A Joe Bob Original: How to Make a Slasher Film

Hey ya’ll, Gratuitous Blogger here. This week we’ve got everybody’s favorite, a Joe Bob original complete with everything we love about 80s slashers: nekkid bimbos, mouth-breathin’ killers, terrible secrets and senseless killins. For a complementary review of another slasher staple — The Final Girl — read Joe Bob’s 1992 review of Men, Woman and Chainsaws by Carol Clover, one of this Blogger’s dog-eared and highlighted personal favorites and the book that put the Final Girl concept on the map. In the meantime, kick back with a Lone Star and enjoy Joe Bob’s vintage rules for How to Make a Slasher Film, from numero-uno to numero-forty-o…

  1. The innocent must suffer
  2. The innocent must be female.
  3. The innocent must be a good-looking female.
  4. The innocent must be an occasionally nekkid good-looking female.
  5. She shalt scream.
  6. She must have friends who are female, good-looking, and occasionally nekkid, who shalt die horrible, grisly deaths before the third reel.
  7. Said bimbos must be relentlessly bubbly right up until the moment of death.
  8. The killer must be a zombie, ghost, psycho, or reasonable facsimile thereof. We know this through a singe physical trait: he breathes through his mouth.
  9. Every man in the movie must look like a potential killer, slobbering all over aforesaid bimbos.
  10. There must be a horrible secret. Examples: “Did you hear what happened in this house ten years ago?” “Do you know what they say about old Fletcher Tatum? “Well, the way I heard it was…”
  11. The weather must cooperate with the killer: Windows blow out for no reason. The wind blows doors shut. You can see lightning in interior hallways.
  12. The creepy servant can never be the killer. The creepy servant’s job is to show up every ten minutes and make you think he did it.
  13. The survivor is the one who never says anything for the first twenty minutes of the movie. Instead, people talk about her and to her: “Oh, Janey, don’t be such a party pooper!”
  14. The bimbos shalt take showers.
  15. Said bimbos shalt say, “Hey, I know, let’s order some pizza, start a fire, and smoke some dope!”
  16. In the second reel, the bimbos shalt enter the basement and say, “This stuff gives me the creeps.” It doesn’t matter what the stuff is.
  17. The phone shalt never work.
  18. The police officer shalt never arrive until it’s too late.
  19. The police officer shalt say things like, “That Steinberg case from ten years ago—something still bugs me about that.”
  20. The door shalt creak.
  21. When the door creaks, there is never anything scary behind it.
  22. There shalt be a strange sound in the attic.
  23. Instead of everyone going to check out the sound, someone must say, “No, I’ll go. You stay here.”
  24. Thou shalt rummage through kitchen drawers for a meat cleaver.
  25. The first body must not be found by the living until at least three people are dead.
  26. Even after the body is found, surviving cast members must continue to spread out. “All right, you take the living room. I’ll check the kitchen.”
  27. The electricity shalt fail.
  28. The police officer shalt be delayed by the storm, a washed-out bridge, and/or traffic.
  29. Blood must drip on the innocent virgin.
  30. By the fourth reel, she must discover the killer’s lair.
  31. The killer’s lair must be full of pornography, newspaper clippings, and, most important, pictures of her.
  32. The killer must never attack her until everyone else is dead.
  33. The killer must attack her directly and slowly, so that we can see her fearful, cringing, blood-spattered face.
  34. Thou shalt see her face change from cringing to angry, as she calls on some deep inner source of strength.
  35. The killer shalt die at least three times. Each death must be more spectacular than the one before.
  36. The only way to know if the third death is the final one is for the body to be totally destroyed. Splattered off the roof of a seventy-story building is good, but burned to a crisp is best.
  37. When the police officer arrives, he must say, “I’ve never seen anything like this. Are you OK?”
  38. The innocent virgin survivor shalt spit in the cop’s face.
  39. The killer’s body shalt disappear.
  40. Anyone shalt die at any time.

Joe Bob Briggs

Joe Bob Briggs is the drive-in movie critic of Grapevine, Texas, currently resident in New York City, where his pop culture commentary appears in print, on television and at various dive bars that defy the modern world by allowing the smoking of cigars.

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