Send a chill down your spine with 10 horror movies set in the season
Sure, spooky season isn’t technically until October. But for some movie fans, it’s horror season all year round.
As the summer heats up, it’s important to remember that while Michael Myers might only stalk Haddonfield around All Hallows’ Eve, there are plenty of other scares to be had during the warmer months. From classic movie theater frights to more recent entries into the horror film canon, there’s something delightfully frightful about summer scares.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best summer horror movies to watch while taking a break from lounging by the pool. Get your popcorn ready — things are about to get scary.
‘Jaws’: Often cited as the first summer blockbuster, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 masterpiece took inspiration from classic monster movies of the past and turned the fear factor up to 11. Aided by John Williams’ iconic score and terrific performances from Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss, “Jaws” helped establish the potential (and our expectations) of huge summer movies. (Peacock)
‘Midsommar’: It’s rare for a horror movie to be filmed almost entirely in the bright sunshine or with such stunningly colorful cinematography. Ari Aster’s 2019 film starring Florence Pugh takes place at a twisted Swedish summer festival that turns deadly. But this creepy slow burn touches on emotional themes such as grief, deceit and revenge. (Showtime, Kanopy)
‘Alien’: The famous tagline for “Alien” is: “In space no
one can hear you scream.” Well, there also aren’t any seasons in space, and since this movie was originally released on May 25, 1979, we’re going to unofficially categorize it as a summer horror film. Some people will argue the action-packed 1986 sequel “Aliens” is superior. Don’t listen to them. If this movie doesn’t make you tense, you probably don’t have a pulse. (Hulu)
‘Us’: A family goes on a getaway summer vacation in Santa Cruz, California, and is stalked by
... themselves? Director Jordan Peele followed his Oscar-winning debut “Get Out” with this 2019 mindbender. The violence is brutal at times, but “Us” will keep you guessing and asking questions even on repeated viewings. Oh, and it includes one of the best choreographed fight scenes
set to music to ever appear in a scary movie. (Digital rental)
‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’: How this movie was turned into a franchise with multiple sequels and side stories continues to baffle and amaze. If you’ve watched Tobe Hooper’s original 1974 film recently, you probably haven’t slept much since. Marilyn Burns’ blood-curdling screams at the end of the movie paired with the cannibalistic themes throughout is the stuff of true nightmares — and then there’s the horror of Leatherface. This movie is so scary that it was banned in multiple countries. So, watch with caution. (Showtime, AMC+)
‘It Follows’: Sometimes you find a movie that, as you’re watching it, you can’t help but think, “Yes. This is why I love horror.” David Robert Mitchell’s 2014 film about an unrelenting, supernatural entity that just follows main character Jay (played by Maika Monroe) is one of those movies. The simplicity of the premise (you can pass this terrifying thing onto another person as a kind of sexually transmitted disease) is a perfect summer teen horror throwback, aided by an eerie, synth-heavy score that calls back to John Carpenter’s “Halloween.” (Note: Upon further review, there’s a fair amount of fall foliage in this film. However, due to the inclusion of multiple swimming pool/ beach scenes, we’re going to chalk this up as an end-of-summer movie.) (Netflix)
‘Friday the 13th’: We couldn’t forget this quintessential 1980 slasher classic. Is it cheesy? Absolutely. But the summer camp “have sex and you die” horror movie trope reached its unforgiving stride with the original “Friday the 13th.” Despite the blatant campiness, there’s something downright fun about watching the OG movie in a series that spawned 11 sequels/reboots. (Paramount+)
‘I Know What You Did
Last Summer’: Released less than a year after Wes Craven’s “Scream,” 1997’s “I Know What You Did Last Summer” helped solidify a new era of slasher films. With a cast full of late-’90s heartthrobs (Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze
Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe) being taken out by a mysterious, hook-wielding killer, this time-capsule of a movie is a fun one to stream on a steamy summer night. (HBO Max)
‘Signs’: M. Night Shyamalan has had an interesting career, to say the least. The world learned his name after 1999’s “The Sixth Sense,” but it has been a pretty mixed bag in the years that followed. In 2002, however, the director gave us an alien-invasion classic with “Signs.” This summer thriller pairs as a family drama as Graham Hess (played by Mel Gibson) tries desperately to keep his children safe from some not-so-peaceful extra-terrestrials. And the tension is real. As Roger Ebert said in his review, “I cannot think of a movie where silence is scarier, and inaction is more disturbing.” (Amazon Prime Video)
‘A Quiet Place Part II’:
While the original movie could possibly be considered a summer movie due to the amount of time spent outdoors, the repeated donning of sweaters by the actors eliminates it from contention here. But 2021’s “A Quiet Place Part II” is all T-shirts, sundresses and monsters that will tear you to bits if you make a sound.