The thought of giving up beaches for books can be scary enough, but these 10 films prove how truly horrifying school can be.
While summer camp slashers may lead you to believe that the hottest time of year is also the scariest, we’re here to remind you that back-to-school can be scary too. There are plenty of must see scary movies that take place on school grounds. And the following list is a friendly reminder that there are worse things than homework, cranky teachers and pop quizzes—things like Satanic six-year-olds and creepy college kids.
1. Village of the Damned (1960)
You may not realize just how sinister little kids are until you see the original, black-and-white version of Village of the Damned. This movie is about a large group of kids who were all mysteriously born at the same time and have the same light blond hair and glowing eyes. While plenty of the film takes place around the town, much of the footage of the enigmatic children takes place in their schoolhouse.
2. Cooties (2o14)
Starring Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer and Nasim Pedrad, Cooties is a horror-comedy that starts in the cafeteria. After a batch of infected chicken nuggets is served for lunch, a group of elementary school teachers have to find a way to stay safe from their zombie students, who are now hungry for more than just chicken nuggets.
3. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)
Religion is a fairly common theme in horror, particularly in movies dealing with the supernatural. The Blackcoat’s Daughter, starring Kiernan Shipka and Emma Roberts, takes place at a boarding school that’s been deserted over the holidays — what could be scarier than that?
4. Carrie (1976)
Another movie that invokes religion, Carrie is a coming-of-age story that is horrifying from beginning to end. What Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) experiences at home is bad enough, but the torture she endures at school leads to the film’s famous climax.
5. Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Karyn Kusama’s high school horror film is a modern-day cult classic. Megan Fox plays the perfect popular girl who becomes possessed, with her best friend (Amanda Seyfried) having to deal with the consequences of the demonic possession. While it may be considered a horror-comedy, don’t take that to mean that things can’t get dark and disturbing.
6. The Faculty (1998)
The ‘90s aren’t known for being a great decade in horror cinema, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t gems from the period. Robert Rodriguez’s The Faculty is a suspenseful and enjoyable body-snatcher movie that takes place almost entirely on the grounds of a high school. The cast — Josh Hartnett, Salma Hayek, Elijah Wood, Clea DuVall, Jordana Brewster, Famke Janssen, Usher Raymond, Piper Laurie, and more — doesn’t hurt either.
7. Cry Wolf (2005)
While not necessarily a popular choice, Cry Wolf does have its winning points (no spoilers!), and holds its place as a good modern mystery movie. It also takes place at a preppy boarding school where it seems bodies are dropping rapidly and someone has to figure out what’s going on. It stars Jared Padalecki, Lindy Booth and Gary Cole.
8. Raw (2016)
This is a decidedly different type of coming-of-age story than Carrie, but no less terrifying. Raw follows French veterinary student Justine (Garance Marillier) as her lifelong vegetarianism fails her and her taste for meat grows.
9. Scream 2 (1997)
Following the original by only a year, Scream 2 follows heroine Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) as she navigates her first year of college. Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) attends the same school, while Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) return to help track down the new Ghostface who is, yet again, stalking Sidney. The first film took place largely at the high school, but the sequel is more immersed in the college campus.
10. Kristy (2o14)
Haley Bennett plays Justine, a college student staying at her dorm alone over Thanksgiving break. As we know, a deserted campus is a breeding ground for terror, and this is no exception. Filled with suspense, Kristy is a great movie to watch alone, especially if you live in a dormitory and want to be scared of every noise and shadow around you.