One of horror’s longest running and most popular subgenres, slasher films testify to our enduring appetite for chills, thrills, and the iconic characters who’ve become part of our dreams and nightmares. Scream VI is the latest in a long line of slasher horror that dates back to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and the Italian giallo films. Though they’ve been dismissed as exploitation and “dead teenager movies,” according to Roger Ebert, these films have touched on our generational disputes, and held a mirror up to our human nature.
Each new generation of filmmakers have returned to the slasher, adding their own voices and cultural considerations, which is why the genre shows no sign of slowing down. But before we see what the future has in store for the Scream franchise, and all the others in the works, let’s walk down memory lane—and try to ignore that shape following closely behind in the dark. Here then, are the 20 greatest slasher movies of all time.