The Fourth of July is here, so you know what that means? July 4th horror! Eat your burgers, light your sparklers and gather around the TV for some good old fashioned holiday frights. I suggest keeping those sparklers outdoors, however, unless you want a little horror of another nature.
For your viewing pleasure, I have compiled a list of my favorite July 4th horror films, in no particular order.
• I Know What You Did Last Summer: Four teenagers celebrating a recent win in a beauty pageant drive up to a private beach to drink and have sex. On the drive home, they hit and kill a man walking in the street and, instead of reporting it to the police, they dump the body. A year later, these four friends reunite over threatening letters and attacks by someone who knows exactly what they did last summer.
Now, say what you will and groan all you would like but I remember sneaking into the theater with my friends to see this movie and it is part of the reason I got into horror as a young teen. With my generations Brat Pack making up the cast, it’s a blood filled win in my book.
• I Still Know What You Did Last Summer: Julie, having survived the initial attack by the fisherman who murdered her friends, wins a trip to the Bahamas for four by correctly answering a question on a radio show. Once they get there, they find that they are all alone on the island with only a few hotel employees due to the stormy off season. Soon, the attacks begin to happen and Julie is once again paying for her crime.
Not nearly as good as the original, I Still Know has its fun parts. Jack Black plays the token stoner, giving the film the levity it needs. Mekhi Pfifer spends the whole movie just wanting to get laid while his girlfriend, Brandy, is the biggest tease in the history of horror. There is even a fun role by the Re-Animator himself, Jeffrey Combs.
• Jaws: When the residents of Amity Island take to the beach to celebrate July fourth, they all find that their relaxing day at the beach is ruined by a massive great white shark that is hungry for human flesh. Together, the police chief, a marine biologist and a shark hunting sea captain take to the water to kill the monster once and for all.
While Jaws made many people terrified of sharks, it had the opposite effect on me. I love sharks. I wouldn’t mind keeping one in a pool in my back yard. Perhaps it’s not the best idea but I would suggest keeping your pets a good distance from my property.
• Return of the Living Dead: A couple of idiots working at a medical supply warehouse open a strange barrel in the basement and release a toxic gas into the air that raises the dead. Soon graveyards are emptying and those they kill are rising with them.
Two of the most iconic parts of the film, the Tarman and the naked graveyard dance by Linnea Quigley, describe this film to a T: Boobs and ridiculous comedy. What more do you need anyway?
• Independence Day: Aliens with bad intentions choose Independence Day to invade and destroy the Earth. When the military is pretty much wiped out, the few remaining star pilots are forced to find a flaw in the aliens’ force field in order to wipe out their ships and save the planet.
While technically not a horror movie, ID4 does deserve a spot on this list. Those giant city sized space ships, the scary ass alien that speaks through the guy pressed up against the glass and those moments in the theater where the screen would go white and there was nothing but a giant BOOM echoing throughout the place, all gave me horrible nightmares as a child. I don’t think anyone who saw this back then left the theater without the slightest fear of alien invasion.
Ann Hale is the horror editor for Pop-Break.com and a senior contributing writer, reviewing horror movies and television shows. She is also the American Correspondent for Lovehorror.co.uk. Ann attended East Carolina University, majoring in English Literature. She is a collector of Halloween (the film) memorabilia and is a self-admitted opinionated horror nerd. You can follow her, her collection and her cat, Edward Kittyhands on Twitter and Instagram @Scarletjupiter