The Best Teen Horror Movies

With the imminent arrival of new teen horror Truth or Dare staring Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey as members of a group of teenage friends who decide to play a game of ‘truth or dare’ with horrifying consequences, we take a look back into some of the best teen horror movies ever made and what made them so memorable.

A Nightmare on Elm Street
Johnny Depp’s first film, the film revolves around four teenagers who are stalked and killed in their dreams (and thus killed in reality) by Freddy Krueger. The teenagers are unaware of the cause of this strange phenomenon, but their parents hold a dark secret from long ago. Craven filmed A Nightmare on Elm Street on an estimated budget of $1.8 million, a sum the film earned back during its first week. Robert Englund cut himself the first time that he tried on the infamous Freddy glove, and over five hundred gallons of fake blood were used during filming.

Carrie
Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom. The first film that horror legend Stephen King adapted into a film, this teen horror was nominated for 2 Oscars. The name of the high school is Bates High, a reference to Norman Bates from Psycho (1960). In addition, the four-note violin theme from Psycho (1960) is used over and over in the film.

Scream
Scream follows the character of Sidney Prescott, a high school student in the fictional town of Woodsboro, California, who becomes the target of a mysterious killer known as Ghostface. The film combined black comedy and “whodunit” mystery with the violence of the slasher genre to satirize the clichés of the horror film genre popularized in films such as Halloween and Friday the 13th. The film was considered unique at the time of its release for featuring characters who were aware of real world horror films and openly discussed the clichés that Scream attempted to subvert. The party scene near the end of the film runs 42 minutes long. It was shot over the course of 21 days from the time the sun set to the time it rose. After it wrapped, the crew had t-shirts made that read ” I SURVIVED SCENE 118″ (which was the name of the scene during shooting). The cast and crew jokingly called it “The longest night in horror history.”

Halloween
On Halloween night in 1963, Michael Myers murders his sister in the fictional Midwestern United States town of Haddonfield, Illinois. He escapes fifteen years later from psychiatric hospital and returns home to kill again. The next day, Halloween, Michael stalks teenager Laurie Strode and her friends, while Michael’s psychiatrist, Samuel Loomis, pursues his patient, knowing his intentions. Halloween was largely responsible for the popularization of slasher films in the 1980s. It helped to popularize the final girl trope, the killing off of characters who are substance abusers or sexually promiscuous, and the use of a theme song for the killer. Director Carpenter also shot many scenes from the perspective of the killer in order to build tension. These elements have become so established that many historians argue that Halloween is responsible for the new wave of horror that emerged during the 1980s.

I Know What You Did Last Summer
Cult classic I Know What You Did Last Summer stars 90s icons Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Freddie Prinze Jr. The film centres on four young friends who are stalked by a hook-wielding killer one year after covering up a car accident in which they were involved. Kevin Williamson wrote this script before Scream (1996) but was unable to sell it. Following the big screen success of his next screenplay, “Scream,” Columbia Pictures immediately bought I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) I Know What You Did Last Summer has also been parodied and referenced in popular culture, (e.g. Scary Movie) and credited alongside Scream with revitalizing the contemporary slasher film in the late-1990s.

Friday the 13th
In Friday the 13th, a group of camp counsellors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child’s drowning. The film made $39,754,601 on a budget of £550,000. While most of the cast and crew stayed at local hotels during the filming, some of the loyal cast and crew members, including Tom Savini, and Taso N. Stavrakis, stayed at the actual camp site. They had Savini’s Betamax VCR and only a couple of movies (Barbarella (1968) and Marathon Man (1976)) on videotape to keep themselves entertained, so each night they would watch one of these movies. To this day, Savini says he can recite those movies by heart.

IT
Another Stephen King adaptation, IT follows seven pre-teen outcasts who fight an evil demon who poses as a child-killing clown. Thirty years later, they reunite to stop the demon once and for all when it returns to their hometown. On the DVD commentary track, the actors note that Tim Curry’s characterization of Pennywise was so creepy and realistic that everyone avoided him during the filming. In 2017 a re-make of IT was made, which grossed the largest box office record for any Horror film with $117.1 million dollar opening weekend.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The film follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibals while on their way to visit an old homestead. Although it was marketed as a true story to attract a wider audience and as a subtle commentary on the era’s political climate, its plot is entirely fictional; however, the character of Leatherface and minor plot details were inspired by the crimes of real-life murderer Ed Gein. Erica Leerhsen screamed so loudly during her screen test that people in other parts of the building called the police to report that a woman was being attacked.

Prom Night
The story concerns a group of high school seniors who are targeted by a mysterious masked killer in revenge for their culpability in the accidental death of a young girl six years earlier. The anniversary of the incident falls on their high school’s prom night, when the older sister of the dead girl is being crowned Prom Queen. According to director Paul Lynch in the documentary “Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film”, he was having difficulty securing financing until Jamie Lee Curtis signed on. The film is famous for being one of the only slasher movies with a sympathetic killer.

Final Destination
Devon Sawa portrays a teenager who cheats death after having a premonition of a catastrophic plane explosion. He and several of his classmates leave the plane before the explosion occurs, but Death later takes the lives of those who were meant to die on the plane. Following the success of the original, there are now 5 Final Destination films.It was the first theatrically released teenage Slasher horror film to not feature a corporeal murderer. The only other theatrically released Slasher films to date to also not feature an embodied murderer causing the demise of teenagers are: Ouija (2014), Unfriended (2014) and Truth or Dare (2018), all of which are Jason Blum produced Blumhouse features.

Truth or Dare is in cinemas Friday 13th April

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