I’m not the biggest fan of this subgenre of horror. I don’t mind them but I wouldn’t immediately rush to these types of films. I love supernatural, thriller, and even slasher horror but I wouldn’t go to comedy. But when you do it well, you do it very well and it has an impact. So I thought about it, thought about the ones that I’ve seen recently or in the past and from personal watching, I came up with these plus some great honorable mentions. The one that’s missing is Tucker & Dale and that’s only because I haven’t seen it in its entirety.
I chose this topic mostly because I think we can use a little distraction, a little humor. The world is very scary and chaotic and dangerous and all of the heightened emotions that we are all experiencing and feeling. I didn’t want to be too serious for this week so we’re gonna just look at horror that uses comedy to its advantage and it makes us smile or laugh or even chuckle.
Comedic horror, let’s get into it!
Shaun of the Dead (2004) – Saw this for the first time in 2020, initially thought this was overrated because everyone talked so much about this movie. I liked it a lot and I saw the Wright-isms.
Evil Dead 2 (1987) – I think this movie is better at balancing horror and comedy. The Evil Dead is pure horror and gore and Army of Darkness is, to me, mostly comedy.
The Cabin in the Woods (2011) – A parody of horror films, from locations, the “tropes”, the monsters, even the character responses to the events around this is *chef’s kiss*.
The Return of the Living Dead (1985) – This is my favorite, absolute favorite from this list. This is how you do zombie parodies correctly.
Beetlejuice (1988) – More comedy but in the world of a Tim Burton horror-scape. How the afterlife would play out in a world with sandworms, the Maitlands and Beetleguise.
Ghostbusters (1984) – The situations and character responses, the writing, everything about this movie just works to blend in comedy with a little bit of spooky horror.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) – I consider this to have a black comedy vibe. In the later half of the film, there are these little moments of “did that happen? okay keep going” and into the song.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986) – Musical? Yes. Horror moments? Yes. A Comedy? There’s a talking plant who feeds off the blood of others. HELL YEAH.
Re-Animator (1985) – Definitely a black comedy vibe, I mean, the whole movie has this fantastical ridiculousness and every scene involving Herbert West is a horror comedy routine. He really doesn’t care about anything but himself and his work and he says it and shows it.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014) – This movie is fun, I love the dynamics between the characters and again, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
You get the humor, the writing, the set ups and how these characters are meant to bring a little bit of randomness and humor into a world that is typically dark. I think horror and comedy go well together because you can laugh at something so horrific on a screen to almost cope with what you’ve seen. These films above and listed below (the honorable mentions) are purposeful of creating a world or environment where it’s okay to laugh, like it was written or performed by these actors to make you laugh or chuckle or relax.
And even though these bottom films didn’t make it to the top list, they are still just as worthy to mention.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)
Warm Bodies (2013)
Dead Alive/Braindead (1992)
Bride of Chucky (1998)
The Monster Squad (1987)
What other movies would you add? Or take away? Leave a comment below!
2 thoughts on “Comedic Horror”
No One Lives has been a go to for a while now. More horror than comedy but it has its moments.
It sounds like I should look into that!
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