13 Great Travel Horror Movies
Lists: Eva Holland and Eli Ellison sift through the carnage to pick their favorites -- and lose a little sleep doing so
10.29.08 | 4:43 PM ET
Ever check into a run-down, rural motel and find yourself double- or triple-checking the lock on your door? Maybe sleeping a little more fitfully than usual? You have the travel horror movie to thank for that nagging fear. From haunted hotel rooms to roadside serial killers and even snakes on planes, Hollywood has put several generations of unlucky fictional travelers through a lot of punishment over the years.
We sat through dozens of bloody murders—and weirded-out at least a couple video store clerks—to find our favorites. A brief note about the genre, as we’ve defined it: “Travel” here is defined fairly loosely—even space travel is included, although space travel movies could fill an entire list of their own. As a general rule, the better the film, the more willing we were to include it if it had even a tenuous travel connection.
Without further ado, and in reverse chronological order, 13 great travel horror flicks:
Mike Enslin is a cynical hack, a one-time novelist who now makes a living writing paperback travel guides: 10 Haunted Hotel Rooms, 10 Haunted Mansions, 10 Haunted B&B’s, and so on. He’s the furthest thing from a believer—until he checks in to room 1408.
Like “The Shining,” “1408” is based on a story by Stephen King—and also like “The Shining,” the ghosts of “1408” don’t do any of their own dirty work, preferring to drive their victims to madness and suicide instead. John Cusack, as Enslin, is alone for most of the flick, and so is forced to carry the movie. For our money, he pulls it off.