Looking for something to do during these hot summer nights? How about a horror movie marathon to send chills down your spine? Whether it’s man-eating sharks, murderous camp counselors, or pagan ritual sacrifice, the hottest months of the year seems to hold some of the worst horrors. Here are some summer-themed horror films you can binge:
Gotta start with a good old classic. This 1975 film directed by Steven Spielberg was based on a novel of the same name by Peter Benchley. In the film, the quaint beaches of Amity Island are bathed in blood as a great white shark starts gobbling down the tourists and the locals. A scientist, a shark hunter, and the town’s police chief team up to take down the shark, but it won’t be an easy fight. Just don’t watch this one right before a trip to the beach—it might make you a little reluctant to splash around in the waves.
I Know What You Did Last Summer
This 1997 slasher film was also originally based on a novel, this time one by renowned thriller writer Lois Duncan. The film starts on the 4th of July, when four friends accidentally kill a pedestrian while driving to the beach. A year later, they begin receiving threatening messages referring to the incident. A mysterious man with a hook starts killing the friends and anyone else in the way, using the chaos of the Independence Day parade for cover. Two of the friends make it out alive, but by the end of the film, they’re still being haunted by someone who knows what they’ve done. The story continues in two sequels: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.
The Lost Boys
It’s got everything a good summertime teen movie needs: beaches, bonfires, wild outdoor concerts, and—oh yeah, vampires. This 1987 horror comedy follows a teen boy named Michael after he moves with his mother and younger brother to the California beach town of Santa Carla. Michael falls for a girl named Star and struggles to fit in with the crowd of motorcycle-riding bad boys she hangs out with. But it turns out that these boys aren’t just your average adrenaline-chasing youths—they’re vampires, and they want Michael to join their ranks. This film is a classic for a reason, and no horror movie marathon would be complete without a good vampire flick.
Friday the 13th
For many of us, summertime brings back childhood memories of going off to camp, where we stayed up for late nights with friends and spent time in nature. But summer camp gets deadly in this 1980 start to the Friday the 13th horror franchise. Friday the 13th takes place at Camp Crystal Lake, where horny teenage camp counselors are being picked off one by one by an unseen killer. This film essentially established the rule: never have sex in a horror movie. You’ll definitely think twice about sending your own kids to camp after watching this one.
The rest of this marathon has all been horror classics, mainly from the slasher heyday. But we’ve been getting some really good horror films in recent years, too. One of the best of these is the 2019 film Midsommar. Set in Halsingland, Sweden, where the sun never sets at the height of summer, Midsommar shows that you can still create a terrifying horror movie with a bright and summery color palette. There are no dark shadows or mysteriously shrouded figures here—all of the horror happens out in broad daylight, amongst crowds of people clothed in flowing white garments and colorful flowers. Dani and Christian travel to an isolated Swedish commune with their college friends to learn about a new culture and try to get away from a recent tragedy. Their already strained relationship crumbles further as they find themselves in the middle of a pagan ritual sacrifice. This film really gets me in the mood to put flowers in my hair and dance around a May pole, though it does make me a bit more wary of bonfires … and mushrooms.
Break out the popcorn and settle in for several nights of the best summertime horror the film world has to offer. I hope you enjoy these suggestions!