For a lot of people, their teenage years were already a horror movie. Awkward social situations, rebelling against adults, and of course, puberty. High school may have been hard, but at least you weren’t dealing with satanic monsters or deadly scientific experiments amidst everything else!
September is Teen Terror month, so your favorite ghouls over here at NOFS are here to provide you with the best possible Teen Screams available on your streaming services. Get ready to take some notes, here are 10 Teenage Horrors you can watch right now!
Super Dark Times (2017)
Leading off the list is one of my personal favorites of 2017, Super Dark Times, a film that is exactly what its title suggests. The movie follows a pair of inseparable best friends who are torn apart following a horrific and traumatic incident. As the pair deal with the aftermath of that day, they each descend down different paths of violence and paranoia. Director Kevin Phillips crafts a deeply melancholic coming-of-age story through a combination of poetic presentation and grounded realism, plus fantastic lead performances from young actors Owen Campbell and Charlie Tahan.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2017)
The directorial debut from Osgood Perkins (Gretel & Hansel) had a long road to distribution but was well worth the 2-year wait. The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a cold, devious mystery following two girls left behind at their Catholic Academy waiting to go home. The film is told in non-chronological order, so without spoilers just know this film involves demons, cult rituals, and murder. But amidst the stabbings and decapitations, the film tells the story of loneliness as seen through the eyes of 3 different teenage girls. Though the film is extremely dark, most can relate to the teenage fears of having no one. Highly recommend for the trio of powerhouse performances by Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton, and modern Scream Queen Emma Roberts.
Boys in the Trees (2016)
A bit of a lighter recommendation Netflix has to offer is the Australian coming-of-age film Boys in the Trees. More of a dark fairy tale than a horror movie, the film follows two estranged childhood friends as they embark on one final Halloween adventure in their last year of high school. Though there are paranormal elements to it, Boys in the Trees is more concerned with seeing these two reconnect and rediscover what drove them apart in the first place. The film also explores themes of masculinity and independence, integral to growing up as a teenage boy. A perfect pick to help ring in the Halloween season.
Strange Behavior (1981)
The first throwback on the list is the very underrated sci-fi-slasher Strange Behavior (also known as Dead Kids) from the 1980s. Part whodunit slasher, part mad scientist flick, wrapped sloppily into a pulpy gore package. This movie is absolutely wild! The film follows a town plagued by a string of teenage murders that are seemingly connected to some weird experiments going on at the local college. It’s all a giant metaphor for our adolescent suspicions of adults, except here they happen to be true. Loaded with awkward humor and gratuitous body horror, the film has often gets compared to the likes of Re-Animator released 4 years later. Give this one a watch for yourself…as long as you’re comfortable with eye stuff.
The Crush (1993)
Another throwback you can stream right now is cult-classic is The Crush. No list of Teen Screams would be complete without the “obsessed girl-next-door” sub genre being represented. The titular crush-er, Adrian, is played by Alicia Silverstone in her film debut. We’ve all had crushes on someone older as a teenager but to the point of emptying a wasps’ nest on their crush? Maybe not. Though panned at the time for its lack of quality due to a troubled production, The Crush has gained a cult following over time for Silverstone’s performance and the cheesy, music video aesthetic of the film. Give it a watch if you haven’t, it’s a fun one.
The Gate (1987)
Staying in the past a little bit more is The Gate starring a young Stephen Dorff (Blade, True Detective). When three suburban kids decide the throw a party against the wishes of their out-off-town (as teenagers do), they mistakenly open a gate to Hell in their backyard. What starts as a fun romp turns dark real fast as the three have to fend off Old God demons, not to mention figure out what they’re going to tell their parents when they get home! Loaded with heavy metal music and a badass babysitter, you should definitely check out this hidden gem.
Blue My Mind (2017)
Genre films have often been used as horrific metaphors for puberty, which is definitely the case here with the German flick Blue My Mind. The movie follows 15 year-old Mia, attempting to come into her own at her new school, navigating new friends and drugs… while dealing with transforming into a mermaid. Typical high school stuff! The film is similar to Raw (2017) with its visceral depiction of sexual transformation and body dysmorphia, except without the tongue-in-cheek humor. Blue My Mind is a somber tale of how we deal with our ever-changing body and perception of ourselves through our teenage years. Actor-turned-director Lisa Bruhlmann knocks it out of the park in her directorial debut.
You know what they say…you can’t choose your family. You may not like your parents, but at least they aren’t apart of a sex cult species like Billy’s family in Society! Brian Yuzna’s body horror classic is a not-so-subtle-at-all attack on the social elite. But it’s also about feeling like you don’t fit in with your family as Billy does. Loaded with blood and disgusting body transformations, it’s always a good time to throw on this bad boy! Plus, Billy Warlock in an assortment of tank-tops. You’re welcome.
Did you think there would be a list of Teen Screams without Heathers on it? Of course not! I feel like the movie doesn’t even need an explanation. The film has appeared on countless lists of the best High school movies of all time, influencing countless others such as Jawbreaker and Mean Girls. But for the uneducated, Heathers follows popular girl Veronica (played by the dark princess of the 90s Winona Ryder) and her psychopathic boo JD, as they conspire to kill off her elitist friends. It’s dark, the dialogue is endlessly quotable, but most of all: Heathers is relatable and has been a staple of the teenage experience for many, many spooky babes out there.
Last but certainly not least is Deathgasm, an absolutely bonkers horror-comedy romp directed by Jason Lei-Howden. Amidst a tumultuous move, heavy metal teen Brodie starts a band with his friends and unwittingly summons a demonic entity after playing a legendary song. Brodie has typical teenage clashes with new best friend Zakk over girls and identity while slashing and bashing their way through demonic zombies (with the use of sex toys in one scene if you need to be sold). The film is not just a gross-out, zombie comedy of but also one of horror’s best teenage love stories, with the subversive love interest Medina. Deathgasm has it all: friendship, action, laughs, love, and most importantly…a kick ass heavy metal soundtrack. And to make your viewing experience even sweeter, watch The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Riggs version for added hilarious commentary and factoids because Shudder is the best!
And there you go, a list of fantastic Back-To-Ghoul films to make your teen heart scream. I think we can all agree that being a teenager is a universally hard and trying time. Whether it’s dealing with first love, crazy adults, or drifting away from your friends, we all make it through those years one way or another. So horror movies involving teens can be extremely cathartic in reminding you no matter how crazy you thought your teenage years were; they weren’t all that bad after all! If you have Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Shudder: make sure you check out some of these great teen screams! And it’s ok if you don’t, as a few entries are also available for free on the streaming platform Tubi. And with that, you are dismissed!