Certainly, Halloween is the best time of year to curl up in the dark with a good horror flick, but horror-viewing in the heat of Summer comes dead second.
I mean, the thought of a mosquito-ridden cabin in the woods devoid of central air and indoor plumbing gives me the willies as is, but throw in a knife-wielding maniac and I'm hiding my eyes with my hands.
Hollywood knows that heat makes people crazy, and the best horror movies depict our protagonists screaming with a healthy coat of sweat glistening on their frightened faces.
That's why I've decided to compile a list of my favourite hot-weather horror. Read on for ideas on what to watch when the temperatures soar, and let me know your own personal favourites in the comments.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Tales of the low-budget production of Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic are that of hallowed horror lore. The Texas farmhouse the movie was primarily shot in was poorly ventilated and decorated with animal blood and slaughterhouse remains for authenticity.
During a humid Summer, with temperatures peaking at 110 degrees Fahrenheit, this meant things were stinky, sweaty, and insanely uncomfortable for the cast and crew.
Gunnar Hansen, who played the film's iconic villain Leatherface, is quoted as saying, "It was 95, 100 degrees every day during filming. They wouldn't wash my costume because they were worried that the laundry might lose it, or that it would change color. They didn't have enough money for a second costume. So I wore that [mask] 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for a month."
Watching the movie, you feel the stress and the sizzle through the screen. As Leatherface's victims scatter in terror, it seems you might find yourself splashed with their hot sweat and blood. It's a visceral experience, and it is best enjoyed in the dark on a very hot Summer evening.
Friday The 13th (1980)
Summer camp was a popular go-to location for many horror movies of the '80s, and aside from the incomparable Sleepaway Camp, the original Friday The 13th holds a special place in my heart. A special, tiny-'80s-Summer-camp-counselor-booty-shorts place.
The movie depicts a bunch of sexy, sexed-up teens trying to re-open an abandoned (and cursed!) campground but, when they end up distracted by their horniness, they find themselves getting picked off one-by-one by a maniac with a haunted past. I won't give too much away, but this is the film series that introduced us to Mr. Hockey Mask Jason Voorhees (and his bonkers mama Pamela).
Watching Friday The 13th always makes me want to feather my hair, put on tiny shorts and coat myself in bug spray. And, you know, avoid machete-wielding psychos.
The "Zodiac" killer was a sadistic murderer who terrorized northern California throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, toying with the police and media and elusively avoiding capture even after all these years. David Fincher's telling of the killer's crimes is incredibly disturbing, not only because it shows such graphic depictions of violence, but because we know these acts actually occurred.
With many of the Zodiac's most famous crimes occurring during San Francisco's Summers, this movie makes me want to avoid just about every Summertime activity. Sitting in a car watching fireworks and listening to Donovan? Nope. Enjoying a hillside picnic in the grass? Absolutely not.
The sheer horror of a couple being violently attacked in broad daylight is enough for me to want to lock myself indoors indefinitely.
The Cabin In The Woods (2012)
Joss Whedon's 2012 horror-comedy takes every loveable horror trope and turns it on its head with a million gory twists and turns that will leave you simultaneously scratching your head and chuckling.
Taking cues from Sam Raimi's classic (and hilarious) Evil Dead series, CITW is set in a creepy cabin and has all the horror fixin's: spooky incantations, a zombie family, decapitation, weird monsters, a merman ... things definitely get a bit weird. If you're a fan of the horror genre as a whole, then you'll probably love this tribute to its wackiest traditions.
Are any of these amongst your favourite hot-weather horror? What would you add to the list?
I'll grab the popcorn, let's chat.