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January 1, 2008 3:20 PM   Subscribe

What horror films feature a mystery killer?

I like watching cheesy horror movies because for me even the most poorly made ones are entertaining. My favorite ones are "slasher" films, where a crazed maniac kills off the rest of the cast one by one, usually with a knife. More specifically, I like slasher movies where the killer is a seemingly normal person who is later revealed to be the killer. Its fun to try to pick out the killer from the group, because there are always plenty of red herrings and missing details along the way to make it difficult.

I want to make a list of these kinds of films. They need to follow these two rules:

1. The killer's identity can't be revealed until near the end of the film. Usually this means that the killer wears a mask when he kills people, but sometimes the murders are shot from the killers point of view. If it turns out there are multiple killers, that is fine too, as long as they are all revealed near the end.

2. The normal person that turns out to be the killer must be at least a minor character in the film. If the character has never been on-screen or just made a cameo appearance as a pizza delivery boy at the beginning of the film, it doesn't count.

Here are the films I already have on the list:

Alice, Sweet Alice
Cherry Falls
Club Dread
Cry Wolf
Cutting Class
The Graveyard
Psycho Beach Party
Scream 1, 2 and 3
Sleepaway Camp
Urban Legend and Urban Legends: Final Cut
posted by burnmp3s to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The classic of the genre is "Ten Little Indians", though it's not technically a slasher movie as such.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:33 PM on January 1, 2008

'Perché quelle strane gocce di sangue sul corpo di Jennifer? ' fits the description.
posted by kickback at 3:34 PM on January 1, 2008

Best answer: I think Happy Birthday To Me fills the bill, although the synopsis at imdb is thin. I seem to remember being very surprised at the killer's identity. One of the characters dies by having their scarf sucked into the chain of a motorcycle. Fabulous blood spurts.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:37 PM on January 1, 2008

Best answer: Prom Night.

I must say I particularly liked the creative use of a curling iron in Sleepaway Camp.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:40 PM on January 1, 2008

you must see schrooms
posted by meeshell at 3:42 PM on January 1, 2008

I would call "The Last of Sheila" a mystery, not a horror film, but otherwise it fits your bill. It also has the distinction of being co-written by Stephen Sondheim (though it's not a musical) and Anthony (Psycho) Perkins and its cast includes Richard Benjamin, Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, Ian McShane, Raquel Welch and James Mason.
posted by grumblebee at 3:54 PM on January 1, 2008

I'm not sure how much screen-time the killer has, but I have to throw in The Man With Two Brains.
posted by rhizome at 4:05 PM on January 1, 2008

The original version of The Descent (not the US ending, the "alternate" ending).

Hide and Seek.

Friday the 13th and Psycho, obviously.
posted by biscotti at 4:05 PM on January 1, 2008

Best answer: You might want to investigate the Italian horror-mystery genre called Giallo. Many films in this genre fit your description.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:57 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

High Tension
posted by snap_dragon at 4:58 PM on January 1, 2008

The Thing. For many more reasons than one.
posted by zerobyproxy at 5:06 PM on January 1, 2008

Dario Argento's Opera (a.k.a Terror at the Opera).
posted by sleep_walker at 5:26 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's an odd twist on this concept, and much more than just a slasher flick, but Strange Days fits your description.
posted by Caviar at 5:45 PM on January 1, 2008

Seconding the giallo sub-genre.

Some of my favorites include:




posted by cinemafiend at 5:53 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hmm, the giallo films' lush atmosphere compensate for their lack of logic.

For Killer-vision point-of-view, produced by tastemaker Jon Peters,
see Eyes of Laura Mars, starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, with S &M fashion photography by Helmut Newton. Bad taste never looked so good.
posted by doncoyote at 7:25 PM on January 1, 2008

nthing giallo. My favorite is The Girl Who Knew Too Much. It's a great sendup of Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Alfred Hitchcock. Bava and Argento are great directors from this genre.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:46 PM on January 1, 2008

For big-budget slasher mysteries, I've just two words for you. Two words. Brian DePalma.
See Sisters (1973), starring a young Margot Kidder, and Dressed to Kill (1980) (latter link contains spoilers).
posted by doncoyote at 10:09 PM on January 1, 2008

As above, giallo films have a lot of this. In particular, you could watch Mario Bava's Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971). This predates the "original" slasher film Black Christmas (which fails your criteria for not having the killer appear onscreen).
posted by beerbajay at 5:19 AM on January 2, 2008

One of my favorites is Intruder, a surprisingly creative slasher film which is tangentially related to Evil Dead* and is set in a supermarket.

*Written and directed by Scott Spiegel, and cowritten by big-shot producer Lawrence Bender, who has a terrific cameo in this with Bruce Campbell. The cast includes Sam and Ted Raimi, and Dan Hicks from Evil Dead II.
posted by zebra3 at 7:39 AM on January 2, 2008

posted by thebrokenmuse at 9:31 PM on January 2, 2008

I would suggest April Fool's Day
posted by unceman at 12:42 PM on January 4, 2008

It's been a while since I've seen it, but if I recall correctly, Seven (or, more properly, Se7en) does not fit the bill, as the killer is not a character in the movie other than being the killer.
posted by Caviar at 1:15 PM on January 4, 2008

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