The great thing about horror comedies is they have the power to convert film fans who might normally shun our bloody genre. While they usually employ jump-scares and gross-out tactics, their primary goal is to make people laugh—and who doesn’t like laughing? Even “sensitive” viewers will quickly realize that wicked comedy has a neutralizing effect on violence, viscera, and other imagery that might otherwise shock and disturb. Once folks realize that being scared is actually fun, they may even venture further into horror territory.
After a “Golden Age” in the 1980’s, there was a definite slump in the output of horror comedies in the 1990’s and 2000’s; major studios considered these films financially risky. Luckily, there’s been a horror comedy resurgence in the past few years, ushering in a virtual renaissance of bloody hilarious entertainment.
So grab a friend (kicking and screaming if you have to) and sit them down in front of one of these 21st Century horror comedy gems. Make a convert today!
One of the best horror movies of 2015 is also one of the greatest horror comedies of all time. DEATHGASM (spelled in all caps because “lower-case is for pussies”) is the most awesome combination of grotesquery, aggressive music, and teenage angst since Return of the Living Dead in 1985. Poking fun at the “Satanic Panic” of the late 20th Century, a rag-tag crew of black-clad misfits unwittingly unleash hell on earth by forming a band and playing death metal music. Because that could totally happen. To quote the film, DEATHGASM is “brutal as fuck” in the best possible ways.
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015)
I’ve got three words for you: Humongous zombie boobies. This R-rated romp has all the blood and gore of a modern zombie flick with a mammoth injection of raunchy comedy. At its core, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is a buddy movie and a coming-of-age story that’s surprisingly genuine; in this sense, the entire film can be seen as a metaphor for puberty, the death of innocence, and the trials of young adulthood. This one may leave you gagging and laughing, but it also might touch your heart. And did I mention zombie boobies?
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
The second film on this list hailing from New Zealand (DEATHGASM being the first), What We Do in the Shadows comes from the comedic minds behind Flight of the Conchords. The mockumentary follows a quartet of vampires dealing with the tribulations of modern society, along with the frustrations of living as roommates. What We Do in the Shadows has been “Certified Fresh” with a whopping 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes; the film also has a sequel in the works, one that focuses on the vampire’s rivals: The werewolves!
The Voices (2014)
While Ryan Reynold’s comedy chops were proven without a doubt in this year’s Deadpool, his turn as Jerry in The Voices is both hilarious and gut-wrenching. He’s an affable factory line worker who’s unlucky in love. The consummate loner comes to believe that his (evil) cat and (friendly) dog can actually speak to him, like the diminutive devil and angel who sit atop the shoulders of the conflicted. There’s a bit of a sucker-punch built into The Voices; the film’s a riot until an unseen and devastating twist in Act 3 hits you like a ton of bricks. Laugh now, cry later!
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
While the zombie subgenre has been hot with horror fans since the turn of the century, Shaun of the Dead is a rare mainstream breakthrough; no doubt it helped pave the way for Zombieland, The Walking Dead, and the ensuing zombie mania that spread like a virus! Shaun of the Dead also launched the careers of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, as they proved a comedic duo of exceptional promise. Even after a decade-plus, this one never feels old and continues to entertain over multiple viewings. Sequel please!
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
Tucker: “Oh hidy ho officer, we’ve had a doozy of a day. There we were minding our own business, just doing chores around the house, when kids started killing themselves all over my property.” A complete upending of the backwoods/hillbilly subgenre of horror, Tucker and Dale vs Evil is as clever and endearing as it is bloody and hilarious. Never doubt that this one is responsible for the current surge of horror comedies, both indie and mainstream. Stars Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk hinted at a sequel during last weekend’s HorrorHound convention in Cincinnati, OH.
Perhaps the most underrated horror comedy of all time, it’s been 10 years since Slither grossed out genre fans worldwide. The practical FX are the most outlandishly terrifying since John Carpenter’s The Thing. Michael Rooker is a consummate scene-stealer as the morally challenged yet always captivating Grant Grant; his visceral metamorphosis makes Slither a great example of 21st Century body horror as well as one of the best horror comedies ever. Slither is top-notch entertainment—just don’t expect to be hungry for a while!
I’m serious: Zombeavers is excellent fun, certain to tickle film fans on both sides of the horror aisle. Yes it’s crass and immature, but it’s also brilliantly irreverent and wildly inventive. The animatronic killer beavers are purposely low-tech, looking like rabid rejects from a local Chuck E. Cheeses. The young cast has an amazing frenetic energy and the humor is blisteringly low-brow—although there are actually fewer vagina jokes than you might expect from a film based on a pussy pun.
The titular antihero in WolfCop is a future horror icon, and the film itself is first-class amusement. At 77 minutes, there’s no room for fluff in WolfCop, just nonstop horror comedy of the excessively violent (and furry) variety. The practical FX and the script are both stellar; the cinematography is eye-candy. While sleazy drunken encounters abound, there’s a surprising amount of heart in this indie kicker—making me extremely excited for the sequel (which just recently went into post production).
Love in the Time of Monsters (2014)
How this gem managed to slip below most horror fans’ radar is a mystery to me, because Love in the Time of Monsters absolutely kills it! If the idea of a zombified Kane Hodder in a Bigfoot costume shooting electricity from his fingertips intrigues you, add this one to your must-watch list immediately. While it certainly isn’t high art, it’s got “Cult Classic” written all over it, delivering quite a few lol moments. With more than a bit of stoner humor, this one goes especially well with a fat-one (if you catch my meaning).
So if you ever need a bloody good mood boost, pic up one of these awesome horror comedies and get ready to bust a gut! Well, maybe not The Voices…