Summer camps are the pinnacle of many childhood memories. It’s often the first time you’re away from your parents, creating a sense of freedom that you yearn for the rest of the year. Friendships are built, crushes develop, and many lifelong lessons are forged. But being in a remote location, often in the middle of the woods, can be a recipe for disaster. These twelve horror movies reveal why it’s important to pack all the essentials just in case you end up in one of the worst summer camps ever.
Camp Crystal Lake — Friday the 13th (1980)
Crystal Lake must have one heck of a view because no matter how many people are violently murdered there, everyone is determined to reopen what has to be the worst summer camp ever. Maybe it provided hours of death-free enjoyment prior to poor little Jason Vorhees drowning in 1957, but it’s time to let those memories go. Seriously.
Camp Bloodbath — The Final Girls (2015)
Camp Bloodbath was supposed to be a fictional place. But when disaster strikes the theater at a special viewing, the only way out is through the screen—literally. Too bad being armed with extensive movie horror knowledge isn’t enough to save these kids from the fictional horrors that earned the camp its name.
Camp Nightwing — Fear Street Part Two: 1978 (2021)
The owners of Camp Nightwing could have avoided a lot of gruesome murders if they had done a little research prior to opening. Deals with devils and nefarious witchcraft might seem awesome as campfire stories but living those legends in real-time isn’t a recommended summertime activity for your kids. They might just find themselves facing killers of murders past and even time-traveling. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Camp Placid Pines — Bloody Murder (2000)
Okay we admit the worst thing about this summer camp might be trying to understand who the killer is and why. But there is a lot of murder and finding out that most of your camp counselors died violent deaths while you were sleeping can’t be good for the kids. All we’re saying is, if someone died at your summer camp, maybe be careful what stories you tell around the campfire because they might come true.
Cheer Camp — Spirit Camp (2009)
In this unnamed cheerleader camp, your teens will learn how to utilize synchronized screams as a weapon and boost their escape a serial killer cardio by executing a flawless dance routine. If they’d asked, we would have told the owners that building a camp in the middle of nowhere with a prison nearby was a bad idea, but they didn’t. And now we get a summer camp movie that puts the campy back in horror, which feels like a win for all of us.
Happy Day Bible Camp — Bloody Bloody Bible Camp (2012)
We know. You were thinking of all the camps, bible camp has to be safe, right? Wrong. When Sister Mary Chopper decides the only way to deal with sin is through murder, the camp earns the Bloody Bloody nickname. Seven years later, a priest takes a new group to the camp for healing and relaxation. But Sister Chopper isn’t done. Come for the Catholic school jokes, stay for the near-death experiences.
Camp Paradise — Twisted Nightmare (1987)
We all know that when you put a group of kids together with dubious adult supervision, things can get out of control. Combine that with an ancient curse, and well, you get barns exploding and mysterious deaths following. Of course, if we got an unexplained letter inviting us back to this camp only two years after one of these strange deaths, we probably wouldn’t go. But that’s just us.
Center Stage Summer Camp — Stage Fright (2014)
When in doubt, sing it out. That may not be the official motto at Center Stage, but considering it’s for the theatre kids, we’re pretty sure that’s their general rule of thumb. And we’ll admit. Music does make murders…happier? But we’d also advise that if your mom was killed on opening night performing a musical, maybe don’t sign up to perform the same role for the same musical unless you want the killer to come back.
Unknown Camp — Summer Camp (2015)
It turns out, these murderous plagues aren’t just an American thing. They happen in Europe too! When a remote camp in Spain is renovated, four Americans sign up to be counselors. But strange things happen in the jungle, like rage-inducing viruses that turn their victims into mindless flesh-eating zombies. It’s a fun and terrifying twist to make a virus the killer. There’s no cure, so we’re not sure the camp will reopen in the future, but because the effects of the virus eventually wear off, maybe they’ll just make it part of a new extreme outdoor adventure course.
Unnamed camp — Madman (1982)
There’s no better place to share urban legends than around a campfire in the middle of the woods. But if a camp counselor tells you not to say the name of a dead killer because they’ll wake up and kill you, we’d strongly advise you listen. Of course, that means one of the kids will think the rules don’t apply to them and say the name anyway. We know kids are often hands-on learners, but honestly, maybe teach them not to test fate before sending them into the wilds if you want them to come back alive.
Cheer Camp — Cheerleader Camp (1988)
Some girls will do anything to win. It’s a good lesson to keep in mind while attending a camp with a competitive edge. When several cheerleading teams, including their mascots, head to camp to compete for the ultimate cheerleader championship, the rivalry goes a bit extreme. There are a lot of healthy ways to handle the competition. Murdering your rivals and blaming your frenemy best friend isn’t one of them, but we guess it’s effective.
Camp Blackfoot & Camp Stonewater — The Burning (1981)
There are many childhood rituals at summer camps and vying for prank supremacy is one of them. But kids should be aware that when their pranks go wrong, they can have deadly consequences. That’s what happened to the caretaker Crosby at Camp Blackfoot. And when he’s released from the hospital five years later, he takes his gardening shears and prunes his revenge on the campers at nearby Camp Stonewater.