Temperatures may still exceed 70 degrees in some dimensions of the Screaming Soup Universe, but regardless of your climate, Labor Day signals the official end of summer. If you survived, say farewell to Camp Crystal Lake. Fireworks may still sparkle at Camp Stillwater, but don’t let the hypnotic Tony Todd draw you back into the Dead of Summer.

It’s even time for band campers to put down the flute, because the timeline of slasher cinema is marching on. As sure as leaves change and pom poms shake, nubile students will hit the books—and the sheets—and you can bet your Trapper Keeper their killers are ready for the Blood Bowl.

Have you not been training for it? There are just a few weeks left until October! My inner cheerleader is screaming:

Give a cheer, Give a yell
Don’t let Freddy drag you to hell

Get off the bus with the grim reaper
Or you’ll be ripped through the roof like part two of Jeepers Creepers

Playing on the phone, just you and your apps
Better watch your ass if Ginger Snaps

You’re on your board, paddling through The Shallows,
But school is starting, and they’re hanging from The Gallows

It’s not Christmas time, don’t be looking for Krampus
Watch Scream 2 to see Buffy on campus

If you’re still lost and don’t have a clue
Go back to college with Fright Night 2

Homecoming is here, can’t you see?
If you’re failing, get help from The Faculty

Is the horror playing in your head on a loop?
Focus . . . study with Screaming Soup!

You’re not alone; have no fear
Teen Wolf Growl: GIVE ME SOME BEER

Sunscreen can’t save you—you’ve already seen
Get ready, start training for Halloween!

Now that we have that out of our systems, let’s do our homework and list some of the silliest and most salient movies to view in early fall. They’re listed in the suggested order for a weekend binge.

poster01A Nightmare on Elm Street

The 1984 classic that did for teen dreams what Jaws did for water; my nightmares still include Tina being dragged down the hallway of her high school in a body bag.


poster04Scream 2

The second part of a movie franchise is often my favorite, as I’m already fully invested and feeling like somewhat of an insider. This one has a college campus, a school play, and Sarah Michelle Gellar, who fails to slay Ghostface.


poster02Jeepers Creepers 2

The Creeper terrorizes a bunch of high school students on their way home from an athletic event, making their bus his own personal can of potted meat.



poster06Ginger Snaps

Some lovers of lycanthropes were not thrilled by this genre-adjacent oddity, but it’s a dark, riveting drama about two sisters who are already outcasts when one of them is bitten. Katharine Isobel Murray has that rare combination of vulnerability and depth that should earn her a top spot in the horror hall of fame. Warning: This one is a mood crasher; viewers are advised to temper with lighter fare when back-to-school binging.

poster07Fright Night Part 2 

This comedic horror flick could restore your school spirit, as Charley Brewster goes to college but still can’t escape vampires. Traci Lind is a welcome addition to the cast of characters as Charley’s girlfriend, the beautiful and brainy Alex.


poster08The Gallows 

Now, bring it back down with a 2015 film about a bunch of high school students and a school production gone wrong. They end up trapped in the school all night, and let’s just say a noose makes for a surprisingly creepy supernatural murder weapon.


poster05The Faculty

Going old school . . . all the way back to 1998, you’ll never get tired of Elijah Wood and his distorted brat pack as they attempt to identify the alien among them. They’re willing to do anything to prove they’re not it—including snort drugs through a straw with Josh Hartnett. There’s a wild scene when the alien is outed. The actress playing her goes from looking like angelic Carol Anne from Poltergeist to a world-eating sea creature in the high school pool. This movie may also lead to your avoiding Famke Janssen’s head for the rest of your movie-going days. The best part is the Back to the Future style ending in which the world is righted by our young heroes’ bravery.

poster03Teen Wolf 

Okay, so it’s not a horror movie—but Michael J. Fox, car surfing, and a werewolf playing basketball and dancing . . .



poster09Prom Night 

Let’s get serious again. Prom Night (1980) is one of my all-time favorites. I include it in this list because the atmosphere is more like a fall/homecoming dance than a spring formal—and this movie is classic slasher fantastic! Everyone is jealous of the beautiful and popular Kim Hammond, played by the queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis, who gives us a dauntless, disco dancing performance. I like to think Kim is the person Laurie Strode had inside her all along. There’s sex, family drama, a great cast, and a mystery that makes perfect sense in the end. Think Carrie without the supernatural mass murder and enjoy!

ymov3Most Likely to Die

We started with a classic and skipped around in time, touching many subgenres and levels of young adult angst. Now, let’s end with a little gem you may not have seen from 2015. Heather Morris—yep, the airhead from Glee—proves to be a capable leading lady and last girl in this film about a group of people who gather for the weekend just prior to their 10th high school reunion. The story, the kills, and the interpersonal drama are way above average, and PS – Jake Busey is there.

Obviously, there were countless honorable mentions and films that were just as worthy, so forgive a ghostly girl if she didn’t pick your favorites. Our goal is to add a favorite to our personal list every year, so please comment here or send your suggestions via Twitter @ScreamWithMandy . . .

Study hard, Scream Freaks!

For extra points, visit my Pinterest folder, “Beauties from the Back-to-School Binge,” to enjoy some pictures of the lovely actresses from the horrific titles listed above!


Follow me on Twitter! @ScreamWithMandy!

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