My day job as a teacher has gone on pause due to campus closure, y’all are hoarding toilet paper, and I am wary of anyone who coughs near me. It must be pandemic-time. 2020 is off to a great start, is it not?

So a lot of us will be stuck for at least a week or two either working from home or pretending to work at home and watching tv instead. In that regard, I figured I would drop a list of films for that first week. Just carve out a couple of hours of your shift and watch the world burn, I suppose. So, here are five pandemic horror films to watch for the workweek for those of you who aren’t heading in on Monday.

Oh, and a few of these movies are available on YouTube, in full, if you look for them.

Outbreak (1995)

Yes, I know what you are thinking, Outbreak is not a horror film. It’s a thriller. But you know what? I find that the distinction between horror and thriller to be somewhat arbitrary at the best of times. These are like kissing cousins (which is one thing you should not do at all during and outside of a pandemic). Honestly, if the situation scares the shit out of you then it is basically horror. C’mon.

Outbreak is a fun movie based on the novel The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. It is a big-blockbuster style slice of anxiety focusing on a deadly fever entering the US from another country. Wolfgang Petersen directs a pretty stellar cast, led by Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman, as the virus gets worse, and worse, and worse.

Rabid (1977)

Of course, we need some Cronenberg on this list. David Cronenberg wrote and directed this movie that stars Marilyn Chambers. Yes, that Marylin Chambers. Throw together a pretty terrifying virus with a pretty crazy delivery method and you have Rabid.

You’ll never look at an armpit the same way again.

Regrettably, the fantastic Last Drive-In showing is no longer available on Shudder, but it is still a great watch, even without Joe Bob Briggs. The super depressing ending alone is one of the most iconic conclusions of 1970s horror.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

It was a choice between Dawn of the Dead or Night of the Living Dead. I opted for Dawn because it is, technically, a better film, and it more reflects the societal breakdown that comes with a pandemic.

Of course by pandemic, in this film, I mean the rise of the frickin’ dead.

If you’re a fan of horror you’ve seen this movie. It’s almost impossible that you haven’t. For anyone who hasn’t however, George A. Romero directs a film that explores the crumbling fabric of society as the undead rise. The most famous name on the call sheet here is Ken Foree, who might be recognized by 1990s kids as Kenan’s dad on Kenan n’ Kel.

The Crazies (1973)

With any major disease making its way through the US there are always those conspiracy theories that it’s all “cuz of the gubment” and The Crazies is just the sort of movie to explore that whole thought experiment.

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

Another wacky-ass rabies film, only this time we throw in some Satanic hippies. The film is very much playing on the post-Helter Skelter anxiety of the Tate-LaBianca murders with cult feeling very, very Mansonesque.

Director David E. Durston developed the film after reading about a mountain village in Iran where rabid wolves attacked a schoolhouse. After seeing some 8mm footage of the effects of rabies the film came together as I Drink Your Blood. This film would be notorious for being one of the first X-rated films from the MPAA due to violence.

Basically, watch this on Friday. It’ll be a good time.

Do you have any pandemic movies to recommend for Haunted MTL readers? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

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