Longed for titles like The Burning are finally in general DVD release and The Mutilator, Final Exam, Nightmare and more are safely in the hands of Code Red for the future, but here are the five most valuable retro slashers that need a digital release. Note, cheap company versions that are just video dubs do not apply. Not that we demand full-blown special editions, but for at least the basic satisfaction of the slasher fan, titles need a decent image (preferably widescreen unless directorially dictated otherwise) and a wide release that’s easy to find.
5. Silent Night, Deadly Night 3
Directed by Monte Hellman
That now out-of-print double sided DVD of Silent Night, Deadly Night 1 & 2 was such a treat, now where’s the 3rd entry? I could (for now) care less about the 4th and 5th films because of their lack of slasher centricity, but part 3 continues using the character of Ricky Caldwell as it’s murderer. Going from bug-eyed hulkazoid Eric Freeman in the 2nd one to string-thin sleepwalking Bill Mosely is a stretch for some, but others (like me) are easily pleased.
Directed by Richard Ciupka
A Canadian production that sits alongside others from the era like My Bloody Valentine and Prom Night. The setup of auditioning actresses is novel, and the detached feel of the mansion locale among winter creates a sense of unease which is exploited to full effect in the infamous ice rink murder scene. The film endured some heavy interference and changes behind the scenes, but came out the other end as part of alot of fans fave lists.
Directed by Paul Lynch
Another Canadian entry in the slasher sweepstakes. Again, a segregated location – that of “Dog Island”. The lurching grotesque creature preying on the kids that stranded on his ma’s island really makes the suspense work because he’s the type of fellow to rip out your vertebrae first just because. I’ve always wondered if the near pitch-black photography was intended or a result of the video transfer process, a DVD would tell us which.
Directed by Hikmet Avedis
One of my personal faves, if not many others, this straight slasher set in the funeral industry benefits from its Californian seaside locations, twangy synth score, and Bill Paxton as a latex masked cloaked figure – kind of what you’d get if you crossed Michael Myers and Father Death from Scream. There are some gory kills with his joust-like trochar tool. A cult subplot goes nowhere, but there are clues that lead up to a scared-me-shitless final scene.
1. Slaughter High (NOW DONE)
Directed by George Dugdale
It’s credited to one helmer, but two others had to jump in at times, too so it’s probably no wonder the flick has a patchwork quality about it which kind of works with its climactic plot turn. The ill fated Simon Scuddamore carries the Marty role with enough genuineness that you cheer for him (or a random crew member in a Jester’s mask) offing his ex-high school bullies. This is the easy-watching archetype-serving slasher that needs to hit disc now!