Last year, there were some big announcements from some big franchises that fans didn’t see coming. That’s right, that Scream and Friday the 13th were coming to television! We have also seen the incredibly fun Scream Queens from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. So in honour of these legendary slashers gracing the small screen and with my novel Slasher out now, I thought I’d look into the history of television slashers.
When I think of the perfect tv slasher show, my mind automatically goes toHarper’s Island (2009).
I LOVED this show, and it was a one off that I will always remember. The premise was simple. A group of family and friends were clustered on an island for a wedding, but someone was out for revenge, and each episode a character was killed off in true slasher style. It looked great, played out well, had a great cast and truly lived up to its premise. However, it’s pretty much a standalone in the genre.
There was the Friday the 13th series in 1987, which managed to run for three years, and is still quite popular as a cult hit (and perhaps gives good reason for the franchise to return to the small screen) but it didn’t centre around Jason Vorhees. And what else is there? I did some research and came up empty handed.
Of course, there are countless murder mystery and crime shows, and these naturally sometimes share elements with the slasher genre. The Following managed to embrace both genres, and for the most part it worked well, but alas it was cancelled. MTV's Scream season 1 has also now aired. It was fun, will be back for a second season, and has it's fans (me included). Not much of a body count though, and a bit too 'teen drama' for many people.
We have also had Scream Queens, an hilarious, off-the-wall pastiche of campus/sorority slashers, starring genre darling Emma Roberts and legendary scream queen herself Jamie Lee Curtis. It was funny, daft gory, and hopefully will be back for another season, perhaps in anthology form (rumours of a summer camp theme are doing the rounds). In my mind Harper’s Island was the only programme to really go for it though, embracing the genre fully. It was a great success, and now is the perfect time for more!
Nobody knows what to expect from the new Friday the 13th series, but horror is big business on television right now. With Scream, Scream Queens, American Horror Story, Salem, The Walking Dead and iZombie to name a few, viewers are really tuning into this new small screen wave of horror, so here’s hoping that the slasher genre is about to get a clever and well made series too, one that delivers to the audience Scream has not. Keep your fingers crossed!