. To make matters worse, the killer wants Betty to witness every murder and ties her up at every crime scene with needles in her eyes to force her to watch.
Directed by Dario Argento, Opera is a disturbing take on the slasher genre and a masterpiece from the legendary giallo filmmaker. Using its opera house setting to perfection, Opera allows Argento to showcase his eye for striking visuals while finding the startling beauty in death.
12 ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ (1987)
Moving from the suburbs to a psychiatric hospital, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 follows a group of teenagers locked in the facility as they become Freddy Krueger’s (Robert Englund) latest victims. As no one believes that the boogeyman stalks their dreams, young Kristen (Patricia Arquette) attempts to save her friends and herself.
The best sequel in the slasher genre, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 deserves a place alongside the iconic original. The hospital setting is ingenious as it allows Freddy to prey on troubled teens, while it makes for a perfect continuation of the first movie thanks to the appearance of original heroine Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp).
11 ‘Tenebrae’ (1982)
When an American author travels to Rome to promote his latest book, he becomes involved in the investigation of a serial killer. Seemingly obsessed with the author and his work, the killer uses his writings as inspiration for how he murders his victims, casting suspicion on the writer himself.
Tenebrae is a quintessential giallo as it combines beautiful, scenic cinematography with gruesome and confronting visuals. While Argento’s work in the genre is prolific, Tenebrae sees the legendary director exploring themes such as voyeurism, trauma, and the fetishism of death deeper than he ever did in his other work.
10 ‘Child’s Play’ (1988)
When a scuffle with police inside a toy store sees prolific serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) shot dead, he uses his dying words to enact a spell that places his soul inside a Good Guy doll. When the doll finds its way into the hands of young Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), “Chucky” plots to steal the boy’s body and kill anyone who dares to try and stop him.
Leaning into its silly premise by never taking itself too seriously, Child’s Play is one of the most inventive slasher movies of the 1980s as the diminutive killer takes down targets much larger than him. Chucky is one of the most iconic horror villains, with Dourif’s portrayal striking the perfect balance between funny and scary.
9 ‘Friday the 13th’ (1980)
The original bloodbath at Camp Crystal Lake sees a group of young camp counselors arrive to prepare the area for the inbound campers. Content to spend their downtime partying and lounging by the lake, the teens soon find themselves fighting for their lives as an unseen killer begins picking them off one by one.
While some will argue that the original Friday the 13th is not the best in the series, with The Final Chapter and Jason Lives having their fans, the first movie set the template for the franchise and many other slasher movies that followed. It also harbors a mystery element that the sequels lack as they shift focus to a Jason who demolishes teens with ease.
8 ‘Deep Red’ (1975)
After musician Marcus (David Hemmings) witnesses a murder, he feels compelled to solve the case. Teaming up with reporter Gianna (Daria Nicolodi), the pair discover they are chasing a twisted serial killer who plays a child’s song to his victims before he slays them. As they get closer to uncovering the culprit, they risk becoming his next victims.
Deep Red is a perfect example of Argento’s trademark stylish camerawork and disturbing violence, while also featuring a compelling story wrapped up in a twisty murder mystery. It is cited by many as being the ultimate giallo movie and is the perfect place for anyone looking to step into the genre.
7 ‘Peeping Tom’ (1960)
Mark (Karlheinz Bohm) is an amateur filmmaker who spends his time stalking and filming women. When he gets them alone he murders his prey, capturing their dying moments with his camera. When his new neighbor Helen (Anna Massey) takes an interest in the strange man, she finds herself drawn into his dark world.
Peeping Tom is often referred to as the original slasher movie, and it originates several elements that would become trademarks of the genre. Featuring a human killer who stalks his victims in Mark and Helen as the earliest example of a final girl, the slasher genre owes everything to Peeping Tom.
6 ‘Black Christmas’ (1974)
As their college campus empties out ahead of the Christmas break, the last few remaining members of a sorority house begin to receive threatening phone calls from a stranger. As the police try to discover who is responsible, the stalker creeps through the house and quietly murders the girls before slinking back into the shadows.
Black Christmas has a unique legacy as being one of the most acclaimed slasher movies of all time while also being one of the most underrated. Its low-key stalk-and-slay story is still just as chilling almost fifty years later, while its focus on young, female victims targeted by a creepy man has become a trademark of the genre.