Let’s face it, in the land of horror – parties are a haven for all things evil and dangerous. It’s just canon. There is no better time to face some kind of nightmare scenario than to do it at a party and this has been proven time and time again in countless horror films. On May 31st, Blumhouse’s new, exceedingly unsettling film Ma (2019) will take this trope even farther by using the party itself as the tool of destruction. In Ma, Octavia Spencer (The Help, 2011) plays Sue Ann, a quiet, seemingly unassuming woman who offers her basement up as a party haven to local teens. By the looks of it, things get strange, dark and painful on a massive scale for the unsuspecting partiers.
To fully understand how imperative it is to steer clear of parties should you even find yourself strolling through a horror movie, here are the 10 best parties that horror has had to offer.
10. Idle Hands (1999)
Sure, Idle Hands isn’t a classic horror film, but it definitely has plenty of horror moments mixed in with the comedy and still deserves a spot on a list of best parties in horror. Why? An amputated, devil-possessed hand scalps Dexter Holland of The Offspring at a Halloween dance party. That’s why.
9. Ginger Snaps (2000)
This is such an underrated horror film. There is a pretty iconic Halloween bash in this film where Ginger, who has just recently discovered that she is a raging man-eating werewolf herself, uses a Halloween party to try cause havoc. Ginger‘s recklessness causes her sister Brigitte to take drastic measures to get on level ground with her sibling. She cuts her own hand and mixes it with Ginger‘s lycanthropic, resulting in herself being infected. This party scene is the beginning of Brigitte and her friend trying to control Ginger‘s lycanthropy and its both important and extremely fun to watch.
8. My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Come on, this entire flick’s plot hinges on carnage occurring as a result of a Valentine’s Day dance/party. Apparently, 20 years prior, two supervisors in the local mines decided to leave to attend the town’s super hot, annual Valentines Day dance. They left their crews unattended and due to some unchecked methane levels, there was a horrific explosion in the mine that left one survivor who had to resort to cannibalism of his former co-workers’ bodies to survive. He ended up murdering the two supervisors who left them down there to dance the night away and vowed more would die if there was ever another town Valentines Day dance. When the town’s annual Valentines Day dance is reinstated after the 20-year hiatus, murder and mayhem follow. Not to be deterred by a few boxed up hearts or a handful of dead townspeople, local teens decide to head down to the mine and have a party of their own. Seems like a good idea.
What happened at their little party is pure horror. There’s decapitation, impalement, and all of it is done by a deranged miner dressed in full gear. Now that’s a party.
7. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Jacob’s Ladder is one of those movies that has a devoted following but is so discoverable for fringe horror fans as well. During its iconic party scene, Jacob (Tim Robbins) begins to hallucinate and slowly sink into his own delusions. While in this state, he watches as Jezzie (Elizabeth Peña) gets freaky with a winged demon in the middle of a funk-infused dance party. This doesn’t end well because the demon ends up piercing a huge claw directly through Jezzie‘s mouth and Jacob falls to the floor in the middle of the ruckus.
The scene is great for so many reasons like the one above but Jacob‘s hallucinations take it to another level. He sees the classic twitchy, glitching people around him (think House on Haunted Hill style) and pushes his way through a seemingly endless crowd while funk music blares and strobe lights continue to further disorient Jacob and us as viewers.
6. Scream 2 (1997)
I know Scream 2 doesn’t have as much carnage directly inside of its big sorority party scene, but there are still two things about it that make it very deserving of a spot on this list. For one, across campus, Sarah Michelle Geller has one of the most epic chase sequences that ends in her character CeCe being thrown off the top floor of her sorority house by Ghostface. The other great part of this party is the fact that our beloved Stu Mocker (Matthew Lillard) made a super sly guest appearance in the background of the sorority party even though his character suffered death by television at the hands of Sidney in the original Scream.
In the documentary about the franchise, Still Screaming, Matthew Lillard confirms that he was just hanging out on set one day and they asked him to walk through the back of the party scene. It’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment, but knowing Stu is at that party in spirit does give it special significance.
5. Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
Who among us has not raved in a crop circle? Freddy Vs. Jason has a long list of hilarious moments to its credit but the cornfield rave scene, where the terrified and exhausted teens try to blow off some steam after the very recent brutal murders of their friends on Elm Street, definitely ramps the gore up a notch.
Any party that gets an undead Jason Voorhees to show up deserves some recognition. While the EDM and glow sticks bump, Jason sulks onto the scene, twists a pipe off an old tractor and does some serious damage. At one point, he even manages to (unintentionally) stop a potential sexual assault by impaling the offending raver with his makeshift pipe machete and then tossing him directly into the middle of a cornfield rave like a bean bag.
4. Urban Legend (1998)
90s slasher horrors really knew how to get a great party scene going. Urban Legend‘s party scene is slightly brief, but it packs a good punch and has some moments that can’t be ignored for this list. For one, it is a frat party to commemorate a brutal massacre where a professor lost his mind and ended up slitting the throats of an entire floor of students before he was stopped. That’s a bold move to use something so unsavory as cause to cut loose.
Of course, there are iconic death scenes involved – because no party is complete without a few. One of the most brutal belongs to resident frat guy, Parker (Michael Rosenbaum). He gets a call from the killer during the party, who has microwaved his dog (honestly, the hardest death of the whole movie). When he discovers this, he runs into the bathroom to heave and is immediately accosted by the killer. His death scene involved almost drowning in a toilet bowl, a beer funnel full of Draino and a little Pop Rocks for flair. It’s awful and disgusting but perfect at the same time. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Sasha (Tara Reid) is being chased around a radio station while recording the entire time (with the longest connection range ever seen). Her chase scene is full of cleavage and screaming, which is exactly what a slasher movie calls for. The radio broadcast is played for the entire frat party to hear and not one persona side from final girl Natalie seems to think it is concerning. Party on.
3. The Craft (1996)
I may be biased because I am a Craft-head of the highest caliber but this short party scene is iconic. It’s a classic and brief high school house party scene that gets crashed by the coven we all know and love. Mainly, Nancy (Fairuza Bulk) walks in looking straight from the most gorgeous grave there ever was and she straight up murders someone. The scene has a great moment where Nancy‘s witchy feet drag along the floorboards towards her victim Chris (Skeet Ulrich) before she loses her damn mind and magically pushes him out of a third-story window to his gruesome death. As soon as he lands with a splat, there is a girl who screams in a way that only horror movie extras can and it is perfection.
2. Valentine (2001)
Honestly, Valentine is a greatly underrated slasher flick. The kiiller rager (pun intended) at which the film crescendos earns it a high spot on this list. For one, this Valentine’s bash actually looks like a party you might want to crash if it didn’t have a roaming, cherub-masked maniac in attendance as well. Among the copious amounts of death that goes unnoticed by fellow partygoers, Denise Richard’s character Paige has to have one of the most strange and poetic slasher send-offs to date.
1. Scream (1996)
It is pure fact that Scream has the ultimate horror house party. When Stu decides to throw a rager in the midst of a serial killing spree, it was destined to go horrifically right. Not only does this party offer some seriously top-notch deaths of main characters, but it also gave us an iconic pop culture moment. Of course, I’m talking about Randy‘s rules of surviving a horror movie diatribe. Where else could we get a bunch of sloppily drunk teens reflecting on their own chances of survival in a completely meta and self-aware moment?
Besides the obvious gore and quotable lines that this party generated, it also had the distinction of being the “Longest Night in Horror” at the time. The party scene is a whopping 42 minutes long and ends up being almost half of the entire movie. That had not been done before in this type of flick and proved to be a recipe for a perfect slasher film. The scene may have felt like it flew by to those of us watching, but the shoot for it was a long 21 days of only night shoots. The cast and crew were so worn out by the end that someone had t-shirts made up to say “I survived Scene 118”. You know it’s a great party when you get survival shirts at the end of it.
It’s a tough list to crack into but will Ma be able to make the cut? RSVP to Ma’s basement bash when it hits theaters May 31st, 2019.