It wouldn’t seem like it at first glance, but horror and comedy go together like chicken on rice. When the two genres meet, and the execution is done right, the comedy tends to heighten the absurdity of typical horror tropes. A good writer and director can completely subvert your expectations with a horror-comedy in interesting ways. Keeping that in mind, here are the 10 best horror comedy movies that’ll make you laugh yourself to death.
10. Army of Darkness
Evil Dead has always had a bit of a comedic streak, intentionally or otherwise, but it’s in Army of Darkness where the two genres are presented in equal parts. Sam Raimi continues Ash Williams’ story by sending him into the past, to medieval times; naturally, Ash is an unwelcomed guest to the primitive screwheads, but soon gains their trust, albeit, through the end of his “boomstick” and his ability for defeating Deadites.
What makes Army of Darkness one of the best horror-comedies is Bruce Campbell. His knack for delivering hammy lines in a way that isn’t ridiculous but endearing can only rivaled by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of course, the excellent directing, writing, and practical effects shouldn’t be overlooked. You won’t see Evil Dead in this kind of light until Ash vs Evil Dead.
9. They Live
John Carpenter blended horror, comedy, and a critique on capitalism in a single film: They Live. Most people would likely nod off once you’ve started raging against the machine, but They Live intelligently, and comedically, unravels the issues with capitalist society. That’s where the true horror of the film lies.
The film introduces us to Nada (Roddy Piper), a drifter and a representation of the working class, and his struggles looking for employment. When he happens across a pair sunglasses and wears them, he soon discovers subliminal messages baked into advertisements by the ruling class, telling citizens to obey, submit, conform, consume, marry and reproduce. What’s most terrifying is, despite being released in 1988, They Live is more relevant now than ever before.
8. What We Do in the Shadows
What do vampires do in their free time? What We Do in the Shadows aims to answer that question by spinning together a mockumentary exploring the lives of three vampires: Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav (Taikai Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, and Jemaine Clement, respectively). You won’t find vampires hosting extravagant royal balls here, but plenty of hilarious twists on vampire tropes.
As it turns out, vampires are subject to the same tedious aspects of being alive, specifically in modern times, in addition to the consequences of immortality. They too argue over dishes, lock horns over friends and lovers, and bicker over personal boundaries in a bid to lead fulfilling lives. If you end up loving the film, the same humor extends to the television series of the same name.
7. Shaun of the Dead
When you’re working an unfulfilling, dead-end job, are you really any different from a zombie? Despite being a traditional zombie film, Shaun of the Dead plays up the tropes with so much wit and Edgar Wright’s signature style. It’s just as comfortable creating scenes full of gore and zombies as it is creating relatable characters you really want to root for.
The film introduces you to Shaun (Simon Pegg), a salesman without ambition. When a zombie outbreak ravages England, he becomes the unlikely leader to five other individuals, one of which is Ed (Nick Frost). They hack their way through the hordes of the undead to reach safety, and stop at the pub for a pint.
6. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
Dive into the exhausting catalog of horror films and you’ll notice one of the genre’s common tropes: hillbilly killers. Usually a group of young, well-mannered “city folk” end up in some far off country town. They’re almost always harassed by the antagonistic population due to their status as outsiders, which ends up escalating to murders.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil completely subverts that stereotype, from start to finish. Tucker and Dale are just looking for peace and quiet while they repair their cabin; instead, they get harassed by a bunch of uptight yuppies. What kickstarts the film is nothing more than a misunderstanding that leads to gore, blood, and a surprising amount of heart.
5. Young Frankenstein
There’s no way this list would be complete without something from Mel Brooks, and what better film than Young Frankenstein? Dr. Frederick Frankenstein is the great-grandson of Victor Frankenstein—yes, the mad scientist who supposedly reanimated a corpse. Despite wanting nothing to do with his great-grandfather’s legacy, he inherits Victor’s estate in Transylvania.
What unravels in Young Frankenstein is a complete deconstruction of the Frankenstein mythos in an entertaining and witty fashion while maintaining a respect for the source material. It’s incredible fun to watch Gene Wilder’s character go from a repressed individual to this verbose and animated mad scientist.
Adam and Barbara Maitland (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis, respectively) are recently deceased and, more importantly, trapped in their old home as ghosts. Their situation worsens when a new family moves in and they need help from a “bio-exorcist” to rid themselves of the living, and his name is Beetlejuice—just don’t say it three times in a row.
Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice is certainly the highlight of the movie, bringing a charismatic and off-putting nature to his character. It’s refreshing to see a film flip typical ghost stories upside-down, while also weaving in surprisingly rich worldbuilding that’s rarely seen these days.
3. The Cabin in the Woods
The less you know about The Cabin in the Woods, the better. By revealing too much, it would potentially spoil the film, including its plot twist. It plays up the typical horror tropes: a group of young college students shacking up in a cabin in the middle of the woods. What they assume is just a harmless weekend of adult fun turns out to be exactly what you’d expect, but soon makes a 180 into satire.
2. American Psycho
Meet Patrick Bateman, an intelligent and wealthy investment banker with expensive tastes—at least, that’s what he is during the day. Under the guise of darkness (no, this isn’t Batman), Patrick indulges in heinous acts against other people, including murder to the tune of Hip To Be Square by Huey Lewis & The News.
Christian Bale’s performance as Patrick Bateman is equal parts hilarious, disturbing, and ultra-violent. This is a man whose life is steeped in appearance, even going as far as to obsess over someone else’s business card. American Psycho is a wild ride, but if you enjoy it, don’t forget there’s a novel of the same name, written by Bret Easton Ellis.
1. Willy’s Wonderland
To best describe what Willy’s Wonderland is, it would be Chuck E. Cheese meets horror and gore. At the center of it all is Nicolas Cage, who seems to clearly enjoy the role as The Janitor. After witnessing the horrors he endures, you might think twice before stepping into another restaurant featuring animatronics.
The Janitor is cruising around in his beautiful car, only for it to break down outside Hayesville, Nevada. Shortly after he’s saddled with a hefty bill, he’s offered an opportunity: clean out the abandoned restaurant in town, Willy’s Wonderland, and the owner will pay for the repairs. Trapped inside, Nicolas Cage does his job, including ruthlessly killing eighty murderous animatronics.
With that, we’ve covered the last of the 10 best horror comedy movies that’ll make you laugh yourself to death. It goes without saying that you should definitely enjoy these with a few friends to heighten the experience. After you’ve had your fill of horror, consider watching The Lord of the Rings in order or continue your horrific journey with the 10 best scary alien movies.
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