Whether your car won’t start, or you spill your coffee, or you’re just being chased down by a machete-wielding psychopath, it’s no secret that the unluckiest day of the year is always
Friday the 13th.
And since the horror holiday has arrived, we here at PopCulture.com thought it might be quite timely to pick out the 10 Best Slasher Franchises!
Now some fans differ on exactly what makes a horror movie a “slasher,” so let’s go over some ground rules for the criteria we used to pick out this list: Any movie that involves a deranged killer either stalking or killing a multitude of people with bladed weapons - well, that’s a slasher. And since we’re covering the 10 Best Slasher
Franchises, to qualify for this list, each film has to be a part of a series that has at least two or more sequels. Unfortunately, this means we had to leave off certain classics (sorry, Black Christmas).
What’s your favorite Slasher franchise? Watch the video at the top of the article to see where it landed on the list, or scroll on down and read all about our choices below!
Starting off our list is Candyman. Based off of Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden,” the 1992 movie spawned two sequels and is popular among horror fans thanks mostly to the chilling performance by Tony Todd as the titular character. Originally, Eddie Murphy was propositioned to play Candyman, but producers couldn’t afford him, which in hindsight was probably for the best or else Candyman might not have made this list. Go watch Vampire in Brooklyn if you don’t believe us. The premise of Candyman is relatively simple - if some unfortunate soul says Candyman’s name 5 times in a mirror, Candyman himself will show up and gut them with his hook for a hand. And if that doesn’t scare you, Candyman will show you how many bees he can fit in his mouth while trying to make out with you.
9. Jeepers Creepers
At No. 9 we’ve got what is probably the most controversial franchise on the list: Jeepers Creepers. While many fans have written off the series due to writer/director Victor Salva’s criminal background, it’s hard to argue that Jonathan Breck as “The Creeper” is one of the scarier, more imposing figures on this list. He’s pretty much an immortal man-bat that drives a souped up serial killer truck, uses weapons made out of human body parts, and every 23 years, he smells people until he finds something on them he wants to eat, like their heart, or their tongue, or hell, even their whole head, whatever -- He’s not very picky. You’ve gotta admit - that’s pretty horrifying. Many of the Creeper’s attributes were borrowed from an old English folklore entity called “Spring-Heeled Jack” and the original movie filmed in 2001 is credited for kicking off Justin Long’s career.
At No. 8 is the
Saw franchise, a series which currently has spawned eight installments. Perhaps none of the killers associated with this list are as complicated and layered as John Kramer, known better to horror fans as Jigsaw. Tobin Bell has to be commended for playing Jigsaw with a eery stoicness, and unlike many of the killers in slasher movies, Jigsaw sees himself as more of a vigilante and never intends to kill his victims. He actually wants them to escape, but he also thinks anyone who dies in one of his elaborate traps simply didn’t want to live hard enough -- so yeah, he’s a complete loon.
The granddaddy of all slasher films belongs to our No. 7 spot - the Psycho series. To date, Psycho has spawned six films and a hit TV show. The movies themselves were mostly adapted from the Psycho novels by Robert Bloch about a deeply disturbed killer named Norman Bates who loves his dead mom a little too much. Norman was the first of many fictionalized serial killers based off of real life murderer Ed Gein. The original Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1960 is considered by many critics to be his best film, regarded as a suspenseful masterpiece. At the time it was made, the film gained notoriety both for it’s violence, and for killing off the main character in the first act. Your move, Wes Craven.
6. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
At No. 6 we’ve got another film franchise partially inspired by Ed Gein - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. Thanks to TCM, every haunted house in America now features someone dressed up as Leatherface who will chase people down with a declawed chainsaw until they pee themselves. And with good reason -- Leatherface is terrorizing. Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original about a family of cannibals in the middle of nowhere Texas is widely regarded as one of the greatest, most influential horror films of all time. If you’ve ever seen a movie where the killer uses a power tool to off someone, you’ve got The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to thank for that.
Coming in the fifth spot is Wes Craven’s amazing film series that deconstructed the very horror genre he helped build- Scream. Remember when Alfred Hitchcock thought it would be a good idea to get rid of Janet Leigh in the first act of Psycho? Yeah, Wes Craven decided to turn that idea on it’s head and he lets Ghostface kill Drew Barrymore in like the first five minutes. Up until that point, audiences had been led to believe by trailers and posters that Drew Barrymore was going to be one of the main characters in the film, but psych! She’s deader than disco. To this day, “Do you like scary movies?” is one of the most quotable lines used by bad prank callers everywhere.
4. Child's Play
Bless every sweet, innocent child who happened to stumble upon Child’s Play before the age of 10 because they now have a life-long fear of creepy dolls. So yeah - thanks a lot, Chucky. Nothing on this list has seen such a dramatic shift in tone as the Child’s Play franchise, which has gone from horror to black comedy and back to horror again with the recent release of its seventh installment, Cult of Chucky. Strangely enough, the Chucky movies also happen to be the most consistent - Every chapter has been written by series creator Don Mancini and Chucky has been voiced by the manically wonderful Brad Dourif in every iteration.
3. Nightmare on Elm St
Landing in the third spot is the series that made everyone scared to go to sleep - A Nightmare on Elm Street. Not only did Wes Craven’s 1984 original feature the film debut of one Johnny Depp, but it also introduced the world to Freddy Krueger who might be the most well known of all the movie monsters. Armed with his knife-fingers glove and haunting the dreams of teenagers, Freddy was played with a sinister glee by Robert Englund, he reprised the role in every installment of the Nightmare series save for the 2010 remake, which we don’t have to speak of here. Over time, the series became campier, but retained a certain level of menace until Wes Craven returned 10 years later for New Nightmare.
2. Friday's the 13th
Coming in 2nd place is the series that’s had more sequels than any other franchise on this list - Friday the 13th. Currently sitting at twelve movies, Friday the 13th’s legacy is a fascinating one. For starters, the hockey-masked Jason Voorhees is synonymous with slasher films, and he’s not even the original killer! What made the original Friday the 13th so brilliant (besides killing off Kevin Bacon) is that Jason’s mother, Pamela Voorhees, was actually the killer. Jason wouldn’t become the killer until part two, and he didn’t even get his trademark hockey mask until part three. By the time part 4 rolled around, Jason Voorhees was a household name and goalies would never be the same. 1. Halloween
And finally the top spot for the best slasher franchise of all time goes to Halloween. When John Carpenter’s original film came out in 1978, it paved the way for every slasher film that followed. Made on a modest budget of $300,000, Halloween would go on to make $70 million dollars, which is a ton of money now, let alone in 1978. And Michael Myers proved to be the very definition of the original silent, brooding killer, being known simply as “the shape” in the original film’s script. What’s scarier than something called “the shape”? I’m not sure, but if you add a cheap William Shatner mask? The answer is nothing. The Halloween franchise was so successful that Rob Zombie decided to reboot it with two movies of his own, and some people even liked them. Considering the fact that Halloween’s eleventh movie is currently in production with Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode, it looks like us fans won’t be escaping Michael Myers anytime soon.