As vaccinations roll out across the globe, the hopes for a a return to normalcy are rising. And if you’re like a lot of people, there’s a good chance that you may be thinking about a well-earned vacation. Warm sandy beaches, crystal clear water, fine dining, and free drinks – a resort sounds inviting after a year and a half of lockdowns. But horror fans know better. The resorts in horror movies are usually abandoned buildings on remote islands haunted or stalked by masked killers. Below are seven examples of resort destinations that aren’t likely to get a good Yelp review.
7 – Bloody New Year (1987)
Several teens find themselves shipwrecked on a remote island where they stumble across a hotel decorated for New Year’s Eve in the summer. And it’s ringing in 1960. On one hand, British horror Bloody New Year isn’t very good in the traditional sense. But bad-movie lovers may find something to appreciate with this completely bonkers effort. Director Norman J Warren shamelessly rips from much better movies. Yet he assembles these ideas in a kitchen sink approach that makes so little sense that it eventually transcends its generic setup. By the time Bloody New Year reaches its head-scratching finale, you’ll either hate it or be convinced that Warren intentionally made a bad movie.
6 – Humongous (1982)
Humongous is low-budget, obscure Canadian horror from Paul Lynch, director of Prom Night. On most technical merits, Humongous looks pretty uninspired. Its story of five teens shipwrecked on an island with a seemingly abandoned summer resort doesn’t deviate much from the slasher formula. It even shares a small plot point in common with Friday the 13th Part II. But Humongous also shares something in common with Shock Waves (see below) – it’s creepy midnight movie vibe. There’s just something inherently unsettling about this movie about a giant deformed monstrosity roaming an uninhabited island. Yes, the acting is bad, the lighting poor – but the score and final act are haunting.
5 – I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
I Know What You Did Last Summer followed up Scream’s meta-scares with something akin to a slasher-lite approach to the subgenre. It totally misunderstood everything that made Scream so good. But it was a still a watchable slasher movie and head and shoulders above some of other slasher-lite releases that followed. For the sequel, director Dannay Cannon transplants the action to a Bahamas resort and adds pop star, Brandy. Sadly, a new setting and new co-stars doesn’t amount to much. Arguably, the title of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is the best part of this paint-by-numbers sequel. On one hand, the sequel defines what it means to be a cash-in. While it’s certainly no classic, it’s still a watchable and somewhat serviceable sequel.
4 – Club Dread (2004)
From the Broken Lizard troupe, Club Dread is the stoner slasher comedy you never knew you needed. Where else will you find the late Bill Paxton playing a Jimmy Buffet-inspired musician named Coconut Pete? The premise is simple – a masked killer is stalking the party goers at an island resort. Nudity, bad accents, tasteless joes, and wacky deaths – if you’re familiar at all with Broken Lizard it’s exactly what you’d expect. Not surprisingly, the humour is hit or miss, but it fires more often than misfires. Though it’s not as good as Super Troopers, Broken Lizard fans should still enjoy Club Dread.
3 – Shock Waves (1977)
Vacationing couples are shipwrecked on a remote island where they discover an an abandoned resort and its lone living resident – an SS Commander and his Nazi zombie squadron. No one is going to confuse Shock Waves for a classic horror movie. Nonetheless, Shock Waves is a genuinely odd and eclectic piece of cinema that benefits from its low budget. Even if it is just a handful of the same actors in leathery zombie make-up, watching these undead rise out of the water hits the right nerve. What truly sets Shock Waves apart is its midnight movie vibe. Richard Einhorn’s superb electronic score. These discordant and drawn out water-drenched chords add depth and personality to the movie.
2 – Fantasy Island (2020)
Five strangers arrive on the mysterious ‘Fantasy Island’, where anything is possible. Their host, Mr Roarke, promises that each guest gets to live out their own fantasy. The only rules – you get just one fantasy and must see it through to its natural conclusion. On paper, Fantasy Island sounds like a great concept for a horror movie. Though the original television series wasn’t horror, it had the occasionally creepy episode. And the idea of wish fulfilment gone awry has been done before with varying degrees of success. Yet all the potential in the world does not a good movie make. Director Jeff Wadlow, who directed the equally dull Truth or Dare, struggles to conjure up watered down PG-13 scares. The movie’s twist feels forced and makes no sense. Worst of all, Fantasy Island is just dull.
1 – A Perfect Getaway (2009)
Ignore any bad reviews you hear about A Perfect Getaway. From writer and director David Twohy (Pitch Black), A Perfect Getaway is a fun B-movie thriller with an A-list cast. Someone is killing vacationing couples along remote hiking trails in Hawaii. When honeymooning couple Cliff and Cydney meet two other couples along the same trails tensions escalate as they suspect one of them is the killer. Yes, this is pure pulpy trash. But it’s fun pulp with plenty of thrills set against a gorgeous backdrop. Though the twist feels a little forced it still works. And, as mentioned, the cast, which includes Timothy Olyphant (The Crazies), Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil), Steven Zahn (Joy Ride), Marley Shelton (Valentine), and a young Chris Hemsworth, can’t be beat.