Best Buy has many great articles to help you prepare for Halloween. In this one I want to discuss some of the scariest movies ever made. Halloween is coming up and there’s no way to get in the spirit like catching up on the horror classics of yesteryear that perhaps you haven’t seen. If chills, thrills, and cold-blooded murder are your thing, a marathon of slasher gems is a great idea. After all, what better way to spend a cool, dark evening than watching a bunch of high schoolers fleeing from a murderous masked psycho and making foolish decisions (WHY are you checking the basement!?) along the way?
Best Halloween slasher movies of all time
If that sounds like fun, here are five slasher movies to check out this Halloween, and you can check out all the Blu-Ray and DVDs available (delivered to your door by a nice man, not wearing a Scream mask) at Best Buy.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Director Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre tells the story of a group of pals who find themselves at an old farmhouse where their neighbors are a family of masked cannibalistic psychopaths. One of the most influential horror films ever made, you can thank The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for giving us Leatherface and helping put the slasher subgenre on the map. Put together with a paltry busget of under $300,000USD, the movie made more than 100 times its budget then spawned several sequels.
If The Texas Chain Saw Massacre helped put slasher flicks on the Gen X radar, Halloween turned it into a bone fide phenomenon. The story of a teenaged girl’s run-ins with mental hospital escapee Michael Myers gave us one of the most iconic horror characters of all time. Made on a shoestring budget Halloween is successful franchise that’s still going strong.
Fun Fact: Jamie Lee Curtis, who has since earned the nickname “Scream Queen”, is the daughter of Janet Leigh, a prolific golden-age Hollywood actress best known for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”.
Friday the 13th (1980)
By today’s standards, Friday the 13th would be considered rather typical horror fare but back in the 80st this summer camp slasher slayed at the box. The first of what would go on to be twelve movies in the franchise is fondly remembered for launching the teen horror wave of the 1980s and introducing the world to Jason Voorhees, a disfigured boy-turned-masked serial killer. Watch for Kevin Bacon in one of his first big-time roles.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Four years post-Friday the 13th, another successful horror franchise was launched. The brainchild of horror genius and director Wes Craven, A Nightmare on Elm Street may seem like just another flick about curious teens being killed off by a raving, masked maniac. But watch what’s happening below the surface and you’ll find a deeper story that touches sexuality, feminism, and lucid dreaming. A Nightmare on Elm Street also gave birth to the now-iconic Freddy Krueger, perhaps the most interesting horror villain ever. Plus, watch for an uber-youthful Johnny Depp in his first big screen role.
As the clock ran out on the 80s, the popularity of murderous psycho movies was waning, with most new titles and sequels going straight to video. So who better to bring back the sub-genre than Wes Craven?
Released in 1996, Scream had all the usual slasher cliches – a teenage virgin, her sexually-curious friends, and a serial killer intent on hiding behind a really creepy mask. But instead of taking itself seriously, Scream made fun of all those clichés, pulling all the, “you aren’t seriously going to go snoop around the old abandoned graveyard, are you?” horror clichés and making fun of them at the old movies’ expense —including some of Craven’s own.
Scream masterfully balanced satire flick with true slasher film, combining self-aware comedy with thrilling surprises and jump-out-of-your-seat scares. The film was a surprise hit with critics and audiences, reinventing the horror genre for Generation X and beyond. Much like Friday the 13th 16 years before, Scream spawned a successful franchise and a bunch of copycats, including Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and even Halloween: H20.
Is your favorite slasher movie missing from this list? Let us know in the comments below!
And if you need a new Blu-ray or DVD player to watch these on, check out the selection here. Of course movie night also looks best on a new TV, so if you’re in the market this season, don’t forget to see what’s new and what’s on sale. While most of these classic titles were made before the advent of 4K video, you can still enjoy them on your 4K TV with smart streaming built in. You can even ask Alexa or Google to load one of these flicks up on Netflix on your smart TV, just by asking.
How I love these movies and how scary they were back then. I want to show my teens but they see the photos of Jason and Mike and they’re like, “Um, no thanks.” lol
Thanks Dave! I also really appreciate the special effects. back before everything was computer generated, this kind of gore took EFFORT.
I’ve been rewatching the Friday the 13th series back to back (currently on part VII).
It’s really fun to watch these old horror franchises (and their special features) so close together to really get a sense of how they evolved through so many iterations. Every director brings something new to the table as they try to add something unique, while still adhering to the studio-approved formula that keeps raking in the big box office bucks.
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