Summer Screams: Five Under Appreciated Films To Kick Off The Season
It's officially summer. The season that's associated with the sun beating down on us, lakeside entertainment, lounging by the pool, breaks from school and summer camps. It's a season that has been explored in depth in the horror world, thanks to a wide span of films, with everything from Jaws to Friday the 13th. There's even plenty in between. Sleepaway Camp is a well known cult classic slasher at this point and even Joe Dante's Piranha (as well as the Aja remake) are both well regarded bloodbaths.
In case you've already made it through the normal cycle of annual summer fare, here is a list of some films that you may have overlooked. So throw on some short shorts, blend a margarita, and dive head first into these under appreciated gems.
Originally pitched because of the fun title, director Jordan Rubin created a fake trailer using bits of other horror movies and BBC nature docs. After successfully penning the script and getting picked up, the world got Zombeavers. Six friends are having a summer vacation at a lake house when it's suddenly interrupted by mutant beavers. OH HELL YES. That title is EXACTLY what you thought it was. Due to a toxic waste spill, the local beavers have mutated into depraved rampaging rodents, and on top of becoming violent vermin they've also increased their intellectual capacity. The movie is a ton of fun, capitalizing but never over-saturating the pure ridiculousness of the premise and the fact that they used animatronic creatures over CGI really helps the movie cement itself as a bloody fun creature feature. Plus, a wild John Mayer cameo.
David R. Ellis unfortunately passed away in 2013 but before he did he put out a lot of really fun films: Final Destination 2, The Final Destination, and one of the first ever viral movie hits, Snakes On A Plane. The last film Ellis directed was 2011's insanely fun Shark Night, following the insane plot of sharks being placed into a lake and fed college students. Yes. That's the plot. Again, using mostly animatronics, the movie proves to be a ton of mindless fun. Starring genre favorite Sara Paxton and veteran actor Donal Logue, the acting is far above par for this type of entry into the genre. Half part Deep Blue Sea and half Piranha, Shark Night has a lot of goofy fun using a wide variation of sharks and great locations for entertaining kills and action.
THE FINAL GIRLS
Meta can be hard to do. When done correctly, you get instant classics such as Scream, The Cabin in the Woods, and Wes Craven's A New Nightmare. In 2015, writers M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller alongside director Todd Strauss-Schulson, posited the idea of a group of friends being stuck in a Friday the 13th-esque slasher film. Following Max Cartwright, whose mother was the lead in a summer camp slasher titled Camp Bloodbath, finds herself and a handful of friends teleported literally into the cult classic paint-by-numbers horror flick. It's an especially great film for horror and slasher friends as it plays with various tropes, even venturing into toying with cinematic tricks such as slow motion and flashbacks, and is genuinely good time that bounces back and forth between raunchy comedy, self aware meditation of the genre, and somehow it even sneaks in some tugs of the heartstrings.
Amid the "torture porn" craze of the mid-2000's, especially riding the fear of international travel brought about by Hostel, Dean Stockwell's Turistas hit. With a gorgeous cast, including the likes of Olivia Wilde, Josh Duhamel, and Melissa George, the movie was created because of Stockwell's run-in with a group of 13 year olds in Peru and after going to the police, they offered him the chance to kill them for 300 dollars. After realizing such things could actually exist, he set out to make a movie about a vacation gone wrong in Brazil. With a enjoyable mix of beach time antics and organ vivisection, Turistas makes for a bloody bash that also has something to say about American imperialism.
Based on a novel of the same name by Scott Smith, The Ruins struggled to find an audience as it was dropped onto the movie masses smack dab in the j-horror remake craze. The Carter Smith film does a lot right, though, and deserves another chance. Sometimes feeling as bleak as The Descent, but with some truly disturbing moments of body horror, The Ruins is an eco horror film that got lost in the masses but is definitely worth a watch.