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6 May 2015

SLASHER FILM RULES - Analysis: List 2 [Part 1]

Films have formulas and rules, but how well do films follow those formulas?  Why do the Slasher Film rules exist?



Although I'm calling these Slasher Film Rules, the can apply to a range of horror sub-genres.

Ten films were tested:

Of course, these films say nothing about the genre as a whole.  Certainly things can be said about the films, though.  They are usually bigger name films, smaller low-budget or less successful films may rely on the rules more.   One is a post modern film in which the characters know the rules.  About half may not be purely "slasher" films and may not need to follow the rules.


Rule #1 - A Warning Will Come From...

Unheeded Warning:  (4)  Jaws; Friday the 13th Part III; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.  
Withheld Warning:  (1)  Halloween II.
Warning Too Late:  (2)  And Then There Where None; Leprechaun.
  • And Then There Where None - The warning only came once they were trapped on the island.
No Warning: (3)  Peeping Tom, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Saw.
  • Peeping Tom - There was reporting once the first murder occurs.
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter - reporting said that the murderer had been killed.
  • Saw - No warning, but one victim was a suspect.
In this set of films, there were only 40% had timely warnings and none of those were heeded.


Rule #2 - There Will Be T&A

Nudity: (6)  Peeping TomHalloween II; Friday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's RevengeBehind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
  • Peeping Tom - Although very limited, it was the first time in a major British film.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge - All male nudity, but it still counts.

Suggested Nudity: (2)  Jaws.  Saw.
  • Suggested nudity includes woman topless but only shown from behind, or people presumably fully nude in-story but editing means you don't see anything.

No Nudity: (2)  And Then There Were None; .Leprechaun.


With 60% showing nudity, and another 20% suggesting it (or showing it quickly and briefly) this one is true.


Rule #3 - Death Will Be A Punishment For...

Some of the films had the killer specifically targeting transgressors.

Plot point:
  • And Then There Were None - The killer gathered transgressors to kill them.
  • Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
  • Leprechaun:  Out for revenge for the loss of his gold.
  • Saw:  Jigsaw is punishing (most of) his potential victims.
Subtext:
  • Peeping Tom - The killer claims to be recording fear, but the victims mostly suggest attacks on those who arouse him sexually.

No Innocents Killed - No characters who have "done nothing wrong" were killed, even the annoying ones survived.
No Good People Killed - No non-transgressors killed, but annoying/sleezy/etc characters killed.
Innocents Killed - Even characters who have done nothing (known) wrong died.

All Transgressors Killed - Anyone who did something bad was killed.
Some Transgressors Survived - People who did something bad actually survived.



No Innocents Killed/All Transgressors Killed:  (1)  And Then There Were None
  • And Then There Were None - Fortunately the two survivors weren't actually transgressors.  The killer was wrong about them all along.  Lucky, huh?  [Note:  Although Vera's sister doesn't appear in the film, she presumably survives.  Phillip Lombard who Charles Morley was pretending to be at least had the decency to commit suicide.]

No Good People Killed/All Transgressors Killed:  (1)  Friday the 13th Part III; 

No Good People Killed/Some Transgressors Survived:  (1)  Peeping Tom
  • Peeping Tom - Vivian probably isn't innocent, but she and the killer are on the film set without authorisation and she is a little annoying.  Even excluding Helen and her mother's causal entering into the killer's rooms without permission, the nude model Loraine isn't targeted (although she does seem to excite the killer.)

Innocents Killed/All Transgressors Killed:  (3)  Halloween II; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

Innocents Killed/Some Transgressors Survived:  (4)  Jaws; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge; Leprechaun; Saw.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge - A couple of party-goers were killed, but most survived.
Only 1 film is "pure" in that all bad people are killed and no good people.  While 3 are just bloodbaths (were all bad people are killed and some good people), there are actually 4 films that go against the rules by letting some transgressors survive and kill some good people.)



Rule #4 - Never Go...

A:  Down to the Basement

Not just a physical basement - but a room in a building that isn't regularly used, is dark and abandoned and stores weird stuff.


Going into the Basement caused the Problem:  (1)  Leprechaun.

Killed in Basement:  (1)  Friday the 13th Part III.

Killed in Basement, but didn't go by choice:  (1)  Saw.

Some Killed in Basement/Some Survived:  (3)  Halloween II; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

Endangered By Going Down Into the Basement:  (1)  Peeping Tom.
  • Peeping Tom - Helen and her mother were endangered upstairs to the killer's room and his dark.

Going Down to Basement A Good Thing:  (1)  A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.

No Basements:  (2)  And Then There Were None, Jaws.
  • Jaws - One of the characters, however, does go diving in a cage which probably counts.  They are endangered, but not killed.

B:  Upstairs

Running to escape to a limiting area.

Some Killed/Some Endangered:  (3)  Friday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

No One Chased Upstairs:  (3)   And Then There Were None; Peeping Tom; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.

No Upstairs:  (4)  Jaws; Halloween II; Leprechaun; Saw.

C:  For A Shower

No Showering:  (6)   And Then There Were NonePeeping Tom; Jaws; Leprechaun; Saw; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

Killed After Shower:  (1)  Friday the 13th Part III.

Killed In Shower:  (3)  Halloween II; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.

Mostly showers didn't happen, but when they did, people died.

D:  Old Sheds or Outbuildings


Pretty Much All Outbuildings:  (1)  Saw.

Killed Leaving Outbuilding:  (1)  And Then There Were None.

Killed in Outbuildings: (3)  Peeping Tom; Halloween II; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
  • Peeping Tom.- Including the studio as an out-building.
Some Killed/Endangered (Survived):  (2)  Friday the 13th Part III; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.

No One Killed Outbuildings:  (1)  Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.

No Outbuildings:  (2)  Jaws, Leprechaun.

E:  Running into the Forest:

Killed:  (1)  Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

Some Lived/Some Died:  (1)  Leprechaun.

No One Runs:  (2)  Friday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.

No Forest:  (6)  And Then There Were NonePeeping Tom; Jaws; Halloween II; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge; Saw.

Of the films with forests, it seems that running into them was unpopular (50% didn't try).  Of those who did, all films had some deaths, only 1 was it a guarantee of death.

F:  Anywhere Alone

N/A:  (1)  A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge; Saw.

  • People are "alone" in their dreams, so A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge may count.
Endangered:  (1)  Jaws, 
Some killed/some survived:  (6)  And Then There Were None; Halloween II; Friday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Leprechaun; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.   
  • Since it was assumed/known one of their number was the killer, it was considered safer going somewhere alone rather than in pairs in And Then There Were None.
  • Almost everyone killed was with someone else when it happened in Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
Alone With Killer - Killed  (1)  Peeping Tom.
  • Peeping Tom - Milly was alone in a photographic studio with the killer and was killed, others survived in his rooms.

G:  Anywhere Remote

Isolated Location:  (6)  And Then There Were None; JawsFriday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Leprechaun; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
Surburbia:  (2)  Halloween II; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.
The City: (2)  Peeping Tom; Saw.

Sixty percent are set in a isolated location.  That said, the ones set in suburbia and the city the people seem isolated from each other.


Rule #5 - Order of Death...

A:  The First Person on Screen

First Person Dies First:  (2)  Peeping Tom; Friday the 13th Part III.

One of the First People Dies First:  (2)  Jaws; Leprechaun.
  • A number of people appear on screen at the same time, one or more of them are the first person/people killed, but others survive.
  • Jaws, she was just outside of the group of people first seen.
First Person Among Those Who Die Early:  (1)  Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

The First People to Appear On Screen Survive:  (3)  Halloween II;  A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.

One of the first seen on screen dies, first fully seen survives: (2)  And Then There Were None. Possibly Last Killed Saw.

Only a 20% to 50% hit rate.

Bonus Round:
Film begins with Killer POV:  (3)  Peeping Tom; Friday the 13th Part III; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

Killer is First Person Seen: (1) Leprechaun.

Killer is First Person Seen (Partially Only):  (1)  A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.

Killer is Second Person Seen (Partially Only):  (1)  Saw.

Killer is One of the First Fully Seen People:  (1)  Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.

Doesn't start with killer or killer POV: (3)  And Then There Were None; Jaws; Halloween II.

True in up to 50% of the films.  Completely untrue in 30%.

B:  The Black Man dies First

No Minority Characters:  (5)  Peeping TomFriday the 13th: The Final ChapterA Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, JawsBehind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
Foreign Character Killed First: (1)  And Then There Were None.
Minority Character Killed Early: (1)  Friday the 13th Part III (Fox).
Minority Character Middle-ish:  (3)  Halloween II; Friday the 13th Part III (Vera); Saw.
Minority Character Dies Last:  (1)  Friday the 13th Part III (Ali).
No Minority Characters Endangered:  (1)   Leprechaun.

Only 5/10 films didn't have foreign/minority characters this time (compared to 7/10 last time.  Of the 5 that had any sort of minority character only one was it the first victim (and then it was a Russian Prince).  The rest were spread throughout the films, particularly the middle of the kill list (which describes the three characters in Friday the 13th Part III.  There was a very minor black character who was never important enough to be endangered in Leprechaun.

C:  The Stoner

No Stoners:  (2)  Peeping Tom; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.
Old Man: (2)  And Then There Were NoneFriday the 13th Part III.
Stoners: (3)  Halloween II; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
Drunk: (2)  Jaws; Leprechaun.
Other Drugs:  (1)  Saw.

Only 30% had stoners, 40% had some kind of drug users.  Old befuddled men and drunks is another 40%.

Killed Early: (3)  And Then There Were None;  Halloween II; Friday the 13th Part III.
Middle: (1)  Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
Killed Late:  (1)  Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
Last Killed:  (2)  Jaws; Leprechaun.
Survives: (1)  Saw.

Only 37.5% are killed early and they're mostly of the old man type.  The one who survived was actually the hardest drug user.

D:  The Bimbo

A problematic category, mostly because it basically it is forced to cover all female characters except the final girl, it equates female sexual activity (or even having a desirable figure) with dumbness.  It also covers multiple characters in most of the films so can have early and later deaths.  
  1. Ethel Rogers (And Then There Were None)
  2. Unnamed Prostitute (Peeping Tom)
  3. Milly  (Peeping Tom) - Multiple boyfriends and fiancee, nude model, shallow conversations.
  4. Chrissie Watkins (Jaws)  Skinny dipping.
  5. Karen (Halloween II) Was going to have sex at work.
  6. Janet (Halloween II)  Ditzy.
  7. Debbie (Friday the 13th Part III) Obsessed with sex, however, she was in relationship.
  8. Nurse Morgan (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.)
  9. Samantha (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter)
  10. Tina (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter).
  11. Kerry (A Nightmare on Elm Street).
  12. Unnamed Girl (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.)
  13. Kelly (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon..)
No bimbos:  Leprechaun.  Saw.

First Killed:  (2) Unnamed Prostitute, Chrissie Watkins.
Killed Early:  (5) Ethel Rogers, Karen, Unnamed Girl;  Nurse MorganSamantha.
Middle Kills:  (3)  Janet, Kelly; Tina, Debbie.
Last Killed:  (1)  Milly.
Not Killed:  (1)  Kerry.

A lot are early kills, with many of the later kills following earlier "bimbo" kills.

E:  The Nerdy/Funny Guy

Caricatures: (2)  And Then There Were None (Prince Nikita Starloff & Thomas Rogers).
No Nerdy/Funny Guy:  (2)  Peeping Tom; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.

Killed First:  (2)   And Then There Were None (Prince Nikita Starloff); Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Axel).
Killed Early: (1)  Halloween II.
Killed Middle:  (4)   And Then There Were None (Thomas Rogers); Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Jimmy)
Killed Late: (4)  Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Ted);  Leprechaun (Pawnbroker)Saw (Adam & Zep).
Injured Early, Dies Late: (1)  Friday the 13th Part III.

All killed, mostly later in the films.  Never last.

F:  The Macho Jerk

Almost as problematic as the Bimbo, but not quite.  Basically, this is a male character that gets sex, and it seems only macho jerks get sex.

No Jerks: (1)  Peeping Tom; Saw.

Killed First: (2)  A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge. (Both)

Killed Early: (5)  Halloween IIFriday the 13th Part III (Fox & Loco); Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (Unnamed sex guy & Pete).

Killed Middle: (3)  Jaws; Friday the 13th Part III (Andy); Leprechaun.

Killed Late: (1)  And Then There Were None (William H Blore).

Killed Last: (2)  Friday the 13th Part III (Ali); Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (Shane).

Previously skewed to later kills, this time skewed early.

G:  Strong Female

None:  Jaws; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.
First:  (1)  Leprechaun.
Killed in the middle: (6)  And Then There Were NonePeeping Tom; Halloween II; Friday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Terri & Mrs Jarvis).
Late: (3)  Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Sara); Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
Survive: (1)  Saw.

Skews middle to late.

H:  The Protector


No Protectors:  (3)  Friday the 13th Part III; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge; Leprechaun..
Unknown: (1)  Saw.

  • Detective Tapp's throat is cut and he presumably dies.  If so he's the second last character killed (not counting the possible deaths of the two main characters).

Last Killed: (3)  Jaws; Halloween II; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
Protector Endangered but Survived:  (3)  And Then There Were None; Peeping Tom; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

In these films death and survival of the protector where about evenly matched.  All the deaths were late in the film, usually the last death.  All of the survivors were endangered.

I:  The Sensitive Guy.

No Sensitive Guy:  (1)  Halloween II.
Sensitive Guy Killed Third Last:  (1)  Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
Sensitive Guy Killed Second Last:  (1)  Friday the 13th Part III. 
Sensitive Guy Killed Last:  (1)  Saw (possibly).
Sensitive Guy Endangered but Survives:  (5)  And Then There Were None; Peeping Tom; Jaws; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge; Leprechaun; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

The Sensitive Guy clearly dies later than other character, if he dies at all.

Note:  Charles Morley from And Then There Were None is counted as both Protector & Sensitive Guy.

J:  Children and animals

No Children:  (4)  And Then There Were None; Peeping Tom; Halloween IIBehind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
All Children Live:  (4)  Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge; Leprechaun; Saw.
Children Die:  (1)  Jaws.
Pregnant Woman Dies:  (1)  Friday the 13th Part III.

The numbers for this one all comes down to whether you count the child of an unmarried pregnant woman.  And that's a really big political and moral can of worms.  It's 50 - 60% of the films don't include children.  Of the remaining films 25 - 40% of them have children die.  Either way, most have children survive.
No Animals: (6)  Peeping Tom; Halloween IIFriday the 13th Part III; Leprechaun; Saw; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
Animal Lives (2)  And Then There Were None; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
Animals Die:  (2)  Jaws;  A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.

50/50 on those that include them.

No Children or Animals: (3)  Peeping Tom; Halloween IIBehind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

Animals Survive/No Children Appear: (1):  And Then There Were None.
No Children Survive/Animals Appear: (2):  Leprechaun; Saw.

Pregnant Woman Dies/No Animals appear: (1)  Friday the 13th Part III.

Animals Die/Children Survive: (1)  A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge

Children & Animals die: (1)  Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
Children & Animals die: (1)  Jaws.


K:  Final girl

No Final Girl or Boy: (1)  Saw.
Final Girl Lives: (8)  And Then There Were None (Vera);  Peeping Tom (Helen);  Halloween II (Laurie)A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (Lisa); Friday the 13th Part III (Chris)Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Trish); Leprechaun (Tory)Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (Taylor).
Final Boy Lives:  (3)  Jaws (Brody); A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge. (Jesse); Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (Tommy).

100% survival rate for final girls (and boys) in this set of films.


Continued in Part 2.
~ DUG.
Please do the survey below to determine future rule sets.


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