The slasher cycle emerged in the late 1970s. During the boom-period of slasher film production in the early 1980s, these films were vilified in press reviews, decried by many second-wave feminist activists, and raised concerns for American parent groups. Slasher films have stood accused of propagating callous attitudes to murder, promoting misogyny, being pornographic, and repeating the same one-dimensional formula until audiences lost interest. This article charts the subgenre’s development, making a case that slasher filmmakers have continued to innovate across the 1980s to the present day. The subgenre has been charged with lacking artistry, yet the subgenre’s development evidences its abundant creativity. Despite also being accused of lacking “tradition”, the slasher built on the existing lineage of 1960s– 1970s horror, and is now firmly established as a key part of the horror genre.
The integral version of this article can be found in the printed KINO!