When it comes to the recent crop of new cinematic baddies that are currently stacking up body counts in the more recent rash of "slasher" flicks, you would have to give props to Chromeskull, the skull masked villain of Rob Hall's Laid To Rest movies. But sometimes, the success to a convincing movie maniac rests upon the performance and commitment of the man behind the mask. And in Chromeskull's case, it'd be actor/stuntman Nick Principe, who wears his love of "slasher" killers on his sleeve. (Literally, on his tattooed sleeves which immortalize all of his favorite on-screen killers!) With Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2 now out on DVD and Blu-Ray, we thought it'd be fun to see where Chromeskull culled together all of his training to become a modern day "slasher" icon. Below are a list of Principe's all time top 10 "slasher" flicks!
THE PROWLER. "It's got a bad-ass killer with an awesome costume. It's got Savini's greatest work (reunited with Friday The 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter director Joe Zito) and some fantastic FX. It's super gory and over the top and just really, really cool. I love The Prowler."
JUST BEFORE DAWN. "I gotta pick the underrated Just Before Dawn for this list, which I love because the majority of the film takes place during the day, which really you never see in a "slasher" movie. Although, (shameless promotion) you will in my upcoming movie Madison County. There are no kills that take place at night; it's all during the safety of daylight. So in Just Before Dawn, if you're stuck out in the middle of the woods, whether it's dark or it's sunny you still have no place to go. Also, I remember this movie not having a tradition score but relying on silence and a lot of eerie sounds which made it all the more unsettling. I love the fact that [spoiler alert] it was actually two killers that happened to be twins. If you go back and look, they kind of look a lot like John Goodman!"
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 6: JASON LIVES. "From there, I've got to pick Friday The 13th Part 6: Jason Lives. That one sequel really set the stage for a dozen other generic "slasher" films that followed. You've got the kid who comes into town, everyone thinks that he's nuts. He's trying to warn everybody that the killer is coming, including the sheriff and the sheriff doesn't take him seriously. It takes a pretty substantial body count before anyone believes he's telling the truth. It's got the classic blueprint for a story that would become a template for future "slasher" films. I think a lot of "slasher" films after that borrowed a lot from Friday 6."
HALLOWEEN II. "I know a lot of people pick John Carpenter's Halloween, but as far as "slashers" go, Halloween II is incredible. The whole movie takes place in a hospital; it's the same night as the first film, which makes it a proper sequel. And to me, it's just really, really scary. It doesn't rely as much on the special FX as it's more about that creepy atmosphere of the hospital setting. My favorite Michael Myers movie."
THE BURNING. "You've got to love Cropsy and The Burning! That movie came off the heels of Friday The 13th's success and it was the first movie by the Weinstein brothers. It had so many celebrities in the cast long before they were celebrities, so it's got some really decent acting in it for a "slasher" pic. The killer is super, super scary looking. I loved that bag over the head, followed by the reveal of the melted face. That movie between the kills and the killer is just very, very cool."
PIECES. "If you do a top 10 "slasher" list, you have to mention Pieces! Pieces was a really scary movie at the time I remember it coming out, but looking at it now, its pretty schlock-ey. As goofy as some of it may come off now, it's still an awesome concept, the idea of a killer making a real life female puzzle from pieces of his victims. And I don't think anybody saw it coming when [spoiler alert!] the hand of the stitched together body comes up and rips that guys balls off. [Laughs] It's an amazing way to end a flick like that. The poster too is so money. I love that poster so much. The tagline? "Pieces. It's exactly what you think it is." Can you beat that? You can't! It's straight up honesty about what you're getting into with that movie!"
BLACK CHRISTMAS. "I have to give a shout out to our friends in the great white north with the original Black Christmas. Excellent, excellent holiday "slasher" film. This movie has got the creepiest speaking killer ever. Those phones calls he makes, plus a lot of other adult themes like the conversations about the abortions, I wasn't ready for that movie when I first saw it. And if you want to talk about cinematic f*** ups, look at the remake. They just missed everything that was great about the original. Billy is so darned creepy over the phone! And in the remake, he didn't even talk! That's a fail. Ignore the remake, go back and see the original."
STAGEFRIGHT. "Gotta give a shout out to our great friends in Italy! Sometimes the lines between "slasher" movies and "giallos" get mixed up, but my favorite Italian "slasher" film would have to be Stagefright. If you were to tell me that a guy with a big owl head was coming after me and he was the killer, I would initially think that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. BUT, seeing a guy with an owl head chase someone around with a chainsaw is actually very captivating! [Laughs] That to me made for a great killer."
BAY OF BLOOD. "A lot of people refer to films like Peeping Tom and Psycho as the granddaddy of "slasher" films, and I completely understand how technically those are the first of the genre, but for me, growing up it was the over-the-top graphic violence and sex of Bay Of Blood aka Twitch Of The Death Nerve. That movie is so ahead of its time. Sean Cunningham will deny it, but the kills from the first two Friday The 13th movies came from Bay Of Blood. Friday The 13th is almost like an American remake of that movie. It's a horror film that still holds up to this day. Bay Of Blood is quality horror, it's so creepy, so scary, so gory. You can't get better than this when it comes to "slasher" horror."
OPERA. "Dario Argento's Opera is just such a beautiful, beautiful film. Seriously, every shot in that movie is beautiful. The idea of the torture on the main girl, the fact that the killer puts the needles under her eyes to force her to watch what he does and even worse, she has to watch her boyfriend get killed; as far as horror goes, that's just cinematic genius! Argento's Opera is probably his best."
Runner-up. THE NEW YORK RIPPER. "It's Fulci's only straight up "slasher" flick. It's got a killer that quacks like a duck, which again is an idea that if you told it to me, I'd think is ridiculous on paper, but when you see & hear it in the movie, you may chuckle the first time you hear it, but that gets pretty creepy. Plus, one of the most mean spirited endings ever. That's something we can always count on with our European horror filmmakers. They are not afraid to give you a "f*** you" ending. Here in the States, they primarily give you a happy ending. Our European filmmaker brothers aren't scared to show us how messed up life truly is!"