It’s nearly Lundi Gras (Fat Monday) and then it’ll be Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the end of a short season of Carnival celebrations popular all over the world, but made rightly iconic in America thanks to New Orleans and the Southern region of the US. Just the words alone can conjure up thoughts of wrought iron fences covered in beads, voodoo kings and queens, and haunted plantations and pubs.
Personally, I feel like the holiday doesn’t get it’s devil’s due when it comes to being represented in horror films. Still, there are a few options to choose from though, if you’re in the mood for some Mardi Gras horror, from bloody good to appallingly bad. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Hatchet – There’s only a brief mention of Mardi Gras before we get to some over the top slashing, but it’s a fun film to watch if you’re in the mood for some southern horror. You could even make a long night of it and watch the whole 3-film franchise as you nibble away at that whole king cake you bought just for yourself! (Well, I did that. You don’t have to.)
Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh – Candyman is a decent franchise and the second film not only takes place in New Orleans during the Mardi Gras season, but uses the South to widely expand on Candyman’s film mythology.
The Last Exorcism 2 – I wanted to love this movie so bad! I found the first film (The Last Exorcism) smart, self-aware, spooky, and surprisingly good for a “found footage” horror. The sequel, which ditched the first person view, was… not terrible? The lead actress is great and the story was interesting, but the supporting cast, waste of location, and lack of real scares definitely bring it down. Still, not the worst choice for the holiday…
Mardi Gras Massacre – Apparently this movie tried to be a quasi-remake of Blood Feast (which I’ve never seen) but… You know what. Don’t even bother. Don’t watch this. It’s free on YouTube, but it’s 100% terrible. I got 12 minutes in before I excused myself to do anything else ever.
Dracula 2000 – This modern day Drac movie has a small cult following that I can’t say I’m a part of. I thought it was dumb, ridiculous, and did NOLA no favors. I can’t even call Gerard Butler sexy in this movie and that man is a hunk!
Night Trap – AKA Mardi Gras for the Devil, this early 90’s supernatural slasher is so poorly acted and incoherent that you’d expect it to be right on up there with Night of the Lepus or Christmas Evil in the annals of D-grade horror flicks… but it’s not. Even worse, one of the taglines tries to compare it to Angel Heart, a clearly superior horror-erotica film with voodoo ties.
The Honorable Mentions
While not set anytime during Mardi Gras, The Skeleton Key is a really great Southern ghost story that dabbles in the world of Hoodoo. Venom is a fun, but fairly tawdry bayou set slasher. American Horror Story: Coven, if you’re up for a TV-thon, perfectly casts New Orleans as its own character. And, come on, who can really go wrong with Scooby Doo on Zombie Island? It has swamp pirate zombies and Cajun werecats!