7 movies featuring killer clothing, aka the best horror genre

In particular trendy circles, style has a romantic image as something worth bleeding and suffering for. Scary, as the naughty more youthful sibling of all cinematic categories, has actually literalized that visual: “Killer clothing” inhabits its own area as a scary subgenre, despite the fact that it crosses over with other subgenres, like slashers, ghost stories, beast motion pictures, and Italian surrealism. Elza Kephart’s motion picture Slaxx, now streaming on Shudder, is simply the current addition to the collection. It’s slim-cut, tongue-in-cheek, and nasty when needed; as minutes tick away and the body count climbs up, the large preposterousness of the plot, depending upon an actually killer set of trousers, ends up being capitivating. Audiences will likely even cheer for the trousers versus counterfeit activist industrialism.

Slaxx is distinct in the sense that scary hasn’t produced numerous movies where clothes achieves free choice and ominous function. It isn’t the just scary motion picture of its sort, however it is among couple of. However recalling to the 1980s, it’s possible to assemble an appropriate line of wicked clothing, from coats to gowns to shawls to shoes. The specific niche is little, and it’s never ever been particularly trendy compared to scary’s other brand names, however these movies amount to one extraordinary closet.

Slaxx

A woman in a clothing store faces off against an empty, upright pair of jeans in Slaxx

Image: Shudder

About that killer-pants motion picture: It rules, hard. Look, any motion picture whose logline come down to “clothes that actually slay” is ridiculous on a molecular level, and if you can’t value that sort of motion picture not in spite of the silliness, however due to the fact that of the silliness, you have no factor to enjoy them. However the sheer desert with which Elza Kephart directs Slaxx and marshals its core style through the wanton butchering of practically every member of its cast produces excellent scary.

Set over the course of a night in a self-styled ethical fashion retailer, whose practices turn out to be not so ethical and whose managers happen to be avaricious prigs, Slaxx instills the concept of “sentient jeans on a rampage” with real meaning about the innate apathy of corporations guided by their bottom line. “Fair trade” sounds great for social-media ad campaigns, except that nothing’s fair when making money is the end game and human casualties are the price paid to win. You know what else sounds great? Watching vengeful trousers kick a gory hole through that smug, hollow ethos.

Slaxx is streaming on Shudder.

Deerskin

A man in a fringe suede jacket peers at himself sideways in the mirror in Deerskin

Photo: Greenwich Entertainment

Quentin Dupieux, the multifaceted Parisian eccentric, makes movies that reject logic, so your mileage may vary with anything he does. But Deerskin’s fashion-forward slasher about male vanity sticks the landing: the more leather attire his protagonist, Georges (Jean Dujardin), acquires, the more his sanity splinters. One moment he’s soaking in his manly image in the mirror. The next, he’s talking to his fringe jacket about becoming the only person in the world to have a jacket, and bringing the dream to life by massacring everyone who doesn’t surrender their coat to him. The film refuses to explain either his mania or his murder spree, but that’s a feature instead of a bug. It’s enough that Georges’ rugged obsession turns into carnage. Go with it.

Deerskin is streaming on HBO Max.

In Fabric

A woman in a vivid red dress stands amid a series of mirrors that reflect herself and each other in In Fabric

Photo: A24

“A provocation. For what else must one wear?” There are any number of reasons to watch Peter Strickland’s In Fabric, which frankly functions better as an ode to the work of Dario Argento than the Suspiria remake released the same year. But In Fabric star Fatma Mohamed might be the best reason of the bunch. Every line of dialogue Strickland’s screenplay gives her, she treats like a meal, like grandiloquent, baffling poetry meant to persuade her victims to purchase clothing they’re otherwise hesitant about.

Sheila (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) falls prey to Mohamed’s coaxing at the film’s start: Looking for a pick-me-up after hard days on the job as a bank teller, she walks out of department store Dentley and Soper’s with a possessed red dress. It moves on its own, agitates dogs when Sheila wears it, attempts to suffocate Gwendoline Christie mid-orgasm, and leads Sheila into a fatal car accident before moving on to its next owner, Reg (Leo Bill). In Fabric’s giallo roots and Strickland’s phantasmagoric filmmaking give gravity to a patently absurd idea. Both the dress and Mohamed are one of a kind.

In Fabric is streaming on Kanopy and available to rent on Amazon and Google Play.

The Red Shoes

The legs and ankles of a sprawled woman’s body wearing high heels that honestly look way more pink than red in The Red Shoes

Photo: Digital Media Rights

No, not that The Red Shoes, or even the other The Red Shoes; this is South Korean filmmaker Kim Yong-gyun’s 2005 take on the old Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a pair of shoes that force their wearer to dance. In this version, the shoes torment whoever wears them with terrifying hallucinations. They also hack off their current owner’s feet, and no matter how hard people try to get rid of them, they always come back. The big question hanging over The Red Shoes is “Or do they?” But really, that can’t dampen the novelty of footwear gorily killing people, even if the film is, for the most part, uneven and in desperate need of cohesion.

The Red Shoes is available to stream on Kanopy.

Clown

A man in a dark clown suit looks into the mirror in alarm in Clown

Photo: Dimension Films

Technically, clown suits count as clothing, right? Birthday clowns play dress-up as part of their vocation; gaudy striped pants and a polka-dot vest comprise an outfit. So Clown, a movie about a devoted dad slowly turning into a child-eating abomination courtesy of demonic metamorphosis, qualifies. No one would wear clown clothes and call it fashion, but they would wear a dead animal’s skin, so it’s the grimmest of punchlines that the skin of an Icelandic demon starts the unsuspecting main character’s transformation from man to fiend. Eleven years after release, Clown feels like a real win for writer-director Jon Watts and his cowriter, Christopher Ford; the whole thing started as a fake trailer for an Eli Roth movie that Eli Roth had no knowledge of or involvement with, then became an actual feature film. Now, years later, Watts is directing Spider-Man movies. Quite the leap.

Clown is available to rent on iTunes and Amazon.

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II

Hands hold up an ominous 1957 prom-queen sash in Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II

Photo: Samuel Goldwyn Company

A sequel in name only to the 1980 slasher Prom Night, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II isn’t entirely about killer clothing; it’s about a killer prom queen whose wicked spirit, in one particularly memorable scene, kills a side character with a cape. That said, the discovery of an old prom outfit is the film’s inciting incident: Decades prior to Hello Mary Lou’s events, Mary Lou Maloney (Lisa Schrage) is crowned queen of her high school prom, then burned to a crisp in a stink-bomb prank gone wrong.

When kids in the film’s present day stumble on her gown, sash, and crown, her ghost wakes up and starts going around getting kids dead, including lynching Jess (Beth Gondek) using the cape as the rope. It’s a tense, inventive, surprisingly sad sequence, and possibly the only one of its kind in the whole horror canon. If superheroes shouldn’t don capes for their own safety, maybe we should do away with capes as prom accessories simply in case their wearers’ wraiths think of using them as murder weapons.

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is available to stream on Shudder and Peacock and to rent on iTunes and Google Play.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

An army of empty armor in Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Photo: Walt Disney

A bit of a cheat, perhaps, since Bedknobs and Broomsticks isn’t a scary movie, it’s a family-friendly fantasy movie. (In case it isn’t clear by now: none of the other motion pictures on this list are safe family viewing.) However this movie’s concept of “family-friendly fantasy” concludes with animated suits of armor and military uniforms ganging up on Nazis. Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ “Substitutiary Locomotion” musical number predates Harry Potter’s Piertotum Locomotor spell by 36 years on paper and 40 years on screen, and while that spell is technically used to fight off fascists, watching wizarding fascists get chased off by statues isn’t anywhere near as satisfying as watching actual fascists get chased off by plate mail to the dulcet sound of Angela Lansbury’s singing voice.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks is offered to stream on Disney Plus and to lease on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.