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Miami horror: Looking at the horror movies filmed in Miami to make your vacation a little scarier

Death is *also* a beach

Image credit: Laguna Films

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Even a city as bright and tropical as Miami can be haunted by the spectre of death, and I'm not just talking about all the retirees. Though it might be a haven for rest and relaxation, plenty of horror creators have used as a setting for their tales of doom and decapitations. As a tribute to those sunglass-wearing scaremongers, I've put together a little list of the top 6 horror movies filmed in Miami. So grab something to defend yourself (and some sunscreen!) and enjoy.

6. Blood Freak (1972)

Image credit: Sampson Motion Picture Production Company

Blood Freak is a filthy, nonsensical mess. And I hope you know me well enough now, reader, to know that I mean that as a compliment. It's about a man who becomes hopelessly addicted to cannabis (unlikely) whose head is replaced with that of a turkey (less likely) after stumbling into a job (impossible). The tagline for this movie is "A Dracula on Drugs" because of the fact that the main character craves weed-laced blood, but I daresay that's downplaying it.

5. Jagged Mind (2023)

Image credit: 20th Digital Studio

The movie Happy Death Day put a horrifying spin on the concept of time loops, and Jagged Mind seeks to do the same thing. But while Happy Death Day was a peppy, summer-slasher throwback, Jagged Mind is decidedly more serious, bleak and even neo-noir in tone. A24 fans would have a good time with this one.

4. Nightmare Beach (1989)

Image credit: Laguna Films

There's not a better way to describe what Nightmare Beach is about than telling you the title is "Nightmare Beach," but let me try. Somewhat like I Know What You Did Last Summer, the terror of Nightmare Beach comes from sins past, as a possibly innocent biker executed for murder seems to be wreaking revenge on a cadre of spring breakers. But is it the dead biker returned, or something even worse?

This movie also features horror staple John Saxon as a police chief with big "mayor from Jaws" energy, and we love to see that.

3. Eyes of a Stranger (1981)

Image credit: Georgetown Productions Inc.

Building upon a classic trope, this movie takes the "call was coming from inside the house" idea and relocates it to sunny Florida, where a Miami reporter suspects her neighbor is a serial killer. Horror fans will be excited to know that legendary gore effect artist Tom Savini did the blood and guts for this film, but crushed to hear that, due to the ratings board, many of those effects were cut.

But hey, that's what uncut DVD versions are for.

2. The Possession (2012)

Image credit: Ghost House Pictures

Possession horror isn't just for Catholics, as this movie so aptly demonstrates. The Possession utilizes the Jewish lore surrounding dybbuks (kind of ghosts, kind of worse) to tell the story of a family besieged by the supernatural after coming across a strange box with Herbrew writing. Also interesting - this movie's central parent figures are going through a divorce, adding an extra layer on top of the fraught familial frights.

1. Red Eye (2005)

Image credit: Dreamworks

Before he was J. Robert Oppenheimer or T. Peakothy Blinder (I haven’t watched the show) Cillian Murphy was creeping out audiences across America as an international assassin on the Wes Craven-directed high-flying horror Red Eye. Thankfully Regina George herself, Rachel McAdams, was on the side of the angels this time, because heaven help the entire aviation industry if they joined forces.

Then again, perhaps they do. Watch the movie.

BONUS: The Shining

Image credit: Warner Bros.

Give me a second to explain - there's nothing remotely "Miami" about the Overlook Hotel (well, maybe the bleeding "party" ghost, but I digress). However, of the very few scenes that don't take place in the hotel, one of them is in Magic City. That is, when Dick Hallorann (played by Scatman Crothers) is on vacation away from the Overlook, only to get a psychic message from little Danny telling him to come back.

If only he had tuned it out.

In the immortal words of Danny Elfman, "Life's no fun without a good scare." We couldn't agree more, which is why we think you should check out horror aficionado Greg Silber's list of the best horror movies of all time. Or, if you've already seen those classics, check out our list of the most underrated horror movies from the past couple years. And if you've already seen all of those, Let us tell you what to look forward to (or dread) in Popverse's list of upcoming horror movies.

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