Best Spring Break Horror Movies

Last Updated on March 17, 2022

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The days of Spring Break are upon us, and while some will be taking their chances with pandemic-era partying, others are going to need some home entertainment to spend our free time with. That’s why we here at Arrow in the Head have decided to compile a list of some of the Best Spring Break Horror Movies. If you want to spend Spring Break watching movies about Spring Breakers getting wiped out by slashers, aliens, animals, and more, here are some recommendations:

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You might not expect the director of such films as Harry and the Hendersons, If Looks Could Kill, Angels in the Outfield, and Wild America to decide to write and direct a slasher movie, but that’s exactly what William Dear did with 2006’s Simon Says. The story centers on a group of friends who have chosen to spend their Spring Break camping and panning for gold, and Dear spends way too much time making us watch these terrible characters banter with each other. The silver lining here is the fact that Dear cast Crispin Glover as the maniac who has filled the woods with booby-traps and dedicates his time to murdering these annoying people. Glover is always fascinating to watch, and here he gets to play someone with two different personalities, so we basically get two Glovers for the price of one. If you can endure the scenes where his victims talk to each other way too much, Crispin Glover tries his best to save your viewing experience. A great way to kick off the best Spring Break horror movies!


I remember being hyped for Crocodile in the build-up to its release, since it had master of horror Tobe Hooper at the helm and a producer said this movie would be Hooper’s attempt to “recapture the fright” of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Having directed 1976’s Eaten Alive, Hooper already had experience with killer crocodiles, so I was confident that this would be awesome. But it’s not so much. Instead of being something along the lines of TCM or Eaten Alive, Hooper’s Crocodile is about on the same level as the average “nature run amok” creature feature you can catch on Syfy. A group of obnoxious youths plan to spend their Spring Break partying on a houseboat on a lake in California, but wind up becoming a hot lunch for a crocodile that has been lurking around the area for almost a hundred years. Crocodile is one to watch simply because Tobe Hooper directed it, but don’t expect to get much out of it.

2001 MANIACS (2005)

Back in 1964, Herschell Gordon Lewis brought us the gore classic Two Thousand Maniacs!, which was set in the Southern town of Pleasant Valley, where Union soldiers massacred all two thousand residents near the end of the Civil War. One hundred years later, the ghosts of those residents get their revenge on a bunch of Yankee tourists, killing them one-by-one during their centennial celebration. In 2005, director Tim Sullivan took us back to Pleasant Valley for 2001 Maniacs, about another group of Yankees being murdered during the town’s Guts and Glory Jubilee (which happens to coincide with Spring Break). Updated for the modern age, 2001 Maniacs features a more diverse cast and a potentially offensive sense of humor, plus genre icons Robert Englund and Lin Shaye in prominent roles. I don’t like this movie nearly as much as I like Two Thousand Maniacs!, but it’s a fine return to the concept.

spring break horror movies 3SHALLOW GRAVE (1987)

Probably the most obscure movie on this list, director Richard Styles’ 1987 horror thriller Shallow Grave follows four Catholic schoolgirls on a road trip from Virginia to the popular Spring Break destination of Fort Lauderdale. Unfortunately, the girls have the bad luck of getting a flat tire in the small town of Medley, Georgia, and before they can fix the problem and get out there one of them has witnessed a murder. Even worse: the killer was the local sheriff, who does everything in his power to make sure these girls won’t be able to get him in trouble. Shallow Grave has some bad acting and bad dialogue, and the story plays out in a way that some viewers may find unsatisfying, but it’s an engaging, occasionally disturbing, occasionally baffling film that’s worth checking out if you can find it. And if you can watch it without getting the song “Waitress” stuck in your head, you’re stronger than I am.

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An Italian production filmed in Florida, Nightmare Beach is so dedicated to mixing murder and Spring Break shenanigans that an alternative title for the film is Welcome to Spring Break. Directed either by Umberto Lenzi or screenwriter James Justice, a.k.a. Harry Kirkpatrick (there’s conflicting stories about who was really calling the shots), the film is set in a beach community where a member of a biker gang is executed for murder right before Spring Break begins. Soon enough, a biker who has turned the pillion on their motorcycle into an electric chair is riding around town, picking off Spring Breakers. Between murders, we see Spring Break activities like a wet T-shirt contest, shark fin pranks, and vacation prostitution. We also get to see legendary actors John Saxon as the Chief of Police and Michael Parks as the coroner. This is a fun ’80s slasher that deserves to be more popular with fans of the sub-genre.

spring break horror movies 5THERE’S NOTHING OUT THERE (1991)

It’s Spring Break and six teenagers have decided to spend their vacation at a cabin in the woods, where they end up getting picked off one-by-one. That set-up is as cliché as it gets, and that’s the point. With There’s Nothing Out There, first-time director Rolfe Kanefsky (who was only 20 when he made this movie) was having fun with the horror clichés long before the likes of Scream and The Cabin in the Woods did the same. One of the teens is an obsessive horror fan who has seen all the same movies the viewer has, so he knows there’s something going wrong long before his friends catch on. He sees the warning signs, he knows there’s something bad coming his way. You might expect Kanefsky to unleash a slasher on these characters, but the threat in There’s Nothing Out There is a bit less cliché than that: it’s a small alien creature that can control people’s minds with the green light that shines from its eyes.

spring break horror movies 6PIRANHA 3D (2010)

Some may call Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D a loose remake of Joe Dante’s 1978 classic Piranha, but Aja actually considers it to be “just another piranha movie”, and it really is. It might as well be called Piranha 3. Regardless, what Piranha 3D definitely is, more than any other movie on this list, is a joyous celebration of Spring Break debauchery and one of the very best horror movies of the subgenre. A legion of college students have invaded Lake Victoria, Arizona for some intense partying, and Aja was so interested in showing off the bodies of these revelers that he cast at least three porn stars to provide some of the film’s abundant nudity. Eli Roth hosts a wet T-shirt contest. The lead characters find themselves doing body shots on a boat with pornographers shooting a “Wild Wild Girls” video. And then prehistoric piranha that an earthquake has released from a subterranean lake show up to ruin the good times and make a bloody mess of people.

CRITTERS 2 (1988)

This may seem like a cheat, since the term “Spring Break” is not spoken once in Critters 2, but the movie is set around Easter, and Spring Break often coincides with the Easter holiday. In fact, the Wikipedia page for “Spring Break” says it’s also known as “Easter Vacation”, and that term is used in Critters 2. So I’m sticking with it. If you enjoyed the first Critters, Mick Garris and David Twohy deliver more voracious alien entertainment with this one, which begins when a church unwittingly purchases a batch of leftover Crite eggs for their annual Easter egg hunt. The eggs start hatching, the Critters are back, and it’s up to a group of fun, likeable characters – including a couple of shapeshifting bounty hunters – to save the town of Grover’s Bend, Kansas from being destroyed by these pests. Critters 2 is a sequel done right, taking everything that was great about the first movie and cranking it up to another level.

Club Dread Broken LizardCLUB DREAD (2004)

The Broken Lizard comedy troupe (consisting of Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske) garnered a lot of praise for their 2001 breakthrough comedy Super Troopers, and I’ll always appreciate that they decided to follow that up with the slasher horror comedy Club Dread. The decision didn’t work out for them financially, but it resulted in an awesome movie. Bill Paxton stars as Coconut Pete, a Jimmy Buffett-type musician who runs the Pleasure Island resort, a major Spring Break destination. Unfortunately, the alcohol-and-sex-fueled good times on Pleasure Island are now being disrupted by a masked, machete-wielding maniac with a vendetta against the staff members. At its core, Club Dread tells a very typical slasher story, but it surrounds the slashing and chase sequences with hilarious comedy. Super Troopers remains Broken Lizard’s most popular movie, but Club Dread is my favorite.

April Fool's Day Fred Walton Clayton Rohner Deborah Foreman Amy Steel Deborah GoodrichAPRIL FOOL’S DAY (1986)

One of my all-time favorite films happens to be among these Spring Break horror movies. That’s director Fred Walton’s 1986 classic April Fool’s Day, a very clever twist on the slasher sub-genre. It’s Spring Break and a group of college students brought to life by an incredible cast (Amy Steel, Clayton Rohner, Deborah Goodrich, Thomas F. Wilson, Ken Olandt, Griffin O’Neal, Leah Pinsent, Jay Baker) have been invited to spend the weekend at the private island mansion of their friend Muffy (Deborah Foreman, also incredible). It’s the first weekend in April, so a lot of April Fool pranks ensue… but then things get creepy and strange. Muffy isn’t acting like herself, members of the group keep disappearing, and there’s evidence of murder. Featuring a bunch of likeable characters and a great sense of humor, April Fool’s Day is highly entertaining, with an ending that seems to be the dividing line on whether or not people have a positive outlook on the movie. I love it.

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.