Best "Back-to-School" Horror Movies

It’s that wonderful time of year where parents send their precious little angels back to school to fill their heads with whatever nuggets of info the Board of Education has deemed appropriate. To celebrate, I bring you a list of school-related horror to fill your kid-free hours during the day.

Detention (2011)

Director: Joseph Kahn | Writers: Joseph Kahn, Mark Palermo | Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Shaley Caswell, Spencer Locke, Dane Cook (ikr?!)

An entertaining horror-comedy about a group of highschoolers who find themselves being terrorized by "Cinderhella", a killer named after a character from a popular horror movie. I happen to be a particular fan of these meta/self-referential horror-comedies and this one is funny, clever, and rather underrated, if I do say so myself.

The Faculty (1998)

Director: Robert Rodriguez | Writers: David Wechter (story), Bruce Kimmel (story), Kevin Williamson (screenplay) | Stars: Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris, Josh Hartnett, Shawn Hatosy, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Piper Laurie, Christopher McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth, Robert Patrick, Usher, Jon Stewart, Elijah Wood, Daniel von Bargen, Summer Phoenix, Danny Masterson, Louis Black

Ok, so did you read that cast list?! Not only is this movie an entertaining and exciting piece of scifi-horror, but it has an impressively solid list of names. Granted, there are the typical “90’s movie” names (I’m talking to you, Josh Hartnett & Shawn Hatosy!), but you’re also lucky enough to see the likes of Robert Patrick & Famke Janssen. Shit, even Usher makes an appearance. If you’ve never seen this, do yourself a favor and give it a watch. You’ll learn how to defeat aliens with drugs - a lesson you probably weren’t taught in school.

Battle Royal (2000)

Director: Kinji Fukasaku | Writers: Koushun Takami (novel), Kenta Fukasaku (screenplay) | Stars: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto

Most horror fans are familiar with this dystopian novel & film, set in a future Japan. In this future, the Japanese government captures a group of unwilling high school students and forces them to fight to the death - all under the guise of the government's “revolutionary” Battle Royal act. The result is a bloody and vicious fight for survival - and you thought your high school years were tough.

Cooties (2014)

Directors: Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion | Writers: Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan | Stars: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad, Jorge Garcia

Listen...people love seeing kids turn into little monsters and start running around, offing all the adults -- It’s a perfect setup for a dark comedy! So when a mysterious “cooties” virus hits an elementary school, the sweet, innocent little schoolchildren are transformed into feral, flesh-eating savages. Watching the remaining teachers attempt to work together to fight off hordes of snarling students is as entertaining as it is hilarious.

Check out The Bloodlust's review of Cooties here.

Carrie (1976)

Director: Brian De Palma | Writers: Stephen King (novel), Lawrence D. Cohen (screenplay) | Stars: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving

I shouldn’t even have to explain this movie to you. If you’re a fan of horror (or of movies, in general), you’ve seen the original Carrie. You know exactly what scene is being referenced should you ever hear a group of highschool girls start to chant, “Plug it up! Plug it up!” This is one of those iconic horror films you watched when you were in your early teens and already had an ever-growing list of things to be afraid of. Puberty is no picnic, and when you add a religious, domineering mother and newfound telekinetic powers to the mix, it’s no wonder Carrie lost her cool.

Prom Night (1980)

Director: Paul Lynch | Writers: William Gray (screenplay), Robert Guza Jr. (story) | Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Stevens

This movie has a perfect setup for a successful slasher: a terrifying, masked killer, upset about the accidental death of a young girl, stalks the four high school students who have been hiding this secret for years. It basically writes itself! Fans of the slasher-themed horror probably have this movie permanently placed in their movie canon. It’s really one of the classics that seems to get better (and cheesier) with age.

Scream (1996)

Director: Wes Craven | Writer: Kevin Williamson | Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Jamie Kennedy, Drew Barrymore

“What’s your favorite scary movie?” We’re all very familiar with this 90’s horror favorite from the master, Wes Craven. How could a person not be familiar with it? It did, after all, spawn a series of sequels, a series of parodies, numerous quotable lines, and was meta before being meta was cool. Granted, it wasn’t the first piece of metacinema in the horror genre - it wasn’t even the first for Wes Craven (check out Wes Craven’s New Nightmare)! However, just because it wasn’t the first, doesn’t mean that it didn’t significantly help pave the way for films like Cabin in the Woods and Final Girl. As a fan of the meta-style of film, Scream will always have a place in my lists.

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Director: Peter Weir | Writers: Joan Lindsay (novel), Cliff Green (screenplay) | Stars: Rachel Roberts, Anne-Louise Lambert, Vivean Gray

A teacher and group of students from an Australian girls’ school, vanish without a trace while out on a excursion to Hanging Rock. Personally, I’m a fan of the horror-mystery movies involving people or groups that go missing and the search for clues, etc. etc. They generally have just enough of that “true crime” touch to get me really interested. If you like this movie and others of a similar ilk, I recommend checking out Yellow Brick Road.

Suspiria (1977)

Director: Dario Argento | Writers: Dario Argento (screenplay), Daria Nicolodi (screenplay) | Stars: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci

This stylish Argento classic is an absolute must-see for fans of horror. In fact, if you haven’t seen it, stop reading immediately and go watch it. Everything from the music, to the colors, to the setting is all expertly used to create a seriously unsettling atmosphere. The story is a simple one: a dancer arrives at an elite German ballet school only to discover it’s actually being run by witches who will kill anyone who threatens them. That’s it. It’s a perfect example of how a good director can make a gorgeous, yet, unnerving horror film without relying heavily on plot.

The Awakening (2011)

Director: Nick Murphy | Writers: Stephen Volk (screenplay), Nick Murphy (screenplay) | Stars: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton

This is one of those movies that doesn’t seem to get talked about much and I find that to be a shame. Set in 1920’s post-war England, paranormal activity debunker, Florence, heads to an appropriately creepy boarding school to investigate the sightings of a ghostly child. Ghosts have been used as fodder for horror movies since about forever and, because of this, many (if not most) ghost movies are complete shit. The Awakening, however, is a much-appreciated exception. I’m still a bit creeped out by a particular scene involving a dollhouse...

Suicide Club (2001)

Director: Sion Sono | Writer: Sion Sono | Stars: Ryo Ishibashi, Masatoshi Nagase, Mai Hosho

High school can really be a rough time for some kids. I mean, puberty is hitting most people (some harder than others), hormones are all over the place, the desire to fit in and belong is a constant presence...the list goes on. However, regardless of how bad your high school experience may have been, chances are 54 of your fellow students didn’t throw themselves in front of a train, sparking a string of student suicides across the country. Welcome to Suicide Club.

The Blackcoat's Daughter / aka February (2015)

Director: Osgood Perkins | Writer: Osgood Perkins | Stars: Emma Roberts, Lauren Holly, Kiernan Shipka

I’ll be honest, I have yet to see this one. However, since it’s on my “to watch” list, I’m adding it to the list. If you are familiar with Osgood Perkins (or Oz Perkins), you’ll know that his movie background isn’t exactly filled with horror titles. In fact, the two movies I recognized him from are Not Another Teen Movie and Legally Blonde. All that aside, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a horror-thriller about two girls, who get left behind at boarding school and must deal with some mysterious evil force. If that’s the sort of storyline that does it for you, this may be a movie you’ll want to check out.

The Substitute (2007)

Director: Ole Bornedal | Writers: Ole Bornedal (screenplay), Henrik Prip (screenplay) | Stars: Paprika Steen, Ulrich Thomsen, Jonas Wandschneider

Our favorite token dude, Eddie, puts this movie in his favorite subgenre of “kids knowing something up but the adults don’t believe them.” It’s similar to The Faculty in that the kids are convinced their teacher is actually an alien. If you ask me, there should be more alien-related horror because I seem to dig most of the ones I’ve seen. This is a fun horror movie that has as many funny parts as it does creepy - there’s a particular scene where the teacher reads the kids’ minds that’s particularly great. A great watch if you’re with a group of friends!

Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments!