Here are some spooky horror movies for hunting, fishing and shooting enthusiasts.
It’s October, and while most of us are spending time in a tree stand this time of year, this is also the season for Halloween. With that in mind, it’s the perfect time of year to sneak in a scary movie or two between trips out hunting or that last fishing or camping trip of the season.
In making this list, I made sure the stories tied in with hunting, fishing, boating, the shooting sports, camping or the outdoors in some way. So grab some popcorn and get ready for some thrills and fun!
10. Deliverance (1972)
This is the movie that helped make canoe trips terrifying. Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox are four Atlanta residents who make the horribly bad decision to go on a canoe trip in a remote part of the north Georgia wilderness.
Of course, things go south quickly and the men find themselves in a fight for survival. This is the movie that made banjos terrifying and probably influenced a slew of “campers run into terrifying hillbillies”-type movies over the years.
It’s also because of this movie that no one since 1972 has ever gone on a canoe or kayaking trip without someone at some point jokingly yelling out: “Paddle faster! I hear banjos!”
9. Tremors (1990)
In a horror/comedy classic, Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward star as a couple of under-achieving handymen in the sleepy, isolated desert community of Perfection, Nevada. But unfortunately for them, when they do finally decide to pack up and leave, the town is besieged by 30-foot-long slimy subterranean killer worms that start chowing down on the town’s residents one by one.
Ward and Bacon make a great comedy duo, but this one makes the list because of Michael Gross’ and country music star Reba McEntire’s performances as the Gummers, a couple of government-fearing, gun-loving doomsday preppers who are ready for everything… or so they think.
Let’s face it, we all know a Burt and Heather Gummer. And while most of the cast laughs at their prepping paranoia, they aren’t laughing when their impressive arsenal helps save the day!
8. (Tie) The Evil Dead (1981)/ Evil Dead 2 (1987)
You’ll never look at a weekend trip to your remote cabin the same way again after watching one or both of these low-budget classics. These are the films that made Bruce Campbell into a shotgun-wielding, chainsaw-handed star.
Campbell and his friends head to a remote cabin to party it up over the weekend. Of course, things don’t go the way the group intended after they accidentally discover an ancient “Book of the Dead” left behind by an archeologist at the cabin. Upon reciting some passages, the book unleashes all sorts of demons and spirits from the nearby woods called Deadites. And they’re looking for fresh souls!
Things get scary, gory and really weird in a hurry, but it all seems to work for these low-budget films. The second one is where Campbell really shows his comedic chops. Also, keep an eye out for the mounted deer head that becomes possessed and comes back to life. It’s the kind of thing that could haunt a deer hunter’s dreams!
7. Jaws (1975)
This is the film that made a young Steven Spielberg into a superstar. A 25-foot great white shark decides to hit the buffet of locals and tourists off the fictional New England island of Amity and only three men can stop it.
Jaws features an amazing cast, starting with Roy Scheider as Amity’s police chief—and the only town official that recognizes Amity has a real problem. Richard Dreyfuss portrays a privileged but extremely knowledgeable shark researcher. Robert Shaw arguably puts on the greatest film portrayal of a fisherman ever as the endlessly-quotable, shark-hating Quint.
If the shark and iconic score of the film doesn’t terrify you, Quint’s bone-chilling firsthand account of surviving the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis will. Seriously this is a classic, if you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for?
6. The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)
I had to put a Bigfoot film on this list. It’s just a must when talking outdoor-related horror. This relatively obscure docudrama is a cult classic that centers on the legendary alleged real-life monster that has supposedly terrorized the small town of Fouke, Arkansas for decades.
The film bounces back and forth between eyewitness interviews and re-enactments of encounters locals supposedly had with the creature. Fact and fiction are somewhat blurred in this movie, but it’s endlessly entertaining. This movie scared me to death as a kid.
The acting and several of the original songs are extremely campy. (The Travis Crabtree song will be in your head for DAYS). But some of the re-enactments, like the teenage boy who comes face to face with the beast while hunting, are genuinely creepy.
Plus, the creature’s scream (allegedly an actual recording taken in Fouke) will chill you to the bone. Many other Bigfoot movies have tried and failed horribly in their attempts to re-capture the magic that is Boggy Creek.
You’ll probably have to hit the internet for a copy; this is a hard-to-find title.
5. The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
Based on a true story, this movie provides a Hollywood version of the hunt for the real-life man-eating lions of Tsavo that killed hundreds of railroad workers in Kenya in 1898.
If you’ve read the book “The Man-Eaters of Tsavo” by British Engineer Lt. Col. John H. Patterson (portrayed here by Val Kilmer), you’ll instantly recognize the many, many historical inaccuracies introduced in this story about the two male lions that killed and ate over 100 railway workers. Most notable is Michael Douglas, who portrays a completely fabricated professional hunter who comes into to assist Patterson.
It may not be entirely accurate, but there’s a small amount of gore to be had here and there’s really no other movie out there that documents a single hunt in such detail, especially not one for two of history’s most infamous man eaters.
4. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
This one is for the preppers and gun lovers: the classic second film in George Romero’s “Dead” trilogy. Ken Foree and Scott Reiniger play a couple of couple of SWAT team officers who, three weeks into a zombie outbreak, decide civilization is past the point of no return and make a break for it with a couple of TV station employees, played by David Emge and Gaylen Ross. They escape the chaos in a helicopter as the TV station goes off the air.
But after running low on fuel, the four decide the best place to take shelter is in a huge shopping mall outside Pittsburgh. The duo raid the mall’s well-stocked gun store for a large assortment of weaponry before they clear the mall of living dead and barricade the entrances in an attempt to wait things out.
This one is not for the squeamish, featuring some landmark special effects from legendary effects artist Tom Savini. He also has a cameo as a member of a biker gang that complicates things for our heroes later in the film.
Don’t bother with the awful 2004 remake: this was the movie that introduced the “zombies in a mall” trope that has been copied in movies, TV and video games ever since.
3. The Birds (1963)
Here’s one for the bird hunters, because who would ever think of birds attacking us?
This film was Tippi Hedren’s film debut, and she knocks it out of the park as the beautiful, and bold Melanie Daniels. Her character has a reputation for playing pranks, but after being pranked herself by a sneaky lawyer named Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), she becomes intrigued and follows him to the seaside community of Bodega Bay.
Upon her arrival, Melanie is mysteriously attacked by a seagull. The two brush the event off, but it turns out to be a prelude to thousands and thousands of birds attacking the seaside community in devastating waves. This film may have been made in the 1960s, and technology has advanced quite a bit, but the effects and scares still hold up to this day.
Only a horror master like Alfred Hitchcock could take something as benign as a bird and make it truly terrifying.
2. The Descent (2005)
Here’s a good one for the adventure-seekers and wilderness explorers. Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) survives an awful car accident that takes the lives of her husband and daughter.
One year later, in an effort to help her cope with the loss and restore their friendship, Sarah’s friend Juno (Natalie Mendoza) invites Sarah along on a girls’ trip to explore an unmapped cave system with their friends Beth, Sam, Rebecca and Holly in the mountains of North Carolina.
After the entrance to the cave collapses, the women are forced to go deeper into the unknown system in an attempt to find a way out… but they quickly discover something else. They’re not the first ones to venture into the cave. And, there’s something else, something deadly, lurking in the cave’s depths. It all makes for an extremely claustrophobic and terrifying sequence of events that’ll make anyone think twice about spelunking.
1. The Fog (1979)
If you’re looking for something that comes off like an old fisherman’s cautionary tale, this John Carpenter classic is for you.
Featuring a star-studded cast including Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, John Houseman, Hal Halbroo, Jamie Lee Curtis and her mother, the original scream queen Janet Leigh (Psycho, 1960), all have to deal with stolen gold, a creepy fog, and some extremely vengeful spirits that are looking for six victims.
It’s enough to make one want to stay off the water completely when a fog bank rolls in. Just stay away from the awful 2005 remake: as usual, the original is best!
Give some of these movies a chance for a spooky Halloween.