Horror comedies are not an original idea, but it is one that is not often done well… Either the movie doesn’t pay respect to the horror genre or it’s not funny. It’s also hard for horror comedies to hit that perfect balance between horror and comedy, causing the movie to either be too scary to be funny (or simply isn’t funny) or is too funny to be scary. So, here is my of list of Horror Comedies that hit that sweet spot:
10 – The Lost Boys (1987)
Ok, so this movie isn’t that scary, but it’s a whole lot of fun. I’ve clouded it on this list because the movie perfectly depicts vampires as both sexy/cool AND horrifying. Sure this movie stars the two Coreys (Corey Heim and Corey Feldman), but it also has a threatening Keifer Sutherland. Plus, the vampires ALWAYS seem threatening, even when one character attempts to befriend them.
9 – Gremlins (1984)
Is this a horror or a comedy? Who can decide? Despite video stores(remember those?) placing this movie in the “Family” section, it really is quite scary at times… And funny! Who ever considered this a family film sure thought it was funny to traumatized kids!!! Everyone remembers cute and cuddly Gizmo, but what about Stripe and the rest of the Gremlins!?!? The scene where several of the Gremlins gets attacking Billy’s mother terrified me as a kid… And just when you think the movie is going to be a full blown horror, the Gremlins start doing all these funny things in the bar and, later, sing along to a Disney movie! However, the main reason this movie is included here is its twisted sense of humor that makes certain scenes both scary AND funny at the same time!
8 – Scream (1996)
This movie is usually thought of as a horror movie, but there are also some very funny scenes (almost every scene with Randy… and many with Stu). Although its debatable whether this movie is more of a horror movie, the humorous moments and winks to horror fans were enough for me to give it some recognition here. Plus, the scene where Randy gives the rules to surviving a horror movie is great! Unfortunately, Scream spawned a whole series of bad copycat meta horror movies. However, Scream still gets included here for the mere fact that not only was it funny, but it revitalized the horror movie genre that was basically thought to be dead by the 1990s.
7 – Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
I loved watching this movie when HBO used to air it a lot. So, I’m glad to see that it has become a cult classic! This type of horror comedy is a little different than some of the others in that I’m not including this movie because of laugh-out-loud scenes (although there are some of those), but for the overall absurdity of the story: Alien that look like clowns (or “klowns”) land in the woods and then start capturing townspeople by wrapping them in a cotton-candy-like substance until the people are ripe(?) enough to eat. As crazy as this story is, the overall movie still is pretty creepy… Especially if you don’t like clowns!
6 – Evil Dead 2 (1987)
How could I put together a list of horror comedies and not include a Bruce Campbell movie? The original Evil Dead was a straight-forward horror movie that is pretty scary. The sequel/remake (as Evil Dead 2 retells part of the first movie) has a lot more humor than the first movie. However, instead of laugh-out-loud scenes, the humor in this movie comes from horrors scenes done to excess. Not only to bodies come back to life, but they dance. Not only does a character get sprayed with blood, he gets sprayed with buckets and buckets of blood. Plus a fight with ones own hand is just the icing on the cake. So, is it scary? Is it funny? It’s both!
5 – Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
Evil Dead actor Bruce Campbell and Phantasm director Don Coscarelli join to bring us this great, odd movie. Bruce Campbell plays old Elvis who is still alive and living in a senior citizen center with an African American man claiming to be a still alive John F. Kennedy (the government dyed his skin that color, so he claims). If that concept isn’t odd enough, Elvis and JFK join forces to fight an ancient mummy killing other residents at the adult home. This movie is great for those who have a twisted sense of humor… And a must for Bruce Campbell fans!
4 – Zombieland (2009)
I went back and forth about whether this movie is more of a comedy that is a horror (and therefore should be on my Comedy Horrors list instead), but I ultimately thought, ‘It’s my list, I’ll do what I want!” – Zombieland gets included here because the zombies are always depicted as threatening (even if they are easily killed in some scenes or the attacks are edited to be shown in a funny way), plus much of the movie is very funny overall. However, the main reason it gets included here is the 32 rules to surviving Zombieland that are shown throughout the movie. These rules are things zombie horror fans have thought and even discussed with friends for years! That kind of love for zombie movies and humor is why it gets included on this list. (I should note that I’m curious whether this movie rates so high on my list because it’s still fairly new. So I’ll be curious to see if continues to remain high on my list as years go on.)
3 – Cabin in the Woods (2012)
I’m not sure what to say about this movie, but as other sites state, the less you know about this movie before seeing it, the better. This movie is a complete love letter to horror movie fans. It starts out with a group of young adults heading out to stay in a cabin in the woods. All the stereotypical horror movie people and scenes are there, but then things change. The last thing I’ll say is that things get crazy in the last act of the movie. It’s everything a horror fan wants to see!
2 – Night of the Creeps (1986)
“Thrill me!” This movie seems to have everything; zombies, aliens, ax murderers, slug creatures, etc. The main characters are a whole lot of fun, especially Detective Ray Cameron! The slugs and zombies can be scary, but that tension is cut by a lot of great lines, such as, “Good news, ladies, your dates are here. Bad news is, they’re dead.” This is anger movie that has become a cult classic… And is another ‘must see’ for any horror fan with a twisted sense of humor!
1 – Shaun of the Dead (2004)
This Edgar Wright directed movie starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost has THE perfect combination of horror and comedy. It never shows the zombies as anything but threatening. At the same time, the two stars make many mistakes and end up in several situations that will make you laugh. Even though one or both of them can be frustrating, you can’t help but like them…maybe even identify the with them… And hope that they come out of it ok. Shaun of the Dead is a very funny movie, but it’s also a movie about growing up and accepting being an adult. What puts this movie at the top of the list is that it’s funny, scary, sad, exciting and pays perfect homage to the George Romero walking dead movies. Plus, any comedy that has the guts to kill off several main characters and/or turn them into zombies makes it the perfect horror comedy! Other movies might be considered funnier or scarier, but none capture the perfect balance between the two. Therefore, Shaun of the Dead is the best horror-comedy movie!
Before anyone gets angry… I know there are several horror related comedies that didn’t make the list, but are great. However, those movies are more humorous and aren’t as scary… But they should still be acknowledged. So, coming soon will be my Top 5 Comedy-Horror movies (movies that are more funny than scary, but still pay respect to the horror genre… Unlike the Scary Movie series that take stories from horror movies, but pay them no respect).