Old-school horror fans usually have a soft spot for slasher movies from the 80s. Most of those slashers, from the classics like the Halloween and Friday the 13th, to the underrated gems such as The Burning and The House on Sorority Row, feature gory kills, gratuitous nudity and helpless teenagers as designated victims. However, all these elements are usually played for entertainment value and rarely venture into uncomfortable and disturbing territories.
Not all slasher flicks are played for fun, though: a few of them, both old-school and newer ones, went for a much darker tone and mean-spirited violence. As a big fan of slashers, I decided to dedicate this article in the EXTREME HORROR series to some of the most violent, graphic and hardcore slasher movies I have ever seen. This article features six of them, listed chronologically: three titles from the late 70s / early 80s, and the remaining three coming from the 2000s. Let’s check them out!
Continue reading and find the most violent slasher movies below…
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The Driller Killer (USA, 1979)
One of the titles responsible for the Video Nasty list, The Driller Killer follows an artist who slowly goes insane while struggling to pay his bills, work on his paintings, and care for his two female roommates, which leads him taking to the streets of New York after dark and randomly killing derelicts with a power drill.
First feature-length film (as in, first non-pornographic) by Abel Ferrara, who went on making classics like Ms. 45 and Bad Lieutenant, The Driller Killer is raw, gritty and graphic whenever the main character (Reno) goes on his murder rampage. However, most of the movie is quite slow-paced and more focused on developing the main character and portraying the underbelly of New York City: this makes it a better film, but it won’t necessarily please fans of extreme horror. Also, as graphic and gory the “drilling killing” is, if you’re used to watching disturbing movies, you’ll probably find The Driller Killer to be a walk in the park.
Tourist Trap (USA, 1979)
Combining supernatural and slasher-esque elements, Tourist Trap manages to be a very mean-spirited, exhilarating and enjoyable watch (in a twisted way). The film centres around a group of young friends stranded at a secluded roadside museum: they soon find out they’re not alone there, when they start being stalked by a masked assailant who uses his telekinetic powers to control the attraction’s mannequins and to kill the protagonists one by one.
I forgot how brutal and genuinely scary this movie was: despite the supernatural element being at the forefront, every kill in Tourist Trap is insanely gruesome and, definitely, way more hardcore and disturbing than what people were used to seeing in the late 70s. Aside from that, this film benefits from a great score that perfectly accompanies the frightening scenes revolving around scary mannequins, making for a very intense watching experience that’s truly hard to forget. On top of that, you have great characters (for slasher standards) and memorable sequences that manage to combine elements of disturbing and spooky. Whilst not as extreme as the likes of Cannibal Holocaust or films from the French extremity era, Tourist Trap is definitely not an easy watch: I’d recommend it to basically every horror fan I know. This is mandatory horror viewing!
The Prowler (USA, 1981)
Unlike the previous titles, The Prowler is exactly what you would expect from an 80s slasher flick. The story follows an unknown killer, clad in World War II US Army fatigues, who stalks a small New Jersey town, bent on reliving a 35-year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.
The reason why such a formulaic movie ended up on this list of extreme slasher movie is, of course, the kills: with the practical effects done by the great Tom Savini, the death scenes in The Prowler are simply awesome and way more gruesome and disturbing than you’d find in your average slasher flick. The “bayonet” scene, the “pool” scene and the hedge-side killing are just phenomenal and quite hard to watch. If you look for an extremely violent slasher movie, The Prowler will do the trick for you. If you’re looking for a good movie with good characters, though, this is not the film for you: unfortunately, the script (written by 6 different people!) is a mess and it’s filled with conveniences and dumb plot points.
Murder-Set-Pieces (USA, 2004)
No extreme horror list featuring violent slashers would be complete without Murder-Set-Pieces, a movie that follows a beefy German-speaking photographer who, due to childhood trauma, becomes a serial killer and murders tons of naked women in Las Vegas. This is a very controversial and infamous horror film. Why is that, though?
Well, for its 90-minute-long runtime, Murder-Set-Pieces is comprised of continuous scenes of various naked women getting killed by the serial killer: they are tortured, sliced, diced, chainsaw-ed, mutilated to death and so on. That’s obviously enough to put this movie on every extreme horror list… but, other than that, Murder-Set-Pieces truly sucks. I hate this movie with a passion: the acting is awful, the characters are obnoxious, the practical effects (which should be the selling point) are goofy and poorly-made; the movie is shot in the most amateur and embarrassing way possible. Overall, Murder-Set-Pieces is a very bad, yet extreme and gruesome horror flick that hardcore fans of disturbing movies would like to check out, but that everyone else should avoid.
Laid to Rest (USA, 2009)
Speaking of movies I hate, Laid to Rest is another really bad and dumb slasher flick. This ultra-violent flick follows a young nameless girl who wakes up in a casket with a head injury and no memory of her identity. She quickly realizes she was abducted by a serial killer (lazily named chrome skull… ‘cause he wears a chrome skull mask) and she must fight to survive.
This movie shares a lot of the bad elements I described while talking about Murder-Set-Pieces: bad acting, stupid script, annoying moments and so on. Laid to Rest even double downs on stupidity: if only one of the characters were smart in the movie, the villain would’ve died after 5 minutes, as the protagonists in this flick keep shooting him in the face, where he clearly is protected by the chrome mask! That said, in Laid to Rest the kills are very gruesome and satisfying, mostly thanks to the fantastic practical effects that save this flick from being total garbage.
Headless (USA, 2015)
This is a movie that’s, actually, not talked about enough. Headless is a feature length version of the “film within a film” Headless, featured in the horror film Found. (2012): pretending to be a lost slasher film from 1978, Headless revolves around a masked killer going an unrelenting spree of murder, cannibalism and necrophilia. As though things couldn’t get crazier, when his tortured past comes back to haunt him, the killer plunges to even greater depths of madness and depravity, consuming the lives of a young woman and those she holds dear.
Don’t get me wrong, Headless is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it does have decent character development, an interesting story and a few solid performances. For extreme horror fans, though, Headless is more than that: it features truly depraved and disturbing sequences such as severed heads used for sexual intercourse, decapitations, torture to intimate parts, dismemberment and more. This is an extremely uncomfortable watch, all the while managing to be very effective due to how competently made it is. Fans of extreme horror should definitely give Headless a shot!
What did you think of these ultra-violent slasher flicks? Have you seen all of them? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments below!
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