Category Archives: Lists

The 50 Best Foreign* Slasher Flicks: 50-41

What makes a thing foreign? ‘Tis a difficult question, aye.

I originally cobbled together a list of non-North American slasher films, but then thought Hey, no, I don’t want all these British movies clogging it up either – I want to feel cultural!

So out went products of English-speaking countries altogether, but that still left me with a handful of overseas-produced films that were in part presented in English.

Damn it, said I, let’s just go for the films produced abroad that didn’t pretend they were American, but may have British/American actors in them.

Then I said: Why is this so hard???

I’ve ranked them by adding my score to IMDb’s score, will have doubtlessly forgotten some, and have even seen a few more post-listing which would doubtlessly change a few things.

Anyway, the 50 Best non-American, non-Canadian, non-British, non-Australian, non-Irish, non-other-countries-I-forgot slasher films (beware yon spoilers):

*

50: Silent Bloodnight (Austria, 2006)

VeVo: 1.5 Stars
IMDb: 2.8

silent bloodnight

I love Austria – it’s beautiful year round and the people are friendly. Sadly this doesn’t afford the first of their two films in this countdown dropping out first: Sexy young people who are going to open a Boy Scout Camp are being slain by a shovel wielding loon who looks like they’ve become entangled in their own bed sheets. The film is one big headfuck with little coherence but tons of full frontal nudity from both genders! Go European inhibition!

Curiously recorded in English, which means there are some bad translations at play: “Something unexplained has happened!”

*

49Blood Tracks (Sweden, 1985)

VeVo: 1 Stars
IMDb: 4.0

blood tracks 1985

There’s debate over whether this film is Swedish or British. Either answer doesn’t stop it sucking – but it was filmed in Sweden with many a Swedish actor and appears to have been dubbed so let’s say Sweden.

A hair metal band called Solid Gold go into the mountains to film a music video at an abandoned factory where a family of Hills Have Eyes-esque miscreants reside who don’t take kindly to the arrival of masses of hair that threatens to block out the sunlight.

The band and their topless-despite-the-freezing-temperatures groupies/dancers are stalked and murdered in a sequence of under-lit scenes, rendering the film difficult to watch for another reason.

*

48Bloody Moon (Spain, 1981)

VeVo: 1 Stars
IMDb: 5.3

bloody moon 1981

I fucking hated this one when I watched it many [bloody] moons ago and only just revisited it a couple of weeks back.

Stupid girls at a stupid school are murdered by a stupid killer who may or may not be some disfigured guy recently released from an institution. So idiotic is everything that in one scene, a girl allows an anonymous masked stranger to drive her to a mill and tie her to a slab without questioning his motivations.

*

47Skeleton Crew (Finland, 2009)

VeVo: 1.5 Stars
IMDb: 3.6

skeleton crew 2009

Another film crew making a based-on-true-events horror movie at an asylum are stalked and slain and that’s roughly all I remember of this Finnish export, which adds nothing of its own culture to the mix, merely aping any number of American productions to no avail.

*

46Paranormal Xperience 3D (Spain, 2011)

VeVo: 2 Stars
IMDb: 3.7

paranormal xperience 3d

Considering Spain has seen the homegrown awesomeness of The Orphanage and Julia’s Eyes (more of that later) in recent years, it makes sense that the equal and opposite reaction theory coughs up crud like this, in which five failing psych students are sent to a town to document the legend of a cursed mining town, stalked by an undead maniac.

The 3D gimmick means everything else takes a backseat as a girl’s ass in tiny shorts takes up the majority of the screen at one point, showing exactly how much thought went into everything else.

*

45The Nun (Spain, 2005)

VeVo: 2 Stars
IMDb: 4.0

the nun 2005

Two in a row for Spain. The Nun would likely be rated a lot higher by everyone were it not for the worst twist ending you could imagine.

After witnessing the bizarre death of her mother, teenager Eve travels to Spain to play detective as mom’s Catholic school friends are also dying one by one in weird circumstances. A spectral nun – ghost of the abusive Sister Ursula, whom the girls accidentally killed eighteen years earlier – is hunting them down.

Only she isn’t. The entire film is revealed to be a lie at about minute 95 and Eve is somehow the killer, despite the first death occurring before the ‘traumatic event’ that sets her off on her merry spree. A candidate for worst twist ending ever.

*

44The Crying Tree (Thailand, 2003)

VeVo: 2 Stars
IMDb: 4.2

the crying tree 2003 jun ka por

A girl who runs a family country resort finds that all potential suitors who enter her life end up murdered. Low-end production values are harmful, but at least there are some laughs to be had along the way before the so-fucking-obvious identity of the killer is revealed: One guy is beaten with a copy of the Yellow Pages while another hitches and accepts a ride from the cloaked and masked killer.

*

43Trackman (Russia, 2007)

VeVo: 2 Stars
IMDb: 4.3

trackman

Russia’s turn to export a slasher movie should be dripping in Soviet allegory, vodka, and brutality, but instead they gave us Trackman, in which a group of bank robbers take some hostages into the subterranean tunnels beneath Moscow, where a Chernobyl victim of Jason-like stature teleports around, pick-axing them to death. The 77 minutes felt like 177.

*

42One Way Trip (Austria/Switzerland, 2011)

VeVo: 2 Stars
IMDb: 4.5

one way trip 2011

Released in 3D to up ante, this good-looking flick is essentially a carbon copy of the UK/Irish Shrooms, but ultimately a little better in most instances: Eight young people head into the Swiss forest to experience the effects of a seasonal hallucinogenic mushroom and, after one of them is injured, seek shelter at a farmhouse where a disfigured woman begins stabbing, skewering, and burning them. Without the aforementioned film already existing, the twist might have been a lot more effective. In spite of the title and credits, it’s yet to be released with either English subtitles or dubbing.

*

41Drowning Ghost (Sweden, 2004)

VeVo: 2 Stars
IMDb: 4.6

drowning ghost 2004

Sweden’s importance to the music industry isn’t accurately reflected in horror films, as evidenced by this soggy mystery, where a killer stalks students at a private school where a girl committed suicide a year earlier and, 100 years before, a farmer murdered three students and drowned himself. Or something.

Notable for a pre-fame Rebecca Ferguson being in it but little else, I watched this one again fairly recently and still can’t remember a damn thing.

Music to Murder Teens By

Slasher films don’t often come with killer soundtracks – budgetary concerns – but there are some really awesome scores around.

Here are my favourite choons I’ve found thanks to this lovely genre:

White Sister: April – from Killer Party (1986)

Typical 80s glam rock: Melody up front, big hair, lots of synth.

*

SoHo: Whisper to a Scream – from Scream (1996)

One of the few slasher films with its own soundtrack album. This awesome tune (a cover of a much less interesting 1983 original by The Icicle Works) plays over the end credits. Sure, it’s totally 90s, but that guitar solo and electro-beats are amazing.

*

Shinedown: Devour – from The Final Destination (2009)

What genre is this? Emo-rock? Who cares, love the growl of the singer’s voice and the relentless percussion. I like this one loud on road trips.

*

Vixtrola: Gunboat – from Darkness Falls (2003)

More heavy guitars and growly angst, and possibly the best aspect of the film from which it came!

*

Benjamin Bates: Two Flies – from Killer Movie (2008)

Another better-than-the-film track. Lyrically it’s a tad repetitive but I like the effects going on here.

*

Dokken: Dream Warriors – from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (1987)

A classic spandex rock classic from German band Dokken. The fact Freddy is defeated by the lead singer’s high-pitched wailings is just sensational.

*

Pseudo Echo: His Eyes – from Friday the 13th Part V (1985)

This is the song Violet is robot-dancing to before she’s done away with. I’m not normally a fan of this new-wave sound, but this song has become awesomely naff over 30 years of exposure.

*

Syreeta: Happy Birthday to Me – from Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

Creepy-voiced Syreeta chirps her way through this unsettling original, which benefits from its minimalism. That clarinet? -shudder-

*

Divinyls: Back to the Wall – from A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 (1988)

The film’s evident MTV-leanings made for a good soundtrack, from which this was my favourite, with great opening lyrics: “We’re living in desperate times, these are desperate times my friend.” Divinyls were best known for their 1990 hit I Touch Myself. The lead singer sadly died a few years ago.

*

Alice Cooper: Teenage Frankenstein & He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) – from Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)

The link between slasher films and (what was then deemed to be) heavy metal was put to good use in Jason Lives with Alice Cooper’s originals for the soundtrack. Lyrics about full moons, lovers lake etc just spell out everything that is Friday.

Those loved and lost

2016 was regarded as a terrible year for many reasons, a lot of which are political and divisive, but also because of the deaths of so, so many well-loved famous folk. (I hate the word ‘celebrity’, don’t you?)

Naturally, some of those people had a presence in our beloved slasher genre, so it wouldn’t be right to let their contributions become forgotten to career write-ups that conveniently forget the time they ran screaming from a killer…

CARRIE FISHER
1956 – 2016

carrie fisher scream 3 sorority row

Mrs Crenshaw, Sorority Row; Bianca Bernette, Scream 3

Having never been much of a Star Wars type of guy, Carrie Fisher’s tragic loss at Christmas 2016 represented more of a loss of somebody generally important because of the issues she stood for and wasn’t afraid to discuss openly. She always came across as very genuine.

Anyway, Carrie cameo’d as a self-a-like in Scream 3 and later played the awesome Mrs Crenshaw in the 2009 Sorority Row remake, a no-shit, shotgun-toting badass of a housemother.

*

ALEXIS ARQUETTE
1969-2016

alexis arquette bride of chucky

Damien, Bride of Chucky; Greg, Children of the Corn V

The youngest Arquette sibling was more known for supporting comic roles in the likes of The Wedding Singer (the only Adam Sandler film worth shit), and his transition to becoming her, and then back to him again.

Still, let us not forget Alexis’ contributions to two slasher pics, as wannabe goth/killer Damien, and the almost final-boy in the underrated fourth COTC sequel, Fields of Terror).

*

ZSA ZSA GABOR
1917-2016

zsa zsa gabor nightmare on elm street 3 dick cavett freddy krueger

Herself, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3

Reportedly, Dick Clark chose Zsa Zsa Gabor for his cameo in Dream Warriors as she was the stupidest person he’d ever interviewed. Nevertheless, Hollywood royalty Zsa Zsa was at least not taken from us too early, making it to 99 years old!

*

GEORGE KENNEDY
1925-2016

george kennedy wacko 1982

Himself, Wacko; Roy, Just Before Dawn

George Kennedy appeared in all of the 70s Airport disaster movies, but also cropped up at the end of 1982 slasher parody Wacko as himself to warn the audience that “lawnmowers don’t kill people, people kill people,” before getting pounded with cream pies.

And I really need to sit down with JBD again.

*

VANITY / D.D. WINTERS
1959-2016

vanity d.d. winters terror train

Merry, Terror Train

Prince’s former protege died just a couple of months before the man himself. I don’t know a whole lot about her, only that she had this small supporting role in Terror Train.

Thank you all for your contributions to a bunch of films you probably thought no one would ever see. R.I.P.

Rankfest: Halloween

Halloween is coming… Well, almost. Sometimes I love this series more than Elm Street, sometimes not. It can be infuriating as we shall see…

10th best: Season of the Witch (1983)

halloween iii season of the witch pumpkin kid mask

Three more days to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween… DIE.

Maybe because it’s not a slasher film? Yes and no. I certainly wasn’t expecting what I got when I pushed in a dusty old video cassette sometime in the mid-90s and have only watched the film once since then. It does nothing for me.

Best Bit: The guts to off a kid must be admired, when said brat’s possessed mask turns his head to mush.

9th: Halloween II (2009)

halloween ii 2009

Rob Zombie said he wouldn’t make another Halloween film after his 2007 re-thingy. Then did. With very little material from Rick Rosenthal’s ’81 film recycled (there’s a brief hospital dream-in-a-dream bit), Zombie goes off to explore Laurie’s psychosis (she’s an emo bitch), her relationships with other survivors (she’s a bitch to them), and something about her and Michael’s mother as a ghost. Any excuse to crowbar Sherrie Moon into proceedings. Meanwhile, Loomis has become a fame-whore. The result is a grimy, depressing flick.

Best Bit: The father of a victim from the previous film confronting Dr Loomis at a booksigning.

8th: The Remake (2007)

halloween 2007

After Mustapha Akkad’s death in a terrorist attack, plans for Halloween 9 all but dried up in the mid-00s and, instead, plans were drawn up for a remake as the epidemic of such treatment of known horror titles was squelching through Hollywood like The Blob, destroying everything.

Parts of it work out alright though: Michael’s origin stuff is new material, so isn’t particularly offensive, but when we reach the ‘remake’ bits, the wheels sheer off and roll down the street: Scout Taylor-Compton is horrendous as Laurie, almost the antithesis of everything we loved about Jamie Lee Curtis’ take on the role; Michael is a hulking destroyer of everything in his path and literally none of the victims muster any sympathy.

Best Bit: Needs more thought.

7th: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

halloween 5 1989

One year after the events of Halloween 4, Michael ‘reactivates’ having been looked after my some hermit dude for an entire year (!?), kills this Samaritan, and stalks back to Haddonfield to finish off niece, Jamie. The first hour or so is pretty solid stuff, if too derivative of the last film, but when Jamie is plonked into the Myers house – now a fucking mansion – as bait, it all goes to shit, with the stupid Man in Black subplot a sign of desperation on behalf of the writers.

Best Bit: The party at the olde farm, sex in the barn goes awry courtesy of a pitchfork. Well, at least someone got poked.

6th. Resurrection (2002)

halloween resurrection

Hated by most, strangely liked by me. Deduct Busta Rhymes and his dreadful acting from the equation, take away the fucking stupid rationale for Michael’s survival at the end of H20, and get rid of Laurie’s sudden spiral into simpletonville, and Resurrection is quite a fun little slasher romp. Yeah, so I tend to divorce it from the parent franchise, but the basic stalk n’ slash opus is pretty solid on its own merits.

Best Bit: A party of teens panicking as they guide the final girl by way of one of those PDA things (they didn’t last long, did they?) around the spook house of DEEEEATH!!!

5th: Halloween II (1981)

halloween ii 1981 loomis

A huge step down in quality from the Carpenter classic, that he directed some of the early scenes shows, and those are the only reason it ranks this high. Once the action shifts to the hospital, things get real boring real fast, as nameless, thin-as-a-Disney-popgirl characters are laid to waste, while Donald Pleasence looks for clues and Jamie Lee Curtis looks bored out of her skull taking final girl duties for the 67th time.

Best Bit: The first ten or so minutes as Haddonfield collapses into hysteria following the discovery of the murders.

4th: H20 (1998)

halloween h20

Scream is to thank/blame for this one. Abandoning all mention of films 3-6H20 brought back Laurie Strode as an alcoholic, PTSD-suffering head teacher at a snobby Californian academy, where she battles her demons and her rebellious 17-year-old son. As Halloween rolls around, Michael tracks her down and tries to repeat history. The retconning of the sequels is annoying and the body count too low, but at a slender 83 minutes, H20 still packs a lot in.

Best Bit: Surely the end – the power dynamic reversed: Now Laurie is the one with the sharp weapon.

3rd: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

halloween 6 1995

Yeah, I know. But this was the second Halloween film I saw (back on cable in shortly after it came out), and so my love for it is skewered by my naivety to the tropes of the genre as they stood. Michael returns after a six year hiatus, just as Haddonfield prepares to celebrate Halloween for the first time since his last killing spree. Grown-up Tommy Doyle is a Myers-obsessed weirdo who lives across from the Myers house, inhabited now by relatives of Laurie Strode – and guess who drops in?

Best Bit: A strobe-light infused massacre in an operating theater. Can’t see shit, but turn out the lights and it’s pretty awesome.

2nd: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

halloween 4 1988

After seven years off, during which Friday the 13th notched up six sequels, the Akkad’s decided to bring both Michael Myers and Dr Loomis back from their quite final ending in Halloween II. Ten years on from ‘that night’, federal blah dictates that comatose Myers be moved from his institution and, naturally, he awakes on route, kills everyone, and heads back to Haddonfield, with Loomis merrily chasing him again. This time he’s after Laurie’s orphaned daughter, Jamie, and will kill anyone who crosses his path.

A restrained affair with next to no bloodletting, Dwight H. Little tried to recapture the spirit of the original and, for the most part, succeeds, though things start to drag when it’s all vigilante rednecks and Michael teleporting from ideal hiding spot to ideal hiding spot.

Best Bit: The rooftop chase.

1st: The Original (1978)

halloween 1978

Well, duh. I’ve only ever encountered one person who thinks one of the sequels is better, and he’s clearly a simpleton.

What can be said, apart from: “Hud, why haven’t you reviewed this yet?” It’s just too daunting a task! I’ll do it this year. For Halloween. Maybe.

Best Bit: Eessshhk… How to spring for the best part? Probably the scene where Laurie sees Mikey ducking behind the hedge on her commute from school. Creeptastic.

Live in the Now!

This month marks 20 years since I first watched Friday the 13th in my parents’ lounge one night in the early hours…

Since that life-changing experience (!), about 680 slasher movies later, I’m still always on the lookout for that kind of familiarity. Or, as The Carpenters sang, Trying to Get That Feeling Again.

To celebrate this anniversary, I’ve sought out some awesome ‘modernized’ trailers from YouTube, that make those old films at the beginning of my love affair with dead-teenager movies look like they could be released tomorrow!

Regardé:

Much like the Michael Myers, this trailer moves slowly and then suddenly goes for the jugular.

I love the use of a creepy Sealed with a Kiss on this one.

So the disco moves, clothes, and hair can’t be unseen, but these two minutes are better than the entire 2008 film.

Jamie Lee Curtis back again, fighting off another vengeful killer. This one shows how much she carries the action in Terror Train.

This film just can’t be improved upon, but this trailer certainly makes it look contemporary. Love the black and white flash at the end.

The Burning still freaks me out a bit two decades after I saw it. Its visceral intensity is cranked up in this re-do.

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