Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Freedom from holiday-themed horror

America's Independence Day is one of the few holidays that doesn't have a horror movie named after it. This doesn't mean there aren't some good Fourth of July scary movies you could watch this week. There are a couple good ones. There's even a really bad one. But let's stick to the positive and lead off with the mother of all summer blockbusters.

JAWS (1975)
No, seriously. You are going to need a bigger boat.

This suspense classic from director Steven Spielberg created the summer blockbuster. Set on Amity Island during Fourth of July weekend, Jaws follows a sheriff, a rich-boy marine scientist and (one of cinema's greatest bad asses) a seasoned fisherman as they attempt to capture/kill a man-eating Great White shark that is threatening the island's tourist trade.

You know what? Part of me is cringing at the idea that I would have to tell you anything about this movie. The rest of me realizes that there may be some of you who have never seen Jaws or maybe you haven't seen it for a long time or (gag) you've only seen it in an edited-for-TV version. The point is, almost 40 years later, Jaws still rules the ocean. (We'll pretend that no sequels were ever made, mkay?)

Independence Day (1996)

While not a horror film, Independence Day is one of the better sci-fi invasion films made in the last 25 years. Roland Emmerich basically tops out here. (If the only Emmerich films you ever see are this and Stargate, you're doing fine.)

Aliens invade, a variety of Americans--the President, a Marine pilot and a cable repair man/super smart tech guy, specifically--get together to not get annihilated. Lots of stuff gets blown up.

This is one of the movies my wife and I share. In fact, we watched it just a couple days ago. One of these days, I plan to take her to Rachel, Nev., to see the monument the producers donated to the "town."

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

It makes this short list because the "accident" that propels the plot takes place over the Fourth weekend. A bunch of recent high school grads hit a guy who comes back for revenge, specifically tormenting Jennifer Love Hewitt. The worst part of this movie is that not even Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) survived. She did meet future husband Freddy Prinze, Jr., during filming although they didn't tie the knot until working together on Scooby-Doo five years later. Hell, you should probably just watch Scooby-Doo instead of this movie.

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