Thanks to pioneering films like Black Christmas and Halloween, the slasher sub-genre was officially launched in the 1970s, even if its initial roots date back even further. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that slasher movies truly experienced their heyday, with classics like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street – as well as their many sequels – ushering in a bloody and brutal takeover of the horror genre.
Slasher movies continued to be prevalent throughout the 90s and early 2000s, though in more recent years the sub-genre has mostly fallen by the wayside. You could argue that it hasn’t really gone anywhere, as hit slasher franchises have been rebooted and countless fan-made throwbacks go straight-to-DVD almost every single week, though the mainstream slasher has inarguably been lying dormant for quite some time.
But like all the great slasher icons, it was inevitable that the sub-genre itself would soon be brought back from the dead, and that jagged bolt of life-restoring lightning has seemingly come down from the heavens here in 2015. Because looking at this year’s genre offerings, as well as the upcoming projects that have been announced for the near future, one thing is certain: slasher movies are coming back.
Whether you like the show or not, MTV’s Scream is at the forefront of this revival, breathing new life into the sub-genre much the same way Wes Craven’s film did back in 1996. Though the show is geared more toward the teens of today than those who are diehard fans of slasher cinema, the bottom line is that a slasher movie franchise was turned into a successful TV series this year, which is kind of a big deal.
And the small screen takeover continues with September’s premiere of Scream Queens, created by American Horror Story‘s Ryan Murphy. As the title suggests, the new show is heavily influenced by 1980s slasher films, centered on a masked killer stalking a college campus many decades after a sorority pledge went wrong. Sub-genre icon Jamie Lee Curtis returns to horror for Fox’s very own slasher series.
On the movie front, a handful of films released so far this year have contributed to the revival, including the stylish remake of The Town That Dreaded Sundown and the Belgian throwback Cub. Tyler Shields’ Final Girl similarly came equipped with a slasher movie setup that played around with the tropes of the sub-genre, and later this year the horror-comedy The Final Girls has its own fun with 80s horror staples.
While 2015 will undoubtedly be recognized as the year that these slasher seeds were re-planted, it’s in the coming years that the revival will truly begin to take shape. Announced this year were future reboots of the big four slasher franchises, which will bring Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Leatherface all back to the big screen. The Friday the 13th reboot is first, coming in May of 2016.
It was also recently announced that Jason Voorhees is headed to the small screen for his own TV series, which will delve deeper into his story than the movies ever did. The upcoming show, set to air on The CW, has been described as being more “grounded in reality,” centered on the residents of Crystal Lake – and the Friday the 13th films, from what we’ve been told, will be acknowledged within the series.
As for A Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy will soon return in a brand new reboot that will (hopefully) wash the taste of 2010’s failure out of our mouths, while the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre gets a prequel in the form of origin story Leatherface. Billed as a “recalibration” the next Halloween film is allegedly going to be a direct sequel to the original Halloween 2, which should be a real treat.
Unless I’m misreading the signs, we’ve got a full-blown slasher revival on our hands right now. And after so many years of the genre’s landscape being full of found footage and paranormal entities, you better believe I’m welcoming the return of masked maniacs – both new and old – with arms wide open. On screens both big and small, the future of the sub-genre is, for the first time in a while, looking bright.
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