I have written before about how much I love movies about road trips and about how much I love horror movies about traveling, so it only makes sense that I should make a list of five road trip horror movies that I love endlessly. Now this is a list of good horror movies, not bad horror movies. That is a list I'm saving for later.
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
This iconic film created one of the most enduring horror movie killers of all time - Leatherface. A group of friends are on a road trip in rural Texas, but they make some classic horror movie mistakes. First, they pick up a hitchhiker (If you didn't learn not to do that from this movie, then watch "The Hitcher" and you'll know that speeding past a sketchy man by the side of a rural road is a good idea). Then they go into a strange house with an unlocked door. Finally, they split up. These are all things you simply don't do - in real life or a horror movie. But of course, it is now too late. They are at the mercy of the murderous Leatherface and his family of cannibals. Violent and terrifying, this is a classic film and no matter how many times they make sequels and remakes - nothing will ever be as good as the original.
2. Jeepers Creepers
Two siblings are going on a road trip home from college in a classic car along a back country road. What could go wrong? Apparently a Creeper awaking from his nap to go on a killing spree can go wrong. Darry, the brother, sees the Creeper dumping a body and convinces his sister to help him investigate. What he discovers is a horrifying collection of bodies and parts. They run to get help, with the Creeper close behind. Once he decides one of the siblings has something he wants, he's not going to stop hunting them until he gets it. Complete with a psychic trying to help and police who don't seem to be able to do a thing to help, it is a thrill ride as what supposed to be a nice trip home becomes a run for their lives from the supernatural. (By the way, the sequel to this is actually pretty good. As far as horror movie sequels go.)
3. House of 1000 Corpses
This film scares me and not many do. But maybe that is just because it is set up like a road trip I would go one. Two couples set out on the road to write a book about off-beat roadside attractions (sound familiar?), but then they make the same mistake as our travelers in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" - they pick up a hitchhiker named Baby. But Baby leads them right into a trap. The couples end up at her house to celebrate her strange family's even stranger Halloween traditions. After dinner, the family puts on a Halloween show for their guests, but Baby takes things a little too far and is threatened. Mother tells the friends to leave, but as they try to do so they are attacked. What follows is a horrifying mind-trip into the frightening depravity of this sick and twisted family. This movie is definitely frightening and yet another reminder to never pick up hitchhikers - or you might end up having dinner with a family of crazies in the middle of nowhere.
Honorable Mention: Death Proof
I can't count the number of times I have seen Death Proof. The only reason I am reluctant to put in the top three is that I'm not sure it really qualifies as a "road trip" movie or even a "horror" movie. But in the spirit of thrillers like "Duel" and "Vanishing Point", this film will have you on the edge of your seat. Part of Robert Rodriquez and Quinten Tarantino's "Grindhouse" double feature, "Death Proof" is half the story of a serial killer stuntman with a car who likes to kill girls in car accidents that only he survives. But then he messes with the wrong girls who aren't about to go down easy. This film is part car-chase thriller, part twisted-psychological horror, and part girl-power. I can't recommend this movie enough, even if you only watch it to see Zoe Bell perform jaw dropping stunts while strapped to the hood of a car.