Ten Horrific Features That Will Split Sides Before Skulls
I’m an absolute sucker for a good horror comedy. I’ve seen some true sh*tballs along the way: ZOMBIE HONEYMOON and JESUS CHRIST: VAMPIRE HUNTER immediately come to mind as pieces of absolute trash that tried to be funny and just ended up being offensively bad instead. When I, a lowly film critic, could have written a better script for a film while high out of my mind on a c**ktail of numerous drugs, there’s a definite problem.
Some movies definitely don’t have that problem, though. Troma’s damned good for that; they make low-budget, toilet humor flicks that almost always seem to work. Do they suck? Sure they do! But they’re fun and funny, and that’s their charm. And that’s a bit of the aim of this list.
In mentioning Troma, I’m going to try my damnedest to not mention too many Troma films. They’re a known source for funny-yet-gross-yet-horrific, so where’s the real need in pointing them out? People know to them to get that fix.
Rather, I’m aiming to point out a few flicks–some seen, some barely even heard of–that pack just as much comedy as they do gore and frights. We’re thinking outside the box here….or, more appropriately, outside the Lament Configuration…to pick out some flicks that might just be worth a little bit of time spent on a movie that–gasp!–some of us horror die-hards haven’t seen!
So on that, here are ten of my faves; I couldn’t totally avoid Troma, but damn it, I tried. I hope it’s as good for you as it was for me, sweethearts! Enjoy!
10) KILLER TONGUE – I remember reading about this little flick more than a decade ago, in the tiniest of blurbs in some little magazine called, like, Fangoria or something. Starring Melinda Clarke (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3) and some guy named Robert Englund (all I could find on him was that he was in that V miniseries back in the early 80s; seemed to fall off the map after that), this movie was about a space rock that wrought havoc on all who encountered it, including poor Mindy Clarke, who happened to get a bit of it in her soup. Hijinx, hijinx and more hijinx abound when someone has a living, extendable and sentient tongue, and everyone plays this seemingly-foreign flick with a ten-foot tongue planted firmly in cheek. Prison, Mindy in a sexy latex bodysuit, innuendos galore and ten pounds of fun in a five pound bag make this one of the most fun experiences I ever had watching movie that I knew absolutely nothing about before buying it off of the recommendation of a single Fango paragraph.
9) POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD – This, I’m really hoping, will be the only Troma production on the list, but it’s just too damned funny to not include here. If you, loyal horror fan, have not seen this C-grade masterpiece, stop reading this, check it out, and then by all means come back and finish reading this wonderful list! The premise is simple, in that a major corporate fried chicken shack has decided to open shop on a land that was once a Native American burial ground….and a cemetery, too, I think. I was a little drunk at the beginning of this one. But I sprang to life with the musical numbers, the wildly inventive gore, the absolutely obtuse hilarity and the fantastic monologue from Mr. Troma himself, one Lloyd Kaufman. It’s part musical, part zombie flick, all crazy and a 10-piece bucket of fun with biscuits and gravy on the side. Worth the scratch, no matter how you come across it!
8) SLITHER – I wouldn’t be even slightly surprised if everyone who reads this site has already seen this modern classic, so all I can say in defense of its placement on this list is: see it again! I was sold on the robust shout-out to my all-time favorite carbonated beverage, Mr. Pibb, but Michael Rooker was pure gold in this movie, and everything about this modern alien takeover gross-out was played with the perfect balance of comedy and stone-faced sobriety. Serious when comedy was going on, comedic in the most serious moments, it was a perfect juxtaposition of multiple genres, hitting crossroads of one another at the precisely perfect moments. An all-time favorite of mine, and one of the funniest horrors one can find, without question.
7) THE CONVENT – Mike Mendez, the director behind THE GRAVEDANCERS (which I thought was criminally underrated) helmed this film, among his first, about a group of community college ne’er-do-wells who decide to break into an abandoned church to do a lot of f*cking and pot smoking and whatever else it is that these damned kids like to do nowadays. Carrying their box of Trouble with the Pop-O-Matic Bubble with them (OK, not really), these wayward youths cross paths with some other wayward youths who are madly…well…Hell-bent on sacrificing a young lady to the Devil. They’re doing that because that’s what Hot Topic goths are supposed to do, right?
Anyway, thanks to Adrienne Barbeau and a shotgun, this convent has quite a history of bloodshed to coat it, and that all happened because these nuns just happened to be what we all think nuns really are, that being DEMONS! YIKES! Well, a bunch of evil sh*t seems to go just right, and just like old habits die hard, it seems that the same goes for demon nuns. All of a sudden, demon nuns in blacklight gore paint are wrecking nubile college kids left and right, and only a haggard version of Ms. Barbeau can stop the carnage before it’s too late. Lots of murder, plenty of comedy and a bunch of truly dumb motherf*ckers make for an excellent slasher movie that’s as witty as it is dumb, as interesting as it is vapid, and a great, funny, scary way to kill 90 minutes. Highly recommended if you don’t think your friends would be totally thrilled by another viewing of MARTYRS!
6) CHOKING HAZARD – Considering the fact that I know of no other zombie flicks from the Czech Republic, I’m going to go on record here and say that this is the best zombie flick to ever come out of the Czech Republic! And you know, even if it had competition, I still think it’d be the tops! We’re treated to male gigolos with gleaming belt buckles, philosophers who question why they should or shouldn’t be eaten within moments of it actually happening, and a protagonist who needs to be goaded into actually doing his whole “living” thing with this film, all the while watching a zombie flick in Czech. Where comedy can occasionally be a problem in translation, this movie comes across perfectly, something amazing when considering that this is Eastern European comedy that’s in question. Subtitles are the mode of plot development here, but it hardly matters, as one finds him- or herself laughing at everything, all the while being treated to a rather excellent zombie movie at the same time. Comparisons can definitely be made to SHAUN OF THE DEAD here, but I feel very comfortable saying that CHOKING HAZARD did a lot more with a lot less, and was equally as enjoyable. And since we all saw and pretty much all loved SHAUN OF THE DEAD, we all know that such is one Hell of a feat. CHOKING HAZARD: not the easiest flick to find anymore, but definitely worth the hunt.
5) BUBBA HO-TEP – Of course. You know exactly why. Our titular antagonist tosses elderly salads to get souls, and it’s up to a broken-down Elvis Presley (yeah, he lived) and the brain of JFK (no, not the Pearl Jam song) to save the world at large from this sodomizing beast of a creature of a jerk. Good luck, guys, and “thank you so much!” Don Coscarelli; sure, all you needed to ever do was make PHANTASM movies, but you made BUBBA HO-TEP and THE BEASTMASTER. You, good sir, are a legend.
4) DEER WOMAN – I love Brian Benben. He had a show for years on HBO, called “Dream On,” and though I’d primarily use it when I was 14 or so to masturbate, as there would be a great sex scene in every episode (which involved a woman having an orgasm, which is something I happen to love. I know: I’m a weirdo.), he was also in the Dolph Lundgren classic I COME IN PEACE (“and you go in pieces, asshole!”), which I suppose meant he had some acting chops.
Fast forward a little more than a decade, and here’s Mr. Benben in the John Landis-directed episode of “Masters of Horror,” in an episode called DEER WOMAN. I could leave the episode description up to the imagination, but let’s just have it suffice to say that there’s a Native American curse involved, and people get all sorts of trampled. Benben plays a private detective, and the episode, barring a few fantastic theoretical scenes, is played fully straight and humor-free. This, of course, makes it absolutely hilarious. It wasn’t the best episode of that first season, as it had a lot of good ones with which to compete, but for my money, it was easily the most memorable and the one I find myself returning to the most. Thank you, Mr. Landis, thank you Mr. Benben, and a little thanks to Mick Garris. I’m basically thanking him here for directing the miniseries of Stephen King’s THE STAND, but as an exec. producer on this series, he’s certainly worthy of some props. Check this out at your earliest convenience.
3) SANTA’S SLAY – To be completely honest, I really didn’t expect anything from this movie at all. Seriously: Bill Goldberg’s going to be a killer Santa? I had the misfortune of once seeing the atrocious Hulk Hogan vehicle SANTA WITH MUSCLES, and was absolutely sure that this would be more of the same.
But to my surprise, this was one severely gory movie, full of inventive and brutal deaths that I never saw coming. The story wasn’t awful, the pace was fantastic, and the absurdity of it all really made this one, dare I say it…charming! It’s gross, offensive to the holiday and funny as Hell, and has definitely made the Holiday rotation here at my household, before BADDER SANTA but after ELF, EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS and I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS…and don’t you dare judge. There’s nothing wrong with a little X-Mas time Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and if you disagree you’re a communist and a fool. Check the pamphlet; it’s in there!
2) BOTCHED – Honestly, IDLE HANDS was going to go here, because that movie is truly funny, extremely well done and features Jessica Alba in such a way that I remember wanting to jerk off right there in the movie theater…so glad my male friends were there and not being a bad influence by doing in deed what I did in mind!
Anyway, BOTCHED took its place because it’s a very little-known film that has all of the criteria met for this particular list, and to simply put up a list full of flicks that people have seen a million times is, frankly, boring for me to write and assuredly boring for you to read. Hence, BOTCHED, a crime-caper turned wild-eyed horror about a robbery gone away as the crew of criminals, headed by Stephen “don’t confuse me with Peter Berg” Dorff end up on the 13th floor of the very building they’re robbing. This, as would always be the case, proves to be quite perilous for all involved. Of particular note, in my opinion, is a murderous man that’s either a barbarian or Genghis Khan, and I don’t know which. I’ve seen it three times, and I still don’t know.
A bunch of people die very bloody, brutal and inventive deaths, the whole thing is funny and cool with tons of slo-mo and a very unfitting classical soundtrack in parts, and BOTCHED is ultimately anything but the movie one would expect in picking up the box at the video store. In fact, it’s about a million times better than that box would have one believe. Therefore, BOTCHED is here and Jessica Alba’s amazing ass in IDLE HANDS is spending this time residing solely in our hearts and minds. For Women in Horror Month, perhaps that’s for the best!
1) DEAD ALIVE – This is an absolute classic of horror comedy in every way possible. It’s also a movie that breaks my heart to watch now, when I know what Peter Jackson went on to do. Sure, the LORD OF THE RINGS movies were fine, even good or occasionally great, but they ensure that nothing Mr. Jackson will ever do again will have that wild, reckless abandon and demented humor that was stamped all over DEAD ALIVE. I distinctly remember seeing this video box for this movie, on VHS, in my local video store. At age 13, I had to have it, and with a mother as liberal as mine, I got it. About 20-25 minutes in, when Mum’s ear fell in the pudding, I immediately vomited and couldn’t watch the movie again for 3 years. Fuck, it still makes me gag. It also makes me laugh out loud, literally howl with delight, and the enduring humor of this flick simply will never get old. If ever a classic of this sub-genre had to be defined as the archetype, DEAD ALIVE would have to be it. Nothing else comes close!
So, there are 10 for you! There are plenty that I purposefully skipped, but if you’d like to mention those, any special ones you think I missed, or just generally want to provide some feedback on this list, positive or negative, I’d love to read it. We here at HorrorNews.net are nothing without you, our readers, and your opinions are incredibly important. Basically, I want to tell you my version of the truth, but I also want you to read things that you enjoy. So please, feel free to work with me and see if we can find that common ground! Thanks for reading, and have a disgustingly wonderful day!