Slashers never die, especially as a genre. For almost half a century, iconic slashers have stalked audiences, and modern hits like Terrifier, The Babysitter, and the Fear Street trilogy have kept the tradition alive through the 2010’s. It seems each decade has birthed a few slasher icons: Leatherface and Michael in the 1970’s, Freddy and Jason in the 80’s, or Candyman and Ghostface in the 90’s. However, when we get to the new millennium, we hit a bit of a dead period. Aside from the remake boom at Platinum Dunes and Dimension Films, original slashers were falling under the radar. With the exception of a certain Creeper who doesn’t need to be brought up in polite company, the only breakout horror icon of the 2000’s is undoubtedly Jigsaw of the Saw franchise, and calling him a slasher is a question worthy of its own article. Well, just like any good slasher villain, they can’t stay buried, and there’s definitely a few underrated from this decade worth unearthing.
5. VICTOR CROWLEY
Victor Crowley (The Hatchet franchise): Most gore-hounds are at least familiar with this backwoods brute from director, Adam Green. Afterall, it is Kane Hodder’s second-best known role. Victor Crowley, aka Hatchetface, aka The Bayou Butcher, is a tragic collection of a misfortunate birth, a curse, and a prank gone wrong. Crowley prowls Louisiana’s Honey Island Swamp, killing anyone who enters the area indiscriminately.
There’s really no limit on him when the sun goes down, as despite his namesake, Crowley’s not above using any tool he gets his enormous hands on to tear you apart (or he’ll just do it with his bare hands). With four films under his belt-sander, and potentially more to come, Crowley has racked up a body count of 64 kills, putting many other horror icons to shame. Crowley ranks low on this list, as he’s just a few steps away from being a true slasher legend.
Babyface (The Hills Run Red): It would be easy to dismiss him as a Leatherface clone, as the film’s writer, David J. Schow has written two TCM entries in the past. But, Babyface does a have some extra gruesome baggage to set him apart. Babyface, played by Raicho Vasilev is the twisted offspring of an obsessive horror director who made a film called The Hills Run Red, where he was playing the killer in the film. However, his father Wilson wasn’t satisfied with the footage. Wilson put the killer’s costume on himself and proceeded to film himself murdering his cast in order to make the scariest film ever made. Well, like any method actor, Babyface dove deeper into his role, carving his own face off and tying his porcelain baby mask to his head with barbed wire, ready to up the bloodshed for a sequel.
Babyface is a slasher that shows some practicality and intelligence. Sure, he’s a masked brute like many others before him, but he’s not above setting a Saw-like trap and waiting patiently to strike. Plus, he’s smart enough to properly use firearms to keep things interesting. He’s a gruesome reflection of the late-2000’s splatter revival that could have earned a well-deserved fanbase if the film was properly marketed and released, but it ended up Direct-to-DVD during the final days of Blockbuster.
3. Leslie Vernon
Leslie Vernon (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon): Living in a world where our favorite slashers are real historical figures, up and comer, Leslie Mancuso (played by Nathan Baesel), has dreams of playing in the big leagues creating his own Urban Legend alter-ego. With the help of a documentary film crew, he stirs up the legend of Leslie Vernon with an attempt to orchestrate his first spree. Leslie deserves mention, when the mask is off as well. He’s an engaging character that embodies the inner horror fan.
He knows the tropes of the slasher film, and he knows how to make them work in his favor. And when that porcelain mask goes on, he naturally transforms into a quiet menace. As meta as he is, Vernon could be game for the big leagues in a sequel. And even with the changing tides in horror, a true slasher knows how to adapt. Hint, hint Scott Glosserman.
Chromeskull (Laid to Rest 1 & 2): The name speaks for itself, and with a mask like this, I’m surprised there isn’t a bigger following. It’s not enough for Jesse Cromeans to just hunt his victims down with his matching, twin hunting blades, but he also records the event on his shoulder-mounted camera to send tauntingly to police. So on top of being a vicious serial killer, he’s also a narcissistic Youtuber, reveling in other’s misfortune. Nick Principe gives Chromeskull a stoic build reminiscent of an early Michael Myers, but packs the ferociousness of Rob Zombie’s Michael Myers.
What really sets him apart, is despite being a murderous mute, he was at least able to hide his secret identity and have a normal life with a wife and child on the way (SPOILERS, that doesn’t quite pan out). And he’s doing all of this while also leading a nasty cult of followers who are revealed to be helping stage his sprees. Basically, Chromeskull is a director with a whole crew at his disposal. Plans were in the works for a possible third entry, but the unfortunate passing of creator, Robert Green Hall has definitely put that into question. From one horror fan to another, his legacy should see a conclusion.
1. The Collector
The Collector (The Collector & The Collection): Finally at the top, we have an answer if you were wondering what Kevin McCallister grew up to be. The Collector is still one of the most mysterious slashers, despite having a backstory laid out. The son of a museum curator who went on his own murderous rampage, The Collector has a successful secret identity as an entomologist, while moonlighting as a serial killer who specializes in elaborate cat-and-mouse traps. Sound familiar? Well, Saw sequel scribes, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, did initially conceive the idea as a prequel, before flushing it out into its own entity. The Collector demonstrates a level of combat training, engineering knowledge, and has an undisclosed level of wealth. Even with his traps doing most of his dirty work, he isn’t above close-combat with a knife, being able to hold his own against an opponent twice his size, or even just mowing down a room with an AK-47.
But he prefers seeing who is the last one standing, as they become the prize he takes back to his elaborate hideout, where they’re basically turned into The People Under the Stairs. In the opening scene of the sequel, The Collector has rigged a massive razor saw blade trap in a night club that causes one of the bloodiest mass deaths in modern American horror. This scene alone put his body count up there with Michael and Jason. As of the release of this review, a third film was planned and had begun production. Unfortunately, due to mishandling by producers, production has since been abandoned, leaving the fate of the trilogy in question.
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