20 Travel Horror Movies that Make You Want to Stay Home

I’m writing this post from Bratislava, Slovakia.

To be honest, I was a little hesitant to come here because the only things I knew about this place come from a few movies: Hostel (Parts 1 and 2) and Eurotrip.

Both portrayed this place as an example of a backwards, “evil” Eastern European city.  The truth is this is a great city, full of cool and interesting people.

Now in honor of my misconception about Bratislava, I’ve decided to put together a small list of 20 travel horror movies I feel make people too scared to leave their home.  (But if you’re brave enough..you might want to learn how to start a new life and be able travel to any spot in the world.)

To give you a taste of these flicks, I’ve included the trailer to the ones I could find on YouTube.  I do have to warn that some of these images are fairly strong.  So if you’ve got a weak stomach, then you might want to skip them.

Let’s start with the one that gave me the idea for this list:

#1- Hostel (Parts 1 & 2):

My opinion?  I don’t recommend watching these movies…I’m not even sure why I did.  The premise is a bunch of backpackers go to Bratislava, get drugged and then end up being tortured to death by millionaires who pay for the privilege of dissecting young people.  Yeah, it’s as messed up as it sounds.

#2- Wolf Creek:

This movie features a trio of backpackers traveling through the Australian Outback who encounter a lunatic that (surprise, surprise) finds unique ways to torture and kill them.

#3- The Human Centipede:

I refuse to see this flick out of principle because the trailer completely horrified me.  But for the sack of this list it’s perfect.  Basically the film two young backpackers (are you sensing a trend here?) encounter a mad German scientist who decides to connect three people, basically forming a ‘human centipede.’  This is one of those movies that make me wonder what’s wrong with the world.  With that said, here’s the trailer…it’s pretty awful.

#4- Blair Witch Project

This is a film that features another trio of characters who go camping in the woods of Maryland to research the myth of the “Blair Witch.”  Shot with a “home video” camera, this movie does a great job of scaring you without using gore or special effects.

#5- Friday the 13th (Parts 1 through Infinity):

I had to include this ‘cautionary tale’ film series about camping.  Everyone knows the premise so I won’t rehash it here.  On a side note, as a kid I stayed in a campground that was the supposed setting for the first film.  For some reason I had a lot of trouble sleeping during the nights I stayed there.

#6- Deliverance:

This isn’t exactly a horror movie, but if you watch the scene where Ned Beatty ‘squeals like a pig’ you’ll never want to go camping in Georgia.

#7-Cabin Fever:

Here’s another gory camping movie.  This one feature a bunch of dumb, overly-sexed college kids who get infected with a strange disease…it’s definitely not for those with weak stomachs.

#8- An American Werewolf in London

This is a classic example of why it’s dangerous to backpack through Europe.  Two young Americans travel through the English moors when one gets killed by a werewolf, while the other gets bitten and is infected with curse of lycanthropy.  Of course, fun and shenanigans happen when he ends up in London in hairy situation.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

#9- Touristas (Paradise Lost):

Once again, we have a movie that features a bunch of backpackers.  This time they’re traveling through Brazil when they encounter a bunch of locals who like to harvest organs from “gringos” and donate them to a hospital in Rio de Janeiro.

#10- The Ruins:

This film is a warning about the dangers of messing around with ancient ruins.  Traveling through Mexico, two couples meet a German who brings them to a Mayan temple ruin in the jungle.  Of course, the locals aren’t too happy with this idea and neither is the evil, vine-infesting temple.

#11- The Descent

If you’ve seen this movie, then you’ll probably avoid traipsing around dark, mysterious caves.  The basic premise is six women get trapped in a cave system in the Appalachian Mountains where they’re pursued by a bunch of man-eating humanoid creatures.

#12- The Hills Have Eyes:

This is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen…but it’s great for this list.  Basically it’s a family traveling through a desert that gets waylaid by a group of mutants.

#13- Texas Chainsaw Massacre:

Yet again we have another road trip movie that features a group of cannibals.  In this one it’s a group of young people traveling through rural Texas where they’re hacked to pieces by a deranged family.

#14- The Hitcher:

I like this movie because it’s a great example of the bad things that can happen when you pick up a hitchhiker.  The main character is basically tormented by a hitcher and is framed for a number of murders.  It’s one of those movies that do a great job of combining a bit of gore with a whole lot of suspense.

#15- Brokedown Palace:

I like this example of what happens when you try to transport drugs through an airport.  You get locked away in a brutal, Thailand jail.

#16- The Thing:

This isn’t exactly a travel movie.  But “The Thing” is one of those films that’ll chill and horrify you enough to never go near Antarctica.

#17- Tourist Trap:

Here’s another oldie, but goodie.  This film features a group of teenagers that come across an old ‘tourist trap’ filled with mannequins.  It’s another reminder to never go into places that has any sort of doll…pretty creepy if you ask me.

#18- A Perfect Getaway:

A thriller movie that involves three couples hiking through a remote part of Hawaii.  Of course, it turns out that one of these couples has murderous intentions.

#19- Open Water:

If Jaws wasn’t enough to scare you away from the ocean, Open Water will put the final nail in the coffin.  This movie features a couple who goes scuba diving, but gets accidentally left in the open water (clever title, right?).  The rest of the film shows them scared out of their minds as they realize they’re going to become shark chum.

#20- Psycho:

Of course I couldn’t leave out the granddaddy of all the “this is what happens when you go to strange places” movies.  It features a young woman who travels out west, ends up in a hotel run by a demented cross-dresser and gets brutally stabbed in a shower.

On another side note, for many years my mom was terrified of the “shower scene.”  Of course this didn’t stop my dad from playing a practical joke on her one day while she was showering.  I think he slept on the couch that night.

Any others???

Hopefully I did a good job of listing a bunch of movies that’ll never make you want to travel again.  But if I missed any, feel free to list them below.

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31 thoughts on “20 Travel Horror Movies that Make You Want to Stay Home”

  1. Hi Steve,

    Not a big fan of scary movies but you hit on some classics.

    I’ve never camped in Blairstown but being there during the day is quite enough. It’s out in the boonies!

    Enjoy your weekend…..and Slovakia 🙂

    Ryan Biddulph

    • Actually I made it safely out of Bratslava. (I write posts a few days in advance usually) So horror stories to tell.

      I am actually not a huge horror fan myself..I have not seen every single one of these. I actually dilike the “gore” horror movie trend.

      For me ‘good’ horror is filled with suspense.

  2. Hi Scott,

    Funny enough, I’ve only seen two of these movies (#8- An American Werewolf in London and #10 The Ruins). Guess I’m not into either horror or camping movies 🙂

    Although, I loved An American Werewolf in London when I was younger. Brings back a lot of memories.

    The scariest movie I ever saw (and it gave me chills and scared me for life) was The Fog (the original version).

    Hope you’re having fun in Bratislava 🙂

    • American Werewolf in London is a great movie IMO. Though almost not a horror..I found that to just be kinda ‘fun’ It works well though. I kept telling myslef to “not leave the road” and “don’t go into the moors” when I was visiting England.

      Even though most of the places didn’t look like the village from American Werewolf in London

  3. I think the moral of the story here is don’t go camping. Particularly if there is a pretty girl along as you will be likely to end up a corpse while she runs around half naked for a while.

  4. I’m not a big fan of gore, or camping. But sometimes it’s not just back packers that get a surprise when they travel away from home. How about ‘The Shining?’ sometimes it’s not a hostel but a hotel. Sometimes it’s not a holiday, but a job. Always it’s somewhere just a bit off the beaten track.

    Hope you’re enjoying your travels! Where to next?

    • The shining is a great movie, and it would fit too. I didn’t think about it. And I do love Steven King stories. Particularly his older stuff.

      As for gore…I am not a fan either. I like “horror” but I like the suspense aspects. I haven’t actually seen all the gore fest films, because sometimes the trailers themselves disturb me too much.

    • LOL,

      That was quite a witty and also very true statement. I am not really old enough to start despairing for the “future” of the youth who “love” those movies, but they seem to be pretty darn twisted and make me very uneasy. I cannot say that I even liked the fact I watched both.

  5. I absolutely LOVE horror movies – I’ve seen about 18/20 here multiple times. Love them so much.

    You pretty much have them nailed in terms of travel movies. The only other one I’d recommend is Irreversible – well, to be honest I wouldn’t recommend it because it’s one of the most disturbing movies you’ll ever watch – it’s just really, really raw.

    • Yeah, I am not a fan of the “disturbing” ones. I am not even sure why I ever made it thru hostel 1-2. I like horror, but not big on the current “gross out” and “torture” trends. I like suspense and if there is gore I want it to not be realistic…like monsters and such. (not the human kind)

  6. I’m not a massive fan of scary movies – but I do like to watch them occasionally – adrenaline rushes are addictive!

    I’ve seen Blair Witch Project, The Descent, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Psycho. None of them where particularly horrifying. I’ve heard of many of the others but haven’t gotten around to watching them – surprisingly not because of the gory bits.

    I’d heard somewhere about the human centipede. Can’t recall where though – but I agree that the principle of the thing questions what we are really capable of.

    I like Lesley’s mention of the Shining – it’s an awesome movie. Not really scary, but an awesome movie.

    • The human centipede just about gave me nightmares from only watching the preview.

      I definitely like old school horror better actually, without all the gore and simply sick twisted people.

  7. Hey Steve,

    I am a great fan of scary movies and love to watch them again and again…(especially the good ones)

    Great fan of Hostel part 1. I do have wolfcreek….seen it about hundred times….

    Never had a chance to see The Human Centipede, Tourist trap or the perfect gateway….They are on my list now..

    Great share Steve…

  8. Hi Steve,

    I am an intrepid traveler although I have stayed put for a while now and after watching your videos am quite happy and secure here in Sydney!! Ha ha..

    When I first started travelling I had some of my own travel horror story experiences but you soon learn to live in the present and sense when things are not OK and when not.



      • You do know that the actual Ivan Milat backpacker murders happened in central NSW? Berrima and Belanglo State Forest aren’t that far away from Sydney. Wolf Creek is based on a mixture of cases, sure the Falconio abduction/murder happened in the NT, but these things, same as anywhere are not just things that happen in the middle of nowhere.

        Just needed to get that off my mind, since I grew up in a place that’s considered to be in the Outback and felt kind of uncomfortable about the insinuation that all the crazies are out here. Wolf Creek is full of bulldust.

  9. I’ve only seen Blair Witch and Psycho because I can’t stomach gore at the movies. I can tolerate reading more than watching. I really appreciate the Hitchcock style scary films. Maybe it’s best for my future travel plans that I haven’t seen most of these!

    • I actually agree with you. I do not mind reading gore in books, but some of the overly graphic movies (hostel, saw, turistas…a lot on this list) actually really disturb me. Disturb not scare…a slight but important difference

  10. I saw all of them! Great picks! I LOVED Paranormal Activity. BUT you have to watch it in the theater. My 17 year old son couldn’t sleep in his room for a week after watching that!

    The Exorcism of Emily Rose and of course the original, The Exorcist. The classic scene of Max Von Sydow figure in the doorway on a misty foggy night with terror going on in Regan’s bedroom upstairs. The best!

    October looks like a great slew of new horror flicks coming out: Case #39, Let Me In, Hatchet 2, My Soul to Take and soooo looking forward to SAW 7 in 3D!

    I like the scary, good suspenseful, and the gore. I squirm and scream and think, “That’s gotta hurt!” and “How stupid can they be? Get out of there!” while I look through my fingers as I cover my eyes in the dark theater….

  11. Nice choice of movies.. I also watched lots of horror movies, in fact Resident evil, Saw, and Final Destination are the best movies I’ve ever watched. Because they gave me an excitement while viewing it.

  12. nice work steve , but like you i dont like alot of this disturbing garbage, thats not horror. real horror movies like ”house on haunted hill’ or the old universal films of the ’30’s and 40’s had charm, and were void of twisted plots and gore, alot of these arent horror films but demonic films,,,

  13. yikes, adam. talk about scarey. just your comments here will now keep ME up at nite. already horrified enuf to find out one of my best friends enjoys this waste of celluloid. great horror films, the ones really worth viewing, need only two ingredients. 1) suspense and 2) a few never-to-be-forgotten-carefully-placed musical notes. like psycho. jaws. halloween. and the grand daddy of them all – the twilite zone. as a child i only need hear that music to be sent scrambling for safety to where all good children go – under the covers. to this day it still evokes the same reaction. these latest gore and torture flicks will never deserve to be in the same company when talking classic horror movie genre.

  14. im after a movie i thought jesse spencer was in it it’s a backpacker thriller & this guy picks up a couple & he has this panel van in the end he dies when he tries to get the girl who is driving but she slams on the breaks & he get caught/poked by the wire divide in the car

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