Celebrate Independence Day With Four Horror Classics

There are other ways to celebrate the Fourth of July if barbecue and fireworks aren’t your thing.

How about some horror movies? Better yet, how about horror movies set during Independence Day itself so you can get into the spirit of the holiday without the family dynamics or the crowds or the loud noises?

These four are my personal favorites:

1. Independence Day (1996)

Are you ready to be patriotic, not just for the United States but for the entire human race? If you are, this is the movie for you. Aliens attack Earth on July 2. Humans all over the world join forces and take back Earth two days later.

This Hollywood blockbuster is large on every scale: budget, visuals, special effects, cast, and box office receipts. It’s also nice to be able to cheer during a movie and know most of your fellow man will feel the same way. This movie is a uniter, not a divider.

2. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Four teens run over a man while driving on a deserted coastal road. They dump his body and agree to keep the accident a secret. One year later, someone goes on a killing spree while their small town gears up to celebrate July Fourth.

This slasher movie and Scream (1996) have been credited with reviving the killer-targeting-teens genre in the 1990s. I Know What You Did Last Summer spawned two sequels, but the original is the best. The movie also boasts the “it” people of its time: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Ryan Phillippe.

3. Jaws (1975)

For some, summer means being at the beach. If you’re one of those, you’ll definitely like celebrating the Fourth on an island with lots of sun, sand and surf. Except … there’s something in the water. Dum dum … dum dum … dum dum dum dum dum dum …

This movie is a thrill ride no matter how many times I’ve watched it. It’s the reason why I will absolutely FREAK if I’m swimming in the sea and spot a pointy fin sticking out of the water.

4. Final Destination 3 (2006)

Of the four, this is the most recently released. In the interest of full disclosure, it doesn’t actually take place on the Fourth. It’s set during the town’s tricentennial celebration but it’s summer and there are fireworks, so close enough.

A teenager, about to go on a roller coaster ride, bails after she has a premonition that a horrific accident is about to occur. A few of her classmates leave with her. Her premonition comes true and everyone else on the ride is killed. Death doesn’t wait too long before it’s stalking the teen and the other survivors.

The Final Destination movies have devolved into formulaic flicks in which the only interesting thing is how creative the filmmakers are in killing off the characters. However, I thought the quality of Final Destination 3 was in line with the first and second movies in the franchise.

In case you’re interested, there are five Final Destination movies, with a sixth purportedly in the works.


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