10 Horror Movies to Get You in the Mood for Summer

It’s summer. The days are long and muggy, and the smell of sunblock is everywhere.

Millions of American are setting out for the beach or the lake, while you’re stuck at home and/or working.

You don’t have to miss out. If you’re a horror fan like I am, there are many movies that will get you in the vacation mood. And after watching some of them, you may be glad you’re staying home instead of venturing out!

Here are 10 recommendations, in no particular order, of horror movies that evoke the sights and sounds of summer.


1. The Wretched (2019)

A teenage boy comes to live with his father at a resort town while his parents are going through a divorce. One night, he sees a strange figure on his neighbor’s porch. Shortly after, his neighbor’s little boy claims something is wrong with his mother. Before you know it, the teenager is tangling with a 1,000-year-old witch who wears the skins of her victims.

2. Splinter (2008)

Gas stations can be frightening places in the middle of the night. Even more so when you’re surrounded by zombies with splinter-like growths on their bodies.

A woman and her boyfriend are carjacked and kidnapped while on a camping trip. When they and their kidnappers stop for gas at a remote gas station, they find themselves under siege by people who have been infected by a parasitic alien fungus.

3. Cocaine Bear (2023)

This homage to the creature features of the 1980s is scary, campy and fun. A bear ingests cocaine that is accidentally dropped in the middle of a national forest in Georgia. She goes on the rampage, causing mayhem and carnage.

The movie is (very) loosely based on a real 1985 incident in Georgia. The bear in that case was found dead of an overdose.

4. Jaws (1975)

What, you didn’t think I’d leave out this classic, did you? There are four movies in the franchise, starting from 1975.

There’s nothing that says beach vacation like a stay at Amity Island. Until you see what’s in the water.

Be warned, however, that after you watch the first movie, you’ll be hearing its theme song in your head for days to come.

5. Midsommar (2019)

A group of university students visit a classmate’s home in a remote Swedish commune. They are there to witness a neopagan midsummer ritual that occurs every 90 years. 

It turns out the ritual is more unusual, and violent, than they expected.

6. Friday the 13th (1980)

Another classic. A franchise comprising 12 movies altogether, with the first released in 1980.

Teenage counselors are preparing to reopen Camp Crystal Lake. Someone stalks and eliminates them one by one. A franchise so popular Jason Voorhees practically is a household name.

7. It (2017)

It’s the summer of 1989. There are a high number of missing children in Derry, Maine. A boy joins up with a group of bullied teenagers to find his kid brother. They discover that some clowns are beyond terrifying.

The movie is based on the bestselling novel by Stephen King.

8. He’s Out There (2018)

A mother drives her two kids to their lake house. Her husband is joining them later. She is soon fighting for her and her daughters’ lives when they are terrorized by a psychopath.

9. The Lost Boys (1987)

A cult classic starring a young Kiefer Sutherland. Two brothers move with their mother to the beach town of Santa Carla, California, after their parents’ divorce. A group of undead teenagers tries to get the older brother to join them.

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

We end the list with yet another classic.

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 of Southport, N.C., 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.


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See my previous recommendations: 10 Horror Movies to Gear You Up for Summer Vacation

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