About Urban Legend
Urban Legend has long been called the Scream copycat film, however, I’d argue it’s just as clever with its horror and pop culture references. With every twist and turn there’s a link or reference to the horror films that came before.
During a recent re-watch I started to think of all the other films like Urban Legend who some of you may want to tick off your bucket list. Below are my picks. How many have you seen? Let me know on social media.
1. Black Christmas (1974)
A true masterpiece of horror, Bob Clarke’s seminal Xmas slasher should be at the top of everybody’s list. The plot – a killer picks off the residents of a sorority house one by one – has been done a million times since but was relatively fresh at the time. Genuinely creepy, it features excellent performances from Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder, plus it deals with toxic masculinity and is viewed as one of the first slasher films.
The 2006 remake of Black Christmas is also a lot of fun, going for a gory mid-2000s slasher vibe, while the recent (and second) remake tried to expand on the feminist themes of the original but was marred by a PG-13 rating and misjudged supernatural elements.
2. Psycho (1960)
Psycho is probably the very first slasher film ever created. In it, Norman Bates, one of the owners of the Bates Motel, seems harmless enough but pretty soon who turns into a savage killer who likes to turn his kitchen knife on his guests while they’re in the shower. There’s also the aspect of his fetish for cross dressing as his dead mother who happens to be just a skeleton looking down at the motel from their house.
If you’re looking for that infamous horror scene involving a stabbing in a shower – this is the movie it’s from.
3. Scream (1996)
Directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, Scream stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich and Drew Barrymore.
Wes Craven’s Scream injected new life into the veins of a very tired and overworked sub-genre. While seen by many as a serious slasher film, Scream has many satirical undertones. Often poking fun at well known horror films like Friday the 13th, Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Scream invented the boogeyman Ghostface and started the franchise involving Sidney Prescott and her friends as they struggle to survive being slaughtered.
RELATED: 27 Movies like Scream for your Horror Bucket List
4. Friday the 13th (1980)
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham, Friday the 13th is probably the most famous slasher film (with the exception of Halloween). It stars Betsy Palmer, Kevin Bacon, Adrienne King, Robbi Morgan, and Laurie Batram. In Friday the 13th Part 1, as it’s now known due to many other successful sequels, a group of camp counselors trying to reopen a summer camp called Crystal Lake, which has a grim past, are stalked by a mysterious killer. The killer is eventually revealed to be Mrs Vorhees, the mother of Jason Vorhees, a kid who drowned in the lake while the counsellors were off making out.
Friday the 13th has many memorable kills. The most famous of which is probably the one where Kevin Bacon is lying down on a bed and is stabbed through the mattress and through the throat. Although, an elderly woman would probably lack the strength to do so – it’s still so much fun!
5. Valentine (2001)
Directed by Jamie Blanks, Valentine stars David Boreanaz, Denise Richards, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw, Jessica Cauffiel, Fulvio Cecere and Katherine Heigl. It was released in 2001.
After seeing David Boreanaz as the brooding and heroic Vampire with a soul in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it’s spin-off Angel, it’s hard to imagine David Boreanaz as a relentless killer in a slasher film. Valentine is a sexy slasher film from the early 00s involving a killer taking out numerous attractive women in ways that can only be described as “101 ways to kill a Hollywood starlet.” The kills, brutal, inventive and sometimes random – but it makes for a better film than you’d expect given the synopsis is about a heart broken killer.
6. The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
Directed by Amy Holden Jones and written by Rita Mae Brown, The Slumber Party Massacre stars Michele Michaels, Robin Stille and Michael Villella. It was released in 1982.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this horror film probably involves a slumber party and it probably involves a killer looking to take them all out. Right? I mean, it’s all there in the name. The killer in question isn’t like Michael Myers in preferring a kitchen knife with each kill. Oh no, the preferred weapon of choice in this horror flick is a power drill. What’s more 80s than a crazed killer looking to take out hot young women in a sleepover scenario involving power tools? It’s a really fun time if you ask me.
7. Prom Night (1980)
Directed by Paul Lynch and written by William Gray, Prom Night stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielsen. It was released in 1980.
A couple of years after the success of the first Halloween film, Jamie Lee Curtis returned to the Slasher sub-genre of horror in Prom Night. While far from a complicated plot, the film follows a masked killer and the teenagers he’s killing off as revenge for a young girl that died accidentally years before. While the kills aren’t spectacular by today’s horror standards, they are fun, and the movie itself is a time honoured horror classic which everyone must watch at least once in their lifetime.
9. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Directed by Jim Gillespie, I Know What You Did Last Summer stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillipe, Freddie Prinze Jr., Johnny Galecki and Bridgette Wilson. It was released in 1997.
I Know What You Did Last Summer is quintessentially 90s. With heartthrobs like Freddie Prince Jr, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Jennifer Love Hewitt as part of the cast it’s hard not to get swept up the 90s furor of this movie about these teens who run over a fisherman, dump him in a like and then flee in terror as he kills them off one-by-one a year later. While the killer’s outfit is quite ridiculous, there’s something about a raincoat, his face drenched in darkness and armed with nothing but a hook that adds a level of fear to this horror film.
10. My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Directed by George Mihalka and written by John Beaird, My Bloody Valentine stars Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Don Francks, Cynthia Dale, Alf Humphreys, Keith Knight and Patricia Hamilton. It was released in 1981.
The original My Bloody Valentine is one of the many horror films in the 80s named after a popular holiday. Like most of those movies, My Bloody Valentine has very little to do with the holiday itself and more to do with the fact that it just so happens to be set on Valentine’s Day during which a party occurs. A party where the teenage partygoers suffer at the hands of a killer in mining gear. If the idea of teens getting killed by an array of mining gear appeals to you then check this movie out.
RELATED: 13 Best Valentine’s Day Horror Movies
11. The Fog (1980)
Directed by John Carpenter, The Fog stars John Houseman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh and Adrienne Barbeau. It was released in 1980.
The Fog is about a coastal town in Northern California where an ominous fog visits and brings with it a host of vengeful ghosts of the sailors of a ship wreck from 100 years before. The Fog is an interesting watch as it merges elements of ghosts horror with slasher horror as the ghost-like apparitions approach their kills in an almost boogeyman sense.
Besides all of that, the atmosphere of The Fog is incredibly haunting and you’ve just got to applaud a film which brought the acting talents of Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh and Adrienne Barbeau under the one banner. Kudos, JC!
12. X (2022)
Directed and written by Ti West, X stars Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, Owen Campbell, Stephen Ure and Scott Mescudi. It was released in the year 2022.
Set in the 70s, where a group of young adults find a secluded barn to shoot their porn movie. X quickly morphs from a sordid sexy film into a movie filled with horrors as the elderly owners of the barn figure out what the porn film makers are doing and look to kill them off one-by-one. Despite all the carnage that ensues, nothing will prepare you for Mia Goth’s character hiding under the bed while the two elderly killers go at it like a pair of rabbits.
13. Halloween Kills (2021)
Directed by David Gordon Green, Halloween Kills stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Thomas Mann and Anthony Michael Hall. It was released in 2021.
While many critics wrote this film off, I would say that it’s one of the better Halloween films as it not only serves to reinforce just how unstoppable Michael Myers is but it also brings back several characters from the franchise spanning multiple films and gives them a great bloody send off.
Spoilers: they all die. Mostly.
14. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Directed by Steve Minor, Friday the 13th Part 2 stars Adrienne King, Amy Steel, John Furey and Peter Stein. It was released in 1981.
In this film we’re formally introduced to Jason Vorhees be a vengeful killer of camp counsellors at Crystal Lake. However, he isn’t adorned the hockey mask just yet, in this movie he’s wearing a burlap sack over his head with eyes poked through – which I feel adds some eeriness to his kills.
There’s also the relationship between Jason and his mother which is explored as the head of Pamela Vorhees is worshipped by Jason like some kind of shrine. It’s here we learn that this is one screwed up family.
RELATED: 40 Years Later, Friday the 13th Part 2 is Still an Iconic Slasher
15. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
Directed by Danny Cannon and written by Trey Callaway, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Brandy, Mekhi Phifer, Matthew Settle, Jennifer Esposito, Bill Cobbs and Muse Watson. It was released in 1998.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is the sequel to I Know What You Did Last Summer and sets the scene with Julie (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt) dealing with the deaths of her friends Helen Shivers and Barry Cox while she attends summer classes in Boston. However, all is not well as pretty soon a new hook brandishing killer appears and starts terrorizing Julie and her friends.
RELATED: ‘I Still Know What You Did Last Summer’ is a Better Movie than you Remember
16. Cry Wolf (2005)
Directed by Jeff Wadlow and co-written by Wadlow and Beau Bauman, Cry Wolf stars Julian Morris, Lindy Booth, Jared Padalecki and Jon Bon Jovi. It was released in 2005.
Cry Wolf follows a group of teens at a remote privileged boarding school who play a game (to cure the boredom) called Cry Wolf which involves spreading rumours about this serial killer call “The Wolf.” However, when a young woman is discovered dead on campus, this makes other students paranoid as those who played the Cry Wolf game are the ones this unseen killer is killing off one-by-one.
17. Scream 2 (1997)
Directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, Scream 2 stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jamie Kennedy, Laurie Metcalf, Jerry O’Connell, Elise Neal, Timothy Olyphant, Jada Pinkett, and Liev Schreiber. It was released in 1997.
Scream 2 is the first sequel to Wes Craven’s hit slasher film, Scream, and follows Sidney Prescott and the gang as they try to get on with their lives after the Woodsboro Massacre. However, a fictional film called “Stab” based on the events that happened in the first scream movie, causes the Ghostface Killer to come out of the woodwork and start killing again.
18. Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)
Directed by John Ottman, Urban Legends: Final Cut stars Jennifer Morrison, Matthew Davis, Hart Bochner, Joseph Lawrence, Anthony Anderson, and Loretta Devine. It was released in 2000.
Urban Legend: Final Cut which is usually just referred to as Urban Legend 2 is the sequel to the first Urban Legend film and follows character Amy Mayfield who’s creating a thesis film about urban legends. However, someone in a fencing mask starts killing members of the film crew and begins to close in on Amy and her friends.
19. Cherry Falls (2000)
Directed by Geoffrey Wright, Cherry Falls stars Brittany Murphy, Jay Mohr, Gabriel Mann and Michael Biehn. It was released in the year 2000.
Cherry Falls focuses on a serial killer who’s targetting teenage virgins which was somehow still a sticking point for horror films in the early 2000s. Despite its simple storyline, Cherry Falls isn’t without its own brand of interesting kills and a twist at the end which isn’t exactly Psycho but it does involve a crossdressing character. So there’s that.
20. Terror Train (1980)
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode, Terror Train stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Johnson, Hart Bochner, Sandee Currie, Anthony Sherwood and David Copperfield. It was realeased in the year 1980.
Terror Train follows a group of pre-medical school students holding a costume party who are targeted by a killer who steals their costumes after murdering some students to avoid being caught. Interestingly, Jamie Lee Curtis filmed her scenes for it shortly after filming for Prom Night had wrapped. There’s plenty of kills and decapitations to sink your teeth into with this film.
21. When a Stranger Calls (1979)
Written and directed by Fred Walton and co-written by Steve Feke, When a Stranger Calls stars Charles Durning, Carol Kane, Colleen Dewhurst and Tony Beckley. The original film was released in the year 1979.
When a Stranger Calls is a classic film in the psychological thriller genre. It follows Jill Johnson who is being terrorised by a serial killer while she’s babysitting. The killer then returns years later to torment Jill again as she’s the one who got away and so the film pivots to follow not only Jill but also the detective trying to track down the serial killer.
22. Scream 3 (2000)
Directed by Wes Craven and written by Ehren Kruger, Scream 3 stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox Arquette, Parker Posey, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Foley, Lance Henriksen, Matt Keeslar, Jenny McCarthy, Emily Mortimer, Deon Richmond, and Patrick Warburton. It was released in the year 2000.
Scream 3 is the second sequel in the Scream franchise and draws Sidney Prescott and her friends back into the fold when the cast of “Stab 3” start being killed by another Ghostface. During the sequence of events Sidney learns some uncomfortable truths about her mother, her past and why Billy wanted to kill her back in the original Scream movie.
23. Disturbing Behavior (1998)
Directed by David Nutter and written by Scott Rosenberg, Disturbing Behavior stars James Marsden, Katie Holmes, Nick Stahl, Bruce Greenwood and William Sadler. It was released in the year 1998.
Disturbing Behavior mixes it up in the genre department with elements of teen horror, science fiction and psychological thriller vibes. The plot follows a group of high school outcasts who discover their seemingly perfect “Blue Ribbon” classmates are part of an elaborate mind control experiment. Big brother, anyone?
24. Scream 4 (2011)
Directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, Scream 4 stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Anthony Anderson, Alison Brie, Adam Brody, Rory Culkin, Marielle Jaffe, Erik Knudsen, Mary McDonnell, Marley Shelton, Nico Tortorella, and Roger L. Jackson. It was released in the year 2011.
Scream 4 is the third sequel in the Scream franchise and is set 15 years after the original Woodsboro murders took place, as depicted in the first Scream film. The plot follows Sidney who meets up with her publicist in Woodsboro to discuss her self-help book but who then finds herself the suspect in a murder and is ordered by the police not to leave town. Bit by bit, Sidney finds herself entangled in a web involving a new Ghostface killer.
25. Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
Directed by Steve Miner, Friday the 13th Part 3 stars Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka and Richard Brooker. It was released in the year 1982.
Friday the 13th Part 3 is the second sequel in the Friday the 13th franchise and is also the first time that Jason Vorhees takes on his signature hockey mask. The plot follows a group of teenagers who stupidly decide to camp near Crystal Lake and Jason, who is recuperating nearby from his injuries sustained in Friday the 13th Part 2, then goes on a fresh new killing spree.
What did you think of this list of ‘Movies like Urban Legend’?
What did you think of Urban Legend? Have you seen any of these films before?
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