Welcome to our definitive and always up-to-date list of Independence Day (July 4th) horror movies. To date, we’ve identified a total of sixteen (16) feature films in the horror genre that take place on the 4th of July. We’ve listed the movies in order of their release, from the oldest to the most recent, along with why they’re on the list, trailers, credits, and handy IMDb links:
First up is the 1972 creature feature Frogs. The film made the list because it’s partially set during the fourth of July, which is also the main antagonist’s birthday.
Frogs was directed by George McCowan, written by Robert Hutchison & Robert Blees, and stars Ray Milland, Sam Elliott, Joan Van Ark, Adam Roarke, Judy Pace, Lynn Borden, Mae Mercer, David Gilliam, and Nicholas Cortland.
Jason Crockett (Ray Milland) is an aging, physically disabled millionaire who invites his family to his island estate for his birthday party. The old man is more than crotchety… he’s crazy! Hating nature, Crockett poisons anything that crawls on his property. But on the night of his shindig, it’s nature’s payback time, as thousands of frogs whip up every bug and slimy thing into a toxic frenzy until the entire environment goes environ-mental.
1976’s original killer shark movie Jaws also made the list because it’s partially set during the July 4th holiday.
Jaws was directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Peter Benchley & Carl Gottlieb, and stars Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, and Murray Hamilton.
When the seaside community of Amity finds itself under attack by a dangerous great white shark, the town’s chief of police (Roy Scheider), a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) embark on a desperate quest to destroy the beast before it strikes again.
The Return of the Living Dead
1985’s classic zombie film The Return of the Living Dead actually takes place on Independence Day 1984.
The Return of the Living Dead was directed by Dan O’Bannon, written by O’Bannon, Rudy Ricci, John A. Russo, and Russell Streiner, and stars Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, John Philbin, Jewel Shepard, Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Brian Peck, Linnea Quigley, and Mark Venturini.
On his first day on the job at a medical supply warehouse, poor Freddy (Thom Mathews) unwittingly releases toxic gas from a secret U.S. military canister, unleashing an unbelievable terror. The gas reanimates an army of corpses, who arise from their graves with a ravenous hunger… for human brains! And luckily for those carnivorous cadavers, there is a group of partying teens nearby, just waiting to be eaten!
Dino De Laurentis’ 1985 werewolf movie Silver Bullet made the list because it’s partially set during a fourth of July celebration.
Silver Bullet was directed by Daniel Attias, written by Stephen King, and stars Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Corey Haim, Megan Follows, Robin Groves, Leon Russom, and Terry O’Quinn.
When a series of unexplained murders occurs in the normally quiet town of Tarker’s Mill, the residents decide to hunt down the killer. Many of these vigilantes end up dead, and those who don’t are no closer to finding the assailant. But, when a young wheelchair-using boy named Marty (Corey Haim) encounters a werewolf one night, the pieces begin to come together. Along with his sister and Uncle Red (Gary Busey), Marty begins a mission to capture the werewolf once and for all.
1996’s cheesy patriotic slasher Uncle Sam is perhaps one of the most recognizable Independence Day (July 4th) horror movies to date.
Uncle Sam was directed by William Lustig, written by Larry Cohen, and stars William Smith, David Fralick, Christopher Ogden, Leslie Neale, Bo Hopkins, Matthew Flint, Anne Tremko, Isaac Hayes, Timothy Bottoms, Tim Grimm, and P.J. Soles.
It’s Fourth Of July Weekend, and the recently discovered corpse of Sgt. Sam Harper – killed by friendly fire during the first Gulf War – is returned to his all-American hometown. But when Sam rises from the dead to punish the unpatriotic, only his young nephew and a bitter Korean War veteran (Isaac Hayes) can stop his red-blooded rampage. Draft dodgers, tax cheats, crooked politicians and flag-burners beware: Uncle Sam wants you… dead!
I Know What You Did Last Summer
While most people don’t know it, 1997’s teen slasher I Know What You Did Last Summer is one of the most popular Independence Day (July 4th) horror movies.
The slasher was directed by Jim Gillespie, written by Lois Duncan (novel) & Kevin Williamson, and stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr., Muse Watson, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Anne Heche, and Johnny Galecki.
After an accident on a winding road, four teens make the fatal mistake of dumping theirvictim’s body into the sea. But exactly one year later, the dead man returns from his watery grave,and he’s looking for more than an apology.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
In fact, the entire franchise is set on July 4th, including 1998’s I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer was directed by Danny Cannon, written by Lois Duncan (characters) & Trey Callaway, and stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Brandy Norwood, Mekhi Phifer, Muse Watson, Bill Cobbs, Matthew Settle, Jeffrey Combs, Jennifer Esposito, John Hawkes, and Jack Black.
Remember Ben Willis? He’s the fisherman who killed the boy who was driving the car when it went off the road in the fatal accident that killed his daughter Sara… he’s the man in the slicker with a hook in his hand ready to exact bloody justice… well, he’s back. It’s hard to forget a man who refuses to die.
2003’s low-budget sea creature feature Aquanoids made the list because it’s set during the July fourth weekend.
Aquanoids was directed by Reinhart ‘Rayteam’ Peschke, written by Mark J. Gordon & Eric Spudic, and stars Laura Nativo, Rhoda Jordan, Edwin Craig, Ike Gingrich, and Laurence Hobbs.
On a small island off the California coast it’s the Fourth of July and tourists are washing up dead, mysterious sea creatures called Aquanoids were responsible for 17 vicious deaths. Join environmental activist Vanessa DuMont as her fight to save the endangered abalone turns into a fight of her life. Will she save the island from the latest Aquanoid attacks?
I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer
2006’s straight-to-video slasher sequel I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer was also set during July 4th.
I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer was directed by Sylvain White, written by Lois Duncan (characters) & Michael D. Weiss, and stars Brooke Nevin, David Paetkau, Torrey DeVitto, Ben Easter, Seth Packard, K.C. Clyde, Clayton Taylor, and Michael Flynn.
a seemingly harmless Fourth of July prank that ends in the unexpected death of a friend of four teens from Broken Ridge, Colorado. The friends make a pact to keep the death a secret from the authorities, despite one’s desperate protest. Over the course of the following year, the four teens find their friendships horribly strained from keeping the secret. As the next Fourth of July approaches, the four teens all find themselves being victimized by a mysterious menace. The friends try to survive and figure out the identity of their tormentor before they end up dead themselves.
The 2012 found footage killer virus flick The Bay made the list because it’s set on July 4th.
The Bay was directed by Barry Levinson, written by Levinson & Michael Wallach, and stars Nansi Aluka, Christopher Denham, Stephen Kunken, Frank Deal, Kether Donohue, Kristen Connolly, and Will Rogers.
Chaos breaks out in a small Maryland town after an ecological disaster occurs.
Jersey Shore Shark Attack
2012’s comedic sea creature feature Jersey Shore Shark Attack is set during the July 4th weekend.
Jersey Shore Shark Attack was directed by John Shepphird, written by Jeffrey Schenck, Peter Sullivan, Michael Ciminera, Richard Gnolfo, and Scott Salter, and stars Jack Scalia, Jeremy Luke, Joseph Russo, Daniel Booko, Melissa Molinaro, Alex Mauriello, Audi Resendez, Tony Sirico, Grant Harvey, Dylan Vox, Ben Giroux, Gabrielle Christian, William Atherton, Paul Sorvino, and Joey Fatone.
With summer in full swing and a record-breaking Fourth of July crowd soaking up the boardwalk sun, Seaside Heights is the place to be in New Jersey! But when an illegal coastal drilling operation inadvertently unleashes a horde of man-eating albino bull sharks, the city is hurled into deadly chaos! Can a local Jersey crew band together to fend off the blood thirsty, ravenous sharks before the whole town is consumed?
Blumhouse’s 2013 sci-fi/horror movie Dark Skies was partially set during the fourth of July.
Dark Skies was directed by Scott Stewart, written by Scott Stewart, and stars Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett, and J.K. Simmons.
As the Barrett family’s peaceful suburban life is rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events, they come to learn that a terrifying and deadly force is after them, one which may have arrived from beyond the stars.
The 2013 supernatural sea creature feature Ghost Shark made the list because it occurs on July 4th.
Ghost Shark was directed by Griff Furst, written by Furst, Eric Forsberg, Scott Foy, and Paul A. Birkett, and stars Mackenzie Rosman, Sloane Coe, Dave Davis, Richard Moll, Thomas Francis Murphy, and Shawn C. Phillips.
When rednecks on a fishing trip kill a great white shark, its spirit comes back for revenge, and soon turns its sights on the town of Smallport. Teenage Ava, her younger sister Cicely and friend Blaise witness the start of the ghost shark’s rampage but the authorities don’t believe their story. With the help of a crotchety lighthouse keeper named Finch the teens discover that the spectral shark can hunt wherever there’s water, and that the town’s dark past may provide the clues they need to defeat it.
You Are Not Alone
The 2014 slasher You Are Not Alone made the list because it’s set on Independence Day.
You Are Not Alone was directed by Derek Mungor, written by Mungor & Chris O’Brien, and stars Krista Dzialoszynski, David O’Brien, and Mary Mikva.
Natalie is a college graduate visiting her hometown over the 4th of July. The night she arrives, she is stalked by a sociopathic killer.
The Evil in Us
2016’s zombie flick The Evil in Us is also set during the July 4th weekend.
The Evil in Us was directed by Jason William Lee, written by Jason William Lee, and stars Debs Howard, Danny Zaporozan, Behtash Fazlali, Ian Collins, and Kylee Bush.
The good times quickly turn into a nightmare when six friends on a remote island unknowingly take a new bio-active drug containing a virus that causes fits of psychotic rage.
Believe it or not, the 2017’s remake of Stephen King’s IT also made the list of July 4th horror movies because it’s partially set during the holiday. There’s even a brief Independence Day scene in the movie.
IT (2017) was directed by Andy Muschietti, written by Stephen King (novel), Chase Palmer, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman, and stars Jaeden Martell, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, and Bill Skarsgard as “Pennywise”.
When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
That wraps up out list of Independence Day (July 4th) horror movies. If we missed any, we’ll update this article. Be sure to let us know in the comments below.