Warm weather and teenage slaughter seem to pair perfectly, like ice cream and sprinkles. The shining rays act as the innocent bystander to the dark and violent passerby of psycho killers. Here’s the breakdown on the elements that make summer slashers the first word in horror cinema and why they make for a more terrible time.
For mainstream horror, breasts are a must in any Friday night scary flix. When the temperature rises, the clothes drop off. Translation? Bikinis and the like. It’s an easy solution for an easy problem, whereas any other season a film is shot in must either formulate situations for nudity (shower, sex, changing scenes) or just insert a scene with nudity that contributes zilch to the story and for the sake of boobs. Boo. In the summer, dudes are shirtless and chicks are half naked. Totally normal. Now just add some blood and you’re golden.
- Water Scenes
Water scenes in a horror movie can mean many things. They can promise one thing for certain though; there’s gonna be a scare in there. Whether it’s drowning, seeing a reflection, the monster rising from the depths, or being stranded, bodies of water go great in horror because they’re fucking scary. It’s more appropriate to film with water during the warmer months and a story set in the summer can also include other crucial factors to a sunny gore fest.
- Darn Meddling Kids
Let’s face it- teenagers flock outdoors and into the sun like flies on shit. This truth is solidified by films Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp. Kids dig the summer and killers know this. Hence, they hang out at campgrounds and pick them off one by one while they frolic around mindlessly. They usually die in the coolest ways possible, either delighting or freaking you out in return. Potential victims tend to stay cozied up during the cold seasons. Even then, they have to piss off a Santa Claus or trick or treater to get 86’ed. Plus, it takes you back to the days of your wasted youth or makes you worry even more about your dumb teenager.
- Anticipating that Vacation
Most folks use up their vacation days when they whip out the cargo shorts and sundresses. Likewise, college students have their coveted breaks. The expectations the characters in the film have are the best; they’re going to get wasted, they’re going to score, and they’re going to reaaaaally live. Where do they go? Plenty of places. Do they make it there? Hardly ever. What happens instead? They end up in shady hostels, separated in the woods, redneck gas stations with inbred gas attendants, creepy old houses in search of a telephone, or running for their lives in the middle of the night. Watching those dreams fall through the cracks and those heads roll is what horror fans live for.
- Gourmet Gore
There’s nothing quite like smelling a dead body in the summer heat. While this factor can apply most definitely to horror cinema, it also tags along right with literature and real life horrors. Instead of a murder victim being uncovered in January like The Iceman, a jogger happens upon a bloated, leaking corpse in the city park. See the contrast there? It’s more immersive, more busy. More disgusting. While I do enjoy the look of fresh blood on a fresh blanket of snow, the preservation cold temperatures have on a killing does shy in comparison to the shock of finding a floating body on a lake during an excursion or accidentally rolling into a festering maggot pile while making out with your girlfriend in the woods. The heat cranks up decomposition and the chances of finding one gnarly looking has-been.
There’s mass appeal to summer thrills, right? It’s not the creepiest time of year but it’s also the one that provides the greatest and most unexpected backdrop to horrific happenings. Films to watch poolside or in the A/C include:
-Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Just when you think it’s over…