Slasher movies have always been pretty big business. In fact the Scream films combined have grossed almost $400,000 million, and that’s just domestically, totally ignoring international box offices, plus dvd’s merchandise and all. However, in recent years, there has been an almost total lack of what could be traditionally defined as a slasher movie. Only the big franchises have tried new instalments, and while they’ve been fairly successful, they have not recreated the wave of slasher movies found in the 80’s and 90’s. Scream has made a succesful jump to television and Friday the 13th is due too. Hurray for that, I reckon it’s time they made a comeback, but is Hollywood, and more importantly the paying audience, ready for a revival? I’d say so!
After the sensation that was Scream, film studios stood up and took note quickly, and for a while we were inundated with entries into the genre, some good, some bad. We had I know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend, the clever variation on the format that is Final Destination, and many more, but as the quality started to dip and familiarity set in, audiences began to seek something new, the genre was abandoned, and the now infamous torture porn era came in with a gruesome bang.
It took a few years, and annual Saw releases, for people to get sick of torturous horror, and with the runaway success of found footage franchise Paranormal Activity, in came the supernatural. The Conjuring, Insidious, The Haunting in Connecticut, The Devil Inside and many, many more stormed the box office and the dvd shelves. Ghosts and hauntings and spirits and devils became the staple. But guess what? People are bored of that now too, and even more tired of found footage. We’ve also had an awful lot of home invasion flicks, but other than You’re Next and The Purge, audiences aren't really biting.
So what’s next? We could go cannibal, currently being kickstarted by The Green Inferno. We could go creature feature, with a lot of focus on werewolves, big foot and such in the slightly more indie circuit, boosted by recent release Krampus. Or, we could have a glorious return to slashers for a while.
Think about it, a few movies aside, the huge proportion of the cinema going public is young enough to have never really experienced this genre at their local multiplex. They’ve probably watched some dvd’s, seen a few sequels, but this is a genre that, to the younger generation at least, is actually pretty fresh, and to the older generation? Well there are many simply gagging for a return to the style of movies they grew up with, maybe with a new take, maybe exactly as they remember.
Yes, slasher movies are fairly predictable, and yes, they have not been scary in a while, but that could be said of pretty much every genre. No one was scared any more by haunted houses, then along came James Wan and the whole world screamed and took note. Old, seemingly tired genres can be completely invigorated in the right hands, and what better genre to bring back than the slasher, ignored for so long now? We just need a maverick director with some real skill and who knows, we could be watching teenagers being chased by brutal killers before you know it. Either that or we need the next installments of the big hitters to be truly great again, which could happen. We also can't forget the runaway success that is Until Dawn, the ultimate slasher movie video game and a favourite of mine to boot. It was huge so there is definitely appetite.
My new book is based in the world of slasher movies, so you know I’m a fan, but the question remains, are you ready for the return of the slasher?