Spring is in the air, and we have nothing better to do than plant Victory Gardens and wave at neighbors over our fences. This time of year can be one of considerable growth. Flowers and trees bloom, and everyone comes out of hibernation. It is also the time when Mother Nature can wake up and tell us humans to “suck it” for treating her so poorly. It’s the perfect time to glorify all the things that generally happen in the Spring; Spring Break, Prom, and Nature’s rebirth. Here are the Top 30 Horror Movies That Celebrate Spring in no particular order.
This body horror film from Aaron Moorehead and Justin Benson is gorgeous. Heavy on existential dread, a young man makes a terrible mistake, which causes him to flee to Europe. In Italy, he meets a mysterious and beautiful scientist who is experimenting with more than lab animals.
This Spanish found footage film is more unsettling than actually scary, but if you like the slow dread of The Blair Witch movies, you will like this Atrocious. Easter vacation turns into a nightmare for young siblings when they investigate the legend of Melinda and the labyrinth at their vacation home.
Ari Aster’s follow up to Hereditary is the technicolor nightmare Midsommar. The film shows a Nordic pagan cult as they prepare for their solstice festival. There are pretty flowers, flowing dresses, magic mushrooms, and so much inventive death.
The Wicker Man(1973)
Obviously, this is not the Nic cage version, although I do admit to having him on my mind with the announcement that he will be playing the Tiger King himself Joe Exotic. The original version is a prime example of folk horror. An island full of pretty lady pagans lures an unsuspecting Christian police detective to their sacrificial festival where he is the main attraction.
Very, very sexy, Cat People makes the Top 30 Horror Movies That Celebrate Spring list because this stylish thriller has a great cast with Malcolm McDowell and Nastassja Kinski playing sibling panther people. There is a lot of awakening in this film from sexual, animalistic, and time of year.
This film is a tough watch and not for the easily triggered. It has one of the most harrowing finales I have ever seen. It also is deeply allegorical. Adam and Eve, The Garden of Eden, and the awakening of Spring are all central themes in Lars von Trier’s uncomfortable nightmare.
Nothing celebrates Spring more than something that literally exploits Gaia’s revenge. The movie is not one of M. Night Shyamalan’s best films, but if you are looking to pray at nature’s altar, this is the film to do it.
Perfume: The Story Of A Murdered(2006)
It’s Spring in 18th century Paris, and the city is stinky. Ben Whishaw has enhanced olfactory glands and decides to put those to use coming up with the perfect smell to improve Paris’ stench permanently. The only problem is he thinks killing sweet-smelling young girls and extracting their scent is the way to do it.
Trouble Every Day
Director Claire Denis of the wildly underappreciated High Life presents an erotic thriller for the ages. This controversial film makes cannibalism into a metaphor for female sexuality. Hard to watch at times, Paris looks good from the window of Core’ apartment, though.
A Field In England
An atmospheric hallucinatory film experience A Field In England is for those who appreciate The Lighthouse. It is bizarre and trippy and features the single worst mushroom trip of all time. Humanity and nature are locked in a battle with themselves and each other in this must-watch from Ben Wheatley.
This South Korean film is as stunning as it is brutal. A picturesque fishing resort is the setting for an increasingly vicious game of cat and mouse between a brothel owner and a mysterious guest. The pretty backdrop of the resort serves as a useful framework for the savagery.
Empire of Passion
This Japanese ghost story is beyond ethereal. An erotic supernatural tale of jealousy, betrayal, and insecurity, Empire is easily one of the prettiest films on this list. Director Nagisa Ōshima makes the most of the natural setting, and the film is as much about the ghost as it is the surroundings.
A young woman is shunned by her rural Germanic neighbors for potentially being a witch. I can’t explain how amazing this film is. It’s gripping and all-consuming. Don’t let the subtitles turn you off; it is worth paying attention to. The film runs the gamut of the seasons in its runtime, but the height of the madness takes place in the Spring. Things blossom and bloom, and they aren’t all pretty.
Another profoundly biblical allegory, Mother! might just be the story of God and Mother Nature. As such, the whole party, in the end, sheds new light on what humans do to the Earth. Let’s hope we treat her better than Kristen Wiig treats her host’s child.
Both the original and the remake use tree rape to symbolically show possession by a demonic entity. There is nothing more “screw you” from Nature, than actually screwing you with its branches. Spring Break looks like a terrible idea when this group of partiers falls ass-backward into a portal to Hell.
Another Spring Break high, Tourist Trap, is a creepy reminder that the open road can be perilous. A carload of young adults kills some time at a roadside attraction only to realize the owner has telekinetic powers he uses to control the mannequins in his attraction.
It’s Prom Night, and Stephen King’s most terrifying and sympathetic monster is covered in blood. Visually ahead of its time with killer performances by Piper Laurie as Carrie’s Mom and Sissy Spacek as the telekinetic teen. The final sequence still haunts me even all these years later.
April Fool’s Day
I mean, it’s in the name, so this one is an obvious choice. This ’80s slasher is as fun as it gets. One by one, Spring Breakers out on an isolated island get picked off. The ending is especially fantastic.
The Scream Queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis stars in a high school Prom night gone very wrong. The original is far superior to the remake, and this is the precursor to all the ’90s and early ’00s young people who make huge mistakes and pay the price for it films like I know what You Did Last Summer.
Rites Of Spring(2011)
A small town has a terrible secret. Every year girls go missing in the Spring, and this year is no different. At the same time, a hapless group of kidnappers seeking ransom run headlong into the town’s ritual. Part folk horror, part slasher, this is a unique movie. It’s a low budget film with good acting and a solid ending.
Grindhouse makes a specific kind of horror movie, and Bunnyman is one of their best. Moron teens get chased by a killer in a bunny suit carrying a chainsaw. Seriously that’s the whole plot. Go see it! The most absurd film on the Top 30 Horror Movies That Celebrate Spring list.
The Loved Ones
Lola invites Brent to Prom, and he turns her down. Girl ain’t having it and concocts a violent revenge plan. Guess he should have said yes. This slasher from Australia is a ton of fun and wacked out Lola is as inventive as she is wackadoo! Robin McLeavy is deliciously unhinged.
There’s nothing like a good carnivorous fish story to make me want to go on Spring Break. The college kids are by and large so vacuous it’s hard not to root for the flesh-eating fish. Great stunt casting with Jerry O’Connell and Elizabeth Shue is fantastic.
There’s Nothing Out There
When a horror film buff tries to warn his friends about impending doom, they laugh at him until it is too late. Spring Breakers at a lake house getting picked off one by one is the formula. This film from 1991 used a familiar pattern and ran with it. Craig Peck’s Mike steals the show with his one-liners.
The Cabin In The Woods
This meta masterpiece from Drew Goddard is spectacular. Every horror movie trope in the world is trotted out. When a group of friends travels to a cabin in the woods, they find more than Spring Break fun. Bonus Fran Kranz from Dollhouse plays the adorable nerd hero.
This is one of my favorite horror movies ever. A group of friends travel to Mexico for Spring Break relaxation and stumble onto a sacred place where no one can ever leave. The locals are the least of the group’s concerns. This is another wonderful film about the creepy power of nature. It easily is on the Top 30 Horror Movies That Celebrate Spring.
I couldn’t shave for months after seeing this film. This is what happens when weird diseases, backwoods hillbillies, and paranoia take hold. It is gross, scary, and deeply unsettling. It’s also another reason to avoid Spring Break in the woods.
Easter Bunny Kill! Kill!
Oh my, what to say about a movie that is named Easter Bunny Kill! Kill!? The murdering bunny is the least of the horrors in this story about a pedophile, special needs boy, drug dealer, and mask-wearing killer. It isn’t as silly as the title makes it seem. It is actually a disturbing movie.
A brother and sister are travel cross country for Spring Break and find themselves stalked by a supernatural killer. I love this movie. I know it comes with a lot of baggage with director Victor Salva’s indiscretions, but the rest of the cast and crew shouldn’t be punished. The Creeper is one of the best monsters in the last twenty years, and Justin Long is achingly cute.
Hillary Swank investigates a small town suffering from actual plagues in this Passover times movie. Religion and horror are a classic combo. The Reaping does a fine job of melding the two. Swank is great in everything, and who doesn’t love a good End Of Days Cult?
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.