THE GRAY FOX BLOG: “What Slasher Series Should Continue?”

Although it hasn’t been long since the last Gray Fox blog, where I formally introduced readers to an ongoing project I am calling the Nightmare Deck, I felt it was appropriate to be swift with the next installment.

This edition will be all about the slasher subgenre, one I consider very near and dear to my heart.

Unfortunately, it isn’t the best subgenre when it comes to seeking out installments that deserve being featured in the deck. No doubt, there’re some films I’ve really enjoyed over the years. As you might surmise, I love the A Nightmare on Elm Street series. It is celebrated everywhere, from the Nightmare Shift logo, all the way to me on Halloween when I was eleven-years-old.

Ironically, however, I haven’t reviewed a single Elm Street film for the Nightmare Shift. I will one day absolutely, but, honestly, I have seen the films so, so many times I can’t bring myself to watch them again.

Asking the question of What Slasher Series Should Continue is one that receives an obvious, dull answer on my end.

As much as I enjoyed the new Scream film and look forward to the eventual sequel, the only major slasher series I think necessarily should continue is A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Unfortunately, it is a messier question that what is ideal.

I can imagine a lot of ways other series’ could continue as well, but it all comes down to what I think a film company will actually greenlight and allow. I’ve seen the Friday the 13th fan films and, honestly, Never Hike in the Snow is better than a lot of the actual official films in Friday the 13th cannon. Let’s not even start with the can of worms that is the legal issues currently afflicting the Friday the 13th franchise overall.

Halloween went to the well with its recent 2018 reboot, doing a pseudo-rehash of Halloween H20, and improving on it in mostly every way. However, with Halloween Kills, it feels clear to me that it doesn’t have any intention of evolving the series in any substantial way. Honestly, I preferred Rob Zombie’s film remake because at least it tried to add new ideas of what Michael Myers could be. Whether it is good or bad, at least its making strides at something different instead of more elaborate, convoluted ways to loop back to Carpenter’s original classic. At the moment, that’s all I think there is any intention to do with Halloween.

The appeal of A Nightmare on Elm Street is that there doesn’t have to be a Laurie Strode or a Sydney Prescott (although it does appear Scream will be moving away from Sydney in the next film), and, in fact, it doesn’t even necessarily require Freddy Krueger himself.

Robert Englund once suggested the idea of having Freddy Krueger as a type of puppet master, pulling the strings behind-the-scenes and guiding other demons around. It is a novel concept because it would allow Robert to return as Freddy Krueger without having to make the role too tasking for him. Give Freddy Krueger his Cenobites!

Likewise, there is so many versatile ways the Freddy Krueger character / Elm Street world can be used. Through the use of a few tweaks, Stephen King’s IT film could have become an Elm Street film, with the old Elm Street house perceived as the heart of his strength. As we approach half-a-dozen Screams, an upcoming eleventh Hellraiser (not exactly a slasher), and wherever we’re at with Leatherface, it has to be asked how many of them have the mileage left and how many of them are being released for no other reason than because profitability.

The cynical answer is that none of them have mileage left, with Elm Street though, I at least think there is an evergreen quality that could thrust it into relevancy if the right person came along and did it.

I’d love to see new slasher icons be created. Since the turn of the millennium, who have we had leave their mark on the industry?

As we await Hatchet 5, Adam Green’s Victor Crowley carried on where Friday the 13th left off (although on a much smaller scale), and even if I don’t love all of them, I appreciated them and look forward to the next film.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a cult classic for a reason. That in mind, although they tried to greenlight a sequel way back, I feel Leslie Vernon’s arc felt open-and-shut with the original film.

We have had comedies like Happy Death Day and Freaky, which, while entertaining enough fodder, are not at all what I had in mind.

The last I can think of, and the only one that I felt ever came close to capturing mainstream recognition was Art the Clown from Terrifier. The film wasn’t the best, but Art was a creepy, unique presence that I feel could have mileage if the sequel improves on the first and builds momentum.

If we’re counting The Collector, then, there’s The Collector kind-of, whose first film was a lot of fun, even if its sequel was a major misfire in my opinion (still holding out on Coll3ctor though).

Thus, in summary, all I want is for the genre to continue forth in a way that feels relevant. The remakes / sequels are sometimes fun and the comedy hybrids can sometimes charm, but all of that feels like a celebration of what once was, and I am more interested in what could be. This is why I am always seeking out low-budget independent slasher films in spite the track record I have with them.

Now, for the Nightmare Deck – like the last Gray Fox, I will be adding ten new films to the ongoing list. For this blog, I will only list the ten films included.

However, I will have all of the films from the ongoing series listed here.

Although the inaugural installment already featured five slasher films, due to the theme of this Gray Fox blog, I thought it’d be a nice symmetry to add in ten more.

As you can tell, it is not meant to be a definitive list of the best slashers film ever made or anything at all like that. Let’s make that clear – it is ten random slasher films I’ve reviewed over the years, put in order from greatest to least (based on my personal opinion).

Of them, I mentioned a handful already. I talked about Happy Death Day being a modestly enjoyable experience, and I mentioned that the Halloween reboot was a rehash, but a high-quality rehash. I never coveted Friday the 13th the way some do and I thought The Burning left a lot to be desired. I imagine those two will be the ones to stir up controversy amongst certain folk, but I’m unwavering in my opinion on them. That said, I respect your opinion on them, and I welcome you to write your own review on the Nightmare Shift if you disagree. By all means, set me straight.

I didn’t love the Child’s Play remake, but I appreciated it enough. It was a fun throwaway kind of modern slasher film. It was polished yet unnoteworthy, forgettable yet satiable. I preferred it over Don’s Curse of Chucky, but definitely preferred Cult over the remake (it isn’t included this time, will be the next).

Unfortunately, as you can tell, this means no film amongst the flock will enter into the Nightmare Deck on this edition. That’s okay! In-fact, it doesn’t inherently mean the films are bad, per se. It simply means they aren’t ranked amongst my favorites. It means something to me when a film is entered into the deck. I don’t do it lightly.

1.) Halloween (reboot)originally published October 23rd, 2020

2.) Child’s Play (remake)originally published September 4th, 2019

3.) Happy Death Dayoriginally published June 24th, 2019

4.) Happy Death Day 2Uoriginally published May 24th, 2019

5.) Curse of Chuckyoriginally published April 2nd, 2019

6.) Terrifieroriginally published April 19th, 2019

7) Leatherfaceoriginally published November 17th, 2016

6.) Friday the 13thoriginally published May 19th, 2019

9.) The Burningpublished May 18th, 2016

10.) Lumberjack Manpublished May 19th, 2016

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