Classic horror movies to get you in the mood for summer

Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, and Richard Dreyfuss in JAWS (1975)

Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, and Richard Dreyfuss in JAWS (1975)

It’s the Fourth of July Weekend, the holiday where we in the United States celebrate Independence Day.  It’s a time for barbecues, beaches, and fireworks, swimming pools, sun tan lotion, hot dogs, hamburgers, and outdoor concerts.

It’s also a time for great summer movies, especially horror movies.  If you’re like me, who watches horror movies year round, there are a host of classic horror films that fit in quite nicely with the summer season.

The ultimate July 4th horror movie, without question, is JAWS (1975).  Heck, a key sequence in the film take place on the 4th of July weekend.  But there are other horror movies as well that will put you in the summer holiday mood.

Here’s a brief partial list of some classic summer horror movies:

JAWS (1975) – The biggie, the ultimate man vs. fish story.  This one’s so much fun you’ll need a bigger boat to enjoy it.

JAWS 2 (1978) – Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water—.

CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) – This classic 50s monster flick from Universal Studios about a group of scientists trapped and terrorized in an Amazonian lagoon by the titled Creature who only wants to ask beautiful scientist Julia Adams on a date will have you itching for that next boat trip in no time.  The Gill Man—aka The Creature— remains one of the most iconic movie monsters ever.

REVENGE OF THE CREATURE (1955) – Likable sequel pulls the Creature out of the Amazon and puts him inside a Sea World-like amusement park, where there’s plenty of victims— er, patrons abound.  Hey, it stars John Agar!  Pack up the car and head off to your local aquarium!

THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (1956) – Yup, there were just too many mad scientists around in the 1950s.  The guys in this flick try to turn the Creature into an air breather.  Settle for a summer haircut instead.

PIRANHA (1978) – Joe Dante’s fun flick from the 70s still has plenty of bite!  Last one in the water still has skin!

THEM! (1954) – Clean up after you eat.  The ants in this one are huge!  One of the scarier films from the 1950s, certainly one of the best “giant bug” movies ever made.

TARANTULA (1955) – Ants don’t scare you?  What about spiders?  How about a tarantula that can sit on your house?  John Agar’s back, this time battling an overgrown spider in this Universal monster classic.  Look fast for Clint Eastwood flying a fighter plane in the film’s conclusion.

THE SPIDER  (aka EARTH VS. THE SPIDER) (1958) – A giant spider again, this time out to eat 1950s teenagers.  Crank up the rock music.

HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP (1980) –Doug McClure stars in this silly flick about sea monster mutants who kill men and rape women.  Not the best date movie.

THE DEEP (1977) – JAWS author Peter Benchley wrote this tale (both the novel and the screenplay) starring Robert Shaw, Nick Nolte, and Jacqueline Bisset about underwater treasure and a very scary eel.  Beautifully shot but ultimately not all that exciting.  Definitely for those of you who like quiet horror.

IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955) – Ray Harryhausen special effects are the highlight of this giant octopus tale.

And on and on I could go.  There are so many.  But we’ll save those for another time.

What are some of your favorite summer movies?

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

—Michael

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