Slasher Saturday: Ranking The Deep Cuts From The 1980’s

This Slasher Saturday Is All About Lesser Known 80’s Slashers!

Horror was ruled by the slasher genre in the 1980’s. Sure, there was some body horror films or creature features but there was an influx of masked slashers.

Everyone knows the major hits like ‘Friday The 13th‘ and ‘Nightmare On Elm Street‘ but what about the ones people don’t normally talk about?

Below is a list of some of the best of the little known horror hits!



Honorable Mentions:

‘Terror Train’ (1980)

-‘Hell Night’ (1981)

‘Return To Horror High’ (1987)

10. ‘Motel Hell’ (1980)


  • Motel Hell‘ is a name any 80’s movie buffs can recognize but it’s all about if you can tolerate the madness. That’s what really held this film back from becoming a massive mainstream hit. It’s just too gross for the normal cinema-goer. It’s on the Slasher Saturday list for being a movie many wish they didn’t know about.

9. ‘Maniac Cop’ (1989)


  • For being a brutal and niche horror film, ‘Maniac Cop‘ has sure built a legacy. With two sequels and an upcoming remake, this has to be one of the most successful B-movie slasher franchises. Starring Tom Atkins and Bruce Campbell, this is like the slasher genre’s attempt at cop dramas.

8. ‘Stage Fright’ (1987)


  • Stage Fright‘ has to be one of the more artsy films of this list. Inspired by giallo films, this Italian film stands out for all the best reasons. The theatrical setting feels inspired and the killer wears this insane bird mask and carries a chainsaw. Why is this not known by everyone!?

7. ‘April Fool’s Day’ (1986)


  • Number 7 was a toss up between ‘April Fool’s Day‘ and ‘Happy Birthday to Me‘ but this notable holiday horror is the best choice. ‘April Fool’s Day‘ bombed with the mainstream but became a cult classic almost instantly. It’s known for a twist ending and some of the most interesting slasher “kills” of all time.

6. ‘Slumber Party Massacre’ (1982)


  • Written like a parody but filmed like a straight genre piece, ‘Slumber Party Massacre” is unique. It feels exploitive of women but is directed by a woman. It’s an oddly empowering feminist film that was also insanely graphic. This is another film on the list that ended up with many sequels as well.

5. ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ (1984)


  • Christmas time was ruined for many kids in 1984. ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night‘ caused an uproar with parents about the use of Santa in the marketing. That leads to negative reviews and a poor box office performance. Somehow though, this Christmas horror movie lives on in the hearts of many slasher fans.

4. ‘Maniac’ (1980)


  • Why did ‘Maniac‘ work? Maybe fans were used to 70’s exploitation but this gross film has stood the test of time. ‘Maniac‘ reached cult-classic status and even spawned a fairly successful remake. Not bad for a little-known 1980 slasher movie. No 1980’s slasher could ever gets as dark as this movie does.

3. ‘The Prowler’ (1981)


  • After ‘Halloween‘ wrote the book on slashers and ‘Friday The 13th‘ made a new chapter, ‘The Prowler‘ learned from both of those movies. It came early in the slasher craze but feels more focused than the rest. It knew what to do and delivered solid horror. That’s why it makes it to the top 3!

2. ‘The Burning’  (1981)


  • With one of the creepiest killers in horror history, ‘The Burning‘ is overall one of the scariest slasher films ever. It happens to be another summer camp horror movie but it has the honor of being the first film released by Miramax Films. Some have said the movie feels dated but Tom Savini’s gore is still superb!

1. ‘Sleepaway Camp’ (1983)


  • The other big camp slasher movie is ‘Sleepaway Camp‘. Jason Voorhees-led ‘Friday The 13th‘ gets the fame but 1983’s ‘Sleepaway Camp‘ is by far the most subversive. Everything from the homoeroticism to the over-the-top acting, this feels so strange. And that’s not even mentioning that bizarre twist ending!

Do you agree with this listing of lesser known horror movies from the 80’s?

Let me know what you think about this week’s Slasher Saturday in the comments!

EJ Moreno
EJ Moreno
Who is EJ Moreno? Is he a trained physician? No. Is he a former Miss Universe contestant? Possibly. With a bachelors degree in film and a love of pop culture, he brings an alternative view to the world of pop culture journalism. Follow him on Twitter @EJKhryst and check out his film work at