Top 10 Extremely Low Budget Slasher Films of the '80s
#10 - THE BURNING [1981]
THE BURNING [1981] Image

"Man, this guy is so burned, he's cooked! A fucking Big Mac, overdone!" Film starts with a prank gone wrong—a group of campers accidentally burns the cruel, alcoholic caretaker (nicknamed "Cropsy" for his love of a pair of gardening shears), leaving him horribly disfigured (at "Camp Blackfoot"—get it?). This poor dude spends the next five years in a hospital and then they release him to the streets. The first thing Cropsy does is follow one of the ugliest prostitutes in movie history up to her apartment where he dispatches her with a pair of scissors and then makes his way back to the woods to wreak vengeance upon a group of campers with his favorite pair of gardening shears. What makes The Burning notable is the appearance of some young actors who would go on and do significantly bigger and better things such as Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter and Fisher Stevens. In addition, look for Brian Backer, the dopey kid who starred as Mark "Rat" Ratner in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It was also one of the first films to be produced by Harvey and Bob Weinstein of the newly created Miramax Films. Oh yeah, the soundtrack even features a score by famous English keyboardist Rick Wakeman and includes songs with such amusing titles as "Variations on the Fire," "Shear Terror" and "Doin' It." Finally, if you are totally desperate and depraved, The Burning offers a couple of full frontal nudity shots featuring some really hairy bush (this was filmed in 1981, remember!). And what the hell ever happened to Carrick Glenn? She just about steals the entire movie with a hot shower scene!


"It'll be a killer party!" Inept Canadian slasher film is primarily remembered for starring Melissa Sue Anderson, best known for her stint as "Mary Ingalls" in "Little House on the Prairie." Believe it or not, Glen Ford (Gilda, The Big Heat) also stars in this steaming pile of shit.

#08 - AMERICAN GOTHIC [1988]

"The family that slays together stays together." Great cast totally wasted, stars Rod Steiger as Pa, Yvonne De Carlo as Ma, Michael J. Pollard as Woody, William Hootkins as Teddy and Janet Wright as Fanny. Avoid like the plague . . . 

#07 - MANIAC [1980]
MANIAC [1980] Image

"I warned you not to go out tonight . . ." Maniac is notable as one of the handful of movies late film critic Gene Siskel admitted to walking out on in total disgust. 

#06 - HELL NIGHT [1981]
HELL NIGHT [1981] Image

"If you weren't screaming and we weren't screaming, then someone is trying to mindfuck us here."

#05 - MADMAN [1982]
MADMAN [1982] Image

"They thought they were alone . . ."


"What did you expect, a Holiday Inn?"

#03 - CHOPPING MALL [1986]
CHOPPING MALL [1986] Image

"It's not you, Ferdy. I'm just not used to being chased around a mall in the middle of the night by killer robots."


"Close your eyes for a second . . . and sleep forever."

#01 - DON'T GO IN THE WOODS . . . ALONE! [1981]
DON'T GO IN THE WOODS . . . ALONE! [1981] Image

"Everyone has nightmares about the ugliest way to die!" A deranged woodsman stalks a group of campers. The plot includes an obnoxious guy in a wheelchair being pushed down the side of a mountain. It's the best scene in the movie. A "classic" cheapie horror flick that goes down well with a 12-pack of beer. The production costs on this piece of crap, which was filmed in Utah, couldn't have run over $1,000. Rent it at your own risk (if you can find the damn thing!).

Top 10 List Courtesy of Art Spackle

User Comments - Add a Comment
Mike D. - 2009-06-29 04:04:30

Do these Top 10 lists go to a vote? some of these titles are help in very high regard among horror fans. I feel like this list was phoned in.

John - 2009-09-17 20:37:41

I agree in all the movie you picked except Happy Birthday To me, because, it was not that bad compare to the others, I have seen worst from the 80´s.

Chris - 2010-06-19 21:01:40

WTF...The Burning is one of the best slasher films ever made...EVER!!! Better than well over half the Friday 13th and Nightmare/Elm Street combined I love Don't Go In The Woods...It's so bad it's good

Fred - 2010-07-15 23:53:52

This could almost be the top ten BEST slashers

T. Ross - 2010-09-05 01:49:06

Wtf???? Is this a fucking joke?? Chopping Mall, The Burning, Happy Birthday to Me, Slumber Party Massacre. These are some of the BEST slasher films of all time! Check my article....

Bazza Bonzo Harry Davison - 2010-09-17 23:23:38

wtf ??? are you assholes on glue? madman is the greatest slasher of all time,maniac is sleazy class with great fx,the burning is brilliant in its inclusion of the greatest slasher set piece ever and dont go in the woods alone! is a fantastic comedy...

slasher - 2010-09-22 21:08:02

you shouldn't be blogging about horror movies. stick with stuff you know about, like dildos and douchebags.

Joshie - 2010-09-30 16:39:30

Wow...ok, Don't Go in the Woods is pretty terrible, but the rest?...I feel like the blogger just picked 10 random slasher movies from the 80s and said "uh yeah, they might be cheesy, or bad, so ...nobody will know..." Great list for wonderful want terrible? Watch Fatal Pulse, Open House, Berserker, Blood Cult, Terror At Tenkilller or Offerings. But these? These aren't even mediocre, they're fantastic! (sans DGitW, but that's just a fun film)

That Guy You Know - 2012-04-07 05:48:23
Seriously, Man? these are some of the best! you're a dumbass... you want bad? Try Slaughter High. That movie sucked so bad it was good. That aint a lie btw I have it on DVD XD
DEADPIT.COM - 2012-07-04 15:02:22

Art Spackle obviously has no idea what he's talking about. For a more deaducated take on horror in general check out the ballers and shotcallers of Horror Talk Radio over at !

James - 2012-07-04 17:07:46

This is easily one of the worst written articles I have ever seen.......even for a top 10 list. First off you picked films most horror fans hold very highly and secondly you never even give a reason for your picks. You wrote a little about the first few and then all you give are taglines. And lets not even get on the subjet that some of these filmd ARENT EVEN SLASHERS! (Chopping Mall.....A Bad ass movie but not a damn slasher). If your going to write about something you should maybe do a little research and actually watch the films before you just trow something like this up on the net.

Kenny - 2012-07-04 17:11:53

This is the worst list I've ever heard of. This dude has no clue what he's fucking talking about. I'm actually enraged by this list. These are some of the best slashers that are out there.

The Psycho Cinephile - 2012-07-04 18:16:34

Someone can't be wrong in their opinion, but this list is just wrong. To anyone reading this list here's a bit of advice: use this list as a Top 10 best list. I am curious to see what a Top 10 best list would look like from whoever put this together. It would probably include Horror House on Highway 5.

Dick Head - 2012-07-04 19:36:40

Just goes to show you that any idiot can make a top 10 list on the internet now a days. Go back to blogging about your m night shyamalan movies and leave your so called list to the real horror fans. Douche!

Daniel - 2012-07-05 20:07:14

Great choices, he'll night is a personal favorite of mine!

Daisy - 2012-10-23 03:27:22

Have to agree with most here and suggest that perhaps you don't like slashers. Slumber Party Massacre was revolutionary for the genre and might I add fucking brilliant. Chopping Mall, The Burning and Happy Birthday to Me are all great. I don't know. . .I guess I'm wondering what's a best of slasher list for you because this list is confusing.

cheeseburger tits - 2014-05-06 17:57:12

In this guy's defense it doesn't say bad or good it says ultra low budget of which these all are..However Chopping Mall is definitely not a slasher film