Travel Horror Movies
Hollywood is the best known movie factory that put several generations of unlucky fictional travelers through a lot of punishment over the years, but that is fiction of course.
In real life, I’m sure that some courageous travelers found themselves at one moment in their lives, double or triple-checking the door locks from their rooms, supposedly safely-placed in a run-down, rural motel. For those who didn’t get the chance of experience the fear of lonely night travels, here is a list of the most popular horror movies with a tenuous travel connection.
The Shining (1980)
No list of travel horror flicks would be complete without “The Shining”, the movie that perfected the “haunted hotel” model, where its dark history and isolation drive the plot, as Jack Nicholson’s character dissolves into madness. It’s one of those classic horror movies that you probably wish to see again and again.
Like “The Shining,” “1408” is based on a story by Stephen King and also like “The Shining,” the ghosts of “1408” don’t do any of their own dirty work, preferring to drive their victims to madness and suicide instead. Mike Enslin, played by John Cusack, is a one-time novelist who now makes a living writing paperback travel guides: 10 Haunted Hotel Rooms, 10 Haunted Mansions, etc, a cynical hack and a skeptical man, that is until he checks in to room 1408.
Wolf Creek (2005)
Three friends embark on an adventure in the rugged Australian outback, having set out to see the famous Wolf Creek- a famous crater made by a meteor thousands of years ago and they spend their time partying and bonding during their road trip to the landmark. They leave behind their car to make the 3 hour hike to the top of the crater but when they do come back they find out that their car won’t start so they have to ask the help of a strange fellow who happens to “coincidentally” travel in this remote region of the world. This movie has violence unleashed on its characters, with scenes of terror, grisly dismemberment, and even death but what makes it so terrifying is its realism, make it one of the most controversial Australian movies ever. The isolation of the Australian outback seems to be the ideal travel horror backdrop.
The Descent (2005)
“The Descent” is a movie with an unpredictable plot, about six experienced adventure travelers, all women, who set off on a caving expedition that’s already gone horribly awry even before the bloodthirsty cave monsters show up. Leading the trip is the bold adventurer, Juno (Natalie Jackson Mendoza), with the other members being Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) and her closest friend, Beth (Alex Reid), both British, Juno’s butch friend Holly (Nora-Jane Noone), Rebecca (Saskia Mulder) and medical student Sam (MyAnna Buring). Their trip takes them to the Appalachian Mountains and from here on the movie action seems like a roller-coaster, until the very end of it.
We find again actor John Cusack in a movie about a serial killer and 10 strangers, among them being the main actor in the role of Ed, a gun-toting limo driver who takes charge of the situation; these people have been driving by a storm in a run-down motel where they soon become victims and must stay alert to keep their lives. The movie is unpredictable but it is not terrifying and the final twist takes care of all those dangling plot threads without seeming forced.
From Dusk till Dawn (1996)
This movie had a heavy cast with George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino, playing the roles of Seth Gecko and his younger brother Richard, two fugitives that are on the run after a bloody bank robbery in Texas. They kidnap the Fuller family, and drive to a Mexican bar where Clooney arranges a rendezvous with a fellow crook at a remote Mexican roadhouse bar but is seems that they run directly into Hell. The bar out the crooks is full of vampires and the character named Sex Machine and Salma Hayek, with the role of a snake-dancing vampire stripper, are the main enemies so the Gecko brothers and the Fuller family have to survive ‘from dusk till dawn’ at the rendezvous point.
Another classic is Alien, directed by Ridley Scott and staring Sigourney Weaver as the main actress. And since we talked about traveling, the story evolves around the spaceship Nostromo, found on a long journey back home, to Earth, and the mysterious life-forms that appear during this travel, surviving and breeding at the cost of many lives, sheltered by the spaceship. Alien is a horror/sci-fi movie and you can be sure of the fact that it is worth watching every single minute of its two hours runtime.
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The Carter family, traveling to California in an RV, ends up stranded in a hill side area, the home of the clan of mutant cannibals roaming the surrounding desert hills. The consequences are terrible after not listening to the advice of a weird old gas station guy: “You folks stay on the main road, ya hear?” The cult movie, directed and written by Wes Carven, has all the elements we love about ‘70s schlock: cannibals who communicate by walkie-talkie, bad acting and a memorable tag line: “The lucky ones died first”. Do enjoy it!
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
After hearing that her grandfather’s grave has been robbed, Sally, some of her friends and her wheelchair-bound brother travel to Texas to make certain of this thing and check the cemetery. They arrive at the grandfather’s house after getting low on gas, where they meet the chainsaw-swinging Leatherface and his family of psycho cannibals. Director Tobe Hooper’s classic movie was the building foundation for the slasher genre and even to this day gives everybody the creeps. Oldies but goldies, as they say.
Horror Express (1973)
During an expedition to China, a British anthropologist, played by Christopher Lee, finds the frozen body of a monster, which he described as the evolutionary “missing link”.
He makes the brave decision to transport it back to England on the Trans-Siberian Express but this train soon becomes the feeding ground of the reanimated beast and the home of the white-eyed zombies. This remains in the history of horror movies as a low-budget cult film, starring two Hammer Horror legends, Lee and Peter Cushing.
Almost all of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies are now considered as cult movies and Psycho is no exception. Who doesn’t know the famous shower scene? The plot goes something like this: Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh, steals a wad of cash and hits the road and find a place to spend to night at Bates Motel, with its neon sign glowing in the rainy darkness: this sure gives an eerie feeling. Things get a little creepy after a few minutes and at the end of the movie we are left disturbed by the movie’s iconic motel shower scene and the weird statement of Norman Bates or Anthony Perkins, that: “A boy’s best friend is his mother”.
The Ring (2002)
The Ring has to be one of the best horror movies ever and even though it scared the Hell out of me, I still strongly recommend it.
Rachel Keller is a cynical journalist who’s niece spontaneously dies of fright one week to the day she watched a disturbing video; she hears an urban legend about a videotape that kills whoever watches it, after the phone rings and telling the victims that they have only one week to live. The young reporter travels to the Pacific Northwest in search of the tape’s origins and its links to a string of suicides at a horse ranch and tries to find out how is it possible to stop these series of strange events. It’s up to you to find out how the movie ends, that is, if you haven’t seen it yet.11