In Brian De Palma’s Blow Out, a high-octane thriller released in 1981, the opening scene gives the audience the point of view of a killer, making his way through a college dorm house. He spys on gorgeous gals as they gossip, dance, and fornicate, and he even catches one masterbating with the door open. In the end, the scene closes with the killer securing a hopeless and nude target – and one who screams terribly as he raises the murder weapon. It skips the attack, seeing that it returns the ‘real’ movie, but it’s all duly expected even if it wasn’t cut. De Palma’s first stab and parody at what would be coined a ‘Slasher’ in a decade, is undeniably the gist of what a Slasher flick is. In an issue of MAD, released the same year as Blow Out, the magazine highlighted the genre in an amusing segment, titled Arbor Day, poking fun at Slasher films. Basically it details the genre’s tropes and fundamentals, while supplying the MAD flavor of comedy, such as “a chainsaw becomes an instrument of terror when you turn up the sound to a deafening pitch and show it slowly approaching a terrified girl!” It’s all insanely correct, and a little exaggerated.
But yes, a Slasher in its essence, usually employs a run of young, unprepared adults who happen to walk into the games of a killer wielding a sharp weapon of sort.
And here is where you can read all about it.