Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 021: The Proto-Slasher: Precursor to a Subgenre

HMP021 Artwork

Welcome to another OFFICIAL episode of HORROR MOVIE PODCAST, where we’re Dead Serious About Horror Movies… This is Episode 021 — Wolfman Josh’s theme — which is the Proto-Slasher film! We explore this topic and examine four important proto-slasher films with in-depth reviews, ratings and recommendations. In this episode, we also bring you a Feature Review of “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014), which is currently in theaters. Thanks for listening!

Horror Movie Podcast is a bi-weekly show that’s released every other Friday. If you’d like to support our show, please subscribe to our podcast free in iTunes, and leave us a review! And remember, we love getting your voice mails, so call in with more recommendations and comments at this number: (801) 382-8789 Thanks for listening to Horror Movie Podcast!

I. Introduction

II. Wolfman Josh’s Theme: The Proto-Slasher
— The slasher film
— Precursor to the slasher film: The Proto-Slasher

III. Feature Review: PEEPING TOM (1960)
Jay of the Dead = 6 ( Must-See Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 7 ( Rental )
Dr. Shock = 8 ( Buy it! )

IV. Feature Review: PSYCHO (1960)
Jay of the Dead = 8 ( Must-See / Buy it! )
Wolfman Josh = 10 ( Buy it! )
Dr. Shock = 10 ( Buy it! )

V. Feature Review: TORSO (1973)
Jay of the Dead = 4 ( Low-Priority Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 8 ( Buy it! )
Dr. Shock = 8.5 ( Buy it! )

Jay of the Dead = 5 ( Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 5 ( Low-Priority Rental )
Dr. Shock = 7.5 ( High-Priority Rental )

VII. Our Top 3 Proto-Slasher Recommendations That You Should Watch:
Wolfman Josh: Psycho (1960), Peeping Tom (1960), Torso (1973)
Dr. Shock: M (1931), House of Wax (1953), Frenzy (1972)
Jay of the Dead: The Lodger (1927), Psycho (1960), Peeping Tom (1960)

VIII. Feature Review: THE PURGE: ANARCHY (2014) – Not a horror film…
Jay of the Dead = 6.5 ( Rental )

IX. Wrap-Up:

NEXT ON HMP — IN TWO WEEKS: Releasing on Friday, August 1, 2014 — Episode 022. Definitely don’t miss it!

NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: If you love this podcast, there are 36 episodes of two other great podcasts that precede this one. Just scroll back through our archives, or use the links in the sidebar on the right.

Leave a comment or e-mail us here: HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com

Links for this episode:

Jay of the Dead’s guest appearance on The Resurrection of Zombie 7 to review Saw VI

Podbody Awards Nominees

Please vote for HMP for Best Podcast on Twitter here: @Jape_Man with #Podbodys2014BestPodcastVoting

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dr. Shock’s daily movie review Web site: DVD Infatuation.com
Dr. Shock on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation
Dr. Shock’s other horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

Jay of the Dead’s links:
Jay of the Dead and Horror Movie Podcast Official Twitter: @HorrorMovieCast
Jay of the Dead covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
And if you’d like to e-mail Jay of the Dead with a good Beastly Freaks recommendation: BeastlyFreaks@gmail.com

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Wolfman on Twitter: @IcarusArts
Wolfman Josh covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
Wolfman covers movies streaming online on: Movie Stream Cast

Check out our premium CUJO COMMENTARY for $1

Check out the Movie Podcast Weekly Halloween BONUS episode on: THE SHINING and ROOM 237

Dr. Walking Dead on Twitter: @DrWalkingDead
Dr. Walking Dead’s books American Zombie Gothic and Triumph of The Walking Dead

You can always contact us by e-mailing HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com. Or you can call and leave us a voice mail at: (801) 382-8789. And you can leave us a comment in the show notes for this episode.

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram for the use of his music for Horror Movie Podcast.

Thank you for listening, and join us again in two weeks for another episode of HORROR MOVIE PODCAST!

Thanks for listening.
Jay of the Dead

50 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 021: The Proto-Slasher: Precursor to a Subgenre

  1. Thanks for posting your new podcast, have been particularly looking forward to this one since Josh mentioned it. The slasher sub genre is my favourite in horror, but I have seen very few proto-slashers..so look forward to any and all suggestions. Keep up the great work guys, always love listening to your reviews and views on the horror scene.

  2. I watched Psycho with my two boys about a year ago, 17 and 11. They had no idea about the ending. They watched most of the movie and then wanted to quit watching with about 30 minutes to go. I said you have to watch. They finished the movie and they were blown away by the ending. Now its one of their favorite movies. It as fun to watch them watch the movie.

  3. Hi guys! Another excellent show and a great topic for a themed episode. I can’t comment much on the movies themselves since I haven’t seen Psycho in years and the rest I’ve only read about. But as I was listening to you guys, a few questions came to mind. Hopefully you’ll be able to address them because I’m really curious to see what you think. And these aren’t addressed to anyone in particular so everyone please feel free to throw in your two cents.

    Seeing as how the proto-slasher, by definition, shouldn’t exist anymore, would it be possible to make a proto-slasher in this day and age? Knowing now that films like Psycho and Peeping Tom laid the groundwork for the natural evolution of a sub-genre, what would be the benefits of going back to a proto-slasher format? I know Josh mentioned that some of the films you talked about are better and more effective movies than what came after. So, maybe the slasher was not really an evolution, but a devolution into something more marketable. And I’m not trying to badmouth slashers, I’m just trying to create commentary on a topic I think is very interesting.

    Do you guys think that there are new sub-genres that still haven’t been fully realized? Is there still room for even more sub-genres? Are there any movies out there that have had a major impact in the horror scene lately? I know there are a few movies that have come out in the last 10-15 years that have caused waves, but I don’t know if there’s anything as big as what Scream and The Blair Witch Project did in the ’90s. Some important movies that come to mind are Saw, 28 Days Later, Ringu, and Shawn of the Dead. I would’ve put Ringu up there with Scream and The Blair Witch Project, but I don’t think the wave of J-horror or asian horror in general it created lasted for as long.

    Has horror hit a plateau? With movies like The House of the Devil and The Conjuring, it seems some filmmakers are going back in time and presenting old ideas with a much higher budget and with a more sophisticated approach. But as good as those movies are, they’re not giving us anything new. And what about iconic killers? Have we seen the end of that? Were Ghostface and Sadako/Samara the last great iconic horror characters that we’ve seen? And no Jay, Art the Clown is not iconic!

    Ok last question or rather fun fact. Torso is also a graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis that is also based on a real life story of a serial killer called the Cleveland Torso Murderer. According to wikipedia, David Fincher was at one point interested in adapting Torso into a movie, but the project has been dead for a long time now. Also, the mention of Torso in Seven Psychopaths was apparently in reference to this Torso and not the one you guys discussed. Now, I know wikipedia is not the most reliable source, but it does make me wonder which Torso it is, or if they’re maybe somehow related.

    Oh and Dr. Shock, I’ve been catching up on my Mexican horror and I have to say that I haven’t been disappointed yet. I’m sure you’ve heard of these before, but if not, I think they are right down your alley: The Witch (1954), The Witch’s Mirror (1962), The Brainiac (1962), Even the Wind is Frightened (1968), Alucarda (1978). Careful with Alucarda though, it’s quite sacrilegious to say the least.

    • Hi Juan,

      Jay of the Dead here. Great comment! Thanks for writing. I’ll answer two of your questions here, because I don’t want to write a book in these comment boards…

      Q: Seeing as how the proto-slasher, by definition, shouldn’t exist anymore, would it be possible to make a proto-slasher in this day and age?

      A: That’s a great question, and we actually started to touch on this a bit at the very beginning of the episode, during our over-zealous intro. To me, your question is phrased exactly right. The proto-slasher film — which in itself was probably never intentional, in terms of its conventions — served as a precursor to what we know as the slasher film.

      So, in other words, it seems to me that these various characteristics (such as subjective POV of the killer, identity of the killer obscured, serialized murders, favoring of a particular killing tool — usually a cutting tool, etc.) were all considered effective for generating fear, mystery and suspense in the narrative, so filmmakers started assembling them into their movies, just as all artists borrow from their predecessors.

      Now, here’s the kicker, Juan: Since people didn’t commonly recognize or consider the proto-slasher as its own subgenre — and since the slasher film was widely recognized — I think a proto-slasher could be made today, but it would merely be considered a poor slasher film — or a “Diet Slasher” or a “Slasher Lite,” because it wouldn’t have all the full-blown elements of a slasher.

      Excuse the flimsy metaphor, but if you get a kid to love jumping off the high dive, then she’s no longer going to be impressed with the low dive anymore. Same thing here. Horror fans have come to expect all the components of a full-blown slasher, and if we only give them one or two elements, in an effort to make a proto-slasher film, then they’ll simply dismiss it as a weak example of a slasher.

      Q: Do you guys think that there are new sub-genres that still haven’t been fully realized? Is there still room for even more sub-genres?

      A: No, they haven’t all been realized yet, and yes, there is still room for more subgenres (but they’ll probably be what we would call “sub-subgenres”). In fact, we horror fans tend to complain about this very phenomenon all the time. Film scholars call it “genre-bending” or “genre-blending,” and it’s when we get a hybrid mix of two or more genres or subgenres (or both).

      And I tried to make this point during Episode 021: What we all love and revere as the slasher subgenre was actually an amalgam of other genres and subgenres: the mystery film (especially the murder mystery), the serial killer film, the crime film, the “splatter” (aka gore) film, and the horror film. Those add up to a slasher film.

      Will we get any more great subgenres or sub-subgenres? Well, that’s hard to say… But I think the major genres have been firmly established: the Western, the Horror film, the Musical, etc. And out of this list of primary genre classifications, you break down into subgenres as you move toward specificity.

      As for new classifications, I think they take a long time to catch hold. Two things need to happen: Filmmakers need to start producing movies with a specific collection of conventions, and then audiences have to start recognizing these collections as such. And since many new subgenre attempts aren’t overly successful, they’re not imitated or repeated, making it difficult for them to catch on.

      One last comment on this and I’ll stop (because I’m sure everyone has quit reading by now…). NPR.org did a story about Netflix ( found here: http://n.pr/1cpggNB ) about how Netflix has broken its classifications down into “micro-genres.” For instance, the article states that the word “romantic” appears as part of 5,272 different categories! I’m not crazy about this, and I think it’s problematic for reasons I won’t go into here, but we can see that classifying film types is still definitely a widespread practice among film lovers. Why? Easy — because we want to identify exactly what we like watching, so we can find more films of that same type.

      But you’ll hear Wolfman Josh and I love to get very specific about a film by classifying it in the same way that I go about describing “The Burrowers” (2008): It’s a Western first, a Mystery second, and a Creature-Feature (Beastly Freak) Horror film third — in that order. That’s how I like to get more specific.

      Juan, I compliment you again on your comment. This is precisely how I love to talk about horror films. So many people in this world look down their nose at the genre, but horror is actually a brilliant collection of explorations into the human psyche, human behavior, human nature and art.

      Thanks for listening and commenting.
      Jay of the Dead

      • Wow, those were some great questions asked by Juan and Jay, your response is top notch! Well thought out and insightful as always.

        I would however like to play devils advocate here. Now this is purely for the sake of debate, I have no illusions that the Sixth Form Media Studies course I almost failed makes me any kind of authority on these topics but I think it’s always good to learn by throwing ideas around.

        So my take on Juan’s first question is that a Proto-Slasher could absolutely not be made these days. I’ll preface this by saying that I agree with Jay in as much as I believe that a film released now, that may have been regarded as a Proto-Slasher had it come out in the 1960’s, would in the present day have the potential to be written off as a sort of neutered Slasher, but I also think that such a film could easily be classed as anything from a highbrow Psychological Thriller to a Torture Porn film totally depending on the movies content.

        My thinking is that the Proto-Slasher is a sub-genre only in very loose terms. It’s a group of movies that we acknowledge as having influenced a definite sub-genre but that are otherwise fairly unrelated. Certainly they possess basic common elements: murder, suspense, horrific content, and there are undeniable reoccurring motifs but in spite of these similarities, I don’t think that the Proto-Slasher has a definite formula of conventions that would define it as a tangible genre. I doubt people going to see “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in ’74 left the cinema thinking of it as the brethren of “Psycho”. It seems to me that the Slasher genre was created by drawing on various elements from a variety of quite different films. It may be the case that these influential films had sometimes had little in common with each other but each contained some kind of cinematic device that was later incorporated into the Slasher genre. I think of it almost like a collage with all the elements cut out of totally different magazines. Anyway, my point is that the Proto-Slasher is a sub-genre in retrospect only, defined as such only by what came later, and with no definite format or set of conventions.

        If a movie set in the 1960’s was released nowadays, made using only technology from that period, with a plot about a serial killer would it be a Proto-Slasher? I’d say no. It might be a Murder Mystery or a Psychological Thriller or an Arthouse Horror Movie, or as Jay said a “Diet Slasher”. I guess we could call it an homage to the concept of the “Proto-Slasher” but that’s as far as I’d be willing to go.

        And as usual I’m rambling nonsensically. This is one of those issues that really comes down to semantics more than anything and this kind of discussion has the potential to raise more questions than it answers. What is a genre? How is a film really defined by genre? Is it dependent on the intent of the filmmakers? on retrospective analysis? Why is my brain coming out of my nose?

        Anyway, sorry for this foray into drivel. As I said before, I have no real authority or insight when it comes to this sort of stuff, especially compared to the guys on the podcast and probably all of the other folks in the comments, so I’m not so much trying to argue with anyone here, rather I’m testing the waters and trying to get this stuff figured out in my own head. Feel free to counter my pseudo-logic until the cows come home you guys :-]

        – David

        • Hello everyone! First time commenting on the message boards! I just wanted to make a quick comment on something Jay said:

          “Excuse the flimsy metaphor, but if you get a kid to love jumping off the high dive, then she’s no longer going to be impressed with the low dive anymore. Same thing here. Horror fans have come to expect all the components of a full-blown slasher, and if we only give them one or two elements, in an effort to make a proto-slasher film, then they’ll simply dismiss it as a weak example of a slasher.”

          I don’t know if you’ve seen the documentary “Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film” and I can’t remember off hand if you’ve mentioned it or not but they bring up this point. With news coverage of wars, accidents, murders, etc being seen almost daily it became difficult to “top” real life horror. People became used to seeing these images everyday so movies became increasingly more violent and gory.

          I love going back and seeing how horror reflects the times they were made. I would love to see a proto-slasher movie made now but unfortunately I don’t think it would be very well received and it’s a shame. Jay, I think you said it perfectly that most would consider it

          • So sorry! My hand hit the send button…
            As I was saying…Jay, I think you said it perfectly that most would consider it “Diet Slasher.” Would general horror fans want to see that? Or would that kind of movie be for horror fans that are also moviephiles?

          • I also really enjoy going back and seeing how horror movies reflect the times in which they were made. If you’re interested, we discussed that notion in reference to Night of the Living Dead on Episode 3 and in zombie movies in general post 9/11 on Episode 23.

      • @Jay
        Thank you so much for your in depth comment Jay! Your point of view is always appreciated. I love it when people take the time to put down their thought on pixels. I think I agree with you for the most part. What you said about the proto-slasher not being recognized as a genre until after the slasher was fully realized is true, but it is a genre now. I’m not sure how people would react to it. Maybe the general audience wouldn’t consider it a slasher or maybe they wouldn’t even know how to classify it. The more informed audience though, I think would greatly appreciate it. I for one would love to see a modern take. Josh, make this happen!

        The way you and Josh classify movies used to bug me at first to be honest. But I’ve come to appreciate it and I think it’s a good way to classify movies.

        Again, thank you for taking the time for making the podcast and for taking the time to write. You’re a lot better at this than Josh and Doc… haha just kidding you guys, everyone is great. Doc, by the way, thank you for the shout out. I really don’t post that often on your site, but my goal is to slowly but surely, post a little something on every movie that I’ve seen.

        I also mostly agree with you. While it’s true that proto-slashers were only defined until after the slasher genre was itself defined, it’s still a genre that movies meeting the criteria fall under. Granted, only movies that predate the slaser. Even so, with that in mind, I think that techincally, if someone was out to make a proto-slasher then by all rights and means it would be a proto-slasher and not a “diet slasher”. And David, there’s not need to apologize for your comments or your way of thinking. Whether we agree or not, that’s not the point. It’s all about showing people your point of view and trying to understand theirs. Keep up the good work friend. And don’t let that brain of yours sneak out of your nose!

        A girl?! Yes! Haha jk 😛

        I’ve actually seen Nightmares. It’s a great documentary. Very informative! It’s true that there are other things outside of horror movies that have been desensitizing us over time. Other than the news, I would add videogames to the mix. They are unique in that they are interactive and so, instead of just watching people die, you’re the one doing all the killing. There have been many studies about the influence of violence in videogames and there are as many detractors as there are supporters. But I’ve been playing games all my life and I’ve turned out just fine (I think).

        @Jay (again)
        How come some people have a picture under their name? I want one of those too, man! How can I get one?

        • *looks down shirt* I am a girl!! haha hopefully I’ll be more active on the message boards. You guys have some great discussions going on here!

          • It’s awesome to see new folks joining in with the discussions on here. The diversity of people and tastes is part of what makes this little horror community so unique. It’s always interesting to hear new ideas and hypotheses about the genre so throw in your two cents whenever you can Holly (and everyone else)!

            – David

        • Hi Juan, in reference to the image by my name, it is known as a Gravatar image. You can set up a free profile on their site and it will attach your chosen avatar pic to everything you post on the net. Go to Gravatar.com, there are no costs whatsoever and it does not ask for any pertinent information, hope this helps.

    • This is such a huge comment, I’m not sure I can tackle it here. Jay did a great job. honestly, I think your comment is worth an extended discussion on the podcast. Really good stuff here.

  4. I always love it when you guys do a themed episode and this one really was excellent. Josh picked some great movies to talk about, I’ve never seen “Torso” or “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” (though I’ve been interested in that one for a while based solely on the awesome poster art) so I’ll have to check those out. “Peeping Tom” is one that I could do with revisiting too.

    I’m also really glad that you guys touched on the “Psycho” sequels. I don’t think I’ve seen number 4 but 2 and 3 were both way better than I expected and I think they’re often overlooked simply because of the all encompassing shadow of their predecessor. “Psycho 2” is notable as it pulls the whole sympathy-for-the-antagonist card but does so in such a way that rather than detracting from the narrative tension it actually adds more; we’re aware that Norman is unstable and we’re on the edge of our seat seeing just how far he can be pushed. Awesome movie.

    Also, I hate to hear you guys apologising for not replying to comments and such. I think everyone here is aware that you’re all really, really busy people and though we can only guess at how much time and effort goes into making these podcasts the end result speaks for itself. The fact that you produce such a quality show is more than enough in itself and the awesome comments community is the icing on the cake. Certainly it’s never less than rewarding to have a good debate with one of you fellows but don’t feel bad at all for not always having time to respond. It’s honestly pretty amazing that you guys actually take the time to read through the comments never mind respond to questions and humour the lengthy, inane ramblings of a loon, namely me.

    – David

    • Thanks for understanding, David. We love to be involved here when we can, but we are indeed busy. If only Juan could be as understanding. 😉

      You perfectly stated my feelings for the Psycho sequels. They are really fun movies in their own right, quite good when not compared to one of the greatest films of all time. I don’t link the films closely to the original in my mind. I just think of them as part of the extended universe, like Bates Motel.

  5. Hey guys, @Chrisexcess here, writing directly to your show notes for the first time.
    I love to use twitter as a communication tool but I really wanted to interact with you in a more direct way this time and I feel like you always check your comments. I must say your podcast is my favorite ever. The first podcast I ever tried was Horror Etc. many years ago now, and after I found The Weekly Horror Movie Podcast I never looked back.
    The regular line up Josh, Doc & Jay is one of the best ones ever captured in a show, it reminds me of the supergroup Cream.
    I love the movies you review and you really don’t know how many times your comments make me smile as I walk the streets of Mexico City, always on the run, in a bus, half sleep listening to what you consider a “Proto-Slasher” and why.
    And now that I’m about to end my comment I now realize why I felt the urge to write here.
    Because the space twitter gives me is not enough to express my love for what you do.
    A true labour of love.
    Love for film, horror, art.
    Always honest and true.
    Always passionate.

    I raise my glass to you.
    As I always have and as I always will.

    Long Live The Horror Movie Podcast.

    ps. the logo is fine as it is, please don’t ever change it. :)

    Mexico City, Mexico.

    • Chris, thanks for your continued support. It really means a lot. Appreciate everything you said–until you brought up the logo. Glad you’re enjoying the episodes and love to hear your feedback.

  6. Listening to almost 40 hours a week of podcasts for the last three years, I can honestly say that this episode is one of the best single podcast shows I have heard.

    • Hear, hear! I know it’s difficult to come together for themed episodes, but MOAR THEMED EPISODES, PLEASE!!!

      This was awesome. YOU GUYS are awesome. HORROR IS AWESOME!

      p.s. Doc, I’m the one who suggested you switch up your segment to Horror Docs (see what I did there?). I think having a Yellow Scare segment on giallo films, a Horror Docs segment on documentaries, and whatever it is Jay does (just kidding, Jay) would be a great mix of segments.


      • Sorry for all the CAPS and exclamation points ^^up there^^. I’m just really pumped up after listening to this episode. And just had two cups of tea.

      • Thanks, Dino. The themed episodes are the are the reason I wanted to be involved in this podcast in the first place. They are so much fun for me and I’m glad they are appreciated by the listeners.

    • Wow! Thanks so much, Levi. That means a lot. This is a personal favorite of mine as well and I’m glad it is appreciated. JapeMan! If you’re out there, let’s get this episode in consideration for next year’s Podbody Awards!

  7. @ David and Holly — I’m still planning to get to your comments when I have more time. Thanks for writing (and listening).

    @ ChrisExcess and The Unknown Murderer — Genuinely, both of your comments meant a lot to me (and I’m sure to Wolfman and Doc, as well). Of all my podcast shows I’ve run in the past four years (and the same is probably true for Dave and Josh), I believe this one has taken the most effort, in terms of all-nighters, sleep-deprivation — zombified at work the next day — and personal sacrifice. We don’t want pity or anything, but it sure is great to hear that Horror Movie Podcast is being enjoyed and appreciated by our fellow horror friends, like yourselves.

    Thank you, sincerely…
    Jay of the Dead

  8. I have a comment for Dr. Shock (though responses from any and all are of course welcome).

    Doc, I recently came across a rather novel found-footage type movie that instantly made me think of you because I know you’re interested in those old horror hosts and the like and this movie’s subject matter seemed to be in that sort of vein. It’s called “WNUF Halloween Special” and was apparently released last year. I haven’t seen it but from what I can gather it’s basically a movie made to look like a Local TV stations live Halloween programming block from the 80’s that was taped off the TV and bootlegged, complete with very authentic looking 80’s commercials and the like. I get the impression it culminates in a live supernatural encounter involving a TV show host visiting the site of an apparent haunting. It all seems very interesting to me though more from a nostalgic point of view than for its horror content and I was wondering if you’d heard about it or seen it?

    Here’s the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5iCF2Ltjlk

    – David

  9. Hey Jay,
    I just saw a trailer for a movie that was released last month and wondered if you’ve heard of it or even seen it. Anyways I thought of you because it is both a found footage and a beastly freak flick. It’s called the Jungle.

    Here’s the rotten tomatoes link with the trailer. Looks really good. If you check it out, let us know if it’s good?


    Thanks for everything and another superb podcast.

    Mmm mmmm,

  10. I feel like it might be a bit ‘old hat’ by this point in time, but I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the single best episode (thus far) of Horror Movie Podcast. Well done.

    I think that you would be very hard pressed to find a horror movie fan that is not endured to the slasher genre. Looking at the roots of this genre was both informative and entertaining.

    There are so many movies in this sub-genre that could have been selected. I think that you did a great job with these 4 movies and have found a great balance in what they each have to offer. I have been lucky enough to see all 4 of these movies and your reviews were fantastic. Although it has been a long time since I have seen Peeping Tom and The Town That Dreaded Sundown, your segments have rekindled an urge to re-watch these classics.

    I very much enjoyed the last segment when other proto slasher were mentioned and you provided your ‘top picks’ or this sub-genre. Doc you picked a couple of great ones. FRENZY is my all time favourite Hitchcock film. This might sound strange considering his body (pun intended) of work but I cannot recommend this film enough. It shows a mature Hitchcock who was finally able to explore in depth some of the themes that he only hinted at in early films. M is also a great film. And yes I believe that it is Peter Lorre’s best performance.

    I also thought that I would throw out a few proto slasher flicks myself that fans might want to check out:

    1) Horrors of the Black Museum (1959): This stars Michael Gough – Alfred from Tim Burton’s Batman Series) and offers what I would consider to be the first killer that uses a variety of instruments to kill. Its production values are pretty low, but the payoff is pretty entertaining.

    2) Dementia 13 (1963): Josh mentioned this one and no doubt it has been seen by many as it is a public domain movie. Still worth checking out. It also features on of the first on screen decapitations that I can recall (although I believe that there was one earlier.

    3) Blood and Black Lace (1964): Brought to us by The Master Mario Bava, this film has long been considered the first Giallo film and thus it fits in with the proto slasher. I cannot recommend this movie enough and it features the great Cameron Mitchell.

    4) Bay of Blood (AKA Twitch of the Death Nerve): Again we have a film from Mario Bava. I cannot recommend this film enough to horror fans. As a proto slasher it offers so many of the classic slasher setups and components. Of all my favourite proto slashers this is my number one pick. Don’t look at this movie for a solid storyline, instead take in the masterful way it is filmed and the creative kills that Bava gives us a body count of 13.

    There are so many more to recommend, but I will leave it at that.

    Thanks for the great show gentlemen. You have set a new bar for the Horror Movie Podcast and I hope that you continually strive to best it.

    The Dude

  11. Fantastic episode, but then again, every episode I’ve heard so far has been great. I followed Doctor Shock from Land of the Creeps to here, and I’m glad I did. I love the in-depth discussions. The different perspectives everyone brings to the table make for enjoyable listens, that are often quite insightful. Regarding “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”, which I quite like despite its faults as far as a consistent tone is concerned, I must say that the trombone kill really works for me. It seems silly on paper, but the way it’s preformed on-screen is quite disturbing. I’m not sure if it’s intentional, but it almost seems as if there’s a sexual context to it, as the killer seems almost excited as he penetrates his victim with the trombone-knife he’s rigged up. If that was the intent, then Pierce was a bit ahead of his time in some respects, I think, when it comes to creating disturbing late-century slasher villains. Keep up the great work, guys, love this podcast!

    • Great comment, Lee. Interesting take on the trombone kill. Jay and I had that feeling about the trombone kill in the remake, funnily enough (Ep 33). Thanks so much for following Doc over and for joining us. We’re hear to entertain and we love new listeners!

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  16. Hello Everyone!

    This is my first time commenting here but I have been listening to the podcast since a couple of months ago. Congratulation for a great great podcast, I love horror movies and it’s a pleasure to listen an intelligent discussion about them. I am trying to keep up, so today I will listening episode 22!

    Anyway, I like also proto-slasher films and I agree with The Dude regarding Bay of Blood of Mario Bava. Actually, I consider the movie as the first technical slasher. Very influential as always from the italian master, for example, in the Friday the 13th killings among others. I agree with the selected movies as good representatives of the sub-genre. But I want to say that another 1960 film, Les yeux sans visage (The Eyes Without Face) from Georges Franju could be also considered a proto-slasher and to my opinion almost as good as Psycho or Peeping Tom. I don’t known if you guys are aware of the film but defintely is worth to see it. The film involves several kidnaps and killings of a specific type of women so that is the reason.

    And finally, regarding new horror genres or waves, maybe we could think about the new french horror cinema with films such as Inside, Martyrs, Haute Tension, etc. And Mick Taylor, the antagonist of Wolf Creek as the last iconic killer.



    • Great comment, Harveth! Thanks for getting in touch. Love to see people commenting on these old episodes. Welcome to the community! You might feel lonely around here if you’re only on episode 22 since we are recording episode 96 next week, but we do have several listeners who used to come back and respond if they saw a comment come up on an old episode. I hope you’ll listen along with us on the new release episodes as you get caught up so that you can take part in the conversations.

      Eyes Without a Face is a great Proto-Slasher example! Wish we’d thought of it. That’s one I’d like to review on the show in the future.

      We’ve defintely discussed the new French horror films on the show at some point. Another great point bringing those up. They deserve an entire show’s worth of discussion.

      I’m not sure that I agree with you about Wolf Creek, however. I don’t find him all that iconic and I think we’ve had more iconic killers since then. Great timing with this comment, though, since we’ll be reviewing Wolf Creek on our very next episode!

      Thanks again for commenting! Hope to hear from you in the future.

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