Summer Horror Movie Watch List

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We tend to associate horror with the early twilight of fall and the foggy atmosphere that comes with it. The crunch of leaves portends a killer headed straight for us. The snap of a dead twig give us away as we attempt to flee his grasp.

But ask any kid who cut their teeth on hockey masks and chainsaws how scary summer camp is and you’ll realize that horror isn’t just for autumn. Here’s a list of summer horror films sure to keep you up at night — even if night doesn’t get on with it til close to 10. 

Cabin in the Woods

This is, absolutely, one of my favorite horror films ever. It gets a lot of flack for technically being considered a horror comedy, but it’s a brilliant exploration of a genre and all the tropes that come with it. Though the movie gets way bigger than the title suggests, it has all the hallmarks of a good summer horror romp including the vacationing kids and the weird guy who lives in the woods. 

Friday the 13th Part 4

Friday the 13th may be the quintessential summer horror series, but 4 is, in my opinion, the best of the lot. What was supposedly the last in the series (HAHAHAHA!) shows Jason Voorhees at his strongest (up until that point) and weirdly, the most human. Look for a young Corey Feldman opposite the man in the mask. 

Jaws

No matter how many times I watch Jaws, I’m always impressed by the way it’s held up year after year. This was a movie that changed movies and, in many ways, changed the way the general public viewed horror. But nothing beats Quint’s monologue on the boat. Amazing every time. 

Tucker and Dale vs Evil

This is borderline, I know, but it’s also a fun movie that plays well in the summer horror line up. Like Cabin in the Woods, it plays with well-known horror tropes. Unlike Cabin in the Woods, it’s a little more lighthearted, so you can get more than a few good laughs out of it if you enjoy a bit of gruesome comedy. 

Pumpkinhead

Hello, one of my favorite horror movies of all time. There’s so much to love about this movie. The monster effects of Stan Winston (who also directed the film) and the performance of Lance Henriksen. It’s also a monster/slasher flick that has a lot to say about forgiveness and vengeance, which is nothing to sniff at. 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

I feel like I would have been barbequed myself for not including this one. It’s the granddaddy of the iconic summer slasher film and, really, the slasher film in general. 

Sleepaway Camp

I mean, the reason for this one is in the very name, but to this day, people are still bowled over by that ending. Does it still work if you’re seeing it for the first time after all this time? Apparently, it does for some first-time viewers. 

The Evil Dead

The original please. Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead not only began a long directorial career, it also launched the acting career of Bruce Campbell. 

Psycho

Seems like a strange choice, right? But what says summer better than a road trip that ends at a skeevy motel where a serial killer with some serious mommy issues goes on a killing rampage that births one of the most imitated and lampooned scenes in horror movie history? Phew. That’s a mouthful right there.

What’s your favorite summer horror movie flick?

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