Most slasher movies are predictable

The best films of the 90s and 00s: what about the slasher genre?

Exactly! What about all the rascals, the masked killers, the massaged teenagers and traditional rules? After all, after the great success of Scream and its two sequels, there has been a whole series of slasher films that have been more or less successful. Didn't they deserve their place in a decent 90s horror film retrospective? Even if it was just a revival? After all, the torture porn and zombie revival also made for some high-profile horror of the 00s ... Especially in view of the surprising fourth part of the Scream franchise - the attempted revival of the revival, so to speak - it is worth taking another look at the big teenslasher of the 90s and to ask why this somehow doesn't really want to go down in the annals of horror film history.

After the great success of Scream (1996) did not keep the free riders waiting long in coming. The film started with the impossibly long title I know what you did last summer (1997)that pretty much sticks to all of the genre prototypes and rules found in the horror movie world. Teenagers with a dissolute lifestyle, the catastrophic consequences of unbridled hedonism, guilt, retribution ... along these basic topoi, I know what you did last Summer also tells his story almost naively traditionally, without looking left or right. The question of the identity of the killer is a topic that will be found in all major 90s slasher films. Here it is almost annoyingly naive and predictable. It is mainly thanks to the success of Scream that this mild, average horror film was so successful. After all, the box office recovery brought almost 130 million dollars to light, so it is hardly surprising that a second part was quickly postponed.

I still know what you did last summer (1998) followed just a year after the success of its predecessor; and with the direct-to-DVD exploitation that followed almost ten years later I will always know what you did last summer (2006) A third part is even allowed to join the franchise, even if this B-movie has almost nothing in common with the original films. But it doesn't matter, because the second part of the summer franchise, like its predecessor, is at best an average teenage slasher, who, in contrast to part 1, relies on a nice - really stupid - explanation of the murder cases and a surprising second perpetrator, otherwise but just as rightly disappeared into oblivion. Meanwhile it was already Scream 2 (1997) appeared and had proven to the epigones that you can still direct great, exciting films with cannibalized topics. That the stragglers did not want to take notice, however, proved Dark Legends (1998)which, like the summer franchise, was annoyingly slavishly chained to the rules inherent in the genre and so could not score with either the pseudo-surprising exposure of the killer identity or the admittedly nice idea of ​​exploiting Urban Legends.

Meanwhile, the annoying and embarrassing slasher disaster proved that things can still be a bit less level, stupid and brazen Valentine (2001), which comes under the German distribution title Scream, If you can ran in our cinema. Based on a tragic story of revenge, a slasher that was both stylish and modern was to be staged. Both go in the pants: a tremendously silly, implausible and exaggerated story, a rather untalented staffage of actors and all in all - despite a decent budget - quite a slasher patchwork that would have fitted much more into the 80s than into the ironic, self-referential one Post-scream era. Even in the time of Jason and Mike Myers, Valentine would not have elicited more than a tired yawn or uncomfortably touched laughter. The German production finally proved that it goes even deeper Swimming Pool - Death Celebrates With (2001), who boldly copied ideas from the US role models and snipped them together into a really, really bad film: stagnant production, lousy actors, uninteresting characters and one of the most boring murderers in film history. Et Voilà, thanks to the copying mania of the German film industry, we have reached the deepest horror cellar.

So is that supposed to be it? The slasher film slides from the 90s into the new millennium, is there really fucked by Torture Porn and eaten by the living dead before it has made a single decent film outside of the Scream franchise? One would be willing to say, “Yes!” But they did exist, those few little bright spots, the sparkles of hope in the yellowed genre with blood on their hands.Final Destination (2000) by James Wong is certainly not a masterpiece of the horror genre, but makes clever use of slasher myths and motifs to create a respectable, entertaining film. He succeeds in doing this above all by bringing a supernatural component into play. The killer is simply death itself and can therefore let off steam happily. No wonder that the franchise (now there are four parts) are partly responsible for the most creative, craziest and most remote deaths of the entire genre. Sure, all four are thin in terms of content. And at the latest from Final Destination 2 (2003) The motto is 'If you know someone, you know them all', but the first part - which, despite supernatural, fantastic elements, works according to the very classic slasher rules - is always a good piece of entertaining popcorn horror cinema. The Hollywood remake also proved it Freeze (1997)that appealing films with slasher motifs are possible. Okay, but this is just a Hollywood remake of the - much better - Danish film Nightwatch (1994)which in turn was shown in the cinema for a long time before the slasher renaissance and therefore cannot really be drawn into it (and probably does not want to). For the US version, however, enough slasher moments were taken from the then booming subgenre, which means that it can be counted among the notable representatives of US horror.

Speaking of before ... Scream was by no means Wes Craven's first attempt to reanimate the slasher with a self-deprecating, self-referential touch. Freddy's New Nightmare (1994) locates the classic slasher icon Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Freddy Krueger, in the 90s. The action itself takes place on the set of a new Nightmare flick, and its leading actress - Heather Langenkamp, ​​who plays herself like Wes Craven and Robert Englund - is caught up in reality by the events of the series. Does the bell ring? With today's knowledge, the seventh part of the Nightmare franchise almost looks like a test run by Wes Craven, how much metatext he can expect his audience to be. And it works. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (the much more appropriate original title) is one of the best films in the Freddy franchise - if not THE best - and shows how classics can be revived in a highly self-deprecating and grimly macabre way. Halloween H20 (1998), who took advantage of the slasher revival to once again let Mike Myers' Jamie Lee Curtis chase through the alleys, may not be such a top-class figure, but it is one of the better films of the 90s slasher genre and is behind Halloween (1978) the best part of this series, which is not particularly difficult given the lousy predecessors. After all, a solid horror work, far stronger than most teenage lashers of the time and Jamie Lee Curtis can prove why she is the only true scream queen. While these old warriors are doing well in comparison to the genre youngsters, the Friday of the 13th row follows Jason X (2002)to bathe properly. To be fair, it should be mentioned here that the entire Friday 13th franchise was never able to boast a single successful film. The classic status of this lousy series will probably remain a mystery forever.


In fact, the '90s slasher has by no means doused the genre with fame. None of the films presented here comes close to the best horror films of the decade: at most, the postmodern meta-work Freddy’s New Nightmare, Scream of course (also its second part) and Nightwatch, although this is already far outside the classic genre boundaries. Otherwise a lot of average, a lot of crap ... and thank God the 00s were already there, the backwood horror with films like that Texas Chainsaw Massacre Remake (2003) or the Wrong Turn Franchise (2003 - 2009) At least as bad things as the 90s did to the slasher movie. By the way, the parallels to the 80s are interesting in this context: Here, too, the slashers were successively displaced by more brutal, bloody and coarse strips. The murder became torture, the lonely killers became redneck gangs and zombies. The same movement took place in the transition from the '90s revivals to the' 00s revivals. The renaissance of the slasher was followed by the renaissance of survival horror, torture porn and the zombie film. The same procedure as last decade ...? The same procedure as every decade!

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First published in 2011