Ah, the humble slasher film...
A favourite subgenre of many a horror hound, the slasher is something whose roots can be traced back to 1974's Black Christmas and 1978's Halloween, with John Carpenter's film in particular responsible for launching a boom that would thrive and eventually fizzle out throughout the '80s and into the '90s. Even now, though, there's still a strong appetite for slashers, as shown by Scream VI currently screening in theaters worldwide.
With a slasher, so often a familiar formula is followed. There's the hulking masked killer, there's the slew of disposable teens, and there's the whodunnit mystery - and subsequent reveal - of who really is under the mask. One other thing this horror subgenre is famous for, of course, is delivering some absolutely belting fakeouts.
These fakeouts lead you in one direction, usually make you think that everything's going to be okay, before pulling the rug out from under audiences and shockingly zigging when you thought they were going to zag. Catching your off-guard, these swerves can be an utter gut-punch when delivered well.
With that in mind, then, here are ten of the very best slasher movie fakeouts seen throughout the past several decades.
10. Hell High
Released in 1989, Hell High is a slasher that takes its time to properly get going, and is likewise a film overflowing with the familiar tropes of the subgenre.
We've got a bunch of high schoolers played by actors who are approaching 30, we've got a cast of key players and supporting characters who are all mostly dislikeable, and we of course have a masked menace at the centre of this Douglas Grossman-helmed picture. There's also an ending sequence that is utterly bonkers and very much serves up a rather unique fakeout.
Plot-wise, Hell High centres on a group of cocksure teenagers who decide to stick it to their stern biology teacher, Miss Storm (Maureen Mooney). In particular, Christopher Stryker's Dickens really has it out for this teacher, to the point that he follows her home one night and creepily watches Miss Storm take a shower.
That's only the tip of the iceberg for the creepy actions of these kids, mind, for Dickens returns to Storm's house with his buddies, where they all don horror masks and torment the mentally-fragile teacher. You see, Miss Storm caused the death of two people when she was just a child, and she's forever troubled by this fact.
In an extremely dark turn - that's actually bizarrely played in a light manner - Dickens and his friends sexually assault the drugged Storm, who eventually manages to gain enough consciousness to throw herself out of her bedroom window. And with that, Hell High seems about ready to wrap up its runtime as poor Miss Storm lays dead on the floor.
Only the film doesn't end there, for in a left-field swerve, Mooney's character reanimates as some sort of murderous zombie who soon offs each of her attackers.