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Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday

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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 Leap Year."
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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 Anti-Christ 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 like (for example) Santa Claus killing people with an axe.

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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.

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See also Attack of the Town Festival, Regularly Scheduled Evil, Twisted Christmas, Dangerous 16th Birthday and various holiday episodes. Did I Mention It's Christmas? (or any other holiday) may be in effect for some of these. Contrast But for Me, It Was Tuesday, although the name of that trope might have inspired this one's, as in, the difference between something evil one does every day and the kind reserved for specific days.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    All Hallows' Eve / Halloween / Samhain 
  • Batman: Arkham Knight plays out on Halloween night, and features several horror-themed Rogues Gallery villains (Scarecrow, Man-Bat, Professor Pyg) in greater or lesser roles.
  • C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chudhas a zombie outbreak during halloween.
  • Clownhouse has the young brothers left home alone being menaced by a a group of escaped mental patients dressed like clowns.
  • Multiple instances 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 has the titular character releasing a troll on halloween.
  • Fallout 4 drives home the point more than any other game in the series that the nuclear apocalypse known as the "Great War" happened in late October, because just about every shell of a house still standing in the Commonwealth has Halloween decorations out.
  • Ginger snaps about a teen girl ifected with werewolfism on halloween.
  • The Halloween series is about a serial killer micheal myers who primarily kills on halloween except for Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which is more about ancient Samhain.
  • In Hallowee Night A school janitor devises an evil scarecrow to exact revenge on those who have tormented him, but then loses control of his fiendish creation
  • In Halloween Night an escape mental patient kills of members of a halloween party one by one.
  • 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.
  • The remake of House on Haunted Hill (1999) has a group of people being paid to stay overnight in a haunted house on halloween
  • 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 begins with the demonically possessed main characters's hand killing his parents on halloween.
  • The batman story The Long Halloween is a story where the killer strikes over many holidays, but begins on a Halloween and ends on the next one.
  • 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.
  • Pet Sematary Two has a young boy resuurect his mother on halloween
  • The Predator, where a kid even goes trick or treating with the title alien's mask.
  • Supernatural
  • Tales of Halloween a horror/comedy anthlogy
  • Tales of the Dead
  • Trick Or Treat has a ghostly rock star coming back to life near halloween
  • Trick or Treats has a babysitter taking care of a bratty child whoms father escapes from a mental asylum

    April Fools' Day 
  • Slaughter High has a group of teens accidently maiming the school nerd who seeks revenge on april fools years later.

    Birthdays 
See also A Birthday, Not a Break.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy celebrates her seventeenth birthday by sleeping with Angel and turning him evil.
    • On Buffy's eighteenth birthday the Watcher's Council subjects her to a test when she must fight a psychotic vampire without superpowers.
    • On Buffy's nineteenth birthday, Giles is turned into a demon.
    • On Buffy's twentieth birthday, she has to fight a god to protect her sister.
    • On Buffy's twenty-first birthday 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 advice.
  • Child's Play a young boy recives a toy doll for his birthday that's possessed by a serial killer.
  • Happy Death Day, to the point the killer only went into slashing because the victim passed on a poisoned cupcake baked for her.

    Christmas Season 
See also An Ass-Kicking Christmas.
  • Batman Returns has the deformed penguin being abandoned as a baby by his parents during christmas and comes decades later to seek venegce on gotham.
  • Better Watch Out has a boy and a babysitter he has a crush on dealing with a home intruder on christmas.
  • Elves has killer elf demon connected to nazi war criminals going on a spree during christmas.
  • The Hand: The climax of the film (and most of the violence) occurs around Christmas.
  • 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.

    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, where it's even said to be the day the dead come back to life - such as the protagonist.

    Easter 
  • In Critters 2: The Main Course the title creatues eggs are mistaken for easter egg.
  • Dead Snow has a group of medical student getting attacked by nazi zombies during christmas vaction.
  • Doctor Who has one Easter special, 2009's "Planet of the Dead". Set on the holiday, it mainly involves a bus going through a wormhole and winding up on a ravaged Ghost Planet, with the same fate ready to befall Earth if the Doctor can't find a way to stop it.
  • Kottentail has a mutant bunny man going on a killing spree

    Graduation 
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer the Mayor scheduled his Ascension for graduation day, and proceeded to turn into a gigantic snake demon and attempt to snack on the graduates.

    May Day / Walpurgis Night 
  • 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.

    New Year 
  • Doctor Who: "Resolution", the new series' first specific New Year's special, set on its airdate of 01/01/2019 and involving an incredibly dangerous alien breaking out of its can on Earth and going on a rampage.

    Prom Night 
  • Dance of the Dead: Where zombies attack on prom night. They reach the actual prom offscreen but there aren't many survivors left there and one mentions that they ate the Prom King.

    Spring Break 
  • The Evil Dead (1981) has a group of collage age students spending vacation in a cabin in the wood.
  • Jeepers Creepers has a brother and sister returning home from college during spring break.
  • Piranha 3D has a school of pre-historic pirhannas being freed by an earthquake and attacking some spring breakers.

    St. Patrick's Day 
  • In God Told Me To a detective investigates a series of killing sprees in new york. One of them is at a st.patricks day parade.
  • Maniac Cop A deformed killer cop terrorizes new york. Climax takes place during a saint patricks day parade.

    Thanksgiving 
  • Blood Rage: Terry starts killing again on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Bloodwine: It's around Thanksgiving that our protagonists get their hands on the mysterious brandy bottle.
  • Home Sweet Home: The killer manages to escape captivity and go on a rampage during Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Madman is set fairly close to Thanksgiving
  • The Mutilator is set during "fall break", which implies that it takes place around Thanksgiving since that's when most American schools tend to have a fall break.
  • Séance: The main characters hold a séance over Thanksgiving weekend. Three guesses as to how that turns out.
  • Eli Roth's Thanksgiving, the mock trailer to which was part of Grindhouse. The trailer poked fun at the tendency of this sort of film to be released at least a few months away from its associated holiday, as it happened to come out not long before Rob Zombie's Halloween remake was released... in late August.
    Narrator: Thanksgiving. Coming this February.
  • ThanksKilling and its sequel, in which the murderer is none other than a demonic turkey.

    United States Independence Day / Fourth of July 
  • The Cape Fear remake has a lawyer and his family being menenced by a killer the father failed to defend in court.
  • The I Know What You Did Last Summer trilogy has a group of teen accidently killing a man well drunk driving after a fourth of july party. He comes back during around the same time next year seeking revenge.
  • Independence Day and Independence Day: Resurgence - on the first is coincidental that the aliens came in early July. In the second, it's deliberate, as Time Dilation makes they return after exactly 20 years.
  • Jaws, where the mayor even complains that closing the beach due to shark attacks on a holiday would be harmful.

    Valentine's Day 
  • Pontypool has a radio station dealing with zombies during valentines day.
  • Another segment of the Tales from the Crypt film, titled "Poetic Justice", is actually set over two different Valentine's Days.

    Weddings and Honeymoons 
  • Bride of Chucky has the series killer doll being resurrected by his old girlfriend whom he turns into another doll.
  • V/H/S has a segment called "Second Honeymooon" has a couple being stalked by a killer well on a second honeymoon/vacation.

    Multiple 
  • Batman:
    • Calendar Man's entire schtick, especially his Arkham Series incarnation who's effectively a holiday-themed serial killer. In Batman: Arkham City he'll tell you about his previous murders if you visit him with your system clock set to certain holidays.
      • Batman: Arkham Knight contains a series of journal entries from Calendar Man, who made a New Year's Resolution not to commit crimes on major holidays, but to focus on lesser-known events like Groundhog Day and National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Eventually he can't resist the urge and decides to cheat by committing a crime on Halloween...the day the events of the game take place. His journal entry for October 31 simply says "Damn Scarecrow."
    • 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 1st, the killer attacks the Riddler but doesn't kill him — because it's April Fools' Day.
  • 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, and New Year's Eve. The only mayor holiday that is excluded is Halloween (the full moon was a few days before it; instead the protagonist Marty gets to see the werewolf in his human form for the first time on Halloween). 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 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 comic also has an amusing Deconstruction of the trope, as Cassie and Vlad usually take out those slashers rather easily by just finding their resting place on a regular Tuesday and blowing it up while they are still hibernating.
  • The anthology film Holidays has various horror stories taking place on Father's Day, Valentine's Day, Easter, New Year's Eve, Mother's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, and Christmas.
  • 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.
  • The Horror Seasons is an anthology that features Christmas ("Satan Claws"); Halloween ("The Darkest Secret") and Easter ("Easter Beast").
  • It's My Party and I'll Die If I Want To is set on Halloween, which is also the protagonist's birthday.
  • Tales from the Grave, Volume 2: Happy Holidays is a horror anthology with all the segments dealing with holidays.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Real Life Edinburgh's infamous corpse-selling serial killers, Burke and Hare, were finally arrested for a murder that took place on Halloween of 1828. Hare testified about the brutal event in exchange for immunity nine weeks later, on Christmas Eve, and Burke's death sentence - complete with an order that his body be dissected - was issued on Christmas morning.

    Other 
  • The Bagman takes place on Friday the 13th.
  • 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.
  • Dark Harvest takes place on the night of the Harvest Moon.
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968) takes place the day the clocks change for daylight savings.
  • The Orphan (no, not this one) happens during Friday the 13th
  • Patriots Day, a True Crime film about the 2015 Boston Marathon bombing. Notably, the actual attack was a subversion; the Boston Marathon is scheduled every year to be held on Patriots' Day (a state holiday in Massachusetts commemorating the Battles of Lexington and Concord), so anybody plotting a terrorist attack against such would also, by coincidence, be plotting an attack on that holiday.
  • Solstice takes place, as the title implies, on midsummer solstice.
  • The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism takes place on Good Friday.
  • 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 — quite literally, as April 20, 1999, was a Tuesday. 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.
  • Germany has had several significant events occur on November 9, most of which were negative. In 1848, parliamentary leader Robert Blum was executed. In 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated, and both the Weimar Republic and a Free Socialist Republic were proclaimed. In 1923, the Beer Hall Putsch occurred. In 1938, the Nazis began Kristallnacht. Subverted in 1989 when the Berlin Wall began to fall on November 9.
  • This is a major part of the reason why the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 had such a profound effect on European culture and Enlightenment-era thought. Not only did a massive earthquake and tsunami devastate one of Europe's great capitals, but it also happened on November 1, All Saints' Day, one of the holiest days on the Catholic calendar. Nearly everybody was in church when the earthquake struck — and furthermore, Lisbon's churches were mostly built tall in the center of the city, on soft riverbank sediments that underwent liquefaction during the earthquake, causing nearly all of them to collapse and kill the parishioners inside. The disaster has often been cited as the birth of modern atheism, as writers like Voltaire saw it as an affront to the idea of a just and loving God, or even of The Scourge of God, given that the earthquake claimed the churches but spared the brothels (Lisbon's Red Light District having been one of the least-damaged neighborhoods).
  • Similarly, the 1964 Alaskan earthquake, the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded, struck on March 27, Good Friday. Coincidentally, the Book of Matthew also describes an earthquake occurring during Jesus' crucifixion (the event that Good Friday commemorates).

    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!
    • Either that or the film takes place in a Verse where — to better facilitate this trope — all three of these events can and do happen on the same date.
  • From the Phineas and Ferb episode "Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror":
    "Wow, this is such a Halloween thing to happen in the middle of summer!"

Alternative Title(s): Horror Holiday

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