Written by J. Weagle
If you’re like me summer time means more than campfires, trips to the beach and scantily clad bodies. Yes, those things are all important as well, but summer for me has almost always meant horror films, rivaling even October as the best time to watch. Unlike Halloween however there is a certain type of horror film that is best suited for the warmer months, and I have broken down into list form what I believe to be the best summer time horror films, and the preferred time throughout summer in which they should be watched.
The truth is there are many films that could go on this list, but I’ve tried to keep it as thin and simple as possible to give you time to do those other summer activities.
(Late June – Early July) JAWS (1975)
The original summer blockbuster happens to be one of the finest examples of big budget horror even to this day. Speilberg’s ode to beaches holds up remarkably well, and manages to still make swimming in the ocean a terrifying experience. This iconic shark slasher makes for the perfect early summer watch to get you ready for spending the days at the beach on lookout for shark fins, and is also my favorite way to kick off the heat.
(Early July – Mid July) Friday the 13th (1980)
Some of my favorite memories growing up involve late summer nights and a lineup of Friday the 13th films. From the teenage camp counselors to the setting of Camp Crystal Lake, just about everything in this film feels like it was meant to be experience on a warm night with friends. Slasher films are the true genre of the summer time and the original in the now infamous franchise is perhaps the best of them all.
(Mid July – Late July) The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
There’s something hot, sweaty and grimy about Rob Zombie’s finest achievement in film making. Following a bunch of Manson-like filthy killers on the run from the law while the desert sun beats down on them which only adds to the insanity that is this presents to the viewer. While House of 1000 Corpses oozes Halloween, all that is traded in here for blistering heat, bright open spaces and a gritty violence that is sure to leave any horror fan satisfied.
(Late July – Early August) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The original Chainsaw Massacre is the rare film that you can actually feel. The beautiful warm summer wind of those Texas fields, the chirping of the crickets at night and the buzzing of flies surrounding freshly cut bodies. It’s as if this film radiates heat, somehow making your body feel warmer than it actually is causing you to want to take a shower immediately afterwards. There really isn’t anything that hasn’t already been said for this gem, and there is no better time to give it a watch then the dead of summer.
(Early August – Mid August) Piranha 3D (2010)
For those looking to add a bit of fun to their hot bloody horror films, look no further then Alexander Aja’s remake of the classic 1970’s Piranha film. This new version features plenty of pretty ladies in skimpy bikini’s, beautiful beaches turned into nightmarish massacres and a level of gore and violence not seen in many films nowadays. Think of it as Jaws on crack sprinkled with plenty of sex and perverted jokes, and you essentially get this hilarious fish murder simulator.
(Mid August – Late August) The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
It really seems that Alexander Aja loves to make summer horror films as once again he shows up on the list. This time trading in the beaches for the hot desert sun, in his ultra violent remake of Wes Craven’s 1970’s film. What makes this film so great to watch during the late summer months is just how well the film makes the sun and sand a living breathing character in the film, allowing it surpass the original in just about every way.
(Late August – Early September) It Follows (2014)
It follows is perhaps (in my opinion) the greatest modern horror film of the past five years, and while some might find it a bit of a slow burn, it is the perfect way to send off summer. From the stunning cinematography to the low key, almost dream like way it falsely relaxes viewers into a sense of safety before completely ripping it away and terrifying the hell out of you, there is no better time to watch this masterclass in horror then when the September weather begins to chill and the dream of endless summer begins to fade.