“Love is too weak a word for what I feel — I lurve horror, you know, I loave horror, I luff horror, two F’s, yes I have to invent, of course I — I do, don’t you think I do?” – Me. Yes, it’s “the quote” from ‘Annie Hall’, but that’s how I feel about horror films. They’re totally crazy, irrational, and absurd, but I keep going through it because, well, I need the entertainment. Okay, I’ll stop. But as a horror fanatic, nothing presents me as much satisfaction as a film that eats the characters’ and the audiences’ hearts alive. But there are times when the going gets tough, and a sagaciously crafted horror film like ‘Don’t Look Now’ or ‘The Mist’ are gonna deport you to your worst mood.
So, in order to be thrilled and entertained, I prefer horror comedies. Unlike satirical comedies, they are very far from the isles of realism, and for most of the part don’t play jokes on the audience’s expense. But keep in mind, most of them aren’t any different from usual horror films and are similarly unwatchable for the weak-hearted viewers. So, here is the list of top horror comedy movies ever. You can watch several of these horror comedies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
15. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Starting off the list with one of the finest comedies of this century and comedy legend Edgar Wright‘s first masterwork, ‘Shaun of the Dead’. I believe Wright’s movies reach their zenith when he works in tandem with Simon Pegg, and this zombie film is a great tribute to the classics from 70’s and 80’s. For a viewer who loves some medium rare British humor, like myself, it’s fully loaded with a lot of tongue-in-cheek references to the local culture.
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14. Bad Taste (1987)
‘Bad Taste’ is the perfect title for a film that actually requires to adapt a bad taste to watch it. Would a normal person watch human cloning aliens feasting on puke, that’s “beautified” by ice cream sprinkles? If your answer is yes, then I’d surely suggest another Peter Jackson film that’s on my list. Working on a minimal budget, Jackson uses this to great advantage by chiseling the campiest looking creatures you’ll ever see. This movie is somewhere along the lines of an extremely B-graded version of ‘Ghostbusters’.
13. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
The follow up to the contender for the scariest film of all time, was infamously a brilliantly crafted dark comedy that was bashed by critics and audiences who were genuinely misled by the marketing. TCM 2 shelves the inescapable terror present in the first film, but doesn’t let the idea of scaring you with absurdity slip away from its fingers. This film explores the intellectual incapacity of Leatherhead, the rollercoasting antics of the Hitch-hiker, the mind-boggled Drayton who’s mad over financial issues plaguing the country and the splitting personality of Lefty, who satirizes heroes that use their heart over brains.
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12. Demons (1985)
‘Demons’ cannot be called a typical horror comedy but it indulges in such campy action sequences and heavy pop-cultured setting, that it turns out to be a fun-filled experience. It also has one of the earliest uses of meta fiction in horror, as the wall between fiction and reality start dissolving in the movie. This is displayed in a terrific scene where a zombie bitten woman tears the screen to reveal the infestation to the audiences (characters in the movie). One of the underrated horror comedies.
11. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
I can never understand the hate behind ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’, and why some people consider it to be “so bad, it’s so good”. If you think Tim Curry’s child devouring Pennywise was creepy, you surely haven’t met his Dr Frank N Furter, a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania. RHPS was a stage musical, before being adapted for the big screen and though I’ve read it lost some of its charm, it’s probably the best horrifying parody I’ve watched.
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10. Basket Case (1982)
‘Basket Case’ is one of those B-movies that flooded the 80’s during the boom of campy horror, but it surprisingly towers over its contemporaries because of a very original concept. Two conjoined twins who were separated against their will, are on the hunt for the doctors that conducted the operation. One of them is a normal looking human, while the other is a terrifyingly disfigured creature.
9. Beetlejuice (1988)
‘Beetlejuice’ is the biggest reason why I loved Tim Burton so much, at one stage. His films and especially his visual style was unlike anything Hollywood had ever seen, and I don’t think film noir can be as closely associated to Expressionist Cinema as Burton’s earliest works. As audiences evolved, make-up artistry alone wasn’t the only choice to induce horror, people wanted an aural experience too. Burton understood this mentality very well, and hence used a stage-like approach for the film.
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8. What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
Contrary to what people might say, I believe there’s nobody who handles humor as well as Taika Waititi at present, probably owing to his career as a stand up comedian. ‘What We Do In The Shadows’ follows the exploits of a group of vampires living in modern day Wellington. They have fangs, a thirst for blood and the ability to fly, but also roommate problems and broken hearts. Their solitude is a result of their existence being considered a myth in the contemporary world.
7. Fright Night (1985)
Tom Holland‘s ‘Fright Night’ is a classic from the genre and perfectly captures the condition of an 80’s horror geek, who believes his neighbor is a vampire. Vampires are usually associated with Transylvanian castles that have wolves swarming like mosquitoes around them. In this film, the idea that a vampire is socially reclusive is dumped and what we have is a seductive Chris Sarandon taking the center stage in a nightclub. Brad Fiedel’s ecstatic score is one of the most iconic work on a horror film.
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6. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Though a big portion of the 21st century generation would find ‘An American Werewolf In London’ to be campy, I believe it isn’t and was never intended to be. The film has mind-boggling special effects that still leave me shocked about their functionality. This is a horror-com that you wouldn’t laugh at, but a smirk would rather grace your face as you try hard to enjoy than being terrified. Film enthusiasts should watch this for the technical aspects, which are yet to be emulated.
5. Re-Animator (1985)
‘Re-Animator’ is my favorite adaptation of a Lovecraftian novella. Unlike many films that have struggled to emulate the ethereal ambience felt in the Master of Horror’s works, Stuart Gordon injects a small sample of dark humor to give it a new direction. The humor might be very inaccessible for many because of how disturbing some scenes are. I admit I flinched during that “reverse necrophilia” scene.
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4. Young Frankenstein (1974)
There was a time when parodies weren’t simply made to ridicule the source material. They were comical reimaginations and primarily served as a tribute to the legacy of the films they were based on. ‘Young Frankenstein’ not only presents a hilarious retelling of ‘Frankenstein’, but also of many black-and-white horror films from the 30’s. The cinematography and sound design were structured in a way so that they resembled the Universal horror films, with actual equipment of the original Frankenstein being used. The premise of the film, well, imagine if Frankenstein’s grandson tried to separate himself from the family name but got attracted to the familial disposition, leading to a comedy of errors.
3. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
I exclaimed “Eureka!” after watching ‘Return of the Living Dead’. Imagine finding a zombie movie that is aware of zombie movies, and then proceeds to break down the conception of Romero’s zombies; headshots don’t do the trick because honestly, having a well functioning brain in the body of a dead creature is pretty illogical. The practical effects are downright campy and it even features a seductive dance by a female zombie emerging out of the ground. This was followed by 5 sequels, out of which the first 3 carry the tone of the original brilliantly!
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2. Dead Alive (or) Braindead (1992)
‘Braindead’ is one of the goriest films ever made and part of Academy Award winning director Peter Jackson’s charm is to never compromise the splatter in his film to make it consumer appealing. The premise follows the protagonist’s mother being bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey (Bet even Tolkien couldn’t come up with something like that!). Not metaphorically speaking, she turns into a cannibal mom who starts eating brains. Her son hides her in a cupboard, and what follows next is the usual ignorance in horror films, multiplied 10 times to create a splattery clusterfuck!
1. Evil Dead II (1987)
It’s an understatement to describe Sam Raimi’s ‘Evil Dead II’ as a masterpiece. It’s also an understatement to call it the best horror-com, many would agree about its status as the most entertaining horror film. In the process of poking fun at his own work, Raimi and Bruce Campbell conjured something so technically spectacular, it still stands unreplicated to date. Working on a budget of $3.6 million, Raimi optimized the low budget to boost the camp-meters, and a marvelous performance by Campbell comically playing a tragic hero, conceived dark comedy that is both shocking and hilarious. Building on the first ‘Evil Dead’, it movie starts off with the same premise but this time Ash is left alone to be tortured for what seems like an eternity.Well, at least got some action in the next film!
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