Wednesday, January 18, 2012

1980's American Slasher Movies

The 1980's featured a great rise in a horror sub-genre known as 'Slasher Movies'.

Although the iconic 'Halloween' was released in America in 1978, the 1980's was the key decade responsible for the slasher movies mainstream success. The 80's gave us slasher movies such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, My Bloody Valentine and Black Christmas.

At first, this sub-genre was not respected amongst the film industry, mainly due to the fact they were cheaply made and very different to the psycological mainstream horror that the American public were used to, such as The Exorcist. Although the slasher genre was cheap and cheap looking, its attention focussed exclusively on the execution of increasingly graphic effects, at the expense of plot, character and suspense. These factors, along with the use of blood and gore, was exactly what American horror movie fans wanted to see. This resulted in an increase in popularity within the slasher movie genre, which meant it generated millions of dollars. With the genre having a low budget, yet an exceedingly high profit, this attracted the big name studios such as Paramount Pictures, and suddenly slasher movies were tolerated, if not respected. A cheap way of making successful movies was exactly what big named studios needed.

The franchise of the films such as Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th have become some of the highest grossing franchises in American film history, planting its permanent place amongst respected film genres. The slasher movie genre brought horror films to mainstream limelight. It has also helped to mould and transform the horror genre in the form of many horror films that we have enjoyed in the past few decades, such as Scream and Insidious. Without the 80's fame of slasher films, many of the films we enjoy today would have had nothing to gain inspiration from, showing the impact it has had on the 1990's and 21st Century horror films. The slasher genre gave the film industry the fresh of breath air and change in direction that it needed, whilst at the same time showed that low budget films can still be financially and socially successful.

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