Alright, folks, let’s change it up a bit. The last three articles that I wrote were on the more serious side of the topic spectrum. However, this time around, I’m going to talk about a subject that I’ve been a serious fan of ever since I was a teenager; Slasher films.
Now, when I bring up the topic of slasher/horror films, I’m really only talking about the original “big three” from that movie genre: Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th), Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street), and Michael Myers (Halloween). Let’s face it; any and all others from this genre just don’t hold a candle to these guys.
As you read this article, you will notice that I compare and contrast the top three slasher films from the 1980’s to the top three horror/slasher films from the last 15 years: Scream (1996), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) and Saw (2004). I chose these specific films for two main reasons; they grossed large amounts of revenue and, each movie spawned sequels in the following years.
I’ve broken down, separated and compiled all of my data into three separate categories: Visual/Personality Appeal (1), Theme Music/Sound Effects (2) and Psychological Effects (3). So, based on these three categories, I shall prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the slasher movies of today just can’t hang with Jason, Freddy or Michael… ever. Now, let’s get to some slicing and dicing, shall we?
* Note – Each description will be followed by a (+/-) symbol, which denotes whether it had a positive/negative impact on the movie itself (in my opinion).
• Visual/Personality Appeal
80’s films -Michael Myers; wore a mechanic’s jumpsuit and white mask (+); Freddy Krueger; wisecracking one-liners, red and green sweater, knife-glove (+); Jason Voorhees, goalie mask and machete (++).
Recent films – Jigsaw (Saw) always stayed hidden (-); the killer from I Know What You Did Last Summer wore a fisherman’s raincoat and hat (-); Ghostface (Scream) wore a cheesy-looking Halloween costume (-).
• Theme Music/Sound Effects
80’s films – Halloween movies had that evil-sounding piano theme music (+); A Nightmare on Elm Street’s theme song was, “Freddy’s Coming For You” (+); and finally, there was Jason’s repeated background words of “ki, ki, ki – ma, ma, ma”, which was only played when Jason was about to strike (++).
Recent films – This is actually a very short list, in fact, no list at all; as I honestly can’t remember anything that stands out about these movies when it comes to this category. If I’m wrong, then I sincerely apologize. But, just the same, nothing stands out as “original” or “special” when it comes to theme music or sound effects. Therefore, all of them get a big, fat (-).
• Psychological Effects
80’s films – This category alone will show what kind of detrimental effect these movies had on youngsters back in their heyday (especially the ladies, but, sometimes the guys to). Michael Myers made walking home on Halloween night scarier than ever before (+); Freddy Krueger surely didn’t help anyone that might have suffered from nightmares prior to this movie coming out (+); and Jason Voorhees; he singlehandedly changed how people looked at campsites as possible vacation spots from there on out (++).
Recent films – First off, we have the “Gorton’s Fisherman” of killers from I Know What You Did Last Summer; which did nothing for me except perhaps make me crave a shrimp platter at Long John Silver’s (-); then we have the Saw movies, which unfortunately, only reminded me of how I lost out on life by not attending medical school, or not opening up a butcher’s shop (-); and finally, we have Scream; the only effect it had on me was that slasher movies being made today should never break one of their own cardinal rules; never, ever have more than one killer in the movie; unless you’re making a Murder/Mystery film, then it’s perfectly acceptable (-).
So, there you have it; my reasons why I feel that the top three slasher characters of all time have never been outdone by movies of recent years. Even the remakes of these films over the last few years can’t hold a candle to the originals (no offense, Mr. Rob Zombie).
The simple truth about this article is this; great movie characters of yesteryear (no matter what genre they come from) should never be forgotten, remade, or compared against other characters of a similar film. If you still aren’t convinced, then just ask yourself one question; which slasher-based Halloween costumes have sold the most over the last twenty years? That’s right; it’s Mr. Krueger, Mr. Myers and Mr. Voorhees. I guess it’s true what people say; classics never die.