Feeling blue? Seeing red? Hate colour metaphors? Don’t despair… slasher movies can help! Psychologists have long recognized the healing power of feel-good movies in treating all kinds of mental woes, from bouts of minor depression to fits of cheerleader-murdering rage, so just imagine the effect a good slasher movie can have. Cinematically speaking, the humble hack-’em-up makes a perfect pick-me-up for anyone feeling a little… strange. So don’t self-mutilate, self-medicate with the Retro Slashers guide to slasher movie therapy…
I Hate Myself and I (Don’t) Want to Die! Bad Hair Day Slashers
Even the most style-savvy and sophisticated of us can wake up after a rough night looking like the killer in Humongous. But don’t feel like you have to hide behind a hockey mask for the rest of the day; simply slip on the DVD of Just Before Dawn and watch how tomboyish heroine Constance transforms herself from final girl to cover girl in the space of a few kills. All it takes is a little nail-polish and a few hair-styling tips and she’s ready to kill… With her looks, that is!
Other top makeover slashers: Resourceful Ginny transforms herself into a dowdy, middle-aged Mrs Voorhies using just an old sweater in Friday the 13th Part 2, confusing psycho-son Jason just enough to spare her life in the process. But if it’s an extreme makeover you’re after, you can’t beat Sleepaway Camp, whose heroine Angela pulls off a particularly daring summer look – at least until it unravels (literally) at the end.
It’s Braining Men! PMS Slashers
In the immortal words of Lynda Day George in Pieces, “Bastard! BASTARD! BAAAASTAARD!!” or, to put it another way, sometimes life just seems designed to piss you off – and it’s probably all some guy’s fault. If you’re feeling mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore, fight back with a classic PMS slasher like Terror Train or Slaughter High, wherein sexually-confused geeks jam sharp objects into everyone who’s ever pissed them off (and/or seriously disfigured them). For even greater collateral damage, try Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, in which Santa-hating psycho Ricky rampages down a suburban street shooting everyone in sight with demented cries of “Garbage Day!”… We guarantee you’ll feel better.
Teeth still grinding? Backwoods slasher The Final Terror includes handy tips for making all manner of man-maiming booby-traps, perfect for home and office use.
Nobody Loves Me: Pity Party Slashers
It’s your party and you’ll cry if you want to, especially if someone eats the last Pringle! Whether you’ve been wronged in the past or fear for the future, there’s always a place for you at the slasher movie pity party – just pull up a chair between Cropsy here, whose personal grudge concerns the small matter of a boiled face in The Burning, and Ray, whose severe depression after being jilted at the altar turned him into the ultimate wedding slasher in He Knows You’re Alone. Don’t get too comfortable, however; there’s always room for a few more corpses at the table and, if you want to see a real pity party in action, we suggest Happy Birthday to Me, wherein sole-survivor Ginny warbles the titular tear-jerking song surrounded by the bodies of almost everyone she knows. Pass the Prozac, please!
Bring on the pain: More whinging and whining leads to slicing and dicing in Graduation Day, Tenebrae, Pranks, Fatal Games, Hide and Go Shriek and The Funhouse. Among others.
This Job’ll Be the Death of Me! Working Girl Blues Slashers
You work hard for the money, honey, so it’s not fair when someone comes along and makes mincemeat of your efforts. And your colleagues. Unwind after a long day with a glass of wine and a couple of slashers featuring women whose high-powered jobs lead to high-tension tussles with highly psychotic killers. There’s The Fan, in which Broadway star Lauren Bacall squares off against an obsessed stalker; Visiting Hours, where feminist activist Deborah duels to the death in a big-city hospital; and a glut of anchorwomen in peril best represented by Eyes of a Stranger, The Unseen and The Seduction. Of course, you don’t have to be earning millions to attract the attentions of a murderous maniac: take Halloween’s Laurie, for example, whose only mistake was to accept a simple babysitting gig on the spookiest night of the year…
Still trying to land that killer job? Study hard with the collegiate casts of Final Exam, Evil Laugh, The Mutilator and Night School and it won’t be long before you’re shoulder-to-shoulder with the working stiffs yourself.
He Ain’t Heavy (So Carry the Body): Sibling Rivalry Slashers
Oh brother! If it ain’t your sister stealing your best neon-pink sweater, it’s your evil twin stabbing several of your BFFs – to death! Time to take a leaf from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and play just as dirty yourself, because if you can’t show the rest of the family you can be as ruthless as them, you’ll just get lost in the shuffle. For sisterly woes, try Madhouse, The Initiation or Sisters, all of which are brimming with advice on measuring up against an overbearing family bitch. When brothers attack, watch Halloween II or Prom Night and thank your lucky stars that, even though your little brother may be fatally annoying, at least he’s not coming after you with a butcher knife… for now!
Not now, Mother! If it’s maternal mayhem causing your family friction, try a good mom-from-hell slasher like Psycho, Mother’s Day or Friday the 13th. Your own mother will seem positively mild in comparison.
Panty Raid! Girls’ Night Slashers
Sick of scented candles, Sandra Bullock and sugary endings? Purge the urge to splurge on another dull romantic comedy by treating the girls to a night of slasher movie mayhem instead. All you need is a TV, the DVD of Slumber Party Massacre, a couple of pizzas (toppings made from body parts optional) and a pile of cushions in case the need for a pillow fight arises (which it naturally will). Sorority House Massacre II will give you tips on how best to work your Ouija board – not to mention skimpy nightwear – or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, throw caution to the wind and hold a scavenger hunt à la Girls Nite Out.
She’s a killer queen: Getting a gaggle of girls together doesn’t always guarantee a harmonious night, unfortunately. If things do go pear-shaped, a good bitchfest slasher like Curtains or April Fool’s Day should distract the mean girls enough for you to sneak the underdogs to safety. If you want to bitch back, model yourself on Barbara (played by the incomparable Margot Kidder) in Black Christmas or the cane-wielding Mrs Slater in The House on Sorority Row. Good luck!