Top 12 Hillbilly/Redneck Horror Movies

Stories of terror from the backwoods and fringes.

hillbilly_manWhile it made for some interesting news, I doubt anyone is really crying about the indefinite recall of Wrong Turn 6. Don’t get me wrong, the first one is brilliant (a modern classic, in fact) but I stopped watching after the laughable third installment, the one with a Reality TV tie-in; after subjecting myself to that train wreck, I had no desire to pursue any additional Wrong Turn sequels. Still, the fact that there are 6 Wrong Turn films proves it’s a franchise with incredible staying power, and perhaps the most prolific horror movie series of the 21st Century.

What gives Wrong Turn such staying power? No doubt, it’s that crew of inbred cannibal Hillbillies at the core of each film. Humans are xenophobic by nature; in addition to fearing potential threats coming from the outside, we’re distrustful of people that live on the fringes of our own societies. Isolated backwoods communities (in Appalachia, or the Bible Belt, for example) seem far removed from the laws of the land, making them great subjects for horror movies. And while this fear probably has a shameful foundation in the subjugation and dehumanization of the poorest members of society, there’s no denying that horror fans love their killer Hillbillies.

The films below represent the best examples of Hillbilly/Redneck horror movies. Grab yourself a jug of moonshine and bust out that banjo!


Deliverance (1972)

Director: John Boorman

Writers: James Dickey (screenplay), James Dickey (novel), 1 more credit »

Stars: Jon VoightBurt ReynoldsNed Beatty |


Deliverance is the undisputed granddaddy of Hillbilly Horror, proof that even the most confident and able-bodied urbanite is no match for a few of horny, motivated Rednecks. Proof, also, that the laws of the land hold little sway on remote stretches of the river Cahlawassee. The crew of Deliverance did themselves in by arrogantly believing in their innate superiority over the under-educated mountain locals. The infamous “Squeal like a pig!” line has haunted Ned Beatty for his entire career.


Wrong Turn (2003)

Director: Rob Schmidt

Writer: Alan B. McElroy

Stars: Eliza DushkuJeremy SistoEmmanuelle Chriqui |


Like I said in the intro, the first Wrong Turn movie is gold; it manages to be the most compelling in the bunch (by far) without baring a single nipple. Eliza Dushku is a far cry from your typical whimpering “final girl” and kicks some serious ass throughout. And the Hillbillies, while severely deformed and unable to articulate, prove themselves to be formidable adversaries with incredible tracking and archery skills. This film was also on my Top 12 Road Trip Horror Movies list.


The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

Director: Alexandre Aja

Writers: Alexandre Aja (screenplay), Grégory Levasseur(screenplay), 1 more credit »

Stars: Ted LevineKathleen QuinlanDan Byrd |


The killer Hillbillies of The Hills Have Eyes are descendants of miners who plumbed the depths of the New Mexican desert until the Government took their land for nuclear testing.   The abandoned tunnels and shafts offer them a means of clandestine travel, great for sneak attacks and quick escapes. In addition to being deformed by inbreeding, these Hillbillies have also suffered extreme mutations due to high levels of environmental radiation, making them some of horrors most unnerving. This film was also on my Top 12 Horror Movies About Cannibalism list.


Calvaire (2004)

Director: Fabrice Du Welz

Writers: Fabrice Du WelzRomain Protat

Stars: Laurent LucasBrigitte LahaieGigi Coursigny |


Proof that Hillbillies are not strictly an American phenomena, Calvaire (French for “The Ordeal”) introduces us to an isolated community of men in the Belgium Alps. The stereotype about poor lonely farmers having sex with livestock is common and usually laughable, but a scene showing three men fucking a cow is extremely disturbing. Later, a larger group of Hillbillies in a tavern break out into an extremely odd dance routine that’s perplexing and bizarre. This movie was also on my Top 12 Road Trip Horror Movies list.


Motel Hell (1980)

Director: Kevin Connor

Writers: Robert JaffeSteven-Charles Jaffe2 more credits »

Stars: Rory CalhounPaul LinkeNancy Parsons |


While not all farmers are Hillbillies, and not all Hillbillies are cannibals, but Farmer Vincent and his sister Ida definitely fall into all three categories. Both sport dirty overalls and speak in a distinctive Redneck dialect; Vincent also enjoys wearing a pig’s head as a mask while chasing down his victims with a chainsaw. This is great horror comedy and brilliant 1980’s nostalgia. Motel Hell was also on my Top 12 Horror Movies about Cannibalism list.


Dying Breed (2008)

Director: Jody Dwyer

Writers: Michael Boughen (screenplay), Jody Dwyer(screenplay), 1 more credit »

Stars: Nathan PhillipsLeigh WhannellBille Brown |


Hillbillies in Australia are at least as terrifying as those in America; Dying Breed is all the proof you need. This isolated Tasmanian clan is populated by decedents of a cannibal fugitive know as The Pie Man—and they continue to consume their forefather’s meat of choice. Dying Breed has a gritty realness to it that makes it much more unsettling than most films on the list. The clan’s penchant for rape and tooth extraction will disturb many viewers. This film should also be avoided by anyone sensitive to depictions of animal mutilations (Those poor little puppies!). Dying Breed is yet another film from my Top 12 Horror Movies about Cannibalism list.


Cabin Fever (2002)

Director: Eli Roth

Writers: Eli RothRandy Pearlstein1 more credit »

Stars: Jordan LaddRider StrongJames DeBello |


In his first feature film, Eli Roth introduces us to a horrifying and hysterical community populated by all manner of Hillbillies. We’ve got the harbinger/racist shopkeeper, an albino karate prodigy obsessed with pancakes, a deputy policeman who rides around on a ten-speed bicycle, and a crew of murderous good old boys in overalls. If the water doesn’t kill you, these fuckers sure might!


Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)

Director: Eli Craig

Writers: Eli CraigMorgan Jurgenson

Stars: Tyler LabineAlan TudykKatrina Bowden |


Part of what makes this horror comedy so brilliant is the way it plays on our fears of Hillbillies before completely flipping the script. Tucker (Tyler Labine) and Dale (Alan Tudyk) are just a couple of good-natured, friendly, rural Rednecks who, through no fault of their own, manage to strike terror into the hearts of 20-somethings camping near their cabin. What follows is a madcap mix of misidentification and misunderstanding, resulting in a bloody good time. Buried in the subtext is a critique of our tendency to fear those who hail from different cultural backgrounds.


Jug Face (2013)

Director: Chad Crawford Kinkle

Writer: Chad Crawford Kinkle

Stars: Sean BridgersLauren Ashley CarterKaitlin Cullum|


Question: What’s scarier than an isolated clan of Hillbillies? Answer: An isolated clan of Hillbillies that worships a monstrous deity through human sacrifice. Pregnant teen Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter, pictured above) feels trapped in her insular community with strictly defined gender-roles; it’s a constant battle between her own free will and the expectations of her family and neighbors. Supernatural tangents give Jug Face an ingredient usually absent in Hillbilly horror, making it all the more compelling. This film was also on my Top 12 Horror Movies about Cults list.


The Funhouse (1981)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Writer: Lawrence Block

Stars: Elizabeth BerridgeShawn CarsonJeanne Austin |


Forgive me if I branch out a bit to include a unique brand of Hillbillies: The Carnies. While most Hillbillies never leave their isolated communities, traveling carnivals offer a lucky few the chance to see the world. Carnies, specifically those employed as human oddities, have enjoyed a resurgence due to the popularity of American Horror Story: Freak Show. But those who work this particular operation are a far cry from a happy family. The most horrifying moment of the film is when a Carnie removes his rubber Frankenstein mask revealing a much more hideous face beneath. Carnies can wreak havoc in your town, then pack-up and disappear into the night before anyone even has a clue.


Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Director: Drew Goddard

Writers: Joss WhedonDrew Goddard

Stars: Kristen ConnollyChris HemsworthAnna Hutchison|


Plenty of films pit urbanites against run-of-the-mill Hillbillies, but none of them are quite as horrifying the “Zombie Redneck Torture Family” of Cabin in the Woods. The Buckner Family was ruled by a cruel patriarch (known only as Father) who literally worshipped pain; the grasp he held over his family was so great that it continued after death. Hillbillies are already hard to kill, but dispatching a Zombie Redneck is nearly impossible.


The X-Files, S4E2: “Home” (October, 1996)

Director: Kim Manners

Writers: Chris Carter (created by), Glen Morgan1 more credit »

Stars: David DuchovnyGillian AndersonTucker Smallwood |


I know I’m pushing the rules on this one; I’m all about films and this is a list about Hillbillies in horror movies—not television. But what if I were to tell you that the most terrifying and disturbing story about Hillbillies isn’t in a movie? It’s true! I remember exactly where I was the first time I saw the “Home” episode of The X-Files; I remember it so clearly because I was practically traumatized! To this date, “Home” is probably the most terrifying piece of fiction ever shown on network television. True horror fans will be glad they sought this one out.

Did I omit your favorite horror movies featuring Hillbillies and/or Rednecks? Sound off in the comments section!

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5 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply



  • Evan A. Baker
    5 December 2014 at 12:20 am - Reply

    Call me a pedantic literalist (you wouldn’t be the first), but I say TV episodes absolutely qualify as “movies.” They are moving pictures, are they not? 🙂

  • Raoul (Horror on Screen)
    20 August 2015 at 4:39 am - Reply

    Nice seeing some X-Files in there, and The Funhouse too, a very overlooked movie. No Texas Chainsaw tho? It is kind of the genre landmark…

    • Raoul (Horror on Screen)
      25 October 2015 at 8:34 pm - Reply
  • Masako
    8 May 2017 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    So for your pleasure, here is a little best of redneck hillbillies horror movies.

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