Typically, one associates July 4th with the bright lights of fireworks displays and the festive celebration of independence, freedom, and silly looking top hats. Around the clubhouse, however, we're more interested in what lies in the dark shadows beneath the glowing sky of neon... what fiends who wait in the cover of night for that last explosion to flicker away, what genetic mutations lurk beneath the concrete bunkers of top secret government laboratories recently set loose upon an unsuspecting world.
In celebration of this glorious long weekend away from work, I've decided to share a few ways to kick off this July 4th the only way a Strange Kid knows how: with 5 horror films filled with all sorts of psychos, slashers and sea monsters of course! So break out that styrofoam cooler full of Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) next to the lawn chair, plug in the portable DVD player and snuggle up to some tasty spareribs because we're about to paint the clubhouse red, white and blue (but mostly red)!
|#5 Jaws (1975)|
As much as I love Jaws (scared me away from water for a whole summer), its definitely a slow burn. The bright side is that it'll give you plenty of time to pace yourself with those PBRs in preparation for the Independence Day horrors that lie ahead. I also think (correct me if I'm wrong) that its one of the first horror films to take place on July 4th.
|#4 I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)|
Next up is what I like to think of as the death knell of 90s Hollywood horror cinema. A group of over-anxious teenagers inadvertently kill a man on their way to celebrate the 4th of July at some beach house only to have him mysteriously "return" for murderous vengeance. Sit back, relax, and watch a bunch of teeny-bopper television stars systematically turn on one another until they're all dead or injured. It's classic slasher fare with none of the gore, but all of the Hollywood glare.
|#3 Cape Fear (1991)|
More suspenseful than most of the films on this list, that doesn't make Cape Fear any less scary thanks to some intelligent direction by Martin Scorsese and the ever twisted Robert DeNiro. At this point you should have enough of a buzz to be on edge and paranoid, making DeNiro's portrayal of a stalkish psychopath all the more intense.
|#2 Killed on the Fourth of July (2010)|
Although its still in post-production according to IMDb, this directorial debut by J.D. Lifshitz promises to be an impressively solid first effort by the young 17 year old (yes, he's ONLY 17). Watching the trailer is also the perfect segue to the #1 fear filled fireworks display...
|#1 Uncle Sam (1997)|
So silly, that there's no way you can take it seriously and (to be honest) by this point you won't care. Uncle Sam follows a military vet from Desert Storm who rises from his grave to kill each and every one of the unpatriotic sons of b*tches that live in his hometown. Now if that ain't the American Spirit, I don't know what is. Full of campy, direct to DVD humor and cheesy special effects Uncle Sam is a film that will make you laugh... it'll even make you cry... it might even leave you a little confused.
|BONUS The Tripper (2007)|
Even though it doesn't 'technically' take place on July 4th, The Tripper does have patriotic undertones, so not including it on this list would be a crime. Plus, its actually pretty freaking hilarious to watch after you've drunken your way through the first 5 films on the list. God bless Amer'ca ya'll.