Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday
Maybe it is so because the very calendars are against us?
February 29. Superstition has it that if you are a teenager and have sex on this day, you will be macheted to death by a maniac wearing a makeshift mask made out of a calendar. This superstition is, of course, the basis for the '80s horror movie
It goes like this: You and your friends are having a nice Easter party, when suddenly a deranged killer in a bunny mask
starts stalking you. On April Fools Day, that guy you and your friends pulled a rather nasty prank
upon is out to get you. On Halloween, the dead rise from their graves
and start to terrorize the neighborhood. And on Christmas, The Antichrist
decides to be born.
"Oh for Pete's sake!" you exclaim; "Couldn't these things happen on any
other day, like, Tuesday?"
Sorry pal, Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday.
When the horror happens, it tends to happen on Holidays and other special days marked on your calendar for various reasons: Lots of people tend to gather around on those days
(usually at a remote location
), calendar days make nice titles, and nothing quite says Subverted Innocence
than (for example) Santa Claus
killing people with an axe.
Also, remember, some days are sacred to pagan/occult religions and so "natural" choices for supernatural events. These days may have had Christian and/or commercial holidays added, or they may just be special to the pagans/witches/satanists/whoever, still not just Tuesday, even if the hero doesn't know this at first. Granted, if you consider all
cultures, faiths and customs, every
day on the calendar is bound to be a holiday to someone; this trope only applies when that holiday is specifically referenced in the work.
And of course, Lovecraftian unspeakable horrors don't have any use for the human calendar, so they won't bother to do the timezone math to see where to appear. They only care the stars are right on THEIR calendars and none of these calendars have Tuesday!
Popular trope among horror
movies (especially in Slasher Movie
genre), but not necessarily limited to them.
See also Attack of the Town Festival
, Regularly Scheduled Evil
, Twisted Christmas
, Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday
and various holiday episodes
. Has nothing whatsoever to do with But for Me, It Was Tuesday
Did I Mention It's Christmas?
(or any other holiday) may be in effect for some of these.
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All Hallows' Eve / Samhain
- All Hallows' Eve
- American Nightmare
- While it's more a Black Comedy murder-mystery than an actual horror film, Arsenic and Old Lace takes place on Halloween.
- Bad Reputation
- Black Eve
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer offers something of a Subversion as the monsters tend to lay low on Halloween because it'd be tacky not to, but like much going on in Sunnydale, good intentions go real bad.
- Referenced in a Missing Trailer Scene in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
- The Caretaker
- Cemetery of Terror
- CHUDII Bud The Chud
- The Clown Murders
- Cry_Wolf deconstructs the trope. A group of High School Students spread rumours of a serial killer they made up as a practical joke, to prove they're better than the other students. The rumour involves many of the cliches of horror and Urban Legend because they think it'll make it more believable. Unfortunately, this inspires a copycat killer to start killing people for real. At least, that's what you're SUPPOSED to think . . .
- Dark Night of the Scarecrow
- Day of the Dead
- Dark Walker
- Death on Demand
- Demon's Trap
- Don't Look in the Cellar
- The Haunting Hour, "Don't Think About It"
- Dream Home
- Happens multiple times in The Dresden Files. Justified in that the barrier between the spirit and mortal worlds is weakest on Halloween, so all manner of nasty supernatural stuff happens on that day. It also happens to be the main character's birthday.
- Ernest Scared Stupid
- Escape from the Dead
- Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain
- The Fanglys
- Fear of Clowns
- The Fear: Resurrection
- Ginger Snaps
- The Halloween series, including Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which is more about ancient Samhain
- Halloween Night
- Hallow's End
- Hallows Point
- In the Harry Potter series, it just happened to be on Halloween night that Voldemort murdered Harry's parents. In fact, there's generally one major plot event every Halloween that Harry is at school, as well. First year: Troll gets in and wreaks havoc (the title of this chapter is even "Hallowe'en"). Second year: the Chamber is opened and takes its first victim. Third year: Black breaks in and slashes up the Fat Lady's portrait.
- Haunted Hay Ride: The Movie
- Hayride Slaughter
- The Hazing
- Hocus Pocus features a ritual where a virgin must light a black candle on the night of Halloween. Whilst it plays THIS trope straight, this is a comedy, and so the zombies, the witches and the aforementioned virgin are not what you'd usually expect.
- The Hollow
- Hollow Gate
- House of 1000 Corpses
- House of Fears
- The remake of House on Haunted Hill (1999)
- Averted but Lampshaded in The House On The Borderland, in which the anonymous writer of the journal remarks that if he were making up his account, he surely would have chosen to initiate its supernatural events on Halloween.
- Idle Hands
- In the Dark
- Intruder (no, not this one)
- I've Been Waiting For You
- Jack O'Lantern
- Lady in White
- Left for Dead
- The various retellings of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, like the film Sleepy Hollow
- Long Pig
- Lovely Assistant (novel), though the bad guys seem to have specifically scheduled their plans for Halloween, so either they're Genre Savvy or they had their own reasons.
- The Maize: The Movie
- The Midnight Hour
- Mostly Ghostly
- Mr. Halloween
- Murder Party
- The Night of the Demons series
- Pet Sematary Two
- Primal Rage
- The Pumpkin Karver
- Return Of The Living Dead Rave To The Grave
- Sam Hell
- Satan's Little Helper
- Scare Zone
- Scary Movie (no, not this one)
- Scream Farm
- Sleepy Hollow High
- Stan Helsing
- Summer's End: The Legend of Samhain obviously . . .
- Supernatural's pilot episode starts on Halloween.
- Tales of the Dead
- Trick or Treat
- Trick or Treats
- Trick 'r Treat (all of these are different films)
- Unearthly Harvest
- V/H/S's last segment is called, and set on, "10/31/98"
- Vacations of Terror 2
- The Whistler
- The Wickeds
- Witches' Night
- WNUF Halloween Special
- Wrong Turn 5 Bloodlines
April Fools' Day
Bachelor / Bachelorette Parties
- Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned
- Bachelor Party Massacre
- Freak Show
- Hostel: Part III
- Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead
- The Last Resort
- Psycho Cop Returns
- Stag Night
- Stag Night of the Dead
- Vampire in Vegas
- The Abandoned
- Alice in Murderland
- Alison's Birthday
- The Birthday
- Bloody Birthday
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy's celebrates her seventeenth birthday by sleeping with Angel and turning him evil. On reaching her eighteenth year the Watcher's Council subject her to a test when she must fight a psychotic vampire without superpowers. On her nineteenth birthday, Giles is turned into a demon; for her twentieth Buffy has to fight a god to protect her sister and on Buffy's twenty-first she's trapped in her house with a demon — on this occasion Spike suggests that it would be best if Buffy not celebrate her birthday, and since there's no birthday episode in Season 7 she's apparently taken this advise.
- A segment of 1997 Campfire Tales, titled "People Can Lick Too"
- Child's Play
- Deep in the Woods
- Demons 2
- Don't Go Near the Park
- Don't Panic
- Friday the 13th and a few of the sequels
- The Greenskeeper
- Happy Birthday to Me
- The Haunting of Molly Hartley
- It's My Party and I'll Die If I Want To
- The Jackhammer Massacre
- The Last House on the Left
- Make a Wish
- Mr. Jingles
- My Soul to Take
- My Super Psycho Sweet 16 series
- Nine Lives
- Pinocchio's Revenge
- Rabid Grannies
- Red Velvet
- Scream 3
- Slumber Party Massacre II
- Sweet Sixteen
- Terror Toons 2: The Sick and Silly Show
- There Was a Little Girl
- Alien Raiders
- Bikini Bloodbath Christmas
- Black Christmas (1974)
- The Blackout
- Blood Beat
- The Bloody Exorcism of Coffin Joe
- A segment of the 1991 Campfire Tales, titled "The Fright Before Xmas"
- The Children
- Christmas Nightmare
- The Christmas Season Massacre
- The Christmas Tale from 6 Films to Keep You Awake
- The Curse of the Cat People
- The Day of the Beast
- Dead End
- The beginning of Deadly Dreams
- Deadly Games
- Deadly Little Christmas
- Doctor Who, to the point where it's lampshaded; by "Voyage of the Damned", most Londoners have enough sense to get out of town for Christmas.
- Don't Open Till Christmas
- The Dorm That Dripped Blood
- Fallen Knight
- Family Reunion
- Feeders 2: Slay Bells
- Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash
- Ginger Snaps Unleashed
- The Hitchhiker
- Home for the Holidays
- I, Madman
- Jack Frost
- Jaws: The Revenge
- A segment of Kazuo Umezu's Horror Theater Vol. 3, titled "The Present"
- The League of Gentlemen Christmas Special
- The Legend Of Hell House
- Lucky Stiff
- Maniac Cop 2
- The Minus Man
- The Mothman Prophecies
- Mum & Dad
- Night of the Comet
- Night Train Murders
- Nutcracker: An American Nightmare
- One Hell of a Christmas
- The Oracle
- The Ordeal
- Parasite Eve
- Prime Evil
- Psycho Santa
- Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys
- Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
- The Saga of Grettir the Strong reflects the medieval belief that on Christmas ("Yule") Eve, ghosts and demons have special power over people that shirk Mass: On Yule Eve, the shepherd Glam is killed by a ghost, and every year the troll woman of Bardardal raids the farmhouse at Sandhaugar.
- Satan Claus
- Santa Claws
- Santa's Slay
- A segment of Shake, Rattle & Roll 9, titled "Christmas Tree"
- The Shining
- Sick Girl
- Silent Night, Bloody Night
- The Silent Night, Deadly Night series
- Silent Night, Zombie Night
- The novel Slay Bells
- Snow Shark
- The beginning of The Stepfather remake
- The first segment of the Tales from the Crypt film, titled "And All Through the House"
- The Thirteenth Day of Christmas
- To All a Good Night
- The Toybox
- The Traveler
- Trees 2: The Root of All Evil
- Two Front Teeth
- Wind Chill
- While She Was Out
- Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?
- You Better Watch Out (also known as Christmas Evil)
Day of the Dead / El Día de los Muertos / All Souls' Day
Devil's Night / Hell Night / Mischief Night
- The Criminal Minds episode "Devil's Night" featured a serial arsonist who, every year, killed on the days leading up to Halloween.
- The Crow
- Hallows Eve: Slaughter on Second Street
- Happy Hell Night
- Mischief Night
- Night of the Pumpkin
- The first Creepshow segment, which is literally titled "Father's Day"
- Father's Day
- Stepfather III
- 1996's Summer of Fear
May Day / Walpurgis Night
- The Devil Rides Out
- The beginning of Dracula (1931)
- The gruesome guro/hentai anime Bible Black
- The Lost Crown: A Ghost-Hunting Adventure
- The "Night on Bald Mountain" segment of Fantasia
- Walpurgis Night
- The Wicker Man
- The Wicker Tree
- Zero Day
- The Doctor Who story "The Daemons" takes place around May Day.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Walpurgisnacht is the eponymous Witch that comes every year in a random location at that particular date. The location that she visits, always ends in ruin and deaths.
St. Patrick's Day
United States' Independence Day / Fourth of July
Weddings and Honeymoons
- The Beast Within
- Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat
- The Blood Spattered Bride
- The Bloodstained Bride
- A segment of 1997 Campfire Tales, titled "The Honeymoon"
- Bride Of Chucky
- Children of the Corn (2009) remake (second honeymoon... close enough)
- Dark Country
- Dark Honeymoon
- The Final Destination spin-off novel Dead Man's Hand.
- Death by Engagement
- Devil's Pond
- Hatchet for the Honeymoon
- He Knows You're Alone
- Honeymoon Horror
- Fear Itself: "In Sickness and in Health"
- Kiss of the Vampire
- Mad Jack
- Machined Reborn
- Maid of Honor
- My Bloody Wedding
- Nightmare Honeymoon
- A Perfect Getaway
- Seventh Moon
- Stepfather II
- The Trek
- Trouble Every Day
- Vacancy 2: The First Cut
- V/H/S has a segment called "Second Honeymooon"
- The Wedding Curse
- Wedding Slashers
- Zombie Honeymoon
- Stephen King's Cycle of the Werewolf, where the moon is conveniently full for a couple of holidays (New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, April Fool's Day, Homecoming Sunday, high school graduation, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, and New Year's Eve). King admits in a short post-script that the moon cycles doesn't behave like that in the real world, but he ignored this fact as he found the idea of a horror story focused on holidays too appealing to pass up on.
- The anthology book A Hacked-Up Holiday Massacre.
- The Hack/Slash comic Entry Wound had every holiday-related slasher "waking up" early due to a cosmic disturbance. While various holiday slashers are alluded to, the main villain of the story was a Groundhog Day-based one (if the groundhog sees his shadow, six weeks of death ensue).
- The Enfant Terrible film Home Movie has sequences set on a number of different holidays; in order, they're a birthday, Halloween, an anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day and Easter, which the climax occurs on.
- Fearnet has produced a series of shorts featuring Sam from Trick 'r Treat celebrating a variety of different holidays, like Easter and Father's Day.
- The Horror Seasons is an anthology that features Christmas ("Satan Claws"); Halloween ("The Darkest Secret") and Easter ("Easter Beast").
- The Long Halloween: The Holiday Killer strikes on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, a birthday, then Halloween again. On April Fool's it's subverted by the killer himself.
- Tales from the Grave, Volume 2: Happy Holidays is a horror anthology with all the segments dealing with holidays.
- The Calender Man will tell you about his previous murders if you visit him on particular days during the year in Batman: Arkham City.
- Clive Barker's The Thief of Always is set at the Holiday House, a magical residence which experiences a full year's worth of seasons every day. There's an Easter every morning, a Halloween every dusk, and a Christmas every evening. Granted, it doesn't become a horror story until the characters catch on to what's going on...
- In Real Life, terrorists are far more likely to align their crimes with specific calendar dates than are serial killers, as the former sometimes schedule their attacks to make a political statement, while the latter are usually opportunists.
- An exception would be the unidentified perpetrator of the so-called Astrological murders; his(?) killings always coincided with something like an equinox, a solstice, or a Friday the 13th.
- 4 Horror Tales: February 29
- 11/11/11 (These are separate films. November 11 is also Veteran's/Remembrance Day, but that observance does not appear to be an element in either of them)
- Winter Solstice for 30 Days of Night
- Absurd appears to take place during Super Bowl Sunday.
- Arbor Daze
- Barrow Hill takes place on the night of the Autumnal Equinox
- The City of the Dead features Candlemas
- Dark Fall: Lost Souls happens on Bonfire Night.
- Earth Day.
- The Friday the 13th spin-off novel Mother's Day
- Groundhog Day
- Hangover Square climaxes on Guy Fawkes Day
- Humongous' prologue happens on Labor Day
- Mother's Day
- Night of the Living Dead takes place the day the clocks change for daylight savings.
- The Orphan (no, not this one) happens during Friday the 13th
- Pledge Night
- President's Day
- Rush Week
- Solstice takes place, as the title implies, on midsummer solstice
- In some cultures, the "unlucky day" is, in fact, Tuesday the 13th. And, yep, when Friday the 13th is dubbed for one of those cultures (including the Spanish dub)...
- The Victorville Massacre is set on Labor Day.
- V for Vendetta begins and ends with a bombing on Guy Fawkes Day.
- The Columbine High School massacre took place on April 20, leading to speculation that the killers were neo-Nazis, as that date was Adolf Hitler's birthday. Others have suggested that they scheduled their killing spree for April 20 so that the school's stoners wouldn't be caught in the crossfire (they'd never had much of a problem with those kids). In truth, it was a defiance of this trope. In his journal, Eric Harris wrote that he wanted the massacre to happen on an ordinary day at school rather than at some major event like the prom (which had taken place three days earlier) or a football game, feeling that it would more properly shock Americans out of their routine. Furthermore, the massacre was originally scheduled for the day before, but had to be delayed because an order of ammunition only came late in the afternoon.
- That said, the fact that they originally scheduled the massacre for April 19 has also led to speculation that it was a reference to the Waco siege and the Oklahoma City bombing, especially given the killers' stated desire to "outdo" those events.
Spoofs and Parodies
- MAD spoofed the concept with Arbor Day, which became Hilarious in Hindsight with the creation of the aforementioned Arbor Daze.
- Arbor Day is again the chosen day of horror when It's a Living took on slasher films.
- Spoofed in More Information Than You Require with the imaginary slasher Leap Year.
- The horror anthology NightThirst had a story called "Christmas in July", which had a murderous Santa inexplicably killing in the middle of summer.
- The Psych episode "Tuesday the 17th" spoofs this trope by having a very Friday the 13th-esque story (hence the title) happen on an unimportant day.
- Saturday the 14th also parodies this trope.
- Along with ending on the prom, the aforementioned Student Bodies starts, says "Halloween" on screen but nothing happens, fade out. Fade in again on "Friday the 13th" nothing happens on that day either, fade out again. Fade in again on "Jamie Lee Curtis' Birthday" that's when all hell breaks loose!