Slashers are some of the most frightening and beloved types of horror films around. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being chased by a serial killer or seeing the blood and gore on the big screen as a group of teenagers is brutally slaughtered. Slasher films are incredibly fun, which is likely why there’s a massive amount of them. Everyone has their favorite slasher villain, some of which have become some of the most iconic movie characters ever. Because of this, they’re always celebrated leading up to Halloween.
Below are some of the scariest slashers in film history. It’s worth noting that for the sake of this list, films like Jaws and Alien are monster movies and not slashers since they are more about animal-like creatures eating people.
Mr. Slausen from Tourist Trap
Tourist Trap is one of the more paranormal slashers since the villain, Mr. Slausen, uses telekinesis to help take down his victims. His telekinetic powers are just the tip of the iceberg as to what makes him so threatening. He also suffers from a severe case of multiple personality disorder, in which it’s not known if his various personalities are trustworthy or not. What makes him especially creepy, though, is that he turns his victims into mannequins, including his own wife. He even wears an extremely unsettling mannequin mask.
Mr. Slausen is unhinged, has superpowers, and is way too interested in mannequins. This guy may not be one of the more popular slashers, but he definitely gives any viewer the heebie-jeebies.
The Miner from My Bloody Valentine
Dressed head to toe in mining gear, the Miner torments the citizens of Valentine Bluffs by stabbing them with his pickaxe. After seeing his father murdered when he was a child, he’s not exactly the sanest individual to come across. The small town of Valentine Bluffs has passed down a legend of the maniacal killer for decades, which builds up how much of a threat he is.
Imagine attending a dance with your sweetheart only to get your face boiled in hotdog water or your body ragdolled in a drier. Delivering a human heart in a chocolate box as a Valentine’s Day gift definitely earns points on the scary-meter. The mystery as to whether this was the original Miner who was trapped underground decades ago or if this is some copycat killer running around certainly adds to the fear factor.
Jigsaw/John Kramer from Saw
John Kramer, a.k.a. Jigsaw, never technically killed anyone, but he did kidnap quite a lot of people to keep them in various death traps to solve puzzles and mutilate themselves to escape. Waking up in one of Jigsaw’s demented traps almost always meant certain death for his victims. Not many people actually got out alive, and those who did left with pieces of their mind and body missing. Actor Tobin Bell’s voice is iconically eerie, and sending out that creepy little Billy the Doll on a tricycle will forever be nightmare fuel.
This is one slasher who adds an extra middle finger to his victims by having them do the work themselves, which will always make him scary. His mind games always put him ahead of his victims, so there’s never any real combating him.
Norman Bates from Psycho
Psycho is not only one of the earliest slasher films, but it still holds up and is watched by many in preparation for spooky season each year. The iconic shower scene still sends chills down the audience’s spines as the blood swirls down the drain. Norman Bates is such a creepy killer because he comes off as a normal and almost goofy guy. However, as most of the world now knows, he’s absolutely insane. Bates has killed his mother and propped her corpse up in the front window to watch over passerbys. He also dresses as his dead mother to stab his victims for very little reason other than thinking his mother wouldn’t approve of their behavior.
Motels are meant to make you feel safe and sheltered, but at Bates Motel, you’ll be anything but that. Once your guard is down, Norman Bates with a knife and an old dress will be the last thing you’ll see.
Chucky from Child’s Play
Chucky is a murderer who had his soul transferred to a Good Guy doll through the power of voodoo, making him into a killer toy. Imagine buying a new toy to make your kid happy, but it’s actually possessed by a grown man who has a thirst for murder. It doesn’t exactly scream “child safety.” He may be small, but he still has the strength of an adult man. Not only are dolls often creepy on their own, but Chucky’s face constantly becomes more and more scarred and disfigured over time, adding to that creepiness. He becomes even scarier when burned or damaged further.
Whenever he’s killed, he always comes back. There’s no stopping this evil toy. He’s killed victims with hammers, knives, yard sticks, yo-yos, and much more. He’ll always find a way to kill someone.
Ghostface from Scream
Scream started out as a film that analyzed clichés and tropes in horror movies but became a horror staple itself. A killer that calls you from inside your own house is definitely scary, but a terrifying ghost mask and black cloak make them even scarier. Ghostface’s kills are each extremely bloody and feel genuinely realistic. Where other slasher films have some people skeptic about the horrors going on, Scream has the murders talked about on the news, causing panic throughout town. Because it takes a more realistic approach, the killer feels like much more of an actual threat.
Where the killer could be anyone, including possibly being your friends or classmates, you never know who you could trust. Plus, the identity of Ghostface is different each time, so there’s no telling who is under the spooky mask.
Frank Zito from Maniac
Maniac is a rather nontraditional slasher film due to it focusing on the killer rather than one of the victims as the protagonist. Frank doesn’t have supernatural powers and doesn’t hide behind a creepy mask, but he’s definitely terrifying. What makes him so scary is that he represents a very real threat. He preys on women at night, sexually assaults them, and then kills them. Guys like him are why women often don’t feel safe walking to their car alone. Seeing this in movie form is especially unsettling as it’s such a real-world horror.
On top of all this, Frank disturbingly moans as he stalks his victims, which can make any viewer’s gut wrench. Frank Zito is a true sicko, and makes one fear every corner they turn at night in case someone like him is there.
Candyman from Candyman
Candyman is one of the most intimidating slashers out there. When he speaks, it feels like the whole movie is speaking. He has a hold on the protagonist of each Candyman film and always acts like he’s toying with them. Slicing people up with a hook hand leads to some terrifyingly gory kills. Candyman can easily be avoided by never saying his name five times while looking into a mirror, but if you do, you’re screwed.
After seeing a Candyman movie, any time you see a bee or pass by a mirror, it’s hard not to think that he’s watching you. Plus, his cult following in certain locations build him up to be an unstoppable being that everyone should know and fear.
The Doppelgangers from Us
Being stalked by a killer is scary in itself, but imagine if that killer is an exact copy of yourself. They know your every move, any place you would hide, anyone you would call for help, and all your strengths and weaknesses. What could be scarier than looking out your window to see yourself standing at the end of your driveway ready to slaughter you and take your place?
If you’ve seen the end of the movie, you’d know that even though not everyone’s duplicate was successful in killing their original self, their body count is in the thousands. These duplicates being ever-so-slightly off from the originals in the way they act and speak is even more unsettling.
Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Leatherface is an absolute classic slasher villain as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is what gave way for later slasher films. He doesn’t quietly stalk his prey; he relentlessly chases them down. His mask is made out of human flesh, and much of the furniture and decor in his house is made from his victims’ flesh and bones. He’s a mad man that just enjoys brutally killing people.
The fact that his family members are almost as crazy as he is makes him even scarier since he has help capturing you. The sound of a chainsaw has terrified many for decades thanks to Leatherface.
Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th
Jason may not have been the original killer in the Friday the 13th franchise, but he’s still easily one of the most recognizable slashers around. He’s a hulking beast that can out-muscle anyone. Hidden behind a hockey mask and wielding a machete, Jason has taken out an awful lot of helpless victims who are dumb enough to wonder into Camp Crystal Lake.
Jason is a literal zombie that keeps coming back after everyone thinks he’s killed and even once gained the ability to transfer his soul into other people so he could keep living. It took being burned up in Earth’s atmosphere to finally be stopped, but even then it’s questionable. His iconic “ch…ch…ch…ah…ah…ah” sound effect has haunted audiences for decades.
Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street
Speaking of unstoppable, how does one truly put a stop to Freddy Krueger? Freddy kills people in their dreams, so it’s not like you could simply call the cops on him. If Freddy is stalking your dreams, it’s likely that no one will believe you. He can transform into anything, slices up victims with a glove of knives, and can even mimic those you trust.
Even if you do manage to wake up from your Freddy-filled nightmare, he’ll be back the next time you fall asleep. Freddy Krueger is so terrifying that he had audiences afraid to sleep after A Nightmare on Elm Street first released.
Michael Meyers from Halloween
Michael Meyers has become the face of evil. He’s seen as the boogeyman in the Halloween franchise. When that iconic melody plays, it’s almost impossible not to get goosebumps. Michael Meyers may primarily be after his sister, but he kills anyone and everyone in his path to get to her.
Michael has mastered the art of quietly stalking his prey and standing while staring in silence to create a feeling of dread. He’s extremely tough and doesn’t go down easily, even after being shot or falling out a window. His eyeless, spray-painted Captain Kirk mask is one of the most unsettling images in any movie.
There are plenty of slasher films out there and more are always coming out. What are some slashers that have always spooked you the most?