Hey! Did you know Nerdist Presents: The Hive will be playing tonight, Monday, September 14th, at select theaters in conjunction with Fathom Events? It’s one night only, so if you’re interested, get your tickets here now. And then check out other terrifying moments from summer camp horror movies.
Anyone who has spent even a few nights at summer camp knows that all sorts of memorable, disturbing, and disgusting things can occur there. But whereas normal campers generally deal with little more than mosquito bites, poison ivy, and smelly children, horror movie characters have it a lot worse than that.
Oh, and SPOILERS ahead.
5. Friday the 13th (1980)
Horror historians will undoubtedly remind you that the big stinger at the end of Friday the 13th is little more than a basic riff on the final jolt in Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) — but who cares? It’s still really scary. Poor Alice has rowed herself onto the lake after beheading the evil Mrs. Voorhees, but her nightmare isn’t over just yet. Just as the cops show up to bring a little order to the Crystal Lake chaos (and just as the audience is lulled into a false sense of security with some melodic music), BAM! Jason leaps out of the water and drags Alice under! In slow motion!
Fortunately it was all a dream. Or was it?
4. Piranha (1978)
There are lots of amusingly shocking moments scattered across Roger Corman and Joe Dante’s superlative 1978 Jaws knock-off — but none are as devilish as the Lost River Lake summer camp buffet. Most tongue-in-cheek horror flicks (even the R-rated ones) will avoid killing children — although they’re frequently placed in harm’s way for maximum suspense — but screenwriter John Sayles seems to take great delight in unleashing thousands of ravenous piranha into a summer camp setting. It’s easily the movie’s most entertainingly shocking sequence. Or maybe it’s when the killer fish make it to the water park. Nope. The summer camp scene is the best.
3. The Burning (1981)
Often highly praised by old-school horror fans as one of the better Friday the 13th ripoffs (along with 1982’s Madman), The Burning may take a good, long while to warm up, but it does feature one multi-kill sequence that must be seen to be (dis)believed: five obnoxious teenagers (including a very youthful Fisher Stevens) raft out to retrieve a missing canoe — only to realize (way too late) that the killer (for some bizarre reason) has been lying in the canoe, just waiting for some victims to paddle along. Fortunately for him, they do. Five gory kills for the price of one! Now that’s how you ramp up your slasher flick body count in a big hurry.
2. Addams Family Values (1993)
Mention this movie to a crowd of film geeks and the vast majority would probably mention the “Wednesday and Puggsly go to summer camp” subplot over the “Uncle Fester finds love” central story — and for good reason: Christina Ricci pretty much steals the entire film with her hilarious deadpan delivery and casual, off-hand cruelty. And the big finale, in which Wednesday, her creepy little brother, and the rest of the camp’s socially awkward outcasts rise up and wreak vengeance during a moronic Thanksgiving pageant, is easily the highlight of the entire film. Hell, it’s the best sequence in either of the Addams Family flicks.
1. Sleepaway Camp (1983)
There are lots of shocking moments to be found in the Sleepaway Camp trilogy (I always found the outhouse sequence from Part 2 a particularly nasty highlight) but there’s nothing like experiencing the first movie’s sick and twisted final “reveal” for the first time. Those who’ve seen the movie know precisely what I’m talking about, and those who haven’t are missing out on one of the wildest, weirdest, and wackiest moments of 1980s horror flick history. And no, I’m not going to spoil it here. It’s just that insane.
This article is dedicated to the arrival of the summer camp zombie movie Nerdist Presents: The Hive, which is coming your way via Nerdist itself! Here’s the scoop:
At the height of summer, Adam and Katie find love for the first time. Fellow camp counselors Clark and Jess couldn’t care less about the kids they’re overseeing as long as they can hook up. But, when a plane crashes nearby, their investigation unleashes a mysterious plague, putting all campers in danger.
As Camp Yellow Jacket slips into chaos, Adam wakes in a boarded-up cabin with no memory of who or where he is. His only clues are the notes he’s scrawled for himself and memories that aren’t his own. As his friends turn into monsters around him, the key to surviving the apocalypse is locked in one infected counselor’s mind.