One theme, five killer films; these five destination horror films give the phrase ‘vacations from hell’ a whole new meaning.
After a year of being stuck at home, many of us have more than a bit of wanderlust — especially during the these warm Summer months when sandy beaches and sunshine-filled adventures always seem to beckon. But we’re here to remind you that there are far worse things than being bored, isolated, and land locked. If horror teaches us anything, it’s the strangely comforting realization that things could always be worse…much, much worse!
In honor of those of you desperate for a getaway, and those of you who just need to be reminded why sometimes staying put is better, we’re exploring five of the worst travel destinations in horror.
1. Ancient Mayan Ruins (The Ruins)
Sure, taking a trip to immerse yourself in an ancient culture sounds exotic and adventurous. But before you go, make sure you have an understanding of the culture’s language. This helps ensure you aren’t at the mercy of the locals who may not take too kindly too strangers — especially when there are unknown dangers lurking everywhere, including cursed plant life.
In 2008’s The Ruins, two. young American couples take a trip to Mexico. There they meet a German tourist looking for his brother who went missing at an archaeological dig at a remote Mayan ruin in the jungle. Upon arriving at the ruins, they are greeted by hostile natives, and an unfortunate language barrier leads to disaster. Unforunately for these travelers, the ruins harbor a deadly secret that ensnares them all.
The Ruins proves visiting somewhere you know nothing about may sound thrilling and exotic, but danger is often hiding beneath the surface of the mysterious and unknown.
Enjoy a safer staycation and watch The Ruins now, currently streaming on Amazon Prime and Paramount Plus.
2. Unusual Roadside Attractions (House of 1000 Corpses)
We get it, part of the fun of a road trip is stopping at all the bizarre roadside attractions along the way. From giant balls of tin to the world’s biggest collections of cheese, every road trip is bound to be full of strange oddities. And while most of these quirky attractions leave you with fun stories and great Instagram pics, the truth is you never really know who or what is waiting for you when you pull off the road to explore some hidden treasure.
It’s hard to me imagine a more dangerous curiosity than Captain Spaulding’s Museum featured in Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses. While a seemingly innocent — although off-putting — museum/fried chicken-serving gas station, this local oddity is really only a pitstop on a truly terrifying journey. If our ill-fated group hadn’t pulled into this eclectic-looking destination, they would have never found themselves on the road to unimaginable horrors. So the next time you see a strange roadside attraction, maybe take a minute to check the Yelp reviews…and the missing person reports!
Craving a trippy adventure without the deadly consequences? Stream House of 1000 Corpses now from a variety of platforms, including Amazon, Shudder, and Tubi.
3. Backpacking Across Eurpose (An American Werewolf in London)
The notion of backpacking aross the European countryside to “find oneself” is as worn out as most people’s shoes at the end of their trip. Many times, all people really seem to find is an excess of slightly dull stories they can’t wait to tell their friends at the next get-together. Still, the lure of exploration and discovery is a compelling one.
Hopefully any life-changing experiences to be had are entirely positive and don’t result in the tragic dismemberment of your best friend and your complete descent into madness and death. Still, An American Werewolf in London cautions us to remain responsible during our quest for adventure and excitement. Always heed the warnings of locals and listen when they tell you not to go out at night when the moon is high. Ignoring this sage advice could leave you risking life and limb. We might also recommend you study up on local legends and avoid any bars to seem a bit too ironically named.
You might be better off skipping the pub altogheter, cracking open a cold one at home, and watching An American Werewolf in London from the comfort of your couch. It’s available to stream on Amazon, Shudder, Fubo, and AMC Plus (among others).
4. Cave Diving (The Descent)
If cave diving is your idea of a vacation, you are probably someone who claims daring adventure and even a bit of danger. Playing it super safe may not be your thing. But hopefully you will still follow carefully set safety guidelines such as making sure people know where you are, sticking to your original plans, and not venturing into places that are completely unexplored. As tempting as it may be to discover something completely new, you really have no idea what you’ll find once you get there — or what will find you!
If for some reason you refuse to take any safety precautions at all, you could find yourself lost in an underground cavern with no way out. And if you’re the unfortunate group of friends in Neil Marshall’s terrifying 2005 film The Descent, you may even find yourself trapped with blind and bloodthirsty human-like creatures intent on hunting you for food. No matter how much of a thrill seeker you, that doesn’t sound like an enjoyable trip for anyone.
Looking for a safer way to chase that adrenaline rush? Stream the heart-pounding horror classic The Descent now on Amazon, Vudu, Kanopy, and Hoopla.
5. The Australian Outback (Wolf Creek)
Australia is beautiful, but it’s also scary as hell. Even without a sadistic serial killer stalking innocent victims, there are plenty of things in this exotic destination which are more than happy to ruin your day — or far worse. In fairness the land down under, however, it’s more than possible to have a lovely and very safe trip to Australia. It’s not too hard to avoid the bevvy of things that can kill you: stick to the cities, following signs and safety protocols, and know before you go.
Of course, taking a trek across the Outback in a lemon of a car may not be the wisest decision. And it’s decidedly unwise if there also happens to be a crazed local running around hunting tourists who disrupt his land and piss him off. Such a sadistic scenario is the downfall of the young travelers in Wolf Creek, a nasty littlefilm that provides a horrifying adventure from start to finish. Unwavering self confidence and a complete lack of planning are a dangerous duo, so it’s possible our victims may have been doomed from the start. Or maybe they just shouldn’t have trusted the random tow-truck driver in the middle of the night.
The Outback is scary but, let’s face it, so is the world! Stay safe from it by watching the frightening Wolf Creek at home. You can stream it now onRoku or Plex.
Honorable Mention: A Swedish Commune (Midsommar)
This one would have easily made our top five. But, while it was undoubtedly an awful trip for most of the tourists, it could be argued that at least one of them ended up happier than before (or broken and brainwashed, you decided!).
Midsommar is an arthouse, folk horror film that’s not for everyone. And it isn’t as traditionally scary as the other films on this list. But it is most certainly an experience you aren’t likely to forget.
If you’re in the mood for something different and emotionally investing, you can catch Midsommar on Amazon or Kanopy — and see a stellar, star-making performance from Florence Pugh before her blockbuster role in Black Widow.