Lights … camera … disaster!
When a bad vacation happens to you it feels like the end of the world, but when it happens to someone else? That’s just quality entertainment.
Maybe that’s why so many movies (and horror movies in particular) take place on vacation. Because when all you want to do is relax and have fun, nothing shatters your sense of peace quite like being hunted by a pack of velociraptors or summoning an ancient undead evil.
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It’s all business and existential crises for the adults visiting the still under construction dinosaur theme park, but for towheaded moppets Tim and Lex, this was supposed to be a fun visit with grandpa. As it turns out, defying God and/or evolution doesn’t go so well. The kids consequently spend their vacation being attacked by a tyrannosaurus rex, getting electrocuted, and fleeing velociraptors. Next time, just take the grandkids to Disney World. (Or maybe not … see number 9 on this list.)
The River Wild
Normally, going white water rafting with Kevin Bacon would be a delight. But it becomes decidedly less fun when it turns out he’s a violent criminal and holds you at gun point in order to navigate deadly waters because you just so happen to be one of three people to have done so and lived.
The River Wild also has the distinction of perhaps being the most 1990s movie ever. Not only do we have one protagonist with an improbable job (Meryl Streep’s white water rafting expert) but a second protagonist with the apex of 90s movie jobs (architect) who’s also a workaholic dad that doesn’t make enough time for his family. Couldn’t be more 90s if you tried.
Nothing puts a damper on a family ski trip quite like the realization that the patriarch’s first instinct is to leave his wife and children to die. Believing a controlled avalanche to be the real thing, Tomas flees rather than help the rest of the family to safety. What follows is a vacation so authentically tense and awkward you’ll swear it’s a documentary of the car ride home with your family after the Cheesecake Factory incident everyone agreed to pretend never happened.
Speed 2: Cruise Control
After all she went through in the first Speed, Sandra Bullock has earned the right to a relaxing, Caribbean getaway. Alas, it is not to be thanks to a disgruntled former cruise line employee taking it upon himself to redirect the ship straight into an oil tanker. If they ever make a Speed 3 it should just be 90 minutes of Sandra Bullock floating in the middle of an infinity pool on a seashell shaped raft while she sips on a couple of mojitos. Give this lady a break from these out-of-control modes of transportation!
Evil Dead 2
It’s always interesting to see what the proprietors of your vacation rental have stocked the bookshelves with. Unfortunately for Ash and Linda, the previous owner’s reading material was far more sinister than a stack of James Patterson paperbacks. They find Necronomicon Ex Mortis … so, not exactly a beach read. When a recording of one of the book’s demonic incantations is played, all hell breaks loose. Literally. What was supposed to be a romantic getaway quickly turns into a slapstick struggle to survive the evil forces of the undead.
In the distant future of 1983, patrons of the Westworld theme park are able to murder and partake in all manner of odious wild west themed activities thanks to the fact that the park is populated by robots that can’t fight back. It’s hard to feel too sorry for the ne’er do wells who couldn’t think of something better to do with $1,000 a day than haranguing a bunch of androids in cowboy hats.
The Poseidon Adventure
When the S.S. Poseidon cruise ship capsizes in the middle of the Mediterranean, the surviving passengers must climb their way to the top of the upside down vessel. The group of survivors is thinned out via death by falling, death by heart attack, and death by drowning. Death is having a field day in this movie. Still, beats being stuck on a poop cruise.
My Father the Hero
Of all the scenarios that make for a terrible vacation (dinosaurs run amok, killer androids, trapped in a cabin with deadites) the incest-heavy premise of My Father the Hero is by perhaps the most sneakily upsetting. In order to make a boy jealous, a literal teenager lies that her father is her “lover” and then her father goes along with it. Much to everyone’s dismay, hijinks, not ongoing family therapy sessions, ensue.
Escape from Tomorrow
Depending on your point of view, it doesn’t take much to take the so-called Happiest Place on Earth and turn it into a tale of horror. But the makers of this indie surrealist horror flick really worked overtime to bring their twisted vision of Disney World to the screen. The cast and crew literally had to employ guerilla tactics in order to covertly film on location at the park in order to avoid the famously litigious gaze of Big Mouse. What resulted is a warped tale of a family that falls prey to the secret and perverse powers that make that Small World go round.
Are there more gruesome movie endings than being turned into vegetable mush? Or a tree? Or drowning in an RV full of popcorn? Certainly! But there’s something about the bizarre indignities that befall the tourists that visit the goblin infested town of Nilbog that makes it feel so much worse than if they’d just been attacked by a pack of velociraptors or killer androids.