(Photo by Paramount, New Line Cinema, Dimension Films, Maple Pictures, New World Pictures, Lionsgate / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

25 Essential Slasher Movies

Slashers — that gloriously grubby, stabby subsection of horror — were first unsheathed in the early 1970s, when Mario Bava stalked his cavorting, frequently disrobed victims around in A Bay of Blood. The movie set up mood of the slasher: Sexually charged, with a degree of mystery, where the ample cast of characters one-by-one take a sharp turn into doom. Slashers can be stylish (Opera, Dressed to Kill), carnal (Torso, Friday the 13th), grimly violent (The Prowler, The Burning), trashy (Pieces, The Slumber Party Massacre) and even supernatural (Halloween, Child’s Play). We’re studying all sides of the blade as we assemble movies that best represent this killer genre in the 25 Essential Slasher Movies.

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 42928%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Someone with a power drill shows up uninvited to Trish's (Michele Michaels) high-school pajama party.... [More]
Directed By: Amy Jones

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 44223%
Critics Consensus: There is indeed a good amount of tension in this French slasher, but the dubbing is bad and the end twist unbelievable.
Synopsis: A beautiful young Frenchwoman, Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco), travels out to the country to visit her family and brings along... [More]
Directed By: Alexandre Aja

#23

Maniac (1980)
40%

#23
Adjusted Score: 41140%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Childhood abuse triggers a man (Joe Spinell) to kill women and use their scalps to dress his mannequins.... [More]
Directed By: William Lustig

#22

Pieces (1982)
46%

#22
Adjusted Score: 46361%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A frustrated Boston detective searches for the maniac responsible for mutilating a number of university coeds.... [More]
Directed By: Juan Piquer Simon

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 58488%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Friends defy the rules of a legendary murderer and discover he is real when they start celebrating Valentine's Day.... [More]
Directed By: George Mihalka

#20
Adjusted Score: 48036%
Critics Consensus: Friday the 13th: Part VI - Jason Lives indeed brings back ol' Vorhees, along with a sense of serviceable braindead fun.
Synopsis: Years ago, Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) killed infamous hockey-masked murderer Jason Voorhees (C.J. Graham), and the intensity of the experience... [More]
Directed By: Tom McLoughlin

#19

The Prowler (1981)
67%

#19
Adjusted Score: 37867%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A crazed World War II veteran gets revenge on his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend, then stalks teens 35 years later.... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Zito

#18

Torso (1974)
56%

#18
Adjusted Score: 54981%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A hooded killer with a hacksaw stalks college coeds (Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont).... [More]
Directed By: Sergio Martino

#17

Candyman (1992)
77%

#17
Adjusted Score: 83282%
Critics Consensus: Though it ultimately sacrifices some mystery in the name of gory thrills, Candyman is a nuanced, effectively chilling tale that benefits from an interesting premise and some fine performances.
Synopsis: Skeptical graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) befriends Anne-Marie McCoy (Vanessa Williams) while researching superstitions in a housing project on... [More]
Directed By: Bernard Rose

#16

The Burning (1981)
80%

#16
Adjusted Score: 76560%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: At summer camp, some teenagers pull a prank on the camp's caretaker, Cropsy (Lou David). But the joke goes terribly... [More]
Directed By: Tony Maylam

#15

Happy Death Day (2017)
71%

#15
Adjusted Score: 82562%
Critics Consensus: Happy Death Day puts a darkly humorous sci-fi spin on slasher conventions, with added edge courtesy of a starmaking performance from Jessica Rothe.
Synopsis: Tree Gelbman is a blissfully self-centered collegian who wakes up on her birthday in the bed of a student named... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Landon

#14

You're Next (2011)
79%

#14
Adjusted Score: 84209%
Critics Consensus: You're Next's energetic and effective mix of brutal gore and pitch black humor will please horror buffs and beyond.
Synopsis: The Davisons, an upper-class family, are extremely wealthy -- but also estranged. In an attempt to mend their broken family... [More]
Directed By: Adam Wingard

#13

Child's Play (1988)
71%

#13
Adjusted Score: 73300%
Critics Consensus: Child's Play occasionally stumbles across its tonal tightrope of comedy and horror, but its genuinely creepy monster and some deft direction by Tom Holland makes this chiller stand out on the shelf.
Synopsis: Gunned down by Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon), dying murderer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) uses black magic to put... [More]
Directed By: Tom Holland

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 76458%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Favorite daughter Karen (Brooke Shields) is viciously strangled and set afire in church on the day of her First Communion,... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Sole

#11

Halloween (2018)
79%

#11
Adjusted Score: 101737%
Critics Consensus: Halloween largely wipes the slate clean after decades of disappointing sequels, ignoring increasingly elaborate mythology in favor of basic - yet still effective - ingredients.
Synopsis: It's been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Locked... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#10

Sleepaway Camp (1983)
78%

#10
Adjusted Score: 79436%
Critics Consensus: Sleepaway Camp is a standard teen slasher elevated by occasional moments of John Waters-esque weirdness and a twisted ending.
Synopsis: Bunks and the showers are a mad stabber's beat at a summer camp strictly for teens.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Hiltzik

#9
Adjusted Score: 74457%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors offers an imaginative and surprisingly satisfying rebound for a franchise already starting to succumb to sequelitis.
Synopsis: During a hallucinatory incident, young Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has her wrists slashed by dream-stalking monster Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#8

Friday the 13th (1980)
63%

#8
Adjusted Score: 66993%
Critics Consensus: Rather quaint by today's standards, Friday the 13th still has its share of bloody surprises and a '70s-holdover aesthetic to slightly compel.
Synopsis: Crystal Lake's history of murder doesn't deter counselors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. Superstitious locals... [More]
Directed By: Sean S. Cunningham

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 72967%
Critics Consensus: The rare slasher with enough intelligence to wind up the tension between bloody outbursts, Black Christmas offers fiendishly enjoyable holiday viewing for genre fans.
Synopsis: As winter break begins, a group of sorority sisters, including Jess (Olivia Hussey) and the often inebriated Barb (Margot Kidder),... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark

#6

Dressed to Kill (1980)
81%

#6
Adjusted Score: 84566%
Critics Consensus: With arresting visuals and an engrossingly lurid mystery, Dressed to Kill stylishly encapsulates writer-director Brian De Palma's signature strengths.
Synopsis: When Liz Blake (Nancy Allen), a prostitute, sees a mysterious woman brutally slay homemaker Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson), she finds... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 90053%
Critics Consensus: The Opera house location gives plenty to work with for director Dario Argento, who hits his decadently bloody high notes here.
Synopsis: A hooded figure forces a young diva (Cristina Marsillach) to watch as he murders performers in a production of Verdi's... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#4
Adjusted Score: 85740%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Following the murder of Countess Federica Donati (Isa Miranda), an heiress possessing a beautiful piece of beachfront property, members of... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#3

Scream (1996)
79%

#3
Adjusted Score: 83871%
Critics Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
Synopsis: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#2
Adjusted Score: 98230%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: In Wes Craven's classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1

Halloween (1978)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104031%
Critics Consensus: Scary, suspenseful, and viscerally thrilling, Halloween set the standard for modern horror films.
Synopsis: On a cold Halloween night in 1963, six year old Michael Myers brutally murdered his 17-year-old sister, Judith. He was... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

(Photo by New Line Cinema/courtesy Everett Collection)

All A Nightmare on Elm Street Movies Ranked

Silent creepers, maniacal mumblers, and mute supernatural freaks: Your typical ’80s slasher fiend had problems verbalizing their issues with the world. Probably why as horny teens were out partying, they were studying the blade. Not Freddy Krueger though, who gave crackly voice to the slasher as a talky dream stalker by turns literate, wisecracking, and menacing. Of course, it took a few sequels to get the character to find a sense of humor. In the original 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street, he was just plain genuinely terrifying, as writer/director Wes Craven sought to inject operatic weight into the slasher formula, distorting fantasy and reality to harass the viewer into questioning their own sanity.

After the original’s box office success, Freddy’s Revenge was fast-tracked for release the following year to the moans of critics, who had designated the first movie Certified Fresh. But Robert Englund as Freddy was clearly having a blast, enough to get him back for the best direct sequel, 1987’s Dream Warriors. A year after that, action director Renny Harlin came in for The Dream Master to put an exciting spin on things. Englund remained a steady, creepy joy through these, and that’s the benefit of having a jabbering weirdo as your villain: It’s a character that can evolve and adapt. Jason and Michael can’t.

Of course, having a star performer can only get you so far when the material starts really failing, like nails-in-the-coffin efforts The Dream Child and Freddy’s Dead. Krueger as a character had become too outsized by this point (he additionally had a TV career on the decent Freddy’s Nightmares), and was effectively serving now as an anti-hero. Three years Dead, Craven would return to direct 1994’s meta New Nightmare, set literally in our world where the Elm Street movies are just that: Movies…until the killings start happening for real. Critics dug the twist, but the stench of past Nightmare sequels kept audiences away, and horror in general had a tough go at in the ’90s. Craven himself would turn the genre’s fortunes around with Scream, using the same post-modern technique.

Eleven years after New Nightmare, the death-match horror fans had been clamoring for hit theaters: Freddy vs. Jason. Director Ronny Yu gives the movie a bouncing, comic book movie sensibility, with some carefully crafted action sequences, surrounded by a ridiculous mystery plot. Was it a fitting swan song for Englund as Freddy? Well, you’re just going to have to take what you can get, because the franchise has slumbered since, except for a 2010 remake, starring Jackie Earle Haley hot off of Watchmen. It may be eternal sleep for Freddy Krueger, but perchance we’ll meet again in our dreams as we go through all A Nightmare on Elm Street movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#9
Adjusted Score: 21361%
Critics Consensus: Visually faithful but lacking the depth and subversive twists that made the original so memorable, the Nightmare on Elm Street remake lives up to its title in the worst possible way.
Synopsis: Teenagers Nancy, Quentin, Kris, Jesse and Dean are all neighborhood friends who begin having the same dream of a horribly... [More]
Directed By: Samuel Bayer

#8
Adjusted Score: 22867%
Critics Consensus: Reducing the once-terrifying Dream Reaper into a goofy caricature, this joyless climax will leave audiences hoping Freddy stays dead.
Synopsis: Murderous ghoul Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) has slaughtered every last child in his hometown. He ventures on to a new... [More]
Directed By: Rachel Talalay

#7
Adjusted Score: 31008%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street feels exhausted by this cheesy fifth entry, bogged down by a convoluted mythology while showing none of the chilling technique that kicked off the franchise.
Synopsis: The fifth installment of the popular franchise focuses on Alice (Lisa Wilcox), a survivor of the fourth, who believes Freddy... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

#6

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
41%

#6
Adjusted Score: 46362%
Critics Consensus: Fans of the two horror franchises will enjoy this showdown. But for everyone else, it's the same old slice and dice.
Synopsis: Two horror icons face off in this supernatural movie. Disfigured serial killer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), who attacks his victims... [More]
Directed By: Ronny Yu

#5
Adjusted Score: 42824%
Critics Consensus: An intriguing subtext of repressed sexuality gives Freddy's Revenge some texture, but the Nightmare loses its edge in a sequel that lacks convincing performances or memorable scares.
Synopsis: Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton) moves with his family into the home of the lone survivor from a series of attacks... [More]
Directed By: Jack Sholder

#4
Adjusted Score: 52598%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master marks a relative high point in this franchise's bumpy creative journey, although the original remains far superior.
Synopsis: Grotesque Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) gives some more suburban teenagers something to dream about.... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#3
Adjusted Score: 74457%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors offers an imaginative and surprisingly satisfying rebound for a franchise already starting to succumb to sequelitis.
Synopsis: During a hallucinatory incident, young Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has her wrists slashed by dream-stalking monster Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#2
Adjusted Score: 82170%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's New Nightmare adds an unexpectedly satisfying - not to mention intelligent - meta layer to a horror franchise that had long since lost its way.
Synopsis: Reality and fantasy meet in unsettling ways in this installment of the long-running horror series, which finds director Wes Craven... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1
Adjusted Score: 98230%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: In Wes Craven's classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

Paramount Pictures

(Photo by Paramount Pictures)

All Friday the 13th Movies Ranked

Strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, language and drug material – all involving teens. Or, at least, 30-year-olds pretending to be teens.

Welcome to Crystal Lake, where the canoes are creaky, the dippin’ is skinny, and the camp activities are to die for. Since 1980, the shah of slashers, Jason Voorhees, has been terrorizing any who are unlucky enough to reach its shores. His murderous method? Anything he can get his naughty paws on, be it machete, harpoon gun, or sleeping bag. The original Friday the 13th was one of those no-budget grubby horror flicks with massive returns, secure among the likes of Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The franchise it spawned is a shining, bloody emblem of the golden age of slasher movies, though critics grew less appreciative of the series’ increasingly ludicrous carnage. But the Friday franchise’s memorable soundtrack, frequently tongue-in-cheek atmosphere, and iconic star has kept it in the horror conversation for decades, carrying audiences though 3-D (the third Friday, where Jason first dons the hockey mask), deep space (Jason X), celebrity death matches (Freddy vs. Jason), and utter meltdowns (Jason Goes to Hell).

Wherever this wacky world may take Jason next (therapy, perhaps?), Rotten Tomatoes will be here with this list of every Friday the 13th movie ranked by Tomatometer!

#12
Adjusted Score: 11680%
Critics Consensus: Jason terrorizes a ship and nearly sinks the franchise in a clunky sequel that feels like self-parody without the charm.
Synopsis: Mass murderer Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) is resurrected from the bottom of Crystal Lake. After he kills a passing boat's... [More]
Directed By: Rob Hedden

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 8842%
Critics Consensus: Jason may solidify his iconic wardrobe in this entry, but Friday the 13th Part 3 lacks any other distinguishing features, relying on a tired formula of stab and repeat.
Synopsis: The third installment in the "Friday the 13th" series picks up on the day after the carnage with homicidal maniac... [More]
Directed By: Steve Miner

#10
Adjusted Score: 19147%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Years after Tommy Jarvis (John Shepherd) murdered hockey-masked serial killer Jason Voorhees, he resides in a mental hospital and struggles... [More]
Directed By: Danny Steinmann

#9

Jason X (2002)
19%

#9
Adjusted Score: 22095%
Critics Consensus: Jason goes to the future, but the story is still stuck in the past.
Synopsis: The year is 2455. The Place is Old Earth. Once the shimmering blue jewel of the galaxy, Old Earth is... [More]
Directed By: James Isaac

#8
Adjusted Score: 20949%
Critics Consensus: As lumberingly single-minded as its homicidal star, Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter adds another rote entry to an increasingly labored franchise.
Synopsis: A carefree lakeside vacation is interrupted by the re-emergence of killer Jason Voorhees (Ted White). After he escapes from a... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Zito

#7
Adjusted Score: 15842%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After being blown away by a team of FBI agents, Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) needs to find a way to... [More]
Directed By: Adam Marcus

#6

Friday the 13th (2009)
26%

#6
Adjusted Score: 31953%
Critics Consensus: Though technically well-constructed, Friday the 13th is a series rehash that features little to distinguish it from its predecessors.
Synopsis: Against the advice of locals and police, Clay (Jared Padalecki) scours the eerie woods surrounding Crystal Lake for his missing... [More]
Directed By: Marcus Nispel

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 30210%
Critics Consensus: Friday the 13th Part 2 sets the template for the franchise to follow with more teen victims, more gruesome set pieces, and fewer reasons to keep following along.
Synopsis: The second entry in the long-running horror series focuses on a group of teenage would-be counselors converging on Camp Crystal... [More]
Directed By: Steve Miner

#4
Adjusted Score: 33240%
Critics Consensus: As lumbering and bereft of conscious thought as its unstoppable star, Friday the 13th Part VII - The New Blood finds the franchise in desperate need of the title ingredient.
Synopsis: Years after the strange drowning death of her father, Tina Shepard (Lar Park Lincoln) returns to the site of his... [More]
Directed By: John Carl Buechler

#3

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
41%

#3
Adjusted Score: 46362%
Critics Consensus: Fans of the two horror franchises will enjoy this showdown. But for everyone else, it's the same old slice and dice.
Synopsis: Two horror icons face off in this supernatural movie. Disfigured serial killer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), who attacks his victims... [More]
Directed By: Ronny Yu

#2
Adjusted Score: 48036%
Critics Consensus: Friday the 13th: Part VI - Jason Lives indeed brings back ol' Vorhees, along with a sense of serviceable braindead fun.
Synopsis: Years ago, Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) killed infamous hockey-masked murderer Jason Voorhees (C.J. Graham), and the intensity of the experience... [More]
Directed By: Tom McLoughlin

#1

Friday the 13th (1980)
63%

#1
Adjusted Score: 66993%
Critics Consensus: Rather quaint by today's standards, Friday the 13th still has its share of bloody surprises and a '70s-holdover aesthetic to slightly compel.
Synopsis: Crystal Lake's history of murder doesn't deter counselors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. Superstitious locals... [More]
Directed By: Sean S. Cunningham

Horror has a way of making an unlit hallway look like a trek through hell, inducing heart attacks though jumping cats, and transforming everyday tools like chainsaws and double-barrel shotguns into instruments of doom. The marketing and posters for Us suggests that Jordan Peele’s new horror flick will do for golden scissors what Get Out did for tea cups, which also happens to be one of selections for the 25 most iconic props from horror movie history! Read on to get your fill of creaky carriages, demonic dolls, and bloody blades.


Every Friday is special in the film world, but this week, the calendar yet again brings us to a particularly important date: Friday the 13th, otherwise known as the day horror buffs will forever associate with the gruesome antics of one Jason Voorhees. It’s been several years since we last saw a new chapter from the Friday the 13th franchise, but we aren’t letting that keep us from taking a look back at all of its films, ranked according to Tomatometer — or inviting you to rank your personal favorites along the way. Ki ki ki ma ma ma, it’s time for Total Recall!


Use the up and down arrows to rank the movies, or click here to see them ranked by Tomatometer!

We here at RT went deep into the vault of horror franchises to tally up the victims of some of film and TV’s most deadly psycho killers. Take a peek at the results — if you dare!

 


Norman Bates  – Psycho (1960) 96%

Norman-Bates

Haunting Grounds: Bates Motel
Estimated Body Count: 20
Has there ever been a cinematic slasher more pitiable than Norman Bates? The poor guy is practically at war with himself, and his mom nags him from beyond the grave. Heck, every time he makes friends, they seem to end up dead. If Psycho exerted a profound influence on the slasher genre (and onscreen violence in general), it wasn’t because Norman was a particularly prolific killer. Alfred Hitchcock’s original (and the sequels) depicted a man in the clutches of inner torment and madness that was so gripping and scary that it didn’t need buckets of blood (or, in one memorable case, chocolate syrup) to be deeply unsettling.  Nine deaths are attributed to Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) on the five-season AMC prequel TV series Bates Motel. But, really, who can say for sure?

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THE CREEPER – Jeepers Creepers (2001) 46%

creeper

Haunting Grounds: The Jeepers Creepers series
Estimated Body Count: 20
When Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer wrote “Jeepers Creepers” in the late 1930s, they surely never guessed their snappy little pop ditty would go on to provide the theme song for a murderous winged creature who possesses a bee- and dog-like ability to smell fear, and who can regenerate body parts by ingesting those of his victims. And that’s not all — the Creeper can also overcome overwhelmingly negative reviews, too! Although critics kept 2001’s Jeepers Creepers from a Fresh certification, the Creeper was back just two years later with a sequel, and there was even talk of a third installment. Not bad for a bad guy who’s limited to a single 23-day feeding frenzy every 23 years, right?

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THE THING – The Thing (1982) 82%

The-Thing

Haunting Grounds: The Thing from Another World, The Thing, The Thing
Estimated Body Count: 20
Human beings have long wondered what otherworldy monstrosities might be lurking out in the far reaches of space, which helps to explain the enduring appeal of John W. Campbell’s 1938 short story, Who Goes There? It’s the tale of an Antarctic research team that unwittingly rescues a malevolent alien from an icy grave. The creature repays the favor by forcibly (and messily) assimilating every living being within reach, including 20 unlucky scientists and a handful of dogs. Campbell’s monster — referred to as the Thing — has provided rich fodder for filmmakers over the decades, inspiring 1951’s The Thing from Another World, John Carpenter’s 1982 cult classic The Thing, and, most recently, the 2011 prequel/reboot of the same name.

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JAWS – Jaws (1975) 98%

Jaws

Haunting Grounds: The Jaws series
Estimated Body Count: ~21, if you count the whale in Jaws 2
Most of the slashers on our list are bona fide film icons, but few of them can boast of having changed the entire industry the way Peter Benchley’s great white shark did: Before Jaws‘ 1975 debut, studios actually held their big films out of the summer market, believing the vacation months to be a commercial graveyard. Almost $500 million (and lots of bloody ocean water) later, a franchise was born — and although the third and fourth installments aren’t good for much besides unintentional humor, the original remains a certified classic with a 98 percent Tomatometer rating. Granted, the kill count here takes into consideration the havoc wreaked by multiple great whites over the course of the franchise, but it merely illustrates what Benchley already knew: the ocean is scary enough even without a gigantic bloodthirsty shark chasing you around, so tossing one in the mix just ups the ante.

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LEATHERFACE – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 89%

Leatherface

Haunting Grounds: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series
Estimated Body Count: 30
The twisted true-life tale of grave robber Ed Gein has inspired many notable cinematic grotesques, from Norman Bates in Psycho to Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. However, Tobe Hooper may have done the most to immortalize Gein in the annals of perverse pop culture by emphasizing his habit of making clothing out of human flesh. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre introduced Leatherface, a developmentally disabled fellow under the control of his cannibalistic family. Though he started out as a pretty timid guy who was as afraid of visitors as they were of him, Leatherface came out of his shell in the sequels and reboots, making up for lost time in liberally employing his Poulan 306A.

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PINHEAD – Hellraiser (1987) 72%

PinheadHaunting Grounds: The Hellraiser series
Estimated Body Count: 35
By the late 1980s, the slasher genre was starting to feel a little stale — and then along came Pinhead, the sadomasochistic leader of the extradimensional pack of hooligans known as the Cenobites. The spike-headed hook fetishist wasn’t featured heavily in 1987’s Hellraiser, but Pinhead’s combination of creepy appearance, selective taste for victims, and clear fondness for gruesome torture stole the movie; throughout the eight-film series (four of which were released straight to DVD), Pinhead has remained the only constant, and for good reason: although his body count may be relatively low, no one else can match his prowess with a sharp, well-placed hook.

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CHUCKY – Child's Play (1988) 71%

ChuckyHaunting Grounds: The Child’s Play series
Estimated Body Count: ~38
Chucky may have devolved into a pint-sized Tony Clifton at this point, but the original Child’s Play was a superior genre piece — creepy, suspenseful, and blessed with an insidious sense of humor. Child’s Play riffed on the idea of innocence gone horribly wrong, with a quasi-Cabbage Patch Kid embodied by a vicious serial killer thanks to a voodoo ritual. Subsequent sequels — the most recent of which, Curse of Chucky, just recently made its way onto home video — have delivered more camp than scares, but Chucky’s left a trail of more than 35 corpses in his wake — and probably didn’t enamor himself to Teddy Ruxpin.

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FREDDY KRUEGER – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) 95%

Freddy-KruegerHaunting Grounds: The Nightmare on Elm Street series
Estimated Body Count: ~39
Arguably the most recognizable movie monster of the 1980s, Freddy Krueger may not be able to compete with other horror icons when it comes to killing in bulk. But the dermatologically-challenged Elm Street resident certainly wins points for style; in addition to his expert use of claw-tipped leather gloves, Freddy is adept at shape-shifting, strangulation, and generating geysers of blood from the bodies of future heartthrobs. Even accounting for the various forms Freddy has taken over the years in his efforts to turn the sweetest dreams dark and bloody, we’ve got his kill count somewhere in the vicinity of 39. That might be fewer than one might expect, but Mr. Krueger is an artiste who chooses his victims very specifically.

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FATE – Final Destination (2000) 35%

Final-Destination-2Haunting Grounds: The Final Destination series
Estimated Body Count: 39
Remember the old margarine commercials that said you can’t fool Mother Nature? Well, according to the Final Destination series, you can’t cheat Fate, either. It’s often said that revenge is a dish best served cold — but for the unseen hand of Fate, it tastes even better when garnished with a series of incredibly brutal (and, it must be said, very morbidly entertaining) booby traps. The series’ unseen antagonist has dispatched 39 victims, using everything from the mundane (death by falling brick) to the cleverly rewind-worthy (shower cord strangulation, ladder through the eye, death by falling cherry picker). By the time we surpassed The Final Destination and got Final Destination 5, the series was clearly aware of its silly appeal, and each creatively choreographed death was equally as hilarious as it was cringeworthy.

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GHOSTFACE – Scream (1996) 79%

GhostfaceHaunting Grounds: The Scream franchise, Scream (TV series)
Estimated Body Count: 49
One of the rare slasher antagonists who’s a killer by committee, the Scream series’ Ghostface is played by a revolving door of mask-donning, knife-wielding psychopaths. Their motives are different (peer pressure, revenge, etc.), but the results are the same, no matter who wears the Edward Munch-inspired getup: teenagers will turn up dead, following the conventions of horror movies. And, as with other horror franchises, the body count increases with each sequel. Adding to the mayhem was the first season of MTV’s Scream, which aired this summer. All in all, this council of killers is responsible for at least 49 slayings.

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LEPRECHAUN – Leprechaun (1993) 27%

LeprechaunHaunting Grounds: The Leprechaun series
Estimated Body Count: 50
The Leprechaun series is the embodiment of the finest that Irish culture and letters has to offer, easily surpassing the works of James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. The titular antihero is murderously committed to acquiring a pot o’ gold, an undertaking that prompts travel to such exotic locales as Las Vegas, Compton, and outer space. Despite his diminutive stature, the Leprechaun’s super-sharp claws and teeth have helped him tally 50 onscreen fatalities, including a very young Jennifer Aniston, who made her big screen debut in the first film.

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JIGSAW – Saw (2004) 51%

JigsawHaunting Grounds: The Saw series
Estimated Body Count: 60
John Kramer was first christened “Jigsaw” by detectives who discovered the serial killer’s calling card was a puzzle piece-shaped hunk of flesh carved from the corpses of his victims. The name stuck as the cops closed in on Kramer and realized his elaborate, irony-laden traps were designed to punish those he deemed guilty of criminal acts or taking life for granted (he must have been a fan of Se7en). More characters and plot twists (Jigsaw doesn’t work alone! Something about cancer!) were introduced as the series wore on, and Saw evolved into a labyrinthine annual soap opera drenched in blood and agony. A Grand Guignol for our times.

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HANNIBAL LECTER – The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 96%

Haniibal-Lecter

Haunting Grounds: Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, Hannibal, Hannibal Rising, Hannibal (TV)
Estimated Body Count: 98
Before 1991, you may not have even known what fava beans were — but after Anthony Hopkins’ first appearance as Doctor Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, nobody ever thought of them the same way again. Like Jason Voorhees, Lecter doesn’t appear in much of the famous reboot — he’s only in a little over 15 minutes of Lambs — but it was the first time we actually witnessed the good doctor rack up a few kills on screen (both Manhunter and its remake Red Dragon only imply Lecter’s murdered some folks), and audiences had a clear, um, appetite for the flesh-craving serial killer’s brand of mayhem: he’s gone on to appear in a number of other books and movies. Although we just saw the end of Hannibal‘s three-season run on NBC, series creator Bryan Fuller insists we haven’t seen the last of Lecter just yet.

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MICHAEL MYERS – Halloween (1978) 96%

Michael-Meyers
Haunting Grounds: The Halloween series, minus Season of the Witch
Estimated Body Count: ~107
The best-known escapee of Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, Michael Myers has never been a big fan of babysitters, nor is he particularly fleet of foot. He digs Blue Oyster Cult, and makes special use of Star Trek paraphernalia and kitchen cutlery. Since the release of John Carpenter’s landmark Halloween, Myers’ legend has been told in a number of sequels, and if his reasons for killing are obscure, he’s still coldly efficient at the task; he’s racked up a whopping 100-plus notches on his belt.

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THE INVISIBLE MAN – The Invisible Man (1933) 94%

InvisibleManBodyCount
Haunting Grounds: The Invisible Man (1933)
Estimated Body Count: 123
We were shocked (shocked!) to discover that killers with high body counts could even be found in Old Hollywood fare. Based on the H.G. Wells 1897 novel, James Whale’s pre-code horror film featured Claude Rains (Casablanca) in his American film debut as the titular villain, also known as Dr. Jack Griffin. Hiding away in a snowy village, Griffin experiments on himself while working on a drug called “monocane,” which he believes is the secret to invisibility. Although he does succeed in turning himself invisible, he also becomes a crazed murderer. Killing those who get in his way, and a train full of people just for kicks, Griffin eventually causes the death of 123 people – including himself.

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JASON VOORHEES – Friday the 13th (1980) 63%

HalloweenHaunting Grounds: The Friday the 13th series
Estimated Body Count: 146
Rocking facial protection that would do Jacques Plante proud, Jason Voorhees terrorized Camp Crystal Lake with cold precision (and an ability to cheat death that Rasputin would envy) in Friday the 13th. Occasionally, he breaks out of the bucolic confines of the countryside to wreak havoc in the big city (Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan), Hades (Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday), and the future (Jason X). According to our research, Jason has put a whopping 146 unfortunate souls on ice. Pretty impressive for a cat who drowned in 1958.

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En español: Read this article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.

Sometimes they come back from the dead…again! And sometimes…they never come back at all. That’s what happened to the horror movies in this gallery: they never got the sequel they deserved, so we’re dreaming up our own. You’re welcome, Hollywood!


[Spoiler alert for the whole gallery!]


Day Eight: Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

I’m eight days into the project, but I think my mind is already so overwhelmed by the Freddy Krueger universe that I couldn’t muster much enthusiasm for Freddy vs. Jason. Maybe it’s because New Nightmare seemed to offer such a perfect conclusion to the saga. Perhaps my expectations were raised by people whose opinions I respect (including my colleague Alex Vo, who reviewed the movie in his Friday the 13th watching series). But it’s still a letdown, one that promises an epic, apocalyptic battle between two horror icons but gets bogged down in too many dull characters and head-slapping lapses in logic.

As the movie begins, Freddy’s in Hell, and he’s bored. Everyone seems to have forgotten him. So he decides to invade the psyche of Jason Voorhees, who will become the fall guy for his latest campaign of terror on Springwood. However, when Jason starts to get the credit for the slaughter of various (and interchangeable) teens, Freddy gets jealous, and decides to take over where his hockey-masked rival left off — preferably with Jason out of the picture. Said interchangeable teens learn of strange goings-on within the town mental hospital: it turns out that everyone who had a nocturnal meeting with Freddy was hospitalized against their will and prescribed an experimental drug to stifle their dreams.

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For about 45 minutes or so, Freddy Vs. Jason goes through the motions — people turn up dead, nothing is as it seems, the actors look way too old to play teenagers, and so on. Then, two things happen in relatively rapid succession that knocks the movie off its axis, never to return.

Our heroes infiltrate the mental hospital in order to obtain drugs that will keep them from dreaming. Once they’re inside, the stoner guy in their party decides to light up a doobie. Doesn’t this clown know that in horror movies, “immoral” behavior will result in death? Heck, in real life, would any idiot act this way? Let’s say you’ve just broken into a dangerous place, and your mission is a matter of life and death. Would anyone just blaze away? I know, I know: horror movies are filled with characters acting stupidly — walking into dark places alone, not taking the killer seriously, saying “I’ll be right back,” etc. But this strikes me as so monumentally stupid that whatever minimal concern I had for the protagonists’ well-being was gone. And anyway, why should we care about these kids? Why make the story about them? Don’t we want to see Freddy and Jason duke it out?

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The second problem is much bigger. Our protagonists manage to drag an unconscious Jason into a van with the intention of returning him to Camp Crystal Lake. So that means the camp is within driving distance of Springwood. Really? Really? So all these years, there were two brutal killers terrorizing teenagers within a 100-mile radius or so and no one thought to mention it before? Is Springwood the North Korea of Midwestern communities? Is its citizenry privy to any outside information? How stupid and ill-informed is this town? And more to the point, couldn’t the filmmakers have come up with a more imaginative — or plausible — way of setting the stage for Freddy and Jason’s final showdown?

It may seem like I’m nitpicking. However, even within the trappings of the genre, it’s essential that horror movies follow certain rules to maintain some semblance of internal believability. Once those rules are breached, it’s really hard for the audience to stay onboard.

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All this being said, that final battle is pretty impressive; to quote AC/DC, if you want blood, you’ve got it. Freddy and Jason go at each other with gusto, tearing at each other amidst what seems like a cauldron of fire. All this flesh-ripping and limb hacking may not be for the squeamish, but give it credit: it’s got plenty of energy.

Watching Freddy Vs. Jason, I felt grateful for my particular assignment, because Freddy’s much better company than Jason. Freddy may be a bad standup comedian, and he may be repulsive to look at, but he’s got some semblance of a personality. And even if the rules governing Freddy’s universe are stretched, they’re still reasonably well-defined. I’ve seen only bits and pieces of the Friday the 13th movies through the years, and Freddy Vs. Jason doesn’t exactly whet my appetite for more. Freddy Vs. Jason is not completely terrible — it’s no worse than some of the duller Nightmare sequels. But it’s pretty generic stuff.

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Tomorrow, we’ll reach the end of our series with the brand new Nightmare on Elm Street. Will it mark a bold new direction for the franchise?




Schedule of Nightmares:

In a move that should surprise no one, New Line has announced a partnership with Michael Bay‘s Platinum Dunes banner to reboot the Nightmare on Elm Street series.

In reporting the move, Variety notes that the Nightmare films were New Line’s most successful franchise until Lord of the Rings came along, which is mildly surprising until you stop to consider that the studio pumped eight sequels out of 1984’s original Elm Street picture, and none of them were exactly big-budget productions.

Platinum Dunes, for its part, is continuing a trend it started with its Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and extended with its impending Friday the 13th reboot, which Variety says starts filming in May. The studio hired Marcus Nispel to direct both pictures, and he’s presumably under consideration for the new Nightmare, but the article doesn’t mention any names.

The only thing holding New Line back? You guessed it — the writers’ strike. Kind of leaves you feeling conflicted about hoping the strike is settled quickly, no?

The original Nightmare on Elm Street has endured as a horror classic, boasting a 93 percent Tomatometer rating — but subsequent entries in the series rapidly fell victim to the laws of diminishing returns: 1985’s Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge netted 24 percent, and though 1987’s Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors rebounded at 75 percent, it was downhill from there, with 1988’s Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master topping out at 50 percent, 1989’s Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child receiving a 24 percent spanking, and 1991’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare notching a pitiful 13 percent.

Though 1994’s meta-slasher Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (83 percent) seemed to reclaim a little of the franchise’s fire, 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason (39 percent) wasted much of its crossover potential.

What do you say, RT faithful? Are you optimistic about a Bay-produced Nightmare reboot? Or are you convinced that New Line should just leave Freddy down in the boiler room?

Source: Variety

We’ve had a rebooted Halloween, there’s a new Friday the 13th on the horizon, and Screen Gems has devoted itself to exhuming every available ’80s horror flick in its vaults. Left out of all the fun — until now — has been New Line’s Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

According to a report at Bloody-Disgusting, however, that’s about to change. There’s been plenty of Nightmare talk for years, of course, but no one’s been able to determine exactly what New Line was planning for the series — everything from a prequel to a Freddy vs. Jason follow-up has been rumored. Well, here’s the inside scoop: according to Bloody-Disgusting‘s source, “New Line is actively developing another Nightmare on Elm Street movie.”

Just which movie, however, is still up in the air. From the article:

Everything you’ve heard before has been scrapped (prequel) and they’re back at square one. Ideas are being thrown around without anything solid locked down.

If the report’s source is on target, the next Nightmare-related movie probably won’t be Freddy vs. Jason 2; as the article puts it, “as of right now, today, this very moment, there are no immediate plans” for a sequel. So what’s next for Freddy? Which project would you choose…or do you even care about the stripe-sweatered boogeyman anymore?

Source: Bloody-Disgusting

Like the hockey-masked serial killer at its core, the Friday the 13th franchise refuses to die — and the series reboot announced by Michael Bay last year continues to lumber toward audiences, Jason Voorhees style.

According to a post published yesterday at Shock Till You Drop, “a reliable tipster” has passed along some new info regarding the Friday the 13th remake — specifically, that Damian Shannon and Mark Swift have been hired to write the latest version of the script, and that Bay’s production company, Platinum Dunes, is aiming to start production early next year.

Horror buffs may recall that Shannon and Swift were the ones who wrote 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason — but, given its 39 percent Tomatometer rating, they may not recall the duo’s work fondly. It’s still unclear whether Jonathan Liebesman, originally slated to direct, is still attached.

While it wasn’t a masterpiece, the first Friday the 13th movie had a certain low-budget charm which was sacrificed during the series’ increasingly ridiculous sequels, and it could arguably benefit from the reboot/remake treatment. Given the recent (commercial) success of Rob Zombie‘s Halloween, it isn’t hard to see why interest in this project is ramping up. Still, that whole “produced by Michael Bay” thing has got to make more than a few fans nervous.

Source: Shock Till You Drop

Wes Craven may be on a roll producing remakes of "The Hills Have Eyes," "Last House on the Left," and even "The People Under the Stairs," but he doesn’t have the final say in all of his films.

With "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" being revisited, it seems inevitable that someone would want to reboot "A Nightmare on Elm Street." But should any such ideas be under discussion, they are happening without Freddy Kreuger’s creator.

"I don’t know whether it’s inevitable," said Craven of the idea. "I wouldn’t be surprised but I haven’t heard anything. Seriously, I haven’t heard anything but that doesn’t surprise me."

It’s industry standard as Craven knows it. New Line has made a lucrative franchise out of Nightmare on Elm Street and though they invited him back to do part 7, he’s not their go-to guy. "They own the franchise. Nobody called me on "Freddy Meets Jason" either, so it’s their piece of property."

This weekend Samuel L. Jackson looks to seize control of the muthaf*ckin’ box office with his new muthaf*ckin’ film "Snakes on a Plane" which invades theaters on a wave of internet buzz.

It should be a smooth trip to number one for the action thriller which will face competition from the teen comedies "Accepted" and "Material Girls" plus the expansion of the indie darling "Little Miss Sunshine." After two weeks in the top spot, Will Ferrell‘s hit comedy "Talladega Nights" will decelerate and lose pole position, but will have the distinction of crossing the celebrated $100M mark.

All eyes are on Sam Jackson this weekend as his much-blogged-about action vehicle "Snakes on a Plane" makes its way into theaters. The R-rated film presents an old fashioned good guy versus bad guy story with the former Mace Windu playing an FBI agent assigned to escort a key witness to a mob murder on a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles. When the crime boss masterminds a plan to unleash poisonous snakes mid-flight, all hell breaks loose. New Line has no ambitions of winning Oscars here. "Snakes" is pure entertainment aimed at giving fans a thrill ride for two hours. No advance screenings are being held for the media which is usually a sign that the studio believes that the reviews will only trash the picture so why waste the time and money?

No R-rated film this year has broken the $30M mark on opening weekend. In fact, in the past two years, only a pair of R pics have opened north of that mark – last year’s duo of "Saw II" with $31.7M and "Wedding Crashers" with $33.9M. "Snakes" will be relying on an adult male audience for its ticket sales with older teens and twentysomethings being the driving force. Jackson may also be able to pull in African American audiences given his stature and the type of role he is playing. Typically, the Oscar-nominated actor does not have much box office muscle when anchoring a film solo. But the buzz and media coverage surrounding "Snakes" has almost made it into a franchise.

With so many on the internet buzzing about the movie since the beginning of the year, uploading their own trailers and "Snakes"-related videos, and pushing for more violence and profanity, the fans have gotten a sense of empowerment. They feel like they have been part of the filmmaking process and you can be sure that they will be out when the film opens to see the final product. And since everyone knows that the film will be cheesy and that there are no press screenings, expectations are not too high. Without all the hoopla, this film would only be seen as action movie number ten that Hollywood churns out for the summer season. New Line is taking the step of launching "Snakes" a day early on Thursday night with showtimes starting at 10pm.

August has been a great month for these types of action films for young males. Three years ago, the studio opened the R-rated horror flick "Freddy vs. Jason" to $36.4M while a year later, Fox found a $38.3M bow for its PG-13 sci-fi pic "Alien vs. Predator." Jackson’s film lacks a franchise following, although the hype has generated a sizable built-in audience of its own. "Snakes" will come and go quickly from theaters. A strong start should be followed by massive erosion, but with a reported budget of only $30M, it can’t lose money. Plus Jackson has done a commendable job hitting the trail and promoting his new flick. Attacking over 3,300 theaters, "Snakes on a Plane" could open with around $28M this weekend.

Universal is hoping that those too young for "Snakes," but who are still looking for some late-summer fun, will line up for its new comedy "Accepted." The PG-13 film stars Justin Long as a high school senior rejected by every college he applies to who then decides to make up his own fake university. The under-25 set is the target audience here with teens who can relate to the character’s nightmare making up the bulk of the crowd. Recent young-skewing hits like "Step Up" and "John Tucker Must Die" have proven that no-star vehicles with an interesting concept can lure in solid numbers on opening weekend. Those films debuted to $14.3M and $20.7M, respectively. Studios have done a poor job satisfying teenagers in recent weeks with their big ticket items which has only helped these low-cost pictures. "Accepted" will certainly have to face "Snakes" taking away older guys and "Step Up" in its second weekend stealing away the gals. But the concept is a good one and with so many young people getting ready to head back to campus, memories of rejection letters will come flying back. Marketing materials register some laughs too and appeal to both genders is there. Entering over 2,700 locations, "Accepted" could open with around $12M this weekend.

Hilary and Haylie Duff graduate from the world of breath mint commercials to feature films in "Material Girls" from director Martha Coolidge ("Real Genius," "The Prince and Me"). The PG-rated film finds the sisters playing heiresses to a cosmetics fortune who stumble upon bankruptcy. Anjelica Huston co-stars. The MGM release will play primarily to a female audience of teens and pre-teens. Males interested in buying tickets should number about three. "Material Girls" is not getting too big of a push and with "Step Up" doing so well with the same demographic, it will be an uphill battle attracting business. Once a potent asset, Hilary has lost much of her pull at the box office with recent clunkers like "Raise Your Voice" and "The Perfect Man" landing poor debuts of only $4M and $5.3M, respectively.. The Duffs may end up taking a lesson from the Olsen twins whose own film "New York Minute" opened a week after the bow of 2004’s surprise teen girl hit "Mean Girls" and ended up being squashed with a weak $6M debut from over 3,000 theaters. "Material Girls" will enter only 1,509 playdates and could settle for an opening of just $4M.

After three weeks of sparkling results in limited release, Fox Searchlight’s comedy sensation "Little Miss Sunshine" expands nationally into 694 locations from its current run in 153 sites. Last weekend, the R-rated dysfunctional family pic averaged a stunning $17,014 which is one of the best showings in recent years for a film playing in 100-200 locations. With strong reviews and positive word-of-mouth, "Sunshine" should jump into the top ten this weekend and could gross about $5M pushing its cume into double-digit millions.

Searchlight also debuts its next indie flick "Trust the Man" which opens in 37 theaters in selected cities on Friday. The R-rated dramedy stars Billy Crudup, David Duchovny, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julianne Moore, and Eva Mendes and tells the story of two New York couples going through relationship troubles. Moore’s real-life husband Bart Freundlich directs. "Trust the Man" has garnered mixed reviews from critics and will expand nationwide on September 8.

Also opening in limited release, but attracting more glowing praise from critics, is the dramatic thriller "The Illusionist." Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, and Jessica Biel star in the PG-13 film which finds a turn-of-the-century magician battling wits with a Vienna cop. Two weeks after the limited bow, Yari Film Group will expand "Illusionist" wide over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

A variable that could affect moviegoing behavior this weekend could be all the current stories in the news this week that have connections to major films in release. Tapes of 911 calls from victims of the World Trade Center disaster have been released after nearly five years. New terror plots aboard commercial planes have dominated the headlines lately, and a new arrest in the Jonbenet Ramsey case has brought attention back to little girls in beauty pageants. How this news coverage will affect the grosses for films like "Snakes on a Plane," "Little Miss Sunshine," and "World Trade Center" is anyone’s guess. But at a time of year when moviegoing typically slows down anyway, some potential ticket buyers may decide to look elsewhere for their weekend entertainment.

Will Ferrell’s "Talladega Nights" looks to race past the $100M mark by the end of its second full week in theaters. The Sony hit won’t win a third box office crown, but it should remain in the top five and drop 45% to about $12M. That would give the racing comedy $113M in 17 days making it the comedian’s second biggest hit ever, in a leading role, behind "Elf" which took in $173.4M.

Last weekend’s surprise smash "Step Up" is not afraid of "Snakes on a Plane" which is likely to tap into an older and more male audience. Instead, Buena Vista’s dance drama will see its competition come from "Accepted" and "Material Girls." Word-of-mouth for "Step Up" has been encouraging with the film averaging a solid B+ from over 5,500 users of Yahoo Movies. Still, teen pics tend to fall fast so a 50% decline would give the film around $10M for the weekend and a stellar ten-day total of $40M.

Paramount’s "World Trade Center" got off to a healthy start at the box office and is also generating positive buzz from moviegoers. Competition is not too fierce this weekend for adults looking for mature fare so a 35% drop would give the Oliver Stone movie roughly $12M and a cume of $46M after 12 days.

LAST YEAR: The surprise comedy hit "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" debuted at number one with a better-than-expected weekend opening of $21.4M. Universal’s R-rated smash displayed strong legs in the weeks ahead and ended up scoring $109.3M. Settling for second place in its first flight was the DreamWorks thriller "Red Eye" with a solid $16.2M on its way to $57.9M. Rounding out the top five were holdovers "Four Brothers" with $12.5M, "Wedding Crashers" with $8M and "The Skeleton Key" with $7.7M. The frame’s two other new releases were mostly ignored by moviegoers. Disney’s animated pic "Valiant" bowed to $5.9M for eighth place while Fox’s action drama "Supercross" crashed into 15th place with a dismal $1.3M opening weekend. Final tallies reached $19.5M and $3.1M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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