Creating a great cinematic slasher/serial killer isn’t rocket science. Certain irreducible components must be accumulated—traits, if you will. Traits to explain why they don’t just stop hacking up teenagers and get a real job. Since teenagers are bratty, emotional little buggers to begin with, you don’t have to go overboard to explain why somebody would rather see them with a tamping post in their gullet. This usually means giving a slasher a traumatic childhood, and watching him/her go.
Slashers like Jason, Freddy, Michael Meyers, Leatherface, Candyman, Pinhead, Chucky, and (unfortunately) Leprechaun each have their own little space in our pop-culture lexicon. Everybody who’s ever owned a TV knows them on a first-name basis, which makes them iconic. But there are a lot of slasher films out there, and the difference between what makes these slashers awesome and the marginally-known slashers is pretty thin.
In their honor, we present a list of the ten greatest slashers you might not have heard of…
10. Cropsy – The Burning (1981)
Cropsy is the demented anti-hero fantasy we presume every caretaker conjures up every once in a while. He’s a boozing, grumpy caretaker at a—you guessed it—summer camp who falls victim to a prank gone horribly wrong by some punk kids, leaving him horribly burned and disfigured. Proving that caretakers are gomers in all walks of life, Cropsy uses a gardening shear as his weapon of choice.
9. Ann Thomerson – Happy Birthday To Me (1981)
The old saying goes ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’. In the case of Ann Thomerson in Happy Birthday To Me, we have an even better saying: ‘hell hath no fury like a girl whose birthday party nobody showed up to’. Instead of stewing and writing in her diary, Ann up and kills all the members of an obnoxious clique all for the sake of her half-sister.
8. Madman Marz – Madman (1982)
Unlike other slashers, Madman Marz doesn’t have a history of abuse that might elicit a little sympathy on our parts. He’s basically just a hulking dick-wad who axed his family to death and miraculously escaped a good old fashioned lynching by running off into the woods. Skip to present day, and anybody who says his name above a whisper is destined to get the same axe, anybody meaning camp teenagers.
7. Asami Yamakazi – Audition (1999)
Audition had its fair share of audience walk-outs when it premiered in Japan in 1999, so grisly and disturbing were its torture scenes. The slasher behind those torture scenes is Yamakazi, a former ballerina dancer/hot piece who justifies it as a way of demonstrating true love to her sugar-daddy would-be husband.
6. Satan – Satan’s Little Helper (2004)
In Satan’s Little Helper, the titular Satan is more than just a slasher in a kooky costume. As you can see, he’s also a cocksman with a Jersey Shore libido. Although it’s safe to assume Satan really wouldn’t care if a girl was dtf or not before he hauled her back to his lair for some demonic smashing, it’s still nice to know that even slashers sometimes get lonely down there.
5. Billy Chapman – Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Billy Chapman was once a normal kid, until he witnessed his parents get murdered and his mother raped around Christmas time by a dude in a Santa Claus outfit. Billy, however, didn’t have the wealth to go don a bat suit, seek the means to fight injustice, and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful.
Instead, he got sent to an abusive orphanage that buttered him up well for his career as a Santa Claus slasher. The PTA actually lobbied to have Silent Night, Deadly Night removed from theaters due to its content upon its release.
4. The Prowler – The Prowler (1981)
Slashers are typically motivated by some humiliation from their past, and the prowler is no different. After heroically serving his country in WWII, he comes home only to have his girlfriend break up with him. Break up with a guy after he spends a couple years stiff-arming Hitler so you can enjoy the most basic of freedoms? Oh, that’s just low.
Naturally, the prowler rectified the breakup by stabbing his ex and her boyfriend with a pitchfork at a graduation dance, and returns thirty-five years later to do pretty much the same thing to many more locals who try to hold the dance, again.
3. Angela Baker – Sleepaway Camp Series (1983)
Angela Baker is so committed to chopping up whorish teenagers and naughty camp counselors secluded in the woods that she undergoes a sex change operation just so nobody would recognize her between parts I and II. You see, she was actually born a he. Hey, when you’re not immortal or blessed with superhuman strength, you use whatever modern medical technology affords you.
Electric drills, baseball bats, flagpoles, arrows, battery acid, beehives…Angela proves you don’t need to have 20-inch pythons to rack up a high body count at a summer camp. All it takes, kids, is a little creativity and imagination. Suck on that, Bear Grylls.
2. Victor Crowley – Hatchet (2006)
If Jason and Michael Meyers were a family of escaped slasher-convicts who used an abandoned seaside restaurant in Oregon as their hideout, Crowley would be the other, more hideously deformed brother they chain to a dungeon room in the basement, except he would probably eat Chunk and the rest of the Goonies instead of helping them escape.
In case you can’t tell, Crowley kills anybody unlucky enough to wander near his house deep in the Louisiana swamps, preferably with a hatchet.
1. The Creeper – Jeepers Creepers (2001)
If all the slashers on this list were dropped onto the Aggro Crag and had to machete their way to the top to earn the GUTS gold medal, The Creeper would probably get the win, and then maybe crucify Mike O’Malley upside down. Not only is The Creeper supernatural, but he can fly, too.
The Creeper regenerates by feasting on human body parts, and instead of taking the easy way out by hacking up a few old ladies and an occasional Spaniard, he breaks into a prison and dismembers all the degenerates on the cell block.
Do you think there are more deserving unknown slashers for this list?