Whenever you have what you'd call a 'bad holiday', at least it's nice to be able to turn to the movies and think ‘well, it could have gone worse.’
Through the genres of action, horror and comedy, disaster holidays have proven to be a highly entertaining plot device in movies. Most recently, Snatched, out in cinemas this week, sees mother and daughter Linda and Emily Middleton have a horrific family vacation as they manage to humiliate themselves repeatedly and later, get kidnapped.
To celebrate its release, here are five types of movie holidays from hell that you wouldn’t want to experience but fortunately make for an entertaining (or mildly disturbing) movie outing:
1. The family vacation gone wrong
When family members are compacted into an area for an extended length of time, conflict is bound to ensue, and when you add a cross country trip or extended family in the mix, everything is only bound to get more chaotic. National Lampoon’s Vacation is the quintessential favourite here while The Great Outdoors, starring John Candy and Dan Aykroyd, is another popular example of this type of movie. In animation, A Goofy Movie follows the titular character go on a disastrous road trip with his teenage son, Max; while Little Miss Sunshine is another classic.
2. The summer getaway gone wrong
For every idealistic summer movie holiday a la the Cliff Richard musical Summer Holiday, or surfing-oriented The Endless Summer, there is a film about the horrible things that can happen during that vacation-filled season. Jaws is the obvious example here – I deny anyone’s claim that they didn’t feel just a little uneasy going for a swim in the sea on a hot summer’s day (or indeed late at night) after watching it. Deliverance, meanwhile, puts you off canoeing trips for life, especially in areas populated by dodgy locals.
3. The one where you get abducted
While the family vacation gone wrong is mildly inconvenient, the vacation where characters get abducted is truly horrifying. Taken, which sees Liam Neeson play a retired CIA operative who is forced to travel to France to find his daughter and her friend after they are kidnapped by Albanian human traffickers, was in a league of its own and is still extensively referenced. Hostel, which sees a group of college students get abducted in Slovakia and held captive in a decrepit building where they are tortured, is even more terrifying.
4. The camping trip gone wrong
The camping trip is a particularly American childhood tradition and while it often provides for fun antics, in films like Wet Hot American Summer and Bill Murray-starrer Meatballs, the camping trip can also go horribly, horribly wrong. The classic example here is cult horror Friday the 13th. Lesser known but also popular, especially among avid horror fans, is Sleepaway Camp, another slasher film released in the 1980s.
5. The college trip/lads trip away gone wrong
Having given a lot of horror movie examples, we thought we’d conclude this list with something lighter and while Hostel is also an example here, the college, gross-out brand of humour is more typical in this case. The Inbetweeners Movie is a cracking demonstration of the college trip/lads trip away gone wrong while Road Trip and American Pie 2, both released in the early 2000s, are also exemplary of the trend.