Top 10 Road Movies In Horror!!!

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By Amanda Tullos.

The road. It can mean many things to different people and for some, it’s a way of escaping or it’s a pathway to the future. For others, the road is a deadly place full of the unknown. The “road movie” is the perfect element in horror because it’s a terrifying character in and of itself. The following are a list of the best road movies in the genre.

10: Dead End


The holidays are a time when you are forced to surround yourself with a majority of the people who you hate, and most of them are family. In Dead End, Frank Harrington and his brood are on their way to his in-laws to celebrate Christmas Eve. Frank takes a shortcut and soon the family finds themselves in a never-ending loop of terror and frustration that they can’t escape. The long drive on a dangerous back road brings out the family’s painful truths and like any good road trip, it brings about the hostilities between family members. Nothing says Christmas like drinking, crying, and fighting for your life!

9: Carriers


When a viral outbreak happens, a group of individuals set out on the road to find a safe haven. The group quickly realizes that the disease isn’t their only worry as they face challenges that make them question their morality. Brian, his girlfriend Bobby, his brother Danny, and their friend Kate must decide if helping people is worth the risk, and if their relationships are strong enough to survive the struggles along the way. The film will make you wonder what you would do for the ones that you love, and make you hate small children who can’t cover their mouths when they cough!

8: Joy Ride


When brothers Fuller and Lewis embark on a cross country trip from New Jersey to Colorado, they make the fateful decision to buy a CB radio and use it to play a prank on an unsuspecting truck driver named Rusty Nail. The brothers pose as a young woman and when Rusty quickly realizes that he has been duped by two guys, he makes them pay in the most brutal ways. Words of advice: if you ever reach someone on a CB radio who goes by the name of Rusty Nail, chances are that he’s a lunatic that uses the road as his playground. The movie teaches you that you shouldn’t play tricks on people—especially truck drivers who sound like Buffalo Bill.

7: Stake Land


When a vampire virus takes over and leaves the world desolate and dangerous, a young boy finds that his life is in the hands of the mysterious man who saved him. The man known as “Mister” turns out to be a badass vampire hunter and he teaches the young boy his ways. As the duo travel along the countryside looking for safety, they pick up travelers on the way. However, en route to their destination the group discovers that the vampires aren’t the only ones to fear. The gritty, dark world is full of bloodsuckers of all kinds in the apocalyptic saga about finding your strength and overcoming personal obstacles.

6: Wolf Creek


The Australian Outback is a gorgeous sight worth seeing, but the beautiful miles of open land can also be deadly. When three backpackers set out to explore the remote scenery, they find themselves stranded after their car mysteriously doesn’t start. Luckily for the friends, a nice man with a tow-truck comes a long and offers to help. Except, he turns out not so nice and the young people find themselves being hunted and tortured by a man who has a fascination for knives, and a determination to make them a “head on a stick”. The intense horror movie is filled with vicious violence and a ruthless villain, who happens to be based on an actual person. The film shows how important it is to pay attention to your surroundings, have a backup plan, and be careful who you trust with your life.

5: The Hitcher (1986)


Whatever you do, don’t pick up hitchhikers—especially if they are Rutger Hauer. When Jim Halsey is driving from Chicago to San Diego he decides to be a nice person and pick up a hitchhiker. Things are fine at first, but then the hitchhiker explains to Jim that he murdered the driver of a passing car and that he plans to kill him as well. Jim manages to escape the madman by kicking him out of his car; however, the terror really begins afterward when the hitchhiker makes every effort to ruin Jim’s life.

4: Jeepers Creepers


When siblings Trish and Darry decide to drive the long way home, they probably figured that their biggest issue would be each other. Quickly into their trip, however, the bickering duo realizes that the road is a dangerous place when they are nearly run off of it by a mystery man in a rusty truck. Later, the brother and sister spot him throwing a body down a pipe and they make the fateful decision to go back to help. The decision starts a set of events that changes their lives forever, and introduces them to an immortal creature with a strong sense of smell. The pair spends the entirety of their road trip trying to escape the monster known as the Creeper, but once it finds something that it likes, it won’t let it get away. The movie birthed a terrifying creature with an interesting means of survival, and was a breath of fresh air in the genre at a time when smartass slashers reigned supreme.

3: The Hills Have Eyes (1977)


When a family road trip through the Nevada desert is derailed after they fall victim to a trap, the group soon realizes that breaking down in the middle of nowhere is the least of their problems. They learn that the hills are alive with cannibals who are looking to satiate their appetites and sick need for sex and violence. The family is taunted, stalked, beaten, raped, and some are killed by a group of sadistic people who use the road as foreplay for their next big meal. For the monsters living among the hills, the road is the perfect way to catch their prey, play with and season it, and cook it until it’s just right.

2: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973)


When a group of friends decide to revisit a family gravesite and an old family home in Texas, they unearth a few skeletons, human skin, and a household of cannibals who are looking for some guests to have for dinner. It all begins when the individuals pick up a hitchhiker and—surprise—he turns out to be psychotic. The lunatic is kicked out of their car, and the gang makes their way to the remote family home where they are greeted by a chainsaw and Leatherface. The group happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and they pay for it with their lives. The film’s atmosphere is so gritty and disturbing; you almost want to take a shower after the movie is over. Fun fact: director Tobe Hooper tried limiting the amount of onscreen gore so that the movie could get a PG-rating.

1: Near Dark


When a family of drifters rolls into town and a young man named Caleb falls for the young woman of the group, he soon finds himself entangled in a life that he didn’t ask for. After a night with the mysterious girl, Caleb gets bitten and realizes that the family are vampires and he is one too. The young woman takes him to be a part of their group, but Caleb learns that the vamps are as ruthless and as rough as they look. The vampires in Near Dark use the road to stay alive, driving from town to town seeking out weak-minded prey and vulnerable people to feed on. The most vicious of the group is Severen who plays with his victims and taunts them before brutally killing them with glee. When Caleb learns about the family’s true nature he realizes that some roads should never be taken, and that the humble life he lived before was the right one for him.

Honorable mentions go to Zombieland, The Battery, and The Forsaken. What is your favorite road horror movie?

Source: Amanda Tullos
  • CTHL

    Somehow you missed Duel… I hope that was an oversight.

    Otherwise, I dunno… seem to be stretching the premise here for examples. I don’t particularly think of TCM as “on the road” horror personally. If that qualifies then I’d add Frontiere(s) and Phantasm 2… remove Dead End and Stakeland (as I didn’t even like those movies).

    Otherwise… Creepshow 2 (The Hitchhiker), if you want to count that. That’d be my #2 (behind Duel).

  • AzurServal

    Dead End, Stakeland, The Hitcher, Jeepers Creepers… sounds like you’ve got most of my favorites pretty well covered. I also really liked Cabezas’ ‘The Appeared’… another brother-sister road trip that takes a nightmarish turn, as well as making a poignant commentary on Argentina’s brutal past.

    p.s. Thank you for highlighting the original Hitcher movie… I was disheartened by how many people told me they preferred the remake. It never truly captured the atmosphere of the stark surroundings in the hauntingly beautiful way the original did… the way the desert itself seemed to turn into a character in the film.

  • SonOfVoorhees

    Near Dark for the win. :-) Love that movie, best vampire movie ever in my opinion.

  • Nightflyre9

    Good list . . . but incomplete without “Race With The Devil.”

  • John Marrone

    The Road (too obvious) and Touristas came to mind too.

  • rydalot

    What about Wrong Turn? I loved the first one!

    • joe666

      Not a road movie.

      • diapers

        I would say it is vastly more of a “road movie” than TCM.

  • Rick-Taylor

    The Devil’s Rejects

  • CaptainHowdee

    High Tension immediately came to mind when seeing this list, however I’m unsure whether it fits into the “road movie” category.

  • joe666

    Huuu, hum… Duel… hum

  • SaltSlasher

    Point….the roads are dangerous…as hell!!

    Still, Maximum Overdrive was a classic, so was Duel, which was previously mentioned. I know were talking Horror, but you could have added Mad Max 2 for fun, because it is “the” ultimate “road movie”….I mean it is called “Road Warrior”. I also liked Book of Eli.

    • mobstar67

      im gonna have to agree Mad Max and the Road warrior was some pretty bad ass shit…

  • mobstar67

    i grew up in the 70′s and was raised on the horror but i am not ashamed to say i will take the reboot of “Hills Have Eyes” over the Wes Craven original any day..Alexandre Aja rocked that shit.!!!

  • Henry-Longnuts

    Just can’t enjoy Jeepers Creepers after hearing about the director fuckin that little kid and videotaping it.

  • Mr.Mirage

    Yeah. Um… as mentioned: Duel. Should be in 200 pt NY Times font. DUEL.
    In terms of what makes a road based film, then several are fails here. From Dusk ‘Til Dawn (first half) is a great example. Diary Of The Dead is all road movie. And while I love Joy Ride, the sad but true fact is that the sequel was better still…
    And I would toss in the remake of The Hitcher (but only if it does not remove Rutger Hauer. One does NOT remove Rutger Hauer.)

    • AzurServal

      One does not SIMPLY remove Rutger Hauer. ;)

  • nahdontthinkso

    How about ROAD Games?