9 Best Road Trips to Terror

Aleshia Howell

The open road is the path to freedom. It’s also a teacher of life’s hardest lessons. Don’t wait for the next gas station. Don’t take the back road. And don’t get hacked to pieces in the middle of nowhere.

To whet your road horror appetite, here’s a collection of modern classics and some that may have fallen below your radar.

1. Dead End (2003)

In what is perhaps the least heartwarming Christmas movie ever made, a family road trip turns sour (Don’t they all?) when they decide to take a different route to a holiday gathering. Secrets and lies come to the surface along with a mysterious woman with a baby who seems to lead them deeper and deeper into the darkness.

Dead End

2. Jeepers Creepers (2001)

There’s bad luck and then there’s Jeepers Creepers. What are the chances that you and your sibling would happen upon an ax-wielding demon on the last day of its annual feeding frenzy? And what are the chances that you would want to investigate the situation after your first brush with death? Perhaps it’s not as much about bad luck as it is a poor sense of self-preservation.


3. Wrong Turn (2003)

Following a tried and true road horror formula, a group of young road trippers end up stranded in the middle of the wooded West Virginia countryside. Though they suspect a trap – perhaps it’s the spikes strategically placed on the road to purposely puncture their tires that gave it away – they venture into the forest for help only to discover the cabin of some notorious and deformed mountain men who would love nothing more than to eat them raw.

Wrong Turn has spawned some horrendous sequels but Eliza Dushku was stunning in the first one

4. Joy Ride (2001)

Later renamed Road Kill (a repulsive decision), Joy Ride brings yet another arena for Paul Walker to display his lack of personality. He, along with Leelee Sobieski (The Glass House) and Steve Zahn (That Thing You Do!) decide to mess with a rogue trucker’s fragile heart and smoldering libido by posing as a sultry babe over CB airwaves. We’re scared for the young road trippers but we also wonder whether the trucker’s retaliation is exactly what they deserve.

Joy Ride Movie

5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

TCM is huge – it’s spawned seven sequels and counting – but this is where it all began. Two brothers and their girlfriends, on a final hurrah before their deployment to Vietnam, end up stranded in the wilderness and being abducted by the local sheriff. The events that ensue are gory bordering on comical. And that’s what we love about the franchise


6. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

A suburban family find themselves stranded in the desert after a barbed belt blows out their tires. (Sound familiar?) A family of mutants, deformed as a result of nuclear fallout, discovers them and attempts to be of assistance, which involves a healthy amount of kidnapping and impaling.

The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

7. Carriers (2009)

A plague outbreak has wiped out most of the human race, and two brothers and their girlfriends race across country, dodging the virus and playing dirty with fellow travelers. The disease creates a Walking Dead-like eeriness and a moral ambiguity that goes hand-in-hand with survival horror.


8. Black Cadillac (2003)

Three high school students are making their way home after a night at a roadhouse across state lines. This is road horror as John Hughes might have imagined it, with a coming-of-age tale wrapped up in an ominous game of cat and mouse with the unknown drivers of a vintage Caddy.

black cadillac

9. Nothing but Trouble (1991)

The cast and genre classification suggests that Nothing but Trouble is a comedy. Don’t be fooled. This film is a bizarre meeting of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Working Girl and Blues Brothers. Okay, it’s probably not going to chill you to the bone, but the overriding creepiness (the same unidentifiable creepiness we witnessed in 1993’s Super Mario Bros.) is enough to elicit serious heebie-jeebies.



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      1. anthony May 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm

        Wolf creek

      2. Aleshia Howell May 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm

        For sure, there are a lot more — many of these now have a sequel (or seven), and we can probably safely add The Hitcher, Hit and Run, Duel, Zombieland, etc. And let’s not forget road horror that happens at the trip’s destination: Eden Lake, Severance, Hostel, A Perfect Getaway, Cabin Fever, The Strangers, The Ruins, Cabin in the Woods.

      3. Chuva May 18, 2013 at 5:46 pm

        Wrong picture for TCM:TB, but I assume you know that.

      4. Maddie May 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm

        DUEL DUEL DUEL!!

      5. Terry August 21, 2013 at 8:39 am

        I don’t think you have much of a clue about horror movies. Sorry, don’t mean to be rude but Texas Chain Saw massacre did NOT begin in 2006. Not even in the 2000s. It began in 1974 with the original and BEST TCM. All those remakes and sequels pale in comparison. Likewise The Hills Have Eyes – the original was made in 1977 and the remake doesn’t hold a candle to it. Any half way serious Horror buff knows that. You completely left out the original Hitcher which is really a thriller but has far more horror elements in it than some of your top 10. As does the awesome Duel. And I cant believe you would even consider putting “Dead End” in the list at all, let alone in top position given the plethora of decent road terror movies available. That is one of THE most boring movies ever made. Absolutely nothing happens in it apart from having the worlds most annoying female character (the mother) and wishing something would kill her first. It’s mostly footage of annoying people driving in a car and arguing. Really…. you think that’s the best? It would be bottom of my list for anything. Sorry. Just had to comment coz I couldn’t believe what i saw here.