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thirteen women

Posted on August 12, 2016

Thirteen Women (1932): The Slasher that Started it All

Dawn Keetley

If you love horror films, you’ll want to watch the classic Thirteen Women (David Archainbaud, 1932). It’s a little-known film that, four decades before The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Black Christmas (1974), and Halloween (1978), mapped out the contours of the slasher plot.

Myself and Gwen have recently written an article about the film: “Thirteen Women (1932): An Unacknowledged Horror Classic,” published in the Journal of Film and Video 68, no. 1 (Spring 2016). I’m just hitting a couple of the highlights here, so if you want more analysis, that’s the place to go.

We didn’t conjure our idea up out of thin air. Some film critics had already nodded to Thirteen Women’s anticipation of the slasher sub-genre. For instance, in his review of the DVD, which was released as part of the Warner Archive Collection in 2012, John Beifuss notes that Thirteen Women is “not exactly a horror film,” yet he goes on to map numerous of its “horror themes,” drawing a line to both Friday the 13th (1980) and the Final Destination franchise (2000-2011). [i] We disagree with Beifuss’s hedging: Thirteen Women is in fact a horror film. Read more

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