Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween

Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween
| October 30, 2021

To prepare for this Halloween season, why not stream some slashers? They’re a perfect choice of horror subgenre: they basically invented the rules we all associate with horror as a whole. Between Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream, there are so many options, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start, and which entries to savor or skip.

As an alternative this year, why not save yourself from the franchise funk and try something a little different? I’ve pulled together a list of 10 underseen, unconventional slasher films that you might enjoy, all available now for streaming in the US and Canada.

Happy streaming, and happy screaming!

Here is a selection of the best slashers on Shudder, Netflix, Tubi and More

Fade to Black (1980)

Streaming — USA: DirecTV, Shudder / Canada: Shudder

Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween
Fade to Black (1980)

From Vernon Zimmerman — the writer of the 1989 cult classic, Teen Witch (yes, really) — Fade to Black is a psychological horror comedy that’s all about one man’s passionate love for cinema. If that sounds like an odd pitch, trust me, it is.

The film follows Eric Binford (Dennis Christopher, It), a lonely cinephile who lives with his wheelchair-bound domineering aunt. Eric is bullied, berated, and overlooked, but he’s also kind of useless; his work ethic is greatly undermined by his obsession with movies. When his aunt’s antics finally push him over the edge, he pushes her down the stairs, and discovers that he can live out his film fantasies in the most satisfying — and deadly — way. Giving in to his flair for the dramatic, Eric dresses up as different characters from his favourite films and seeks revenge on those who have wronged (or simply been rude to) him, culminating in a showdown at the thematically appropriate TCL Chinese Theatre in LA.

Fade to Black walks a fine line between goofy and refined, in that way that great 80s horror films do. It’s also a rare occurrence of changing the perspective of the slasher film, switching our main point of focus to make us follow and connect with the killer, rather than a hero or Final Girl. Unlike 1980’s Maniac (the other major example of this), this focus is also a somewhat sympathetic one as Eric is built as a downtrodden character who only lashes out at those who deserve it (at least in his opinion, they do). It’s a strange one, but it’s kind of a blast.

The Final Girls (2015)

Streaming — USA: Hulu, Tubi / Canada: Netflix, CTV

Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween
The Final Girls (2015)

In this clever and surprisingly emotional horror-comedy, Max — mourning the loss of her 80s scream queen mother — reluctantly agrees to attend a theatrical screening of her mom’s cult horror classic. When tragedy strikes, Max and her friends are pulled into the world of the film, where they must work with the characters in the movie to fight against the burly killer that’s out to slay them all.

The Final Girls has a fantastic cast that all bring their A game. Adam Devine, Angela Trimbur, Thomas Middleditch, and Alia Shawkat fill the comic relief roles with precision, while Malin Akerman and Taissa Farmiga play your emotions like a fiddle, acting as the film’s mother-daughter duo. It’s very funny, yet it deals with themes of closure that anchor the absurdity, making it a bit more real despite the fantastical concept.

Co-written by Joshua John Miller (who you may remember as Homer in Near Dark), the film was conceived as a way of dealing with the death of his dad, Jason Miller (Father Karras in The Exorcist). It’s a self-aware slasher that understands the tropes and trends of the horror genre and uses them wisely.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Streaming — USA & Canada: Shudder, Hoopla

Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Speaking of self-aware slashers, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is an absolutely brilliant hybrid. It’s a found footage meta-slasher, in which Jason, Michael, and Freddy all exist in the “real” world. In the film, a young documentary crew follow Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel), a killer with aspirations of being the next big name in terror.

Vernon is open and affable, inviting the film crew to learn all about his work. He teaches them the necessities of cardio, observation, and planning, and explains the casting required when selecting his “target group”. It’s a really fun film that truly loves the horror genre and includes cameos from legends like Kane Hodder, Zelda Rubenstein, and Robert Englund.

Directed by Scott Glosserman, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon combines found footage with scenes that are cinematically staged, allowing the audience to enjoy Vernon’s hard work as his victims experience it.

Vicious Fun (2020)

Streaming — USA & Canada: Shudder

Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween
Vicious Fun (2020)

More meta slashers! This one’s also a horror comedy! In the film (set in the 80s), a caustic horror film critic named Joel finds himself in all kinds of trouble when he accidentally stumbles upon a self-help group for serial killers. Every slasher trope is represented here, so while this may not be strictly considered a slasher film (it’s got less stabbed co-eds and more comical chaos), I’m going to include it here. Because it’s just so dang fun!

Directed by Cody Calahan (The Oak Room) Vicious Fun is fueled by knives and neon, with some really enjoyable performances and a comically on-the-nose script. Every technical element of the film is impressively tight; Steph Copeland’s synth-heavy score, Jeff Maher’s cinematography, and Mike Gallant’s editing gel together perfectly. And did I mention it’s fun? This is one of Shudder’s hidden gems, and it’s well worth checking out.

The Furies (2019)

Streaming — USA & Canada: Shudder

Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween
The Furies (2019)

In this Australian slasher, a young woman wakes up, trapped in a box, in the middle of nowhere. Upon her escape, she finds she has much bigger problems to worry about. There’s a group of masked maniacs out to kill her — and the other unfortunate women who wake up in this same scenario — and she must do all she can to survive.

The Furies is a blood-drenched female-focused film that plucks out the tired tropes of classic slashers. It’s an homage to horror that works hard for its scares, even though it can get a bit bogged down by its own ideas. But if you’re looking for a night of tension and pristine practical effects (there’s one scene involving an axe that I rewound and rewatched a few times because of the sheer audacity of it all), pop this one on. It’s a solid feature film debut from writer/director Tony D’Aquino, and definitely one to check out if you want a bit of variety in your slasher picks.

Deep Red (1975)

Streaming — USA: Shudder, Hoopla, Plex, Tubi, Arrow, AMC+ / Canada: Shudder, Hoopla

Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween
Deep Red (1975)

One of Dario Argento’s classics! This giallo mystery-slasher follows a pianist named Marcus (David Hemmings) as he attempts to solve a series of murders, sleuthing out the killer with the help of a fiesty reporter (Daria Nicolodi) instead of, you know, the police. In true Argento fashion, the movement and placement of the camera adds artistic flair, with vibrant red blood and a fantastically jarring score by Goblin.

The visuals of the film are outstanding, with wide shots in impressive spaces and close-ups of detailed objects that build the mood and atmosphere. Deep Red uses intense violence shot in a way that makes the viewer feel like they’re inhabiting the killer’s body; it’s incredibly effective and deeply uncomfortable. I rarely squirm in a horror film, but this one got to me.

The Mutilator (1984)

Streaming — USA: Tubi, Shudder, AMC+, Arrow / Canada: Shudder, Fandor, Arrow

Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween
The Mutilator (1984)

We’re going on a fall break with one of my favorite 80s slashers, The Mutilator. It’s got everything you could possibly want: an attention-grabbing opener, delightfully cheesy acting, creative kills, and a theme song so catchy I’ll apologize in advance (it’s gonna get stuck in your head).

In the film, Ed Jr. (Matt Mitler) and his friends are granted access to a beach house owned by his father, a game hunter. But when the “teens” go for a bit of rest and relaxation (otherwise known as drunken debauchery), they are hunted down and picked off one by one. The ending of the film is surprisingly bleak, for a classic slash-em-up 80s film with such an upbeat theme.

The Editor (2014)

Streaming — USA: Tubi, Shudder, AMC+ / Canada: Shudder Amazon Channel

Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween
The Editor (2014)

From the brilliant and bonkers minds of Astron-6, The Editor is their hilarious and loving riff on the giallo slasher. With bad dubbing, excessive nudity, technicolour wash, and a hysterical script that’s so silly, it’s a wonder how they got through each take. It’s pitch-perfect and absolutely ridiculous. I just love it.

In the film, the cast and crew of a movie-in-progress are systematically slaughtered, and suspicion turns to the film’s talented but socially rejected editor. It’s worth mentioning that the practical effects on this film are done — in part — by Steven Kostanski (The Void, Psycho Goreman) and Emersen Ziffle (WolfCop, Power Rangers). They go way over the top and it’s perfect.

This one is best viewed if you have a sense of humour and a passing familiarity with giallo cinema, otherwise it’s just going to seem totally batshit crazy. So. Yanno. Prepare yourself.

Intruder (1989)

Streaming — USA & Canada: Tubi

Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween
Intruder (1989)

It’s a supermarket slasher! The Raimi brothers are there! As is Bruce Campbell! Ok they’re only here briefly, but that aside, Intruder takes advantage of some really creative camera placement and a unique setting to create a campy slasher.

Filmed at a local grocery store (after hours), the film follows the cast of an overnight crew who are interrupted from their stocking duties by a different kind of stalker, one with intent to kill. Brutally! And repeatedly. It’s fairly by-the-book, but the practical effects are so dang effective, it’s definitely worth a watch. With effects by the legendary Robert Kurtzman and Greg Nicotero, Intruder is a great option if you want a classic slasher that tries some new tricks.

Prevenge (2017)

Streaming — USA: DirecTV, AMC+, Shudder / Canada: Shudder

Underseen Slashers You Can Stream Before Halloween
Prevenge (2017)

Written and directed by an 8-month pregnant Alice Lowe, Prevenge tells the story of the recently widowed and very pregnant Ruth (played by Lowe herself), who faces some unexpected challenges during her pregnancy. Her unborn child is incredibly demanding and the only way to satiate its needs is for Ruth to just straight up kill people. Ruth heads on a vengeance spree to dispose of those she feels are responsible for her husband’s death, and the result is darkly entertaining.

Lowe’s unsuspecting slasher film is a stunning portrait of a woman who’s lost everything. Ruth is complex and compelling, fascinating, and flawed, and Lowe’s performance carries it all. Prevenge is really something quite special; it’s wickedly funny with deadpan line delivery that hides raw emotion. While it wears the mask of a quirky slasher, at its core, it’s an honest and unflinching exploration of maternal fears.

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