Fireworks, God's gift to horror films...
...Fireworks may not be used often in horror films, but when they are, it's often glorious, pretty, and of course, ultra-deadly!
Since most of us are cooped up inside this 4th of July, below is a list of ten horror films featuring fireworks that you can watch today to satisfy that need for artful explosions and fourth of July madness.
Boom Goes the Sonya in The Babysitter
First off, if you still haven't seen McG's The Babysitter starring the kickass Samara Weaving on Netflix, you need to get on that. Like now. Go on, I'll wait...Okay, now that you've seen it, one of my personal favorite characters in the film is Sonya, simply because of how deliciously evil Hana Mae Lee plays the murderous, beret wearing teen. Sonya is a blast to watch, but she also a gets a blast of a lesson in why you shouldn't mess with kids armed with rockets. Cole (Judah Lewis) gets the last laugh in the crawlspace with Sonya when he decides to turn her into an early 4th of July celebration with the help of some fireworks and a little leaking gas.
Fireworks and Nightmares in Cape Fear
Nothing ruins a good firework show like finding your stalker waiting for you under the glowing display! Following a nightmare, Sam (Nick Nolte) is drawn outside by the loud sound of fireworks, only to find his stalker, Max (Robert De Niro) sitting a top the house next door like a twisted version of Snoopy. In a weird way, I suppose Sam is the Woodstock to Max's Snoopy, at the mercy of his canine hunger. This scene contorts the beauty of the fireworks show with the ugliness of Max's sardonic grin, and I expect the next time Sam hears fireworks, he's going to be in the closet cuddling his also scared dog.
Lucky is the New Unlucky in Final Destination 3
There's a theme in the Final Destination movies, and that theme is, never, ever taunt death. Ian McKinley's (Kris Lemche) motivations for becoming a human villain that wants to off heroine Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) may not make all that much sense, but even crazier is the fact that Ian somehow thinks he's lucky enough to avoid (and smarter than) death when an abrupt firework cache goes off, with every single rocket missing him. Joke's on you, Ian! Luck has no place in the Final Destination franchise. The luckier someone thinks they are, the more likely they are to die...a lesson Ian has to learn the crushing way.
From Hell with a Bang in The Gate
If you were a kid who grew up in the 90s watching horror, there's likely one image that still sticks with you today, and that image is Glen (a young Stephen Dorff) welcoming a claymation demon from hell with a rocket to the gut in The Gate. Still standing today as one of the ultimate kid horror films, Glen is also the ultimate kid hero, standing up to a beast that would make the rest of us pee our pants. Still, that must've been a pretty low-level demon to be defeated by a damn rocket harmless enough to be in the hands of a kid. Satan is really bad at taking over the world.
Cirque du Kaboom in Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Another kid's horror staple? Killer Klowns from Outer Space. The Chiodo Brothers cult classic is THE cult classic to end all cult classics, complete with alien clowns, popcorn monsters, skin-melting pies, and the least edible cotton candy in the universe. Like any great circus show, this wild flick goes out with a bang, where we learn that even Killer Klowns appreciate a good firework show, considering their circus tent spaceship is made of them.
Sky Flowers for the Dead in Land of the Dead
Throughout his "Living Dead" franchise, Romero often toyed with the idea of zombies getting reacquainted with their human side. Zombies crowd at the mall in Dawn of the Dead. Bub enjoys some easy listening in Day of the Dead. And our heroes use fireworks, aka, "sky flowers", to distract the lumbering flesh-munchers in Land of the Dead. On the surface, you could say, duh, fireworks are pretty! But underneath that, what if Romero is actually touching on how easily we're blinded by the "pretty" thought of patriotism? Something to think about the next time you're drooling over some sky flowers.
Robert Forster Sparkler Kabob in Uncle Sam
A lot of horror films are set on the 4th of July, but few make it the highlight of the film as well as, and as goofily as William Lustig's Uncle Sam. A flick about a patriotism obsessed undead war vet (David Fralick), this campy flick employs all sorts of America-themed kills (flagpoles through the gut, anyone?), yet one of the most memorable is Alvin (Robert Forster) becoming the firework show of the decade during the town's annual 4th of July celebration. Careful with those sparklers, kids, you might get burned!
Kill, Fireworks, Kill in Scare Package
One of the most entertaining horror flicks to release so far in 2020 is the horror anthology Scare Package, which collects various segments all poking fun (but with love) at different horror tropes. One of those is the unstoppable killer, seen in The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill from director Anthony Cousins, in which a final girl and her friends try every which way possible to destroy the killer that's destroyed her life for at least three other non-existent movies, including fireworks. Note to self: if you're going to try to stop an undead killer with fireworks, you're gonna need a bigger rocket. Better talk to that kid from The Gate.
A Sight for Sore Werewolf Eyes in Silver Bullet
Despite the goofy freeze frame image above, Silver Bullet, a werewolf flick written by Stephen King about a lycanthrope terrorizing a small town, is actually at times one of the most terrifying werewolf flicks out there, and this moment is a good example of why. When handicapped Marty (Corey Haim) heads out to a nearby bridge for a late night personal fireworks show, he isn't expecting a hairy encounter with local wildlife. Trapped on the bridge in his wheelchair as the werewolf approaches, the scene is so heavy on tension that I practically scream "fuck yeah, Marty" every time he ends up making one of the luckiest shots with a rocket in film history. I think we can all agree at this point in the list that rockets in the hands of kids = dangerous as FUCK.
The Cry of Fireworks in I Know What You Did Last Summer
In the same year that she was becoming known as the vampire ass-kicking Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar was also getting escape-blocked by fireworks. In what is arguably the best scene of slasher flick I Know What You Did Last Summer, Sarah spends roughly 10-15 minutes being hunted by the hook-handed killer, only to be within inches of freedom when a loud crowd blasting fireworks suddenly emerges outside the alley she's in, distracting her just long enough for the killer to catch up, and drowning out her impressive screams. The lungs on that woman rival Jamie Lee Curtis, yet not even they're loud enough to pierce through the obnoxious explosions and hollering of 4th of July and "America" shouting drunks.
By Matt Konopka