We all know that autumn is the designated spooky season. Between the new chill in the air, the harvest moon, and Halloween, autumn pretty much takes the cake. Not to mention, some of the best horror films take place during the Halloween season! John Carpenter’s Halloween (and all its sequels) is the mother of all slasher films, Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses is just plain terrifying, and Trick ‘r Treat is a contemporary classic.
However, I believe that the summer is also a season dedicated to the horror genre. Yes, family fun summer movies do exist (check out my Summer Movie Marathon blog post!), but how many great horror films take place during the summer? If you know me, you know I am a horror fan through and through. I decided to make A Summer of Horror movie list and share it here!
Let me know what you think:
- Friday the 13th, 1980
Okay, this movie made my initial summer movie marathon list, too. But let’s be honest: this movie is truly a summer classic. Hormone driven teenagers isolated in a supposedly haunted sleepaway camp is a recipe for disaster… and I am here for it. Not to mention, it is summery!
- Sleepaway Camp, 1983
I remember the first time I ever watched this movie. MAN, I was so shocked by the ending! I have seen many, many horror films and I am usually unsurprised by the end twist, but this one got me. Besides the interesting twist at the end, this is a classic 80’s horror flick and has all the good stuff: cheesy lines, lots of blood, and teenage hormones.
- I Know What You Did Last Summer, 1997
Just as in the 1980’s the 1990’s saw a resurrection of the horror genre starting with Scream. With that being said, I Know What You Did Last Summer is a summer horror classic of the 90’s that is honestly everything you want in a slasher film. There is even a killer with a hook for a hand. I mean, does it get any better than that?
- Midsommar, 2019
When this film came out in 2019, I actually didn’t even go see it in theaters. If you know me, you know that sounds insane because there are few things I love more than watching horror on the big screen with a large buttery popcorn and box of Raisinets. Ari Aster’s previous film, Hereditary, really creeped me out and while I couldn’t want to see Midsommar, I was definitely scared. I waited to rent it at home and invited some of my best friends over and together we were horrified. This film is definitely a wild and creepy ride. Not only are there very gruesome scenes, but they are juxtaposed with aesthetically-pleasing light and airy images. The entire mood of the film winds up feeling uncomfortable. It’s filmed brilliantly, so even if you’re not a horror fan and are a regular film buff, Midsommar is definitely worth your time.
- Us, 2019
Jordan Peele’s previous film, Get Out, is actually one of my favorite horror films of all time. Not only was Get Out a horror film, but a social critique and I love films that make me think. So, naturally, I was very excited about Us. I don’t want to give anything away, but this is another film with a wild twist. Further, it is eerie. I was actually uncomfortable watching this film. When a movie can have a physical affect on audiences in addition to a mental one, it has succeeded in the horror genre. Not to mention, Lupita Nyong’o’s acting is spot on.
- Creature from of the Black Lagoon, 1954
Is there a more classic horror film that Creature from the Black Lagoon? Probably not. So often I read lists such as this one and classic old-school horror films are left out. However, they are the originals and deserve our attention!
- Jeepers Creepers, 2001
This is one of my favorite horror films. I love the Southern gothic aesthetic of the film, the images of the lonely highways, and the creepiness of the murders. This is another cheesy horror flick, but what horror film isn’t cheesy? The story follows a sibling duo on a summer road trip back home after the school year ends and turns dark.
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974
I feel like this movie is a film that all horror fans just need to watch at some point. I put it off for so long because I honestly was just not interested, but it really is a classic. Plus, it is scary as hell. The idea of a killer in a mask made of human skin chasing you with a roaring chainsaw is terrifying. Something I also like about this film (and Friday the 13th, Halloween, etc.) is that there are many sequels. You can have an entire franchise marathon one day. PS: the 2003 remake starring Jessica Biel and R. Lee Ermey is very scary, too!
- Jaws, 1975
Would this really be a summer horror movie list if there wasn’t a classic shark-attack movie featured? Probably not, and Jaws is the quintessential shark movie. Fun fact: I once met Rob Zombie and he told me that Jaws was, in his opinion, the scariest film of all time. And honestly, he has a point. Sharks are real things in the ocean. They aren’t just scary men in masks hunting teenagers. I’ll tell you what: every time I watch Jaws, I am uneasy the next time I’m at the beach!
If you’ve seen Jaws a million times like me, there are so many other shark movies to check out, too! Be sure to check out 47 Meters Down, The Shallows, Deep Blue Sea (a personal favorite), or Open Water.
- The Fog, 1980
John Carpenter’s The Fog is one of my all time favorite horror films. (I feel like I say that about most horror flicks, but this one I am serious about!) The Fog takes place in a small coastal town that is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary. It’s creepy, cheesy, and stars original scream queen Janet Leigh (and her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, too!) I just love the entire aesthetic of this movie.