Movie Geek Feed gives you a few movies to check out on your way to the newest amusement park of terror, Hell Fest, which opens in theaters this weekend.
Plenty of horror films have been made over the years that take place at carnivals and amusement parks. Some are great while others are not. You can be the judge of which ones go in which category after you take a look at our list.
In this 1981 film directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist), rebellious teen Amy (Elizabeth Berridge) defies her parents by going to a trashy carnival that has pulled into town. In tow are her boyfriend, Buzz (Cooper Huckabee), and their friends Liz (Largo Woodruff) and Richie (Miles Chapin). Thinking it would be fun to spend the night in the campy "Funhouse" horror ride, the teens witness a murder by a deformed worker wearing a mask. Locked in, Amy and her friends must evade the murderous carnival workers and escape before it leaves town the next day.
Final Destination 3
Six years after a group of high-school students first cheated death, another teen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has a premonition that she and her friends will be involved in a horrifying roller-coaster accident. When the vision proves true, the student and her fellow survivors must deal with the repercussions of cheating the Grim Reaper.
When trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) learns that circus midget Hans (Harry Earles) has an inheritance, she marries the lovesick, diminutive performer, all the while planning to steal his fortune and run off with her lover, strong man Hercules (Henry Victor). When Hans' friends and fellow performers discover what is going on, they band together and carry out a brutal revenge that leaves Hercules and Cleopatra knowing what it truly means to be a "freak" in Tod Browning's (Dracula, London After Midnight) 1932 classic.
Embattled corporation Everything Except Shoes, or E.E.S., hires celebrity Ricky Coogin (Alex Winter) to serve as its spokesperson amid a spate of reports that the company uses a toxic substance in the products it manufactures. Ricky travels to South America to dispel the rumors, but instead he stumbles upon an oddball amusement park run by the demented Elijah C. Skuggs (Randy Quaid). It turns out that Skuggs is using the substance in E.E.S. products to turn humans into grotesque mutants. Alex Winter (Bill and Ted Movies) also co-directed this strange little piece of cinema.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
Speaking of Tobe Hooper and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the director must have been the victim of a bad experience at an amusement park or carnival at some point. In the 1986 sequel to his original film, chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface (Bill Johnson) is up to his cannibalistic ways once again, along with the rest of his twisted clan including the equally disturbed Chop-Top (Bill Moseley). This time, the masked killer has set his sights on pretty disc jockey Vanita "Stretch" Brock (Caroline Williams), who teams up with Texas lawman Lefty Enright (Dennis Hopper) to battle the psychopath and his family deep within their lair, a macabre abandoned amusement park.
Killer Clowns from Outer Space
When teenagers Mike (Grant Cramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) see a comet crash outside their sleepy small town, they investigate and discover a pack of murderous aliens who look very much like circus clowns. They try to warn the local authorities, but everyone assumes their story is a prank. Meanwhile, the clowns set about harvesting and eating as many people as they can. It's not until they kidnap Debbie that Mike decides it's up to him to stop the clowns' bloody rampage.
KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park
I'm a huge KISS fan, so no list I produce about weird happenings at amusement parks and carnivals will be safe from this Hanna-Barbera-produced masterpiece. KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park aired as a TV-movie of the week in 1978 to celebrate the Halloween season. It was theatrically released under the title KISS in Attack of the Phantoms in other countries.
Super hero rock band KISS battles an evil inventor (Anthony Zerbe) who has plans for destruction at a California amusement park. The mad scientist (Anthony Zerbe) makes robots of the group and pits them in battle at a sold-out concert.
Scooby-Doo & KISS: Rock & Roll Mystery
Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. took KISS back to the fun park in the animated team-up Scooby-Doo & KISS: Rock & Roll Mystery. The Rock & Roll heroes voice themselves in this new Halloween tradition. The Mystery Inc. gang and KISS investigate a haunting, and discover the Crimson Witch has returned to summon The Destroyer from the Kissteria dimension.
You might be prepared to enter Hell Fest after watching these movies. Either way, you'll have a blast getting ready for it and seeing what most likely influenced its filmmakers. Most of these movies can be found on one of the dozens of streaming services out there I'm sure.
Hell Fest comes out in theaters on Spetember 28th.
A masked serial killer turns a horror themed amusement park into his own personal playground, terrorizing a group of friends while the rest of the patrons believe that it is all part of the show.
College student NATALIE (Forsyth) is visiting her childhood best friend BROOKE (Edwards) and her roommate TAYLOR (Taylor-Klaus). If it was any other time of year these three and their boyfriends might be heading to a concert or bar, but it is Halloween which means that like everyone else they will be bound for HELL FEST – a sprawling labyrinth of rides, games, and mazes that travels the country and happens to be in town. Every year thousands follow Hell Fest to experience fear at the ghoulish carnival of nightmares.
But for one visitor, Hell Fest is not the attraction – it is a hunting ground. An opportunity to slay in plain view of a gawking audience, too caught up in the terrifyingly fun atmosphere to recognize the horrific reality playing out before their eyes. As the body count and frenzied excitement of the crowds continues to rise, he turns his masked face to NATALIE, BROOKE, TAYLOR and their boyfriends who will fight to survive the night.
A terrifying thrill ride from iconic horror producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead, The Terminator) and director Gregory Plotkin (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Editor – Get Out, Happy Death Day), this September, audiences will discover that it’s fun going in… but it’s hell getting out.