We’re still in summer and yet I’m itching for fall. Mostly because I need my sweatshirt and sweater weather to come NOW cos it’s been so hot. But with sweater weather, I thought of some seasonal horror. I wonder why seasonal horror works so well. It’s a niche genre, yes, I feel like we get so bombarded around certain holidays and others are just open for the taking!
So we’ll be talking about summer horror films, we’ll dive into the biggest of them all which is fall/Hallween into Christmas times and mention some other smaller holidays that honestly, I’d like to see more of.
Seasonal horror, here we come!
It’s summertime and it’s Shark Week on Discovery and of course, we gotta mention Jaws. Jaws (1975), depending on how you see it as a thriller/horror, summer blockbuster, or a mixture of both, it is to me a horror movie. Now as someone who watches SW but I also worked around sharks and learned about the species, sharks are very cool and amazing and it does suck that they got a bad rap because of the novel and then the film. And then the sequels which, like what was Jaws 3D? When are we gonna get Whale Week and we can talk about the film Orca (1977)?
Summer camps or vacations, we know where we’re going, so Friday the 13th (1980), Piranha (1978), Sleepaway Camp (1983), The Burning (1981), the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) and Midsommer (2019) are just some examples of this summer feeling. Fireworks, barbecues, school is out, we’re taking trips, we’re working at camps, that’s the energy I get from these films.
Fall and Halloween is full and perhaps over-saturated. You know John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) kind of started this trend and I don’t know if horror would be the same without it. We have Haunt (2019), Trick r Treat (2007), Hell House LLC (2015), Tales of Halloween (2015) which is a fun anthology, Night of the Demons (1988), The Changeling (1980), Sinister (2012), All Hallow’s Eve (2013) aka the first time we see Art the Clown from Terrifier, The Amityville Horror (1979) and Hocus Pocus (1993) to round out themes around or on the holiday. I am an October baby so Halloween themed horror holds a place in my heart.
But we can’t forget the holiday Thanksgiving. It is like the black sheep or middle child and we tend to just overlook it but there are some. Pilgrim (2019), Thankskilling (2007) and I’m personally waiting for Eli Roth to officially make Thanksgiving into a real film after the fake trailer in Grindhouse (2007).
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, I love your spooky pine leaves? I tried. I love winter/Christmas horror. This holiday is about sharing, giving, presents, the birth of Jesus in a manger, it’s supposed to be soft and sweet. But the holiday does have a darker side of loneliness, high suicide rates, not having family, it’s a rough holiday. And then the horror genre was like “let’s mess with that” so we have Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), Black Christmas (1974), Gremlins (1984), Krampus (2015), All The Creatures were Stirring (2018), All Through the House (2015), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) which also works for Halloween are just a handful of what Christmas horror has to offer.
But what about other holidays? Valentine’s Day has Valentine (2001), My Bloody Valentine (1981, remake 2009), The Love Witch (2016), maybe Cupid (2020) as well. St. Patrick’s Day gives us Leprechaun (1993), the new year has New Year’s Evil from 1980 and Terror Train (1980).
Seasonal horror shouldn’t be just experienced around that certain holiday, it should be 365 days! I think films centered around holidays can be a bit of a cliche, but I think the horror genre does it well enough that it disguises itself and you forget that it is based around a major holiday. What movies are your favorites? What did I miss? Leave a comment below!