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Film Genres

This guide highlights library resources for some of the more popular film genres.

A short definition for slasher films

A subgenre of the horror film in which a group of young people are stalked and killed, usually by a protagonist using a knife or similar object. Following the success of the splatter film in the 1970s (see body horror), the heyday of the slasher film is generally agreed to be the 1980s, with more than twenty slasher films released in the US between 1978 and 1981). This cycle often depicted the stalking and killing of (usually) female American high school students, as seen in Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978) and Friday the 13th (Sean S. Cunningham, 1980) and their many sequels. The films also share a careful orchestration of point of view that oscillates between stalker and victim, generating significant narrative tension and suspense. Critical attention has been paid retrospectively to Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, US, 1960) and Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, UK, 1960) as influences on, and intelligent and self-conscious explorations of, the slasher film’s central preoccupation with looking. The subgenre remains popular, with a large number of remakes and sequels, including the Scream franchise (1996–2011), displaying increasing levels of reflexivity, intertextuality, and irony (see postmodernism). The US continues to produce a large number of slasher films, often with low budgets for non-theatrical release; Hollywood also continues to invest in the sub-genre, with films such as It Follows (David Robert Mitchell, US, 2014) and remakes of the 1980s cycle, including Halloween (David Gordon Green, 2018).

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Slasher film. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 Jan. 2024

Finding library resources for slasher films

Selected book title(s)

Other library resource(s)

Finding scholarly articles and journal title(s)

You can find articles about slasher films in a variety of publications. We don't have any journals which look exclusively at the genre. You can start your search in Film & Television Literature Index or use the search box at the top of the page.

Selected film title(s)

Find more slasher films by searching the library's online catalog.