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The Top 6 Action Slasher Movies

July 11, 2022 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Predator Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

The Top 6 Action Slasher Movies

When it comes to slasher movies I’d suspect that most movie watchers think of stuff like Friday the 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the Scream movies. I mean, I know I do. But there are times when I also think of the “action-slasher,” which is essentially a slasher movie that has tons of badass action in it for some reason. Instead of a masked killer stalking and killing young college students in the woods, it’s a killer being chased by a cop or a solider or some such. So when it comes to these kids of slasher movies, which ones are the best? I came up with six movies.

And so, what are my Top 6 Action Slasher Movies?

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

6-The Hunted: This is the movie directed by the great William Friedkin that was released back in 2003. The movie stars Tommy Lee Jones as L.T. Bonham, an expert tracker and knife fighter who is asked to help the FBI track down Sgt. Aaron Hallam, a Special Forces operator that Bonham trained and who has, basically, gone crazy. The movie is essentially one big chase sequence, with Bonham and FBI agents Ted Chenoweth (John Finn) and Abby Durrell (Connie Nielson) doing everything they can to find Hallam and stop him from killing again. As we see at the beginning of the movie, Hallam, a sort of trained silent infiltration assassin, goes into a hellish warzone to eliminate a Bosnian war criminal. We then see Hallam in the pacific northwest of America, stalking two hunters through the woods because he thinks they’re government assassins out to kill him. These two sequences, at least to me, make The Hunted a kind of slasher movie, as we get to see what helped make Hallam a monster (war and violence and the ensuing shell shock/PTSD seriously damaged him) and then we get to see Hallam in action. It’s terrifying. The big fight Bonham has when he finds Hallam in the woods could have easily been a “final showdown” in any action or slasher horror movie. And the actual final fight is just as horrifying. Incredibly dark and disturbing, The Hunted is a masterclass in both action and horror. A must see if you haven’t already.

Image Credit: Scream Factory

5-Cobra: Cobra, directed by George P. Cosmatos, is the closest thing to a horror movie star Sylvester Stallone has so far done in his career (well, Eye See You is kind of a horror movie, too, but it’s not very good so I don’t like to think about it). Stallone stars as Lt. Marion Cobretti, of the LAPD’s “Zombie Squad,” which, I guess, is some sort of specialized unit that’s good at “hunting down psychos” and doing whatever is necessary (the whole “the bottom line” thing that Cobretti’s partner Sgt. Gonzales, played by Reni Santoni, briefly mentions). Cobretti, or Cobra, spends most of the movie protecting Ingrid Knudsen (Brigitte Nielson), a fashion model who managed to survive an attack by the murderous gang led by the Night Slasher (Brian Thompson) but is now being pursued relentlessly by the gang. Thompson’s Night Slasher is a gigantic human being that enjoys killing people with a scary looking knife, and we see him do so multiple times throughout the movie. The Night Slasher also uses a double barrel shotgun on occasion, but he’s mostly a knife guy. The final chase sequence sees the tables turned on the Night Slasher, with Cobra also engaging in some stalking and slashing of his own. The movie also ends with a brutal hand-to-hand brawl between the Night Slasher and Cobra, with the Night Slasher getting jammed onto a massive iron hook and then burned alive in a steel foundry, a truly fitting end for a mass murderer.

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

4- Silent Rage: Silent Rage is one of star Chuck Norris’s best movies and that’s mostly due to the fact that, throughout the movie, there’s a sense of “maybe Chuck won’t be able to beat the villain in this one.” The villain, John Kirby, brilliantly played by Brian Libby, is a spree killer who was then made essentially invincible by scientists testing out an experimental formula that creates a kind of “healing factor.” We see at the beginning of the movie Chuck’s Sheriff Dan Stevens almost lose a fight to a non-enhanced Kirby, so what happens if Kirby is made invincible? Can Stevens actually stop him? Libby is scary as hell as Kirby because he moves around like a nimble dancer. He rarely makes a sound or shows any sort of emotion. He’s a full on killing machine that only wants to survive. So when he finally has his big fight with Chuck there’s a chance that Chuck might lose. I mean, Chuck doesn’t lose because he’s, you know, Chuck Norris, but there’s still a chance, a feeling, that he might not be able to take Kirby down. The ending of the movie is fantastic and sets up a potential sequel, a sequel that we still haven’t seen. You just know that if that well is still there in Texas that John Kirby is likely still down at the bottom just waiting to strike again. Awesome movie.

Oh, and listen to the movie’s theme. Tell me that it isn’t inspired by John Carpenter’s theme for Halloween.

Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

3- The Terminator: The Terminator franchise is chock full of big hooha sci-fi action set pieces and cinematic spectacle as the movies managed to get bigger and bigger starting with the very first sequel, Terminator 2: Judgement Day. But the very first movie in the franchise, The Terminator, is basically a down and dirty slasher movie. Oh, sure, there’s plenty of big action scenes and the killer, the T-800 Terminator played by Ahnold Schwarzenegger, never uses a knife on anyone, but the T-800 is a horror movie monster of the highest order. The T-800 has a singular purpose, kill Sarah Connor, and the cyborg will do whatever it takes to complete that objective. The initial search for “Sarah Connor,” the big foot chase after the Tech Noir club shooting, the parking garage search, the police station massacre, and the motorcycle chase are all perfect examples of The Terminator being a slasher movie. And then there’s the final chase sequence of the movie, where the damaged full on T-800 robot skeleton goes after Sarah Connor and her human protector Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn). If you’re not scared by what the T-800 does up until that point, you will be scared once you see the robot skeleton move. I’m getting the willies right now thinking about it. I think it’s high time we start recognizing the T-800 as the slasher movie villain that he is.

Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

2- Predator: On its most basic level, 1987’s Predator is a slasher movie. It’s a movie about a bunch of people in the woods being hunted own and killed, one by one, by a monster. What separates The Predator from other slasher movies is that the people being hunted in the woods are a badass commando team featuring Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Bill motherfucking Duke, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves, Shane Black, Carl Weathers, and Ahnold Schwarzenegger, and the killer is a gigantic alien that lives to hunt. I mean, what else but a gigantic alien is going to be able to take down Ahnold’s team? I know that director John McTiernan doesn’t really care for the idea that Predator is a slasher movie, but, after three plus decades I think it’s high time that McTiernan just accept that he did, in fact, make a slasher movie. There’s no shame in that designation. It’s the most badass slasher movie ever made.

Image Credit: Blue Underground

1- Maniac Cop 2: The Maniac Cop franchise is probably the best action-slasher franchise ever made, and the second movie in that franchise, Maniac Cop 2, is the absolute best of the three made. Featuring a killer cop expertly played by Robert Z’Dar, part 2 starts with the action filled ending of the first Maniac Cop and then never lets up. We get to see multiple scary stalk and slash sequences (the convenience store scene) before the action kicks into high gear, with the “car driving on its rims and shooting sparks everywhere” sequence, the still exciting to this day “woman handcuffed to the steering wheel of a moving car while hanging outside the window” sequence, the big police van chase, the police station massacre sequence, and the still fucking insane “Maniac Cop on fire while trying to find and kill the scumbag prisoners that killed him in prison” sequence. Then throw in Robert Davi as a cop trying to stop the Maniac Cop from continuing his killing spree, Michael Lerner as a sleazy as hell police commissioner, Leo Rossi as a terrifying and goofy serial killer naked Turkell that ends up befriending the Maniac Cop (Rossi deserved a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for this role and I am not goddamn kidding), Clarence Williams III as a prisoner on death row that doesn’t want to die, Bruce Campbell and Laurene Landon playing their characters from the first movie only to end up getting killed, Charles Napier as a local TV crime show host, Robert Earl Jones as a blind newspaper salesman who describes feeling “cold, dead flesh,” and Bo Dietl as a cop who screams at a suspect (Danny Trejo also pops in for a blink and you miss him cameo in the police station holding cell), you have a movie that has everything. Maniac Cop 2 is superb cinema, not to mention director William “Bill” Lustig’s best movie hands down. Amazing, amazing stuff.


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