Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Great Slasher Reaserch Project of '10: End of Step 1

This post is the official announcement of the completion of the first stage of the Great Slasher Research Project of 2010!

We had more than 50 sources - ranging from scholarly texts to trait lists submitted by readers - who came up with 43 distinct traits that define the slasher movie subgenre.

Taking the most consistent identified traits, here are the elements that we've collectively decided define the subgenre, in order of votes:

1. Single or small group of human killers
2. Multiple kills
3. Killer exhibits focused hunting/stalking behavior
4. Pre-selected victim pool, determined by victim trait or location
5. Succession of kills over time
6. Killer was wronged or has a tragic past
7. Killer uses personal, low-tech weapons (no traps, guns, bombs, poisons)
8. Killer's identity is a secret
9. Final survivor or small group of survivors fight against the killer
10. Predictable order of kills determined by victim traits

Notably, the final girl and the predictable victim order, both common tropes in horror criticism and meta treatments of the subgenre, just barely made the cut.

Thanks to everybody who helped out. I'll be announcing the second part of our research project - and how you can help - shortly. Stay tuned, fright fanciers.


Sean T. Collins said...

Doesn't "killer's identity is a secret" rule out Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street??? Not to mention every slasher sequel?

CRwM said...

Not every slasher sequel. Oddly enough, the Scream franchise sequels and all of the sequels of its imitators are still valid. They used their killers like branding, new folks under the mask each time.

Unknown said...

When do we begin the next stage of this project? Fascinating stuff.