It’s becoming clearer as we approach it that Halloween is cancelled this year, at least physically. But Halloween is in your heart, and if you’re one who believes Halloween isn’t a holiday but a lifestyle, you know how to make things spooky year round. Valloween, Quarantine-o-ween, people have creatively brought the magic of October 31st to every season.
Summer of course, begets Summerween. You may wonder what could be scary about fun in the sun, but this time of year has always been sinister; creatures lurking in the ocean deep, unfamiliar shadows and sounds in the woods, the terror of the unknown! Although nothing could be scarier right now, here are four horror movies packed with summer vibes, chills and thrills to get you into the Summerween spirit. So grab a summer pumpkin (watermelon) and sit down on the couch to experience a cold sweat in hot weather! And then check out the new candle collection these movies inspired!
(*This isn’t a top movies list or even my favorites, but they vibed the most with the theme and really struck inspiration for the corresponding candles’ scents.)
Summer wasn’t always scary, at least not for the movies. Before Jaws, summer was where movies, particularly bad ones went to die; people would rather be hitting the beach than in a theater seat. But scheduling mishaps plopped Jaws right into summer and it was so good people rushed out of the water.
Based on a book of the same title and inspired by real life events, Jaws follows how the fictional town of Amity Island, New Jersey handles a series of deadly shark attacks. The iconic shark theme is still recognizable even now and everyone has some degree of fear about shark attacks, so the suspense built in the movie still holds up and the scares are very much still real.
FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
If you didn’t have triskaidekaphobia, or fear of the number thirteen, before watching this film franchise, you probably did after. The 80s were a good time for slashers, memorable enough that American Horror Story dedicated a whole season to the sub-genre, although to be more precise the Golden Age for the films was 1978 to 1984. And Friday the 13th, a classic, is one of the most iconic, spawning 10 sequels and a remake. Although *SPOILERS* the iconic hockey mask, symbolic of Jason, and Jason himself don’t appear until the following movies.
Like something out of a campfire tale, Friday the 13th shows a group of camp counselors preparing for the reopening of Camp Crystal Lake, closed years before after a child drowned in the lake and two of the counselors were murdered. The townsfolk said the camp was cursed, and as the teens are mysteriously picked off one by one, perhaps they were right.
Due to the strict censorship of the time a lot of the original gore was cut out for the release of this film, which may disappoint hardcore horror heads, but it actually makes it watchable for those who want to get into horror or are usually scared of the genre’s tropes (me, I’m baby).
CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984)
In Children of the Corn, a couple pass through the extremely rural town of Gatlin, Nebraska after a young boy suddenly appears out of the corn, dead. They find the town however to be oddly empty of anyone, or at least any adults. Discovering a corn based death cult, the two try to escape the town before they are sacrificed to the demonic entity hidden in the corn fields.
You may be on a Stephen King binge after the popular success of It Chapter One and Two, and in that case consider adding Children of the Corn to your watch list. Or, if you are familiar with the screen adaptations of King’s works and have felt consistently let down, then just read the original. Or listen to it, as an audio book it’s only a little over an hour.
Admittedly that’s what I ended up doing, but I still watched the movie in the end. I can’t say I was disappointed with the movie being less gory, but if you were looking for that true corn horror try the SyFy 2009 version. The few kills on screen didn’t make me want to cover my eyes and honestly a lot of the movie was, um...corny, no pun intended. And in 2020 the digital effects used for He Who Walks Behind the Rows looks, not so great. Still, the protagonists change from an unlikable, hateful couple was a good one.
CABIN IN THE WOODS (2011)
Stop me if you’ve heard something like this before: A group of five friends head out to a remote cabin for a fun vacation, but they get more than they signed up for as things quickly turn dark and one by one they’re picked off.
What can be said about this movie? Cabin in the Woods is every horror movie ever but on purpose. Not exactly a spoof like Scream but still a meta look, poking fun at the genre. If you think you’ve seen something before it’s because you have.