These warm summer nights are the perfect time to set up a projector and host an outdoor movie screening. And if you're outdoors in the dark, you might as well go the full mile and make it a horror movie. Here are 5 of my favorite horror flicks that will give you chills, even in this heat wave:
What could be a more obvious choice for a summer horror film? In this classic from 1975, a great white shark terrorizes beach-goers off the coast of Amity Island. After several people are killed, the chief of police, a professional shark hunter, and an oceanographer team up to take down the giant sea creature. Bonus points if you've got a pool and can set up your projector to watch the movie from the water.
2. Night of the Living Dead
While we're on the subject of classics, you can't miss this zombie flick written and directed by George A. Romero. The first in a popular franchise, this film centers on seven people trapped in a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania while the dead begin to rise outside. As one of the earliest zombie films, Night of the Living Dead essentially defined the genre.
3. I Know What You Did Last Summer
Fittingly, this summer slasher takes place amidst 4th of July celebrations. At the start of the film, four teens accidentally hit a pedestrian while driving to the beach after a night of partying. They dispose of the body and promise never to speak of it again. But the following year, they begin receiving threatening notes from someone who knows their secret. A vengeful man with a hook for a hand picks off the culprits one by one. As any good slasher should be, this film is the perfect blend of cheesy and terrifying.
4. Cabin in the Woods
This horror comedy written and produced by Joss Whedon manages to excel at both genres at once. Parodying the typical horror film, Cabin in the Woods begins with five college students who decide to spend the weekend in a deserted cabin in the woods. But a layered meta-narrative is revealed when it turns out that the events in the cabin are being manipulated by technicians in a secret underground facility. This film will have you going from laughing to screaming to being stuck in between, unsure of which reaction is appropriate.
5. The Shape of Water
There has been a slew of excellent horror movies released in the past few years, but this is one of my favorites. Guillermo del Toro draws on concepts from the early monster film The Creature form the Black Lagoon to create a refreshing and surprising romantic fantasy. Set in the 1960s, Sally Hawkins plays Elisa Esposito, a mute custodian who works in a high-security government laboratory. She falls in love with the humanoid amphibian creature being held and studied in the lab and embarks on a daring plan to rescue him. The Shape of Water takes the premise of a monster movie and turns it into a rather sweet and heartfelt (though arguably gross and unnerving) love story.
What horror movies would you want to watch for a summer movie night? Share your suggestions in the comments!