Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Bosch, Brandon. 2016 "Gender in the Slasher Film Genre." Lecture published in TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology. Washington DC: American Sociological Association. (


These slides are published on the peer-reviewed Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology (TRAILS).


It slices, it dices, it has entertained and scared audiences for decades—it’s the slasher film. Despite being dismissed by critics, the slasher film refuses to go away. Even if you don’t go to these movies, they are hard to escape, as every Halloween at least a few trick or treaters will dress up as a character from these movies. Given the longevity and popularity of this genre, I want to spend today talking about how these films often represent gender.

Scholars have also studied slasher films, and have provided a more formal definition than the one that I just provided. Molitor and Spolsky (1993) formally define the slasher film as follows:

A commercially-released, feature-length film containing suspense-evoking scenes in which an antagonist who is usually a male acting alone, attacks one or more victims. The accentuation in these films is on extreme graphic violence. Scenes that dwell on the victim’s fear and explicitly portray the attack and its aftermath are the central focus of the slasher film (p. 235)

PowerPoint slides attached (below) as additional file.

Bosch_TRAILS_Gender_in_the_Slasher_Film_Genre_Slides.pptx (5245 kB)
PowerPoint slides with notes