Desert-Themed Suspense and Horror Movies

You think it's hot out there? Imagine the vast desert? It's all about survival. And, it makes a bleak and amazing backdrop to some awesome suspense and horror movies. 

Joy Ride:  Two brothers and a girlfriend hit the road to head east from the west, but they are interrupted by the outcome of a CB radio prank they pulled on a trucker. Only this trucker doesn't get the joke and he's deadly serious. This is one of my favorites. Starring Paul Walker.

The Hitcher: A young man gets a job to drive a car across country for a company and when he gets a bit tired, he figures he'll pick up a hitchhiker to help keep him awake, only he picked the wrong man and it's deadly. Starring C. Thomas Howell and Rutger Hauer.  This is a classic if you like super tense movies.

Duel:  An irritable businessman is tormented on the road by a semi-truck driver with an attitude. Starring Dennis Weaver.

Hills Have Eyes:  "They wanted to see something different, but something different saw them first" I doubt there is a single time Julie and I aren't in the desert on a road trip that we don't think about this movie and mention it when we pass areas with lots of hills and boulders. It's the ultimate horror. One of my favorites (1977 version).

Them:  1950s Scifi classic about giant ants attacking the citizens in the desert.  One of my Scifi classic favorites.

Eight-Legged Freaks:  Spiders and a nasty exposure creates giant spiders for one unlucky town.

Boy and His Dog:  A tongue-in-cheek post-apocalyptic film starring Don Johnson as a guy trekking around the wasteland with a dog that can talk to him.


The Car:  A small desert town is tormented by a driverless car that attacks.  Starring James Brolin. This one is pretty unsettling and it does a nice job of giving that small desert town feel.

Gargoyles: A professor and his daughter on a trek through the desert to collect unusual archaeological finds run into a mythical creature that's real - Gargoyles!  One of my all-time favorite made-for-tv format types of campy creep show.
Cowboys and Aliens:  It's 1873 and a spaceship arrives in Arizona. A collective of cowboys and indians await a battle.

Tremors:  A desert town is attacked by "graboid" creatures from underground.  Starring Kevin Bacon.  I consider this a cult favorite.

From Dusk Until Dawn:  Starring George Clooney.  Kidnappers and hostages seek shelter in a vampire den.

House of 1000 Corpses:  Teenager trekking through Texas are terrorized by a killing family.

The Devil's Rejects:  A murdering family takes to the road to escape as cops chase them down.

The Road Warrior:  Starring Mel Gibson.  Postapocalyptic-themed movie and the badass gangs that fight in the bleak landscape.

Breakdown:  Starring Kurt Russell, a man and his wife break down in the desert and when his wife takes a ride from a helpful trucker and doesn't show up, he must track her down and get her away from those holding her for ransom.

Disappearance:  A family traveling through Nevada runs into trouble when checking out a ghost town.

The Mummy:  Starring Brendan Fraser. A group sets out to find a mythical pyramid and its treasure to end up having to deal with a mummy brought to life.

Stargate:  Starring Kurt Russell.  A device is found in the Egyptian desert that allows teleportation to other planets.