Since its release on October 15, the movie Halloween Kills has continued to take over both the box office and living room sofas. Debuting over 40 years after John Carpenter’s Halloween, the franchise’s first installment, its dominance confirms that the slasher film has become as American as apple pie. In some twisted way, audiences relate to these brutal movies depicting average, everyday citizens turning into heroes as they’re thrust into terrifying scenarios with chainsaws buzzing and knives gashing. Millions of horror fans tuning in to watch the latest showdown between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode makes one thing clear: scream queens and masked killers are not going out of fashion any time soon.
Once you’ve watched Halloween Kills, you may feel a sense of withdrawal and long for more bone-chilling entertainment. HBO Max has the solution for you, with seven fantastic slasher films that serve as the perfect second course after devouring the violent happenings in Haddonfield, Illinois. Streaming services are putting their best foot forward this spooky season, and HBO Max contains countless classics, including the entire Evil Dead and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. With October 31 fast approaching, it’s time to squeeze in as much horror and gore as possible. From forgotten pre-Halloween classics to modern-day masterpieces, these slasher films promise to leave no knife unbloodied.
Black Christmas (2019)
The hunted become the hunter in the bloodsoaked, female-centric remake of Black Christmas directed by Sophia Takal. A tale of revenge steeped in violence, sorority sisters take on the patriarchy by killing demonic frat boys one at a time amongst snowmen and hot chocolate. If that doesn’t spell out holiday cheer, what does? As winter break kicks off at the fictional Hawthorne University, female college students begin disappearing one by one after being stalked by a mysterious masked man. One group of sorority sisters decide to take matters into their own hands, and the result is a biting satire full of rage and twinkling Christmas lights. Black Christmas features scream queen-making performances by Imogen Poots (The Father), Aleyse Shannon (Beauty), Brittany O’Grady (White Lotus), and Lily Donoghue (Dirty John). A remake of the 1974 cult classic film under the same name starring Olivia Hussey, this modern-day rendition is an exhilarating, snow-filled ride.
Before Brian De Palma was known for directing horror classics like Carrie and Dressed to Kill, he first began terrifying audiences in 1973 with his slasher film, Sisters. Serving as an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, political journalist Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt) believes she’s witnessed the brutal murder of a next-door neighbor, but nobody believes her. Her investigation leads her down a dangerous rabbit hole as she attempts to uncover the truth, and the results are disturbing. Though it came out almost fifty years ago, Sisters carries a timeless weight as it follows one woman’s determination to tell the truth, no matter the cost. Deliriously frightening with a beating pulse of paranoia, Sisters relentlessly creeps throughout its 90-minute runtime and goes for the jugular as the end credits start to roll.
My Bloody Valentine (2009)
My Bloody Valentine is not for the squeamish, as there's so much blood throughout the movie it practically stains the camera. When a mine collapses in the Norman Rockwell-like town of Harmony, USA, six miners are trapped underground and only one survives, by murdering his way out with a pickaxe. He then goes on a death rampage dressed in his masked, mining ensemble before eventually getting killed by the cops. Fast forward ten years and the murders start up again, but this time it's a new masked miner who begins hunting town members. Containing dozens of grizzly murders throughout, this remake of the 1981 original film strictly adheres to the various slasher film tropes. Utilizing all the key ingredients of the genre, it sprinkles in untrustworthy cops, a courageous final girl, and a terrifying, pickaxe-wielding serial killer as the cherry on top of a very messy sundae. Starring Jensen Ackles and Jamie King, if blood and carnage is what you crave, My Bloody Valentine is the answer.
A modern-day slasher classic was born with the comedy-slasher film Freaky, starring Vince Vaugn and Kathyrn Newton (Big Little Lies). Parodying the beloved classic Freaky Friday, a shy teenage girl and a monstrous serial killer switch bodies, which makes for a very chaotic Friday. Vaugn delivers one of his funniest performances in years as a terrified seventeen-year-old girl trapped inside the body of a big and powerful man. Mystified by her newfound strength, she slowly stumbles into her power and uses her body to right the many wrongs of a very bad man. Meanwhile, Newton joyfully plays The Blissfield Butcher as a wolf in sheep’s clothing by parading down the school halls as an innocent high schooler one second, and a psychotic nightmare the next. Freaky kills with hilarious high school fiascos while also delivering the goriest death scenes in recent memory. Directed by Christopher Landon, director of the darkly funny horror film Happy Death Day, he has the comedy-slasher formula down to a tee.
Friday the 13th (2009)
Journey back to the world of 2009, where the jeans were sagged, flip phones were shut with finesse, and something evil hunted the backwoods at Camp Crystal Lake. In Friday the 13th, one of many sequels to the original 1980 film, the hockey mask-wearing Jason Voorhees returns with a vengeance. Nothing spells trouble in a slasher film quite like a bunch of horny kids sneaking into the woods to drink beer and make out; this scenario is Jason’s bread and butter, and he begins hunting the clueless campers mercilessly. Jared Padlecki, a scream king in his own right, stars as the brother of one of the missing girls who disappear into the woods while camping, and he’ll stop at nothing until he finds his sister dead or alive. Friday the 13th aches with simpler times but also has aged poorly in its various depictions of women who serve no purpose to the story other than to be ogled and killed, while the men get all the glory. The past is a dangerous, complicated thing, and Friday the 13th proves that.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Growing up can be a nightmare. Parents are controlling, school is hard, and sleep is all too fleeting. The 1984 fantasy slasher film Nightmare on Elm Street is a full-blown waking nightmare as a bunch of teenagers begin sharing the same disturbing dream. The nightmares are of the serial killer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a dead man who uses dreams as an opportunity to hunt teenagers down and kill them. High school students begin getting murdered in their dreams as Freddy gets closer and closer to crossing over into the real world. Final girl and fellow classmate Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) refuses to go to sleep and makes it her mission to bring Freddy down even if it means she has to burn in hell herself. Written and directed by Wes Craven, Nightmare On Elm Street features Johnny Depp in his feature film debut alongside John Saxon, Amanda Wyss, and Ronee Blakley in a timeless classic about the horrors of being a teenager trapped in a superficial world.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
President by day, vampire hunter by night. In the fantasy horror film, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, this beloved President did much more than the history books taught us. A wild re-imagining of an outlaw land where demonic souls litter the streets of America, Abraham Lincoln takes it upon himself to kill the bloodsucking creatures, all the while wearing his top hat. Based upon the 2010 horror mash-up novel under the same name, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is directed by Timur Bekmambetov and written by Seth Grahame-Smith. As the title insinuates, there are countless bloody battles and brawls that occur during the film’s 90 minute run time, and Lincoln swings his axe into anything that bites. Detailing his life-long mission of hunting vampires from his days as a young kid in Illinois to becoming President of the United States, the fim stars Benjamin Walker (Jessica Jones) as Abraham Lincoln, in addition to featuring Anthony Mackie (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier), Dominic Cooper (Mama Mia), and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Kate).
KEEP READING: 'Halloween Kills' Ending Explained: What Happened, What It Means, and Who's Still Alive for 'Halloween Ends'
“I bet you're sitting on some pretty big words when you need them."
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