Top 10: Horror Comedies
Horror is a wide-ranging genre with so many different categories that it’s easy to get lost in the specifics. However, some of the best horror plays on the duality of emotion, largely the shift between fear and humor. While most of the films on this list are true comedy films, there’s enough blood and guts to carry them firmly into the realm of horror as well.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I wasn’t a fan of this film the first time I saw it, but I went back and watched it to set my mind right for Double Tap, and I fucking loved it. Woody Harrelson and Jessie Eisenberg are excellent as two men in pursuit of safety and twinkies, and the playful mix of gruesome gore and slapstick comedy is executed perfectly. The movie’s playful subversion and subordination to the rules of horror are reminiscent of Scream, but the film plays itself more like a survival guide for the zombie apocalypse. It’s entertaining and gory, but what’s more important for the purposes of this list, it’s genuinely funny.
Best line: “I’m not great at farewells, so uh… that’ll do pig.”
A slasher movie that happens to be a comedy, this film handles time loops better than most and is immensely enjoyable. Jessica Rothe is so good as Tree that I briefly considered adding her to my Scream Queens list, and the creepy Babyface Killer is a delightful throwback to the slasher movies of the 80’s and 90’s. Truly funny, heartfelt, and with some downright creepy scenes, Happy Death Day is on in constant rotation in my house. This is horror for the Mean Girls generation. Best line: “Lori’s little plot was super lame. Poisoning a cupcake? Really? We’re Kappas, we don’t eat cupcakes.”
It would be easy to make the case that Re-Animator was more horror than comedy if it wasn’t so fucking funny. Jeffrey Combs brings Stuart Gordon’s vision of Lovecraft’s classic to life and cemented a place for himself in the horror pantheon as one of the best mad scientists in film history. With equal parts gore and sex, Re-Animator is one of the best horror films of the 80’s, which is saying a lot because horror films in the 80’s were fucking awesome.
Best line: “Cat dead. Details later.”
7. CABIN IN THE WOODS
Cabin in the Woods is exactly what people are looking for in big budget horror. It’s got fantastic gore, excellent character acting, and some truly funny lines. Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins are wonderful as the scientists behind the entire plot, and Chris Hemsworth’s shocking early death helps drive the plot into a balls-to-the-wall final act. I don’t know what I was expecting out of this movie; I only know it fulfilled my expectations in every way. Plus, Sigourney Weaver.
Best line: “Hey, shh, no. I totally get it. I’m sorry I let you get attacked by a werewolf and then ended the world.”
Gremlins is amazing, and if you haven’t watched it in a while you may not remember how truly scary this erstwhile comedy film can be. Filled with adorable creatures who turn into not-so-adorable creatures, Gremlins is pure 80’s nostalgia, and it is totally deserving of being near the top of annual Christmas watch lists. It is, after all, a Christmas movie (and fight me if you don’t agree.) Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates are wonderful in their 80’s-teenager roles, and Corey Feldman makes an appearance in one of his more Corey-Feldman-esque roles. Truly an all-time classic.
Best line: “Bright light! Bright light!” (I quote this like once a week at least)
5. ARMY OF DARKNESS
Bruce Campbell! Sam Raimi! Zombies! Boomsticks! What’s not to love? Raimi and Campbell turned the comedy up to 11 in this closure to the Evil Dead trilogy which sees Ash transported to a long time ago in a galaxy that’s probably the same as the first two films. This was Sam Raimi’s entry into the 90’s, and he knocks it out of the park (as Sam Raimi is wont to do). I hesitated to put this one this low because it’s going to piss some people off, because this film is a quintessential fan favorite. But, there are four that are better. Look people, I don’t make the rules.
Best line: “Klaatu Verate N… Necktie! Necatr! Nickel! Noodle! It’s an “n” word, it’s definitely an “n” word!”
Tremors is a beast of a movie, combining the old-God-like Graboids with the comedic stylings of Fred Ward, Kevin Bacon, and Michael Gross. If you took all of the comedy out of it, it would still be an excellent creature feature/monster movie. Leave it all in and Tremors is a classic that made the rounds on cable throughout my entire childhood. Reba McEntire and Michael Gross are endearing with their Waco-sized armory before it was a bad thing to have that much firepower, and the endearing character development rockets this movie into the top five of the best horror comedies.
Best line: “Broke into the wrong goddamn rec room, didn’t you, you bastard?!”
3. ONE CUT OF THE DEAD
I read repeatedly that this movie was amazing, but it was way better than I had heard. It’s a heartwarming, genuinely funny, and expertly crafted film about a down-on-his-luck shitty director who wants to make the perfect zombie movie and may have accidentally stumbled into a real zombie outbreak. Or maybe not. This movie blew me away, but you have to watch it all the way through, don’t give up on it. The first half is going to make you think this is one of the worst movies you’ve ever seen, but you have to see it through! I promise you that you don’t know where it’s going, and if you didn’t catch this when it was making the rounds in 2017, you owe it to yourself to go watch it today.
Best line: “Your makeup is so good. You could be an actor.”
Holy cow, this movie. It’s going to make it to the top of one of my lists, more than likely as the goriest movie ever made. Peter Jackson’s early effort is hilarious and filled with so much gore you’re going to question your fortitude. As I said in my review, I can stomach pretty much anything and I absolutely will not eat while I watch this movie. So funny and a terrific zombie flick, Dead Alive is easily the second best horror comedy of all time.
I have never laughed so hard at a horror movie, and this one is genuinely horrific and gory in parts. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are amazing, and I would watch a hundred sequels of this movie if they’d get off of their asses and make them! Filled with raucously funny scenes, T&DvE is the best horror comedy every made and should be in everyone’s collection, horror and non-horror fans alike. If you haven’t seen it, please, please, stop reading and go watch it right now. But come back, because there are other lists to read!