Let’s face it: There are just some things that you shouldn’t watch before embarking on certain activities. For example, you wouldn’t watch "Alive" before taking a charter flight through South America or "The Poseidon Adventure" before sailing away on a cruise. And since we mentioned "Alive," you wouldn’t want to torture yourself by watching "Big Night" before going a restrictive diet, right? We didn’t think so. 

 

With the summertime outdoor recreation season ahead, we thought we’d alert those with weak constitutions (and stomachs) to an entire genre of films that are probably best avoided. We’re talking about movies that take place on lonely back roads, deep in the woods and in far-flung, sparsely populated locales — the kind of places where opportunities for fantastic outdoor activities like camping, hiking, biking, swimming, birding and boating abound. But as cinematic tradition would have it, those who venture into these untouched, adventure-ready locations often risk encountering something a lot more troublesome than aggressive mosquitoes and spotty cellphone service. Cue "Dueling Banjos" and read on …. 

 

"Deliverance" (1972)

Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American backcountry.

Setting: Rural Georgia

Unhappy campers: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox

Be sure to pack your: Bow and arrow

Don’t mess with the: Murderous, moonshine-drinking hillbillies 

Check out the trailer here.

 

"Race with the Devil" (1975)

Two couples vacationing together in an R.V. from Texas to Colorado are terrorized after they witness a murder during a satanic ritual.

Setting: Central Texas

Unhappy campers: Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Loretta Swit, Lara Parker

Be sure to pack your: Rifle 

Don’t mess with the: Pickup truck-driving satanic occultists

Check out the trailer here

 

"Grizzly" (1976)

A 15-foot-tall grizzly bear terrorizes a state park. Christopher George leaps into the carnage to stop it.

Setting: An anonymous national park

Unhappy campers: Christopher George, Andrew Prine, Joan McCall, Richard Jaeckel, Joe Dorsey

Be sure to pack your: Bazooka
Don’t mess with the: "18 feet of gut-crunching, man-eating terror!" 

Check out the trailer here.

 

 

 

"The Hills Have Eyes" (1977)

On the way to California, a family has the misfortune to have their car break down in an area closed to the public, and inhabited by violent savages ready to attack.

Setting: The Nevada desert

Unhappy campers: Robert Houston, Susan Lanier, Dee Wallace, Martin Speer, Russ Grieve, Virginia Vincent

Be sure to pack your: German shepherd 

Don’t mess with the: Crazed, cannibalistic hill people

Check out the trailer here.

 

 

 

"Prophecy" (1979)

A log company's waste mutates the environment, creating a giant killer bear-monster.

Setting: Rural Maine

Unhappy campers: Talia Shire, Robert Foxworth, Armand Assante, Richard Dysart

Be sure to pack your: Mercury-testing kit

Don’t mess with the: Crazed raccoons, slimy mutant bear monster

Check out the trailer here.

 

 

 

 

"The Evil Dead" (1981)

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Setting: Rural Tennessee

Unhappy campers: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, Hal Delrich, Theresa Tilly

Be sure to pack your: Chain saw

Don’t mess with the: Demonic trees

Check out the trailer here.

 

 

 

 

"The Blair Witch Project" (1999)

In October 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Md. One year later, their footage was found.

Setting: The Black Hills, Maryland

Unhappy campers: Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams

Be sure to pack your: Video camera

Don’t mess with the: Unseen stick-collecting demons

Check out the trailer here.  

 

 

 

 

"Cabin Fever" (2002)

A group of five college graduates rent a cabin in the woods and begin to fall victim to a horrifying flesh-eating virus, which attracts the unwanted attention of the homicidal locals.

Setting: Unknown

Unhappy campers: Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern

Be sure to pack your: Pancake mix

Don’t mess with the: Water, local sheriff

Check out the trailer here.

 

 

"Wolf Creek" (2005)

Stranded backpackers in remote Australia fall prey to a murderous bushman who offers to fix their car, then takes them captive.

Setting: The Australian Outback

Unhappy campers: Nathan Phillips, Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi

Be sure to pack your: Spare watch battery

Don’t mess with the: Seemingly benevolent bushman with a thick Paul Hogan accent

Check out the trailer here.

 

 

"Eden Lake" (2008)

Refusing to let anything spoil their romantic weekend break, a young couple confront a gang of loutish youths with terrifyingly brutal consequences.

Setting: The British countryside

Unhappy campers: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender

Be sure to pack your: Running shoes

Don’t mess with the: Local, really mean-spirited teenage hooligans

Check out the trailer here.

 

 

 

Other films not to watch: "Day of the Animals" (1977), "Sleepaway Camp" (1983), "Just Before Dawn" (1981), "The Edge" (1997), "Wrong Turn" (2003), "Wilderness" (2006), "The Ruins" (2008) and the "Friday the 13th" franchise.

 

 

MNN homepage photo: pinksherbet/Flickr