Road to Halloween: Matt’s Top Five Horror Comedies

Written by Matt Butler October 26, 2015

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Have you ever found yourself watching what some might call unimaginable terror, but instead of recoiling in fear, you laughed maniacally? There’s two possible reasons for this behaviour: One, you’re a psychopath, or two, you’ve watching a good horror comedy (though I suppose you could be both…). With so many of the recent mainstream horrors being focused on chilling atmospheres and jump-scares, it’s refreshing to find horrors that see beyond that, that just because someone dies in the most gruesome way, doesn’t mean you can’t get a laugh out of it. Today, we’re focusing on the movies that make us scream just as much as they make us laugh.

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5. Gremlins (1984) Joe Dante

It’s funny how prophetic Gremlins would turn out to be, as its watershed success -no pun intended- led to the spawning of many more small creature features in years to come (Attack of the Beast Creatures, Cat’s Eye, Critters, Troll, The Gate, House 2: The Second Story, It’s Alive 3: Island of the Alive, Munchies, Critters 2, Hobgoblins, Ghoulies 2, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowlarama, Beasties, Elves, and the infamous Troll 2). The charm of Gremlins comes from the creatures themselves, whose electric personalities make every gag scene a marvel to watch. This of course predates the post-Jurassic Park era of “CGI everything”, so it’s even more impressive to know everything happening on the screen was happening on the set. It’s not a very complex story, because it doesn’t have to be, it just has to fun. Fun and inspired.

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4. Evil Dead 2 (1987) Sam Raimi

Five minutes into this movie, you’d think you were watching the same movie a second time. And… well, you’d be right! Evil Dead 2 is, in fact, a retread of The Evil Dead, done by the same director and writer, seven years apart, but this time with a million-dollar budget and very twisted tone, but still the same story. This one trades gorey body horror for manic parody of the horror genre as a whole. What’s interesting with 2 is despite its cheekier tone, it manages to pack in a larger story and conflict than its more serious and self-contained predecessor. If you’re not quite up for the cringeworthy gruesomeness of the first (which is far from a deterring description), then you’ll find this is a worthy substitute. Its got all the energy of the first, with a lot more laughs to keep it going. It’s also got Bruce Campbell with a chainsaw for a hand, so yeah. Groovy!

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3. Fido (2006) Andrew Currie

I figure this list needs at least one obscure title. How to best sum up Fido? Think The Iron Giant meets The Walking Dead. This cheeky parody of 1950s suburbia pulls no punches with its blending of a bland misogynistic America with the repulsiveness of the undead. This sharp contrast is made especially clear by the brilliantly bright and colourful set and costume design which makes Fido and friends stick out like sore thumbs. Being a ‘boy and his dog’ type story, Fido is a strangely adorable watch, but what ties it all together is a cast of heroes who see the Pleasantville-esque ideals for the dead and repulsive concepts they are. If you have a family that’s into adorable horror-comedies, this is a fitting choice.

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2. Shaun of the Dead (2004) Edgar Wright

Here’s the thing, Edgar Wright is my all-time favourite director, because he’s one of the few comedic directors still working who recognizes many of the visual possibilities of film.

So why is it that, of the famed Cornetto-trilogy, Shaun of the Dead is the most highly regarded and recognizable? I’d venture to say it has to do with its simple premise, a basic zombie-beatdown action-thriller, meeting with meticulous and expertly timed comedy. If Wright has accessed all the tools in the box, then he’s gone on to made a few of his own, using them all to remind us what film is truly capable of.

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1. The Cabin in the Woods (2012) Drew Goddard

If you’ve seen any horror movie, then you’ll probably roll your eyes at a title like The Cabin in the Woods. Many of the most tired horror tropes start with this type of setting, but believe me when I say that no film understands horror greater than The Cabin in the Woods. What this film manages is a send-off, spoof, and homage to every major horror trope in the book, all while operating under the guise of a legitimate horror with true spooks and scares. How it does this, I dare not say. Just believe me when I say the twist is worth the wait and will give you a whole new perspective on horror films, and maybe film altogether.

So what did you think of this list? Any titles that I foolishly overlooked? Feel free to let me know in the comments below. Happy Halloween!

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About Matt Butler

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is a strapping young English Major with a fiery passion for the art of cinematic storytelling. He likes long walks on the beach and knows the proper use of 'your' and 'you're'. (Example: I hope YOU'RE having a wonderful time browsing our site, and I hope you enjoy YOUR time reading my film reviews. I wrote them just for you.)

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