10 Spring Break Horror Films

Spring_BREAK_MASSACRESpring Break is basically a time for full-throttle partying and making parents regret they pissed away tuition probably better-spent financing a beachfront property instead. In New England, it coincides with Patriots’ Day and what could be more patriotic than heading south and boosting the barometer with bikini babes?

Horror movies have exploited the holiday for this very reason (and also as a way to save on wardrobes, extras, etc.). Here are some horror movies that honor the rite of passage, through which sexy coeds seldom pass when they’re being hunted by maniacs wearing sun block: 10 Spring Break Horror Films.

1. Spring Break Massacre 

In our continuing quest to become “massacre” movie title completists, Spring Break Massacre was unfortunately unavoidable (but at least we’re up to the letter “S”).

It’s Spring Break 1977, and a girl whose parents are away is entertaining a couple of Satanists. It should be noted that not one is wearing attire that could even be remotely classified as period appropriate (either the Disco era or peak-Satanism). After an argument the girl is stabbed in the neck and one “Stanley” disappears.

Spring_Break_MassacreYears later the town sheriff (Reggie Bannister of Phantasm fame), is viewing the crime scene aftermath. Only one survivor remains and in a series of long flashbacks we learn what transpired.

Spring Break’s rolled around again and Heather and her friends are at the lake playing volleyball and talking about who is going to sleep with whom. Unfortunately for the boys, who have to ice their blue balls, Heather is hosting a girl’s slumber party that night.

The girls do what girls usually do at slumber parties such as playing truth or dare, taking group showers and smoking crystal meth. The boys decide to crash the party but are soon found dead as is the sheriff’s deputy played by scream queen Linnea Quigley. The body count starts to rise and the girl’s numbers begin to dwindle. Could Stanley be back? Only the most cause/effect-averse viewers would say otherwise.

Most Debauched Moment 

The kills in Spring Break Massacre occur primarily off-screen and the lighting is so bad, it’s hard to make out anything anyhow. Besides the boom mike being obviously visible in a number of scenes, the most offending moment would be when the killer sticks a wire hanger in one girl’s ear and it comes out the other proving wires aren’t just for alley abortions.

Nightmare_beach_aka_welcome_to_spring_break_2. Nightmare Beach, AKA, Welcome to Spring Break

Yet another “guy in motorcycle attire running amok” movie after ROTOR, Nail Gun Massacre, Strip Nude for your Killer and Night School (who knew this was a sub-genre?)

Nightmare Beach features the indefatigable John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street and Enter the Dragon) as a sneering Florida cop who witnesses the execution by electric chair of a notorious biker.

In his last pre-zap words the baddie claims he was framed (“I didn’t kill your sister, bitch!” he yells through the one-way glass).  Meanwhile, bikers and jocks battle for beach turf (“stuff this, leather head!”) and thereafter, a biker goes on a spring break rampage electrocuting collegians.

The victim is so dedicated to her jams, she doesn’t even discard her headphones when the motorcycle killer strikes.

Set in Fort Lauderdale, the music was done by Italian horror legend Claudio Simonetti from the rock band, Goblin. This was directed by our favorite Italian multi-named hack Umberto Lenzi, here billed as Harry Kirkpatrick (Please take a listen to our Cannibal Ferox and Nightmare City/City of the Walking Dead podcasts)

Most Debauched Moment

Bikers beat the crap out of a football player and a biker mama pours rum on his wounds taunting him with: “those are some nasty cuts you got there hon!”. Also, a bald, portly and mustachioed motel property manager peeks at women undressing through a hole in a linen closet.

3. Piranha 3D 

Piranha_3D_PosterWe adore the Corman produced, Joe Dante directed original, but Alexandre Aja’s 2010 revisit is great, over-the-top gory fun that also delivers the booze, beats, boats and bikinis (both on and off).

Lake Victoria, Arizona is gearing up for thousands of college students participating in the annual debauchery that is Spring Break. The sheriff and her deputy (Elisabeth Shue and Ving Rhames respectively) are ready for them, but a grisly discovery has them considering calling the whole thing off.

A local fisherman (Richard Dreyfuss, drinking Amity beer and humming “Show Me the Way to Go Home”) is out on the lake when an earthquake spurs a giant vortex that unleashes hordes of carnivorous fishies. Poor Richard goes overboard and is eaten in seconds flat. Scientists soon discover a chewed up corpse and also manage to capture one of the hungry beasts.

Yes, that’s Eli Roth brandishing the squirt gun.

They take the fish to a local kook (Christopher Lloyd doing an OTT variation on his Doc Brown character), who determines that the species is two-million-years old. Once the severity of the piranha infestation is determined, it’s unfortunately already too late. Twenty thousand bikinied babes and buffed bros are partying in the lake and they’re about to become serious fish food!

Most Debauched Moment 

Piranha_3D2Jerry O’ Connell (the fat kid from Stand By Me) plays Derrick Jones, a sleazy Joe Francis type who’s there to film footage for “Wild Wild Girls.” He’s out on the water with a couple of buxom babes and the sheriff’s son in tow when the boat gets caught. Derrick falls overboard and when he’s lifted back on the boat, the majority of his body is chewed to bits and little Jerry is missing. Soon we see his severed member floating in a lake where it gets eaten then regurgitated by a piranha. Even better in 3D.

Cabin_Fever4. Cabin Fever

Don’t Go in the Woods! And take a pass on the film, Don’t Go in the Woods (and do avoid movies with contractions in their titles, as they usually suck…but don’t take it from us, or…uh…do!). Cabin Fever is a variant of the cabin in the woods movie, but with Eli Roth in the director’s chair.

And instead of a deranged woodsman with a knowledge of tools that would shame your average Lowe’s employee, the kids camping in the cabin in the woods in this film are subjected to a virus.

Most Debauched Moment

A girl’s bloody thigh infection proves to be effective birth control, putting the kibosh on some lovin’. Meanwhile, her paramour who thinks he’s infected, tries to disinfect his member using Listerine! It burns when I pee! (and every other time). Ouch.

jeepers-creepers-true-story5. Jeepers Creepers

Another flesh-eater feature set in the wilderness.

A better than it should’ve been film, Jeepers Creepers features the cliché of the pick-up drivin’ psychopath attempting to run the heroes (a brother and sister duo on a spring break road trip) off the road.

The siblings recover from their ordeal, only to spot said driver by the roadside disposing of something mysterious. And like any other horror film dimwits they let curiosity get the better of them.

The tagline is “what’s eating you?” and instead of a virus there’s a flesh eating creature amidst those remains. This creature hibernates for years at a time and then emerges sporadically to feast on the likes of Justin Long (and for that it’s forgiven).

Most Debauched Moment

A crazy cat lady butt-ends Justin Long with a shotgun. Pretty tame stuff here.

Aprilfoolsday_poster6. April Fool’s Day

It’s Spring Break and rich girl Muffy has invited nine of her friends to stay at her island cottage. Of course, the ferry to and from the mainland doesn’t run on weekends. How conveniently inconvenient!

Things get off to a decidedly rocky start en route when crewman Buck gets his face crushed by the ferry as he’s trying to dock it. That evening, the gang sits around the dinner table alternately making inane, long-winded toasts about friendship and playing silly April Fool’s pranks on one another (except for one that is, who drunkenly wanders away and gets picked off by a mysterious killer).

A variation of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians ensues with the gang gradually dwindling in number. Also, hostess Muffy is starting to act more than a little strange.

Most Debauched Moment

There’s a wonderfully creepy scene where a boyfriend and girlfriend go up to the attic and discover a bunch of dolls, each representing a kid in the house. Some of the dolls are posed in recreations of their respective murder scenes.

Theres_nothing_out_there7. There’s Nothing Out There

In this TROMA production, a disgruntled college instructor (we presume, the students look ancient but the building looks like a high school) sighs “how long until spring break?” She then assigns her students a 3,000-word essay about their summer vacation.

Seven teens then crowd into a beat-up Ford and head to a gorgeous cabin in the woods. En route, the resident video hound horror geek says that a fatal accident they pass represents a “warning stage.” As they’re unpacking he presses, “Do you realize if an insane mad man came around here hunting for flesh there’d be nobody to help us?” Nice to see a little slasher self-awareness.

Most Debauched Moment

After a profusion of nudity, which includes a group of punk rockers crashing the party and doffing their clothes for some summer skinny-dipping, a frog-like creature with octopus limbs that shoots green lasers out of its eyes, attacks the group. The alpha male gets his face unconvincingly chewed and his head rammed into drywall.

8. The Evil Deadevil_dead

Five Michigan State University students visit an out-of-the-way cabin in the Tennessee hills for their spring break in the film that turned Bruce Campbell into a made man.

They come across a dusty tome, Naturom Demonto bound in human flesh and inked in blood and conjure up demonic spirits.

There were big-time distribution challenges for this one, until Stephen King gave it his seal of approval. The Rough Guide to Film describes the movie as “positively swimming in blood” and we couldn’t agree more.

Most Debauched Moment 

Forget tree hugging, there is a violent tree sexual assault. This was apparently too much for the UK upon first release and the scene was cut.

Tucker_Dale_VS_Evil9. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

In horror movies, people from south of the Mason-Dixon line are usually backwoods genetic defectives who prey upon lost Blue-staters. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil turns this notion on its head as the title characters play innocent and very loveable West Virginian hayseeds who find the ultimate “vacation home,” a dilapidated shack deep in the woods.

When a group of college kids on spring break happen upon this down home Shangri-La, it sets in motion a hilarious sequence of accidental deaths that are pinned on the duo.

Most Debauched Moment

A wood chipper death is loads of fun.

10. Shallow Grave  

Shallow_Grave_PosterNot to be confused with the Danny Boyle film of the same name, this one begins as many an 80s flick does – with a bunch of nubile co-eds partying in their dorm rooms. One is dancing in her underwear, another is stuffing her bra, and yet another is preparing to pull an epic prank (more on that later).

The girls are on the eve of Spring Break where they are to drive to Fort Lauderdale for a vacation they hope to be filled with sun, sand and sex. For the first third, Shallow Grave is interchangeable from any other teen party-type flick of it’s era. However, the film takes a hard turn both literally and figuratively when the girls blow a tire en route in Medley, Georgia – the sort of town where the sheriff has a Confederate flag in his office and the town’s sole gas station closes for hunting season.

Of the four girls, one needs to pee, another need a cigarette (and strips down to her bikini bottoms while rummaging for butts), and another heads back to town to seek help. The one with the full bladder, Sue Ellen, goes into the woods to relieve herself and spies a couple getting funky. Turns out it’s the town sheriff and his mistress enjoying a little afternoon delight. When an argument ensues, the sheriff kills his lover with his bare hands.

Shalllow_GraveSue Ellen tries to make haste but she twists her ankle and is unable to continue. When the two girls left at the car enter the woods to look for Sue Ellen, they witness the sheriff disposing of the body in this cat and mouse caper.

Most Debauched Moment 

Back to the prank. When the school social outcast (who’s actually rather beautiful) goes to take a shower, Sue Ellen decides to scare the bejeezus out of her and what results is a clever shot-for-shot recreation of the shower scene in Psycho, almost two decades before Gus Van Sant thought to do same in his dull remake. Of course, in this one the knife in question is rubber and the blood is hair dye.



Published by Really Awful Movies

Genre film reviewers covering horror and action films. Books include: Mine's Bigger Than Yours! The 100 Wackiest Action Movies and Death by Umbrella! The 100 Weirdest Horror Movie Weapons.

6 thoughts on “10 Spring Break Horror Films

  1. Great list! I never noticed that many movies used Spring Break as a setting. The only one that came immediately to mind was the Lenzi movie because of the title.

    Was There’s Nothing Out There a Troma production or pick up? I watched it on video after it got a positive review in Fangoria.

    Don’t have to say much about Evil Dead. The first is still my favourite, although they all have their moments.

    I love April Fool’s Day, but I’m not sure if it’s just because of a lifelong crush on Amy Steel. I even have the novelization that has the extended ending that was scrapped from the film. I love horror novelizations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! April Fool’s Day is such a fun film with a great ending that separates it from it’s myriad 80s slasher brethren. I’d be curious to know how the ending was extended in the novelization. Perhaps some comeuppance for the mischievous Muffy?

      Amy Steel is great as the tough yet sexy Kit. Definitely a standout performance.

      There’s nothing out there was a pick-up. Evil Dead is of course a stone -cold classic and most that needs to be said about has already been said. I too prefer the hard horror of the first over the more slapsticky sequels, but they’re really all great.


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