What I miss most about summer vacations from my youth is… actually a whole damn lot. But one aspect that sticks out is how time seemed limitless. The days seemed to last forever. The amount of times I mentioned to my mom that I was bored probably had her at least considering alcohol (she doesn’t drink and never has). That’s the beauty of youth. Time is relative. I do remember filling my days and weekends with lots and lots of horror. Because I had nothing else to do, I could watch movies back-to-back. Those were the days. But let’s be honest, not much has changed.
So this list is for you, the fourteen or fifteen year old who’s wondering how to fill their time this summer. Go forth and horror on, young buddies. And for the oldies like me? Pencil in a weekend or six for you to watch these back-to-back. Because if you can devote eight years to Game of Thrones you can spend a summer watching nothing but scary movies. Enjoy and party on!
1. The Day of the Beast (1995)
Looking for an underrated gem? The description on IMDB is all you need to know: A Catholic priest teams up with a Black Metal aficionado and an Italian connoisseur of the occult to avert the birth of the beast, and with it, the end of the world.
2. The Bay (2012)
An above average found-footage horror that Cronenberg could be proud of. I’m from Virginia and grew up going to the Chesapeake Bay (still do!) so this one hits close to home, which I love. Show this one to your kids when they get a cut and then whine about wanting to go swimming.
3. Friday the 13th (1980)
It’s never a bad time to watch Friday the 13th. Any of them. Summer is just when the films are especially ripe!
4. Sleepaway Camp (1983)
The role that cemented Felissa Rose’s expertise on mangled dicks. The quintessential summer camp horror with one of the all time greatest endings.
5. 2001 Maniacs (2005)
Technically this movie is set over spring break. But the town’s jubilee has that patriotic, Fourth of July feel that’s perfect for summer. This movie is what I imagine BBQs in backwoods Alabama are like.
6. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974 or 2003)
7. Piranha (2010)
Love me some creature features. You should really research what Jerry O’Connell is up to these days. He is a treasure. I’m so happy he was in this iteration of Piranha. I’m also so happy that Eli Roth gets mangled. And I am an Eli Roth apologist!
8. Lake Placid
Oh, that Betty White! Feeding those little gators until they grow too big. You knew what you were doing! An essential watch for any river or lake house trip.
9. Deep Blue Sea
And while we’re on Lake Placid, it complements nicely with Deep Blue Sea. Like wine and chocolate, the pair bring out the best in each other. Yes, I recommend watching one right after the other. Because LL Cool J’s bird deserves it!
10. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Sure, anyone can watch Scream. And they should, because it’s better than I Know What You Did Last Summer. But this one is set around July 4th and that makes it distinctly great for summer viewing. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
11. Tremors (1990)
The original that started it all. Also the only movie I love more than Reba McEntire. And she’s in it. I WILL WATCH 2000000 TREMORS MOVIES. #LongLiveBertGummer
12. Blood Beach (1980)
The tagline directly rips off Jaws 2 and I love that. Capitalize on whatever you can, amirite?! “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…you can’t get to it.”
13. The Shallows (2016)
A shark movie with Blake Lively should not be so good, but it is. A great survival horror that at 86 minutes can be watched more than once this summer.
14. Downrange (2017)
The daylight scenes in this horror/thriller are magnificent. The tension is palpable. The premise is interesting enough to keep you entertained. I enjoyed it.
15. Perfection (2019)
I love body horror and this is a welcome entry from Netflix. Enough twists to keep you interested and though the ending may not be as satisfying as you want, it’s got enough oomph for a lazy summer weekend watch.
16. Horror Noire (2019)
If you haven’t yet watched Shudder’s outstanding documentary about the history of black horror, don’t wait any longer. It’s fantastic, interesting, and educational. Don’t be cheap: shell out the $50 for a year’s subscription and support horror.
17. Revenge (2018)
Another great daylight movie. A fresh take on revenge. And an inspiration for me to get a badass stomach tattoo.
18. Hulu’s Into the Dark Series
I’ve been calling these the Lifetime movies of horror. I love Lifetime so this is a compliment. Hulu’s partnership with Blumhouse has delivered six solid horror entries thus far. All of them are related to a theme for that month (Think: Halloween, New Year’s, Mothers Day). While they aren’t all as good as the others there all worth watching. And all of them are less than 2 hours long.
19. Escape from Tomorrow
If your family is begging you for a trip to Disney World, please watch this film. The back story is incredible. The trippy Disney scenes are worth the “what the fuck” reaction you’ll ultimately have.
20. Rambo (2008)
This isn’t horror, but the violence and gore might as well be. Okay. I’ll fess up. I watched Godzilla: King of the Monsters over the weekend and saw the trailer for the new Rambo. Rambo 2008 is bad ass and deserves a spot on this list because A.) this is my blog and B.) sometimes ya need a quick breather from scary movies. Even me!