Sleepaway Camp (1983)

There have been many unexpected twists in the slasher canon; in fact, a shock finale is pretty much a prerequisite for a sub-genre that relies so heavily on jump scares and gross-out shock factor.

Also known as Nightmare Vacation, Sleepaway Camp is a very different animal—different in the sense that it not only relies on its twist, it lives and dies by it. It is because of that twist—one of the most shocking and unexpected in all of cinema—that the movie would go on to spawn several increasingly shitty sequels, achieving the kind of cult status that most low-budget schlock can only dream of. So monumental was the movie’s shock reveal that […]

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Blood Rage (1987)

Blood Rage is a goofy little number which peddles horror the way Head and Shoulders peddles shampoo. 

Originally titled Shadow at Nightmare Woods, the movie’s 1983 theatrical release coincided with the censorship crusade of the early 1980s, and was therefore stripped of its gruesome embellishments until Prism Entertainment rescued it from the MPAA’s pitiless expurgation. By 1987—the year of its largely uncut home video release—the slasher genre had undergone the kind of metamorphosis that turned a cynical vacuum of vivisection into a sparkling wink of self-knowing […]

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Rawhead Rex (1986)

When you see the name Clive Barker, you’re pretty much guaranteed a stamp of quality.

A prolific author and scribe of unique and terrifying short fiction, he would also write and direct the original Hellraiser movie, with a screenplay that was adapted from his story The Hellbound Heart. Dark, unique and seeped in the fantastical, Hellraiser would give us one of the most iconic horror villains of the decade, a pin-headed sadist with proclamations of making pleasure and pain indivisible […]

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When Carpenter Met Craven: Halloween H20’s Unholy Alliance

Back in the mid-90s, Wes Craven’s Scream changed the face of horror cinema.

In 1994 the cult director would test the meta-concept in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, a movie which saw pop culture farce Fred Krueger return to the dark side and cross over into the realms of reality. The idea of Robert Englund’s ‘bastard child of a thousand maniacs’ stalking the cast of the original movie was enough to salvage the once fearsome character’s languishing credibility, but the concept wasn’t enough to catch mainstream fire all by itself […]

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Shaving the Bone: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Back in 1986, rookie director John McNaughton was approached by a Chicago home video executive eager to cash in on the low-budget slasher craze, expecting a money-spinning slice of exploitation for his $110,000 outlay.

What he got instead was a painfully authentic docudrama chronicling the everyday exploits of a deadpan serial killer, a movie that was immediately banned by the MPAA and BBFC for its explicit nature. It wasn’t until 1990 that Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was given a full release, thanks in large part to […]

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Final Exam (1981)

A slasher movie that shows restraint is a rare and commendable thing. Final Exam shows that restraint, it just never really goes anywhere.

Looking back at the 80s slasher boom and the rashly sliced videotape entrails that would follow, you immediately think of Jason Voorhees—an indestructible killing machine who would plunder his way through six instalments before the decade was out thanks to a plethora of cynical gimmicks that kept the franchise relevant, but series stalwarts like Jason were exceptions to the rule […]

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