It’s a Cruel Summer: 10 Horror Films to Watch Before the Season’s Out

It’s a long time coming, but The Void has returned, better, bigger and ready to knock some spooky socks off. The summer solstice occurred around ten days ago, thus begins the creaking of cabin floorboards and the slaughtering of camp counselors. While people associate horror films with the upcoming spooky season, there is no need to wait. There are so many films made for this sweltering season, and it’s time to talk about some of them.

Friday The 13th: How Many People Jason Voorhees Killed In Every Movie -  GameSpot
A sweet family portrait… Friday the 13th is definitely an honorable mention.

I mean think about it: how many films contain a brutal slaughter of a camp counselor? How many takes place in some random cabin in the woods? Therefore, follow along and jot down some picks for these post-fun-in-the-sun, cool summer nights. If I happen to miss any that you would like to share with the troop, comment down below and I’ll be sure to endorse them.

The Cabin In The Woods

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I love my horror comedies. The Cabin in the Woods falls under one of my praised gems. Aging gracefully, The Cabin in the Woods is one of those meta-horror comedies that could easily fall into the spoof genre. However, it keeps the stakes high enough to be considered a traditional horror film. Therefore, we have a film packed with scares, laughs and creativity.

Review: The Cabin in the Woods - Slant Magazine

With a killer cast and horror veteran director Drew Goddard and writer Joss Whedon, it is a witty bash that pokes fun at itself as well as the horror genre as a whole. I mean, seriously, how many bad occurrences in random cabins have to happen before we start drawing connections?

The main reason you should watch this one: The elevator scene–never will you ever see so much ludicrous carnage in one place again.

Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV, or Vudu.

Tucker and Dale VS. Evil

Another classic that has been in my rotation for over a decade now, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a prime example of completely subverting a trope and turning it into genius. Two loveable yet painfully odd guys end up in a very odd situation that makes victim look like foe, all due to a boatload of ignorance and a whole lot of college aged ego. It’s a hoot, and definitely will cheer you up if you’ve had a doozy of a day.

Movie Review - 'Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil' - Deliver(ance) Us, Y'all : NPR

While more funny than scary, Tucker and Dale vs Evil really stands its ground as one of the best horror films of the decade and definitely one of the best horror comedies of all time. It floats around on streaming platforms, so it should be an easy viewing, and while it is moderately gory, it is a good starter horror for those that want to indoctrinate their young ones. Do that too early, however, they may become a horror blogger (thanks Mom).

The main reason you should watch this one: The woodchipper scene. That or the ultimate bromance that is Tucker and Dale’s relationship–they are truly friendship goals.

Where to watch: Free with Ads on PlutoTV, Tubi, and Vudu. Rent/Buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV and Vudu.

Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn

How could I praise any other horror comedy without featuring the best of the best? I have mentioned this film many, many times, and this is not the movie if you’re looking for a genuine scare. If you’re looking for that, watch The Evil Dead (the first one). However, they are basically the same movie and I honestly love watching Bruce Campbell overacting to a perfect extent.

Evil Dead II (1987) - IMDb

This is a horror fan essential, and I encourage following it up with its sequel, Army of Darkness. This is the year to celebrate Sam Rami anyways–he’s the one responsible for Marvel’s first horror-ish film, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. I hope readers of this enjoyed that post credit scene as much as I did.

The main reason you should watch this one: Groovy.

Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV and Vudu.

Fear Street Part II: 1978

Apparently, I have a knack for including second installments, but I have my reasons. While I enjoyed and thought Fear Street Part I was one fun ride, the second one stands out to me. Not only was it scarier, but it felt like a love letter to those summer camp slashers that came before. This was definitely one of Netflix’s good risks that they’ve taken in the last few years, and boy was it a bloody good time.

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 Review | Movie - Empire

Fear Street comes from R.L. Stine, the same guy responsible for the childhood staple Goosebumps. This is not suited for kids however, as these are some of the goriest horror films I’ve seen recently. It’s also worth noting that the actors in this film really do a great job, especially Sadie Sink. It’s a horror movie with quite a bit of heart, both in the plot and in its homage to what inspired it.

The main reason you should watch this one: It’s definitely one of the more intense entries on this list, so if you’re looking for genuine guts, gore and ghouls, this is the pick for you.

Where to watch: Only on Netflix.

It: Chapter One

Finally, I’m in the right order it seems. IT: Chapter One soared to box office breaking numbers back in the day, so it wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve seen this one before. A truly terrifying treat from Stephen King, the Muschietti duo really put a refreshing spin on the source materials and created something heartfelt and brutal all twisted together. This movie takes place during the summer of 1989, so I just associate it as a summer horror film.

It (2017) - IMDb

This movie has no brakes, as it contains one of the most notorious openings to a horror movie/novel ever with the Georgie scene. Definitely have some childhood trauma rooted to that scene (thanks to Tim Curry), but it shows the powerhouse that Bill Skarsgard is in the titular Pennywise role. All the child actors are absolutely incredible as well, and the dynamics between the characters really adds some light to this otherwise dark tale.I’m also a Chapter Two defender, I really enjoyed it and it is worth the watch primarily for Bill Hader. That man will make you laugh and make you sob.

The main reason you should watch this one: If you’re looking for scares, the sewer and basement scenes are quite up there. If you’re looking for laughs, I have one word for you: Gazebos.

Where to watch: Streaming on HBO Max.

Stage Fright

Now this suggestion is purely on laughs. This movie is something else, and if you’re not a musical fan, I suggest maybe skipping this one because you will hate it. However, if you’re in the niche like me where you’re an avid horror AND musical fan, this film will get a few laughs out of you. Stage Fright is something else, and while it’s not the greatest film, it definitely has some peak moments that are worth the watch.

Stage Fright: Film Review – The Hollywood Reporter

This is a cheese fest, so if you’re looking for a B movie that breaks out into song and dance, this might be the movie for you. Just don’t take it too seriously and be on the lookout for easter eggs in reference to your favorite horror films and musicals. I’ve been able to look back on this film with kinder eyes, and it still has its hilarious moments that outweigh the otherwise mediocre moments.

The main reason you should watch this one: Purely for the song “Where We Belong.” Especially if you were a queer kid into performing arts, because the cringe attack is oh-so-sweet and ridiculous.

Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Amazon Video.

You Might Be The Killer

This one is a fun indie film starring some familiar faces: Fran Kranz, who is the epic stoner from The Cabin in the Woods and Alyson Hannigan, known as Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Kranz is a camp counselor who experiences chronic blackouts and has found himself surrounded by dead bodies. He calls Hannigan, who is a horror movie fanatic, to possibly find out who did this and why he was spared.

summer

A hilarious and odd whodunit kind of movie, this film leaves you twisting and turning with plenty of laughs. It also has a unique way of storytelling, with majority of the conversation taking place over the phone and shot in close ups rather than narrative shots, which gives the film the unreliable narrator feel that they are going for, as Kranz is suspect number one.

The main reason you should watch this one: Kranz and Hannigan’s performances are brilliant and are sure to keep you entertained, even if the film can be rather predictable at times.

Where to watch: Streaming on NBC.

Cabin Fever

Eli Roth’s directorial debut is as gritty today as it was back in 2002. He recently remade this one, which upped the gore but downgraded everything else, so I suggest sticking with the original. A group of friends decided to take a vacation up in the woods and succumb to a flesh-eating virus that attract the attention of some unwanted visitors. It’s an interesting story full of body horror and ultimately is an early 2000s classic.

summer

This film features decently strong acting that makes such a seemingly ridiculous concept so real. It is a gruesome, bloody film that has scarring scenes, so if you’re not a gore fan, this one might be a skip for you. However, it is a defining film for 21st century horror, so you might have to bear with it just to say you’ve seen it.

The main reason you should watch this one: Other than it being a modern classic, the shaving scene will definitely scar you or meet the gore quota that you’re looking for.

Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Amazon Video. Free with Ads on Tubi.

Summer of ’84

If you’re looking for a movie with twists and turns galore, this is the one for you. Summer of ’84 was one of those films that creeped in on people’s radars with the release of the top horror streaming service Shudder. It operates in the same way as IT, in which it’s a blend of nostalgia, coming of age and horror. Instead of a story we’ve heard before however, this one is sure to lull you into a false sense of security before ripping the rug right out from under you.

Summer of 84 (2018) - IMDb

This film’s strengths lie in the younger actors, who play a group of teenage boys who take their suspicions into their own hands when one of the boys suspects a police officer as a serial killer. They conduct an investigation of their own which gets them into quite the situation.

The main reason you should watch this one: It runs in the same vein as IT and Stranger Things, as far as group of friends hunt evil. However, this adds a bit more edge and gets quite dark in the last quarter of the film.

Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Vudu. Stream with a Shudder subscription on Amazon Video,

Midsommar

Not only does it have it in the name, but this is probably the ultimate summer movie just in regard to the season. The bright colors, the clear blue sky and warmth amid the atrocities that occur during Ari Aster’s second feature film give off those summer vibes, ya know?

summer

In all seriousness, Midsommar is one of those modern horror masterpieces that could be hit or miss for some people. It embraces its arthouse narrative style while displaying some of the most grotesque images to grace the silver screen. Despite its disturbing nature, this movie is the ultimate breakup movie and has its comedic moments. It’s okay to laugh at the absurdity. This film also is a reflection on what grief without support can do to someone, as Dani traverses an extreme loss with her boyfriend and his friends on a summer trip in Sweden.

The main reason you should watch this one: It’s always good to know whether or not you’re vulnerable to cult induction.

Where to watch: Streaming with subscription on Showtime. Rent/Buy on Amazon Video, Vudu and Apple TV.


Well, that’s the list! I know I missed a few obvious ones, but everyone and their grandma knows that Friday the 13th is the movie of the summer screams. I personally would love to hear your favorite summer horror films–it doesn’t necessarily need to be framed around the season. What spooky movies do you go reaching for as we reach these hotter months? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to add them to my personal list.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

Horror Musicals: The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Screaming

It’s me, The Void. I’m stealing the Mother’s place this fine day to give you my ranking of the beautiful blending of my favorite genres: horror and musical. Yes, we’re talking horror musicals. This came to me when I heard of Stephen Sondheim’s passing, which shattered my heart into a million little pieces. May his memory be a blessing.

In this ranking, I am focusing on the stage and having movie adaptations weigh in as needed. A lot of these have no movie adaptations. I am excluding strictly movie musicals, therefore musicals like Repo! The Genetic Opera and The Devil’s Carnival are not on this list (though I respect and admire Terrance Zdunich’s writing quite a bit). I felt it wasn’t fair against these beasts of musicals, as most of these have made it to the Broadway caliber. Nonetheless, let’s slash our ways through this, shall we?

Number 9: Jekyll ANd Hyde

Before you ask, yes, that IS David Hasselhoff. Jekyll and Hyde is the stage musical adaptation of the novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and while it is blaring with the rock and has the iconic “Confrontation” which has the lead singing from two perspectives at once, the cheesiness level cuts the epic down to quite a low level. It’s easy to find the taped version of this musical if you’re in desperate need to see Hasselhoff deliver some epic bars, but overall, it’s not exactly my personal favorites

My favorite song is “Confrontation,” as it generated a hilarious TikTok meme and it is as epic as it sounds.

Number 8: Carrie the Musical

Poor, poor Carrie. This poor musical is cursed for failure for whatever reason, and it all lies in how its produced. The original debut was way too much and the revival was way too little, leading to it flopping on both occasions. However, the tunes are actually really well written and it is a faithful adaptation. There is a fairly impressive LA production that did do it right, but used a gymnasium instead of a traditional stage, so I believe if Carrie the Musical will never be successful on Broadway–and that is okay.

My favorite moment is “The Destruction,” as the song is a beautiful depiction of Carrie’s inner monologue and her seemingly instantaneous snap. My favorite interpretation is Keaton Whittaker’s version. Meanwhile, if you wanna see some killer stage effects, you can check out the LA version here.

Number 7: Evil Dead the Musical

Yes, there is an off-broadway adaptation of Evil Dead II. It is all kinds of cheesy and hilarious, which is the only thing you should expect given its source material. There is disco, there is showtunes and Ash takes the stage with grace. This is in the same league as the Starkid musicals and could be improv if we didn’t know any better. It’s a fun one that graces local theaters often, so definitely check this one out if you are in the mood for a good laugh.

The best song is probably “It’s Time” in which there is disco dancing and Ash sings about balls. Who could ask for anything more? Check out a rendition from 2017 here.

Number 6: Heathers

Yes, I do admit I’m stretching a bit with this one. JD is technically a serial killer and Westerberg High does seem like a living hell, so I let it pass. The 1989 film Heathers is one of my favorites, so it is natural that I fell in love with the musical adaptation. While there are some misses on the soundtrack, especially the West End version, there are some GEMS that make me laugh out loud and want to dance to a musical full of depravity. It’s a pretty loyal adaptation as well, with a few changes to character dynamics to tie it together for group numbers.

“Lifeboat,” “Dead Girl Walking,” and “My Dead Gay Son” are the shining stars in this musical, but I honestly love all the songs and only skip “Big Fun” as it can be a bit annoying halfway through. However, my favorite moment in this musical is not a song but rather this iconic moment from the original off-broadway production.

Number 5: Beetlejuice

Now onto the Broadway baddies. Beetlejuice is a recent musical adaptation which trended on TikTok as well, specifically “Say My Name.” It’s a faithful adaptation that does not leave out the original movie’s musical moments. Ont top of it, the Original Broadway Cast Recording is amazing and not one to miss if you love soundtracks. It contains wildly good performances and was met with great critical reviews and is a fan favorite–so much so it was saved from getting booted and will stay on Broadway for an additional season.

My favorite song on this is actually a rather emotional one and that is “Dead Mom.” You can see the original Broadway Lydia perform that one here, but have some tissues.

Number 4: Phantom of the Opera

Remember when I said that we might be ignoring some movie adaptations? All respects to Emmy Rossum and Patrick Wilson, but maybe stick with a filmed Broadway version to spare your ears. Phantom of the Opera may not seem to some as a horror musical, however, its source material is strictly horror. This is a classic and some regard it the best of all time. My personal preferences disagree heavily, however I do respect this musical, hence it holding the number four spot. If you do decide to suffere through the movie adaptation, brace yourself for Gerald Butler, who should’ve never sang opera ever for the public.

While I don’t like the musical as a whole and do think the title track is a cheesy rock-opera mess, I have to give credit to “Think of Me” and most definitely to “All I Ask of You,” which is easily the most romantic song ever written. I will actually link the movie version of that one, because it is gorgeous.

Number 3: Little Shop of Horrors

I love, love, LOVE this musical. It has laughs, it’s dark and has BOPS for a soundtrack. The music is in fact written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, who wrote most of the music during the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s. “Somewhere That’s Green” is the same melody as “Part of Your World,” so there is proof it’s all good to plagiarize yourself. The movie adaptation is one of the best cult films out there, so you can do no wrong checking it out in any medium. I do recommend checking out the director’s cut as it is chock full of crazy good special effects and matches the play’s ending.

My favorite song from this is “Now (It’s Just the Gas),” which never made its film debut. You can, however, check out a version with Jake Gyllenhaal and Taran Killam here, which is simply brilliant.

Number 2: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of fleet street

horror musicals

Now this–this is my favorite Broadway musical. However, the movie adaptation doesn’t do it justice therefore it does not earn the coveted crown. Sweeney Todd is a masterpiece through and through with Sondheim behind the pen. Many consider this Sondheim’s greatest musical (myself included) and it will be known as one of the best musicals of all time. It plays out like an opera, with gorgeous, terrifying and hilarious moments flowing through. It’s a hoot, and I cannot recommend it more. I don’t hate the movie adaptation either, but some songs are missing/edited and it just doesn’t feel the same.

“Pretty Women,” “Epiphany” and “A Little Priest” is a phenomenal stretch of songs that closes out the first act and lives in my head rent free. However, Angela Lansbury is my favorite part so here is her “Worst Pies in London” in its full glory.

Honorable Mention

horror musicals

Cats. I mean this image says a thousand words.

Number 1: Rocky Horror Picture Show

horror musicals

Now here is the real number one, both tremendous in stage and screen: The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We are talking iconic images, characters, songs, dances, and species–this is the horror musical of all horror musicals. Richard O’Brien has a brilliant mind that brought this groundbreaking musicals to stages and eventually formed it into the cult film to end all cult films. On top of all of it, Tim Curry stands proud in his six inch heels, serving as an icon for many and sexy beast to all. It’s iconic, that’s all I have to say. The horror musical of all horror musicals.

“Hot Patootie” can be played on the radio while “Sweet Transvestite” has us shivering with antici…pation. However, for me, “Planet Schmanet Janet” tops my list. You can see Frank-N-Furter harass Janet here if you’re looking for something to get used to, if ya know what I mean.

The final act

So there is it is, the ranking of the horror musicals. Did you agree with some of these picks and have you heard of most of them? Who knew showtunes could be horrific? Anyways, the Mother will be back next week as well as I will be back this Saturday with Christmas horror movies out the wazoo. Thanks for spelunking with us, this is the Void detaching and signing off.

If you wanted to see a bit more on horror musicals, you can blast to the past with my September Spooky Season picks here.

horror musicals

Spooky Season, Welcome: A Guide for September Spooky Flicks

It’s now September, therefore I declare that spooky season begins now, for all of our sanities. As an author of a horror blog, I am always in the mood for a scary movie. However, sometimes it’s hard to convince the viewing party to join the fanatical ways. Therefore, I took the time this week to conjure up a loose fitted plan to ease even the biggest scaredy cat into spooky season.

Halloween' 1978: The Times Finally Reviews a Horror Classic - The New York  Times
A preview of what’s to come next month…

This will be the first installment, and while there isn’t necessarily horror forward movies on the September catalogue, there are plenty of good romps on here. This plan starts now, as Halloween candy and pumpkin spice are already making strides into a part of our regular diet for the next few months, so what are we waiting for? Let’s begin this journey and explore other genres’ takes on the spooky season.

The First Half of September: Easing In

Most of the films listed in this first half could easily be in the final week of October. I prefer to ramp up the scares then, so I put a lot of comfort in this first half. As the sunshine drifts away and seasonal depression might start to sink in for some, nothing is more comforting that goofy, sometimes heartfelt movies. I’m talking 1990s and early 00s cheesefest kind of movies. That is not a derogatory sense, as I love all of these movies myself. The movies also listed here can be good replacements for October films if you either A) have little ones to be cautious of or B) don’t like to get scared.

Practical Magic, BeetleJuice and Ghostbusters

spooky season

Topping my list is actually not a horror movie, but rather a movie about family, magic and of course midnight margaritas: Practical Magic. This movie has always been a staple for my mom and I during fall time, so not only does it bring fuzzy feelings, but also a boat load of nostalgia. It also includes many familiar faces, with the two main stars being Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Check it out if you haven’t, it probably is my favorite film about witches (see below for hot take about Hocus Pocus, I’m sorry).

spooky season

This is also where Beetlejuice goes for me surprisingly. I usually get to this movie later in the season despite me placing it here, but this movie fits in with the semi-lighthearted, cheesy vibe, even though it is a magnificent film. I haven’t ran into many people that hasn’t heard this story before, especially with the recent surge in popularity of its Broadway counterpart, but if you haven’t seen it, I have a few questions. First, what are you doing still reading this? Second, why aren’t you watching it right now?

Spooky season

With the new sequel coming out in November, it is impossible not putting Ghostbusters on this list. This movie was a childhood staple for me, and my favorite character isn’t even pictured here and that is Rick Moranis’ character, Louis. This is forever a classic, and a good light felt romp fit for younger kids when you’re looking for some Halloween classics.

Hocus Pocus and Others: Family Friendly (Except One)

Spooky Season

Okay, okay, yes. A large chunk of the population watches this on Halloween, and I get that. But most years, I don’t even watch Hocus Pocus. It isn’t one of those comfort movies for me, even though it can be enjoyable, but–in the most hipster way possible–I kind think it’s overrated. I’m not alone in this opinion either, check out this piece from Sarah El-Mahmoud: Who Decided Hocus Pocus Was A Great Movie?Other than the three witches, every character annoys me and if the film just consisted of Winifred and the gang causing chaos rather than the weird plot they forget about half the time, I would probably like it more and consider it part of my ritual. It’s a staple for most however, so no judgement if this is in your regular spooky regimen.

Below is a gallery of other films that I like to partake in/think fit this tone. Most are kidfriendly but they are fun films nonetheless.

The Second Half of September: Dancing Through Life

The leaves actually start changing, the equinox comes and there is fall euphoria in the air. It feels like you could burst out into song any moment. So why don’t you? There are plenty of spooky musicals out there. Most are cult classics at this point, while others might have been revisited since childhood.

The Rocky horror Picture Show & Little Shop Of Horrors

spooky season

There is an obvious crowning jewel to this subgenre, which is most enjoyed at midnight in your local theater. If you aren’t giving yourself over to absolute pleasure, a couple viewings of this masterpiece will have you doing so whilst scantily clad and throwing toast at the screen. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has quite a legacy, and what kept alive is fans and notoriety. Most people have seen this film, and I haven’t met anyone who has absolutely hated it. Even musical haters have a soft spot for this film. It is truly a transcendent cultural icon, and should be indulged every spooky season, every year for how many times that you wish to watch it (I average about four times a year, it’s a deep comfort of mine). Also, yes, this gif embodies probably my favorite Frank-N-Furter moment.

spooky season

Another comfort film of mine is a bit more hush hush than the previous, but a cult classic nonetheless. Little Shop of Horrors features a great array of actors and one of the most impressive uses of practical effects and puppetry. All the songs are bops and will get stuck in your head, so much so that they may sound familiar. You’d be right, as the writers are the same people that did the music for Disney’s 90s Renaissance. “Somewhere That’s Green” is the same exact tune as “Part of Your World,” meaning it isn’t plagiarism if you steal from yourself. and the characters are likeable, even when they are doing terrible things. There’s also a weird but hilarious S&M scene between Steve Martin and Bill Murray that is not one to miss.

Claymation Classics: Thanks, Laika

Stepping into the spotlight is Laika Studios, who is responsible for most of the claymation films we see today. Not all of these are musicals, but a lot have musical elements and are perfect for spooky season. The two I want to feature are Corpse Bride and Coraline. Yes, The Nightmare Before Christmas should be a feature here too, but I do consider that film a November film in between seasons. Corpse Bride features beautiful music from Danny Elfman and adopts Tim Burton’s usual style. Coraline revolutionized claymation and pushed the limits on what is advertised as a children’s film or not. Both are spooky and perfect for pushing the limits on older kids looking for a mild scare. If they love them, congrats, you’re raising a future horror fanatic.

Honorable Mentions for A Playful End to September

Below is a gallery of other films to consider as we ramp up to October. Yes, we embrace the Bowie Bulge here.

Conclusion

I warned there was not a lot of horror on this list, and while I believe every time is horror time, this is a guide for everybody. Some people don’t like the spooks, and sometimes needs coaxing to be down to watch the scarier movies. That’s completely okay! However, if you’re depraved like me and are ready for the scares, stay tuned, as October 1st comes 31 Days of Horror, a calendar strictly for horror fans and those ready to be scared this October. Don’t forget to sign up for email notifications and I’m excited to embark with you all on The Void of Celluloid’s first spooky season. Now to feast on copious amounts of pumpkin bread.