Essays · Movies

How to Have a Great Summer (According to Horror Movies)

We know what you did last summer… want to make this one even better?
Loved Ones
By  · Published on June 27th, 2019

Have an all-night movie marathon (as seen in Popcorn)


I have this feeling that if our very own Boo Crew had a film class together, we may bear more than a striking resemblance to the class at the heart of Alan Ormsby’s Popcorn (1991). We bicker! We respect each other! We say crazy things like extolling the virtues of Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach over Ingmar Bergman’s filmography! But in these hot summer months, what better time than now to beat the heat by staying indoors and having your own all-night movie marathon! Sure you probably won’t have the same type of pyrotechnics as Ray Walston and Tony Roberts’ horror-thon, but at least you don’t have a face-swapping madman exacting bloody revenge by murdering all of your friends after being horribly scarred in a fire set by a film-cult ritual gone wrong decades before! You just have your friend Kieran reminding you how great Freddy Got Fingered is. It’s a negligible tradeoff – Jacob Trussell.

Take some personal time (as seen in Gerald’s Game)

Gerald's Game

It’s possible that the other suggestions on this list— many of them revolving around social events— just aren’t your speed. That’s perfectly fine. Solo trips can be just as rewarding as vacationing with someone else. If your excursion to a lake house starts as a trip with someone else and then becomes solo, you might have to make some adjustments to your plans. That’s what Jessie (Carla Gugino) has to do when her husband kicks the bucket at the worst possible time in Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. As Jessie discovers, time spent alone can lead to a better understanding of yourself and your own abilities. Without others around, your own mind can start to feel like a prison, but if you can face your memories and use what you’ve learned, you just might find that your current problems aren’t as daunting as they seem. This may be a challenging summer activity, but, when put to good use, the long, slow days of summer can really teach you something new about yourself – Anna Swanson.

Enjoy some yogurt (as seen in The Stuff)

The Stuff

Look. Some days, the sun is hotter than Chris Hemsworth and impossible to tolerate without some cooling refreshments. Ice cream and cocktails are good (and delicious), but yogurt is another suitable option that I recommend instead. Why? Well, no one I know ever gives yogurt the credit. It deserves all the praise. That said, you best be prepared to enter a tub of yogurt at your own risk because if it’s anything like the brand in Larry Cohen’s gooey masterpiece The Stuff (1985), you will turn into a maniacal zombie. Yogurt? More like yogurt! At the end of the day, though, it’s worth the risk – Kieran Fisher.

Whip out the blender (as seen in You’re Next)

You're Next

The key to a really good margarita (and I mean, a really good margarita) is imagination. Any ding dong in a sunhat can slosh together Minute Maid and bottom-shelf tequila. But a few creative twists can really elevate a marg from “that’s a margarita!” to “ooh this is good, what’s your secret?” Mint? Hell yes! A deseeded serrano? Now you’re talking! And there’s no greater opportunity for a creative flex like “my boyfriend’s sibling and their partner are trying to murder me and all I have are these pointy kitchen appliances.” A classic summertime scenario. Luckily, blenders are great for smashing together delicious citrus and hooch, and they are great for smashing into the faces of life insurance-hungry assailants. Scratch that: great for blending into faces of life insurance-hungry assailants. What can’t blenders do? Now, where did I leave that tiny small umbrella? It’s the one that says “Sharni Vinson is one of the most important final girls of the 21st century” on it? Ah, there it is Meg Shields.

Make some extra cash (as seen in Creep)


If you know what the freelance hustle is like, you also probably know that the specter of summer expenses on the horizon will make the perpetually broke more desperate than usual. Who among us hasn’t taken on the occasional shady Craigslist gig? Some jobs are shadier than others, though, as when videographer Aaron (Patrick Brice) takes eccentric stranger Josef (Mark Duplass) up on his offer to shoot a bizarre home video in the funny and frightening home footage movie Creep. Josef is the definition of a wild card: a clingy, philosophizing enigma of a man whose stories all sound half-true. And when he breaks out the wolf mask, things really get weird. Brice is great as the rare male horror protagonist who’s entrenched in terror as the film morphs into a spectacular case for just staying home Valerie Ettenhofer.

Go fishing (as seen in Jaws)


I’ve never been much of an outdoorsman. Inside it’s cool. Outside it’s warm and swarming with wildlife. No, thank you. This year, however, I want to pry myself from my television and computer. I want to reconnect with adult life pre-internet and experience the dark depths of what I once dreaded. I want to wrangle up some friends and bond over sea shanties and war wounds, and get it done over the ocean waves… or more likely a lake, in my landlocked case. Everyone loves Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975). No doubt there. Most would argue that the scene in which Brody, Hooper, and Quint finally connect as humans while boasting over their various ocean-born scars is the highlight, especially in which an obliterated U.S.S. Indianapolis tattoo leads to one of the great movie speeches. I’m the Brody of the group. I’ve got a gnarly appendicitis scar, and that’s about it. I gotta go find some men and admire their scars and join their caveman call to place their adventures into song. This is the world of my grandfathers, and I am compelled to join them Brad Gullickson.

Have a good summer boils and ghouls, see you on the beach! 

Horror Of Party Beach

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).