How I Review Slasher Films
THE STORY: You’ve got to have something keeping my attention in-between the bloodshed. Now, if you want to do away with the story and just give me ninety minutes of wall-to-wall bloodshed, then I’m all for that.
THE GORE: Off-screen kills will not do, people. Gore is probably the most important factor to me when watching a slasher film. And I know, I listed story first, but only because that element should come first when reviewing a film. But as it stands, the kills and the gore are worth three times as much as any other element when it comes to ratting a slasher film.
SUSPENSE aka FOREPLAY: The suspense is the foreplay, just as the act of violence is the penetration. For me, I don’t mind a generous amount of lead up, as long as the kill is long and graphic. And in Hitchcock’s Psycho, there’s a tremendous amount of lead up, and I think there was a generous amount of carnage to follow—especially for something coming out of Hollywood at that time. And nobody does foreplay better than Hitchcock. The conversation between Marion and Norman is such a beautiful display of foreplay before penetration—especially when you know what is in store for Marion. It’s such an erotic dance of words, and even at one point in the conversation you see Norman get angry and aggressive towards her and then we see her cower ever so slightly and display a position of submission. Plus, at the time, we didn’t know Marion was going to be penetrated by Norman’s blade. So watching the lead up to penetration is a very important factor to me, and can enhance any kill by a great deal—I swear, I’m not trying to rhyme. Plus, when it comes to suspense, you have the thrill of the stalk, which is always a great time to show some nudity. So suspense is a very important one.
SEX & SEX APPEAL: Now, I don’t need hardcore pornography, but it’s always nice to see some gratuitous nudity. It’s almost traditional and kind of sacrilegious if your slasher movie doesn’t contain gratuitous nudity. And some films can get by with white tank tops and a lot of running—given the right pair of titties. And the Texas Chainsaw movies have almost perfected the art of “no nudity but still sexy.” I honestly can’t ever remember seeing one tit in those movies but I sure as hell can remember the hot ass babes they’ve had in them. So nudity and sex appeal are very important to me, and it’s just another thing that makes this genre so much fun.
BELIEVABILITY: What am I talking about when I say believability? Well, I could care less about how the actors deliver their lines, and let’s face it, most slasher films aren’t going to have the greatest actors. But what I want, is the actress/actor to sell the fear. I want them to sell the agony of being stabbed multiple times. I want that bloodcurdling scream to travel through my bones. And a great example of this believability, is in the movie Wolf Creek (2005). Yes, I know, some of you fuckers didn’t care for that film because it “had no story,” or it was “too mean-spirited.” Fuck that! They brought a great charismatic killer, they brought realistic gore, and most of all, those actors sold the agony. Sure, it might not have had much of a plot, but from my perspective, it did a lot of things right. All I have to say when it comes to believability is “head on a stick, mate.”
THE KILLER: For me, I hate the whodunit type of killers; I’m always disappointed at the end. I like to hear that story of the deformed madman by the campfire. And if the killer’s not masked, I like to see him trying to blend in to normal society but failing miserably and creeping everybody out.
HUMOR: Humor isn’t always needed, but it certainly adds an enjoyable element to the film. And sometimes the entire movie can be based around the humor, such as Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
THE ENDING: The end is important because it can go many ways. You can have the shitty ending where it’s some lame psychological thing and the would-be heroine ends up being the killer. Or you can have dual killers, which is mainly a whodunit characteristic. Then you have the heroine/heroines defeating the killer, which is always a crowd-pleaser. But my personal favorite is the timeless “motherfucker’s not dead and he’s gonna come back” ending. Bring on the sequels; I’ll gladly eat them up.
So that’s what I’m basing my ratting on, and that’s how I’ll breakdown the review.
And in case any of you were wondering what a “head on a stick” is: