Psycho: Everett Collection
Owen Gleiberman
August 06, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

What are your favorite slasher films and why?

The slasher genre has long been dismissed by critics. Other than ”Psycho,” ”Halloween,” and ”Scream,” what are your favorite slasher films and why? — Brian
First of all, let’s not make critics sound more myopic than they are. ”Psycho,” the granddaddy of the slasher film, is universally recognized as a masterpiece — though there’s no denying that the reviews in 1960 weren’t so kind. Personally, I wouldn’t count ”Halloween” as a favorite slasher film. It’s scary and fun, though in a mechanical, windup-demon way that set the tone for all of the interchangeable Freddy and Jason bloodfests that followed. What marks a great slasher movie is that it has mystery. The dark wonder of ”Psycho” is that its reigning monster — Mrs. Bates — doesn’t even exist, and ”The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974) gave a fresh coat of fear to the threat of homicide as the snuffing out of identity. Beyond that, I dare you to watch ”I Spit on Your Grave” or Takeshi Miike’s ”Audition” — a very sick and brilliant Japanese horror movie with a bit of the ”Psycho” spirit.

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