Best Halloween Rip-Offs

I​f Hollywood is good at anything it’s seeing what hits big at the box office and then churning out a hundred clones of that product until it gets driven into the ground. We see it all the time. One such incident came around the release of the 1978 film Halloween. Once it began to rack up box office numbers everyone scrambled to put out their own slasher film, preferably built around a holiday. This led to a glut of slasher films, which if you’re a slasher fan like myself was a fantastic time to be alive. Let’s look at the best Halloween rip-offs.

Best Halloween Rip-Offs

O​fferings (1989)

T​his might be the most egregious rip-off Halloween there could be. A young kid accidentally falls down a well while playing with a group of kids. Some of them scare him as he’s walking along the edge, and he hits his head. He will end up killing his mother before he is shipped off to a mental hospital.

Years later he escapes to get revenge on the kids who caused his accident. He takes a body part from each person and leaves them as presents to the one girl who was always nice to him. Of course, a doctor from the hospital is hot on his trail to try and stop his killing spree. If only his name was like Lam Soomis, then the homage would be complete.

T​he plot is only minorly tweaked to avoid a lawsuit, but they barely make any effort to hide the fact that they are mimicking the score from Halloween. Some parts even sound like they lifted it right off the soundtrack. It’s pretty blatant and the filmmakers didn’t seem to care. They put the movie out and I assume made some money off of it.

Best Halloween Rip-Offs

E​dge Of The Axe (1988)

T​his film tries to throw in some “modern” technology into the plot but at its base, it’s still just another Halloween rip-off. Someone in a small California town is murdering women. Laura thinks it might be her cousin who recently escaped from a mental hospital. The women he seems to be targeting have all worked at psychiatric facilities. Laura and her new boyfriend use his high-tech computer system to determine who the killer is.

W​ithout the computer story this whole thing is just Halloween but the killer likes to use an axe instead of a butcher knife. He even wears an all-white mask. If anything, the kills are fun to watch. The incompetent police force is laughable but all in all the film is still a good time.

Best Halloween Rip-Offs

A​lone In The Dark (1982)

W​hat’s better than one psychopath escaping from a mental hospital and going on a murder spree? How about four? This movie has a great cast as Jack Palance, Donald Pleasance, Marin Landau, and Erland van Lidth play the killers. Donald Pleasance gets to play on the other side of the film this time and Erland van Lidth will be known to most genre fans as the opera-singing Dynamo from The Running Man.

D​uring a town-wide blackout four known killers escape from a mental institution and head to their new psychiatrist’s house. They believe he killed their former doctor and want to get revenge. Dwight Schultz of A-Team and Star Trek fame plays the psychiatrist. Along the way, we meet young people who are trying to have fun during the blackout but end up being fodder for the killers.

Best Halloween Rip-Offs

L​overs Lane (1999)

W​hile it didn’t come out during the slasher boom of the 80s, it did hit during the smaller slasher boom of the 90s after Scream hit big in theaters. It borrows more from Halloween than any other slasher of the time including Scream. It may be a little cliche even for the time it came out, but it is still a lot of fun.

T​hirteen years ago a man committed a series of murders. Now he has escaped from a mental institution and is hunting down the children of his former victims. This film has a couple of ‘before they were famous’ actors involved. Anna Farris plays Jannelle Bay in this. The following year she would star in the slasher spoof Scary Movie which would catapult her to stardom. Sarah Lancaster plays Chloe Grefe. She would go on to earn acclaim in the WB series Everwood. Most probably know her as Chuck’s sister Ellie on the series Chuck.

Best Halloween Rip-Offs

N​ightmare (1981)

G​eorge is released from a mental hospital after being deemed fit to rejoin society. Years before he murdered a family. Ever since then he has been having horrible nightmares that his medication can’t seem to fix. Not long after being released his killing spree begins again as he drives down to Florida to find his ex-wife. Along the way, his murders become more and more violent.

G​eorge does end up killing a babysitter and her boyfriend at one point in the film and wears an old man mask while doing it. The film has the typical slasher methodology in it while also throwing a few curve balls with mischievous children for a final touch. The old man mask looks like a creepy Telly Savalas killing people. It’s a weird addition.

Best Halloween Rip-Offs

T​he Dorm The Dripped Blood (1982)

F​our college students volunteer to help clean out a dorm building that is going to be demolished. As they begin their work, someone begins to stalk them around the abandoned dorm. One of the best lines from the trailer if you look it up is “The only thing you will learn, is how to die!” The film is super cheesy but a lot of fun. Just don’t take it too seriously. The killer uses a baseball bat with spikes driven into it. It’s a great time.

Best Halloween Rip-Offs

B​lood Rage (1987)

W​hile the title doesn’t tell you, this is actually a Thanksgiving horror film. When twins Todd and Terry are younger, one of them kills a man at a drive-in. Terry blames it on Todd, and he is sent to live in a mental hospital. Ten years later, Todd decides to escape from the hospital so his mom will know the truth. This causes Terry to once again feel the urge to kill.

T​he film is a lot of fun and has the usual twin hijinks. Look for a young Ted Raimi in his first film role as a guy selling condoms at the drive-in. The special effects for the film are great and worth celebrating. Arrow films put out a good disc set of this film that even has a cut of the film with the old title card ‘Slasher‘ before it was changed to Blood Rage.

Best Halloween Rip-Offs

P​rom Night (1980)

D​uring the senior prom, a killer is stalking students who participated in the accidental death of a classmate years earlier. Now as their big night is here to celebrate their upcoming graduation, they are being killed off one by one. This one even includes Jamie Lee Curtis as the final girl of the film.

W​hile there is nothing that just screams Halloween rip-off in the film other than Jamie Lee Curtis, Prom Night plays on all the horror tropes that were established just two years earlier. If you have sex, you die. If you drink or do drugs, you die. It’s a simple formula but it makes for a fun watch. The killer in this film is almost the inverse of Michael Myers. They are dressed all in black including a black ski mask. The killer moves quickly and strikes fast. A fun time if you are into slasher films.

Best Halloween Rip-Offs

M​y Bloody Valentine (1981)

A mining accident trapped six people underground. When they are able to dig them out, only Harry Warden survives, but he is in a deranged state. He is sent to a mental hospital but escapes on Valentine’s day to kill those he felt were responsible for the accident. Decades later a young crew is set to have a Valentine’s Day party. People start dying again and think Harry Warden may be back.

K​iller in coveralls and a mask? Check. Killer killing on a specific holiday? Check. Killer possibly coming back after escaping from a mental hospital? Maybe. The film checks off all the boxes that make for a great Halloween rip-off but still manages to make the movie its own thing.

The killer in the film looks great and is genuinely frightening at times. A great film to watch just about any time of the year, but especially around Valentine’s Day. The fact that Scream Factory was able to release a Blu-ray with a bunch of cut footage of gory attacks restored makes it all the better.

Best Halloween Rip-Offs

F​riday the 13th (1980)

Y​es, even the juggernaut that is Friday The 13th is nothing more than a Halloween rip-off. Sean Cunningham has admitted that after it hit box office gold, he looked around on a holiday that he could build a slasher film around. He settled on Friday The 13th and the rest is history. The series obviously came into its own but it was born as a way to cash in on Halloween’s fame.

A group of teenagers helps to set up a camp that is about to reopen. It was closed for decades after a young couple was murdered during camp season. Someone is not happy that the camp is about to reopen and begins to kill off the teens one by one in order to keep the camp closed.

F​riday The 13th would garner its own popularity and a slew of rip-offs like The Burning, Sleepaway Camp, and Madman. Once Jason came into the series in the second film, it hewed even closer to the Halloween films with a silent killer with a penchant for covering his face. Eventually, it would go the more supernatural route and completely work while any time Halloween tried to move that way it completely fell flat.

W​hat are your favorite Halloween rip-offs? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Bryan Wolford is a feature writer for JoBlo, and also writes scripts for both JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals, including a multi-part retrospective on the Highlander franchise. When not writing for the site, he’s an avid podcaster.