If you are a horror genre connoisseur, you already know that it helps to break the ice with an occasional horror comedy. This of course is most effective when done right. As I contemplated a top list, it occurred to me that 10 wouldn’t be enough, so with that said I am presenting the Top 10 Horror Comedies knowing full well that there are more than 10 that just wont make this list. It’s probably worth mentioning that a few “intended” horror comedies such as “Stan Helsing” and “Vampires Suck” were horribly…….. NOT funny, so they were intentionally left off the list. I mean a good requirement should be that you at least laughed once right?? Another factor that seems dominant is that many of my selections are either zombie themed or contain Bruce Campbell. Hey, Bruce is fun to watch, bottom line!
(not in ranking order)
01- Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
I had seen this too many times as a youth, not to include this black and white gem. It may be dated humor. It may be old school, but seeing this over 20 times and laughing every time is qualifying enough for me. Abbott and Costello went on to make other great horror comedy gems like “Meets the Mummy”, “Invisible Man”, “Killer”, and “Dr. Jekyll.”
02- Army of Darkness (1992)
Fans of Evil Dead 2, had waited forever for a sequel to arrive. When “Army” hit the theatres it was an instant win win with fans. Ash reprises his role as a monster killer bad ass. The lines and script combined with Bruce’s flair for intended pretension are gems worth experiencing not once, but a dozen times in your lifetime.
03- Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
A brilliant combination of horror with comedic build up. The film is remarkable in its ability to play with the audience and self narrate it’s actions to the tone of what every horror fan already knows. There is an obvious exchange half way in that changes the direction and feel of the film to almost mock all of its lead up. Leslie speaks out loud what we are thinking and then acts on those very attributes and stereotypes.
04- Shaun of The Dead (2004)
Ok, Simon Pegg and company pretty much set the comedic horror market back into motion. This glorious zombie meets British knuckleheads is a genre favorite worth every moment spent with it. The format has been mimicked by copycat productions several times with several more probably to follow.
05- Zombieland (2009)
Woody Harrelson is just a perfect player in this new take on zombies. We get plenty of gore and chaos to satisfy the modern horror crowd, but done so with it’s own style and humor. I love the voiceover check points and sarcasm. This deserves a future franchise, though we can only hope.
06- Evil Dead 2 Dead by Dawn (1987)
Who’s laughing now!!?? We are Bruce..and every step of the way of this horror film turned cult inclusion. Those who enjoyed the first “Evil Dead”, were taken by surprise in this reboot that focuses entirely on Ash as a comedic nut job. His experience with demons and the undead at this previous film location house had catapulted the movie as one of the most noted comedic horror films of all time. Because of these films, the character Ash has also become a horror icon.
07- Brutal Massacre: A Comedy (2007)
Another masterful comedic horror premise that seems to have stayed under the radar. I found this film funny as hell and thoroughly entertaining……so if you’ve missed it the first round, you’ll want to pick it up and take a gander. I’m calling this one the “Spinal Tap of Horror”!! A horror actress who is squeamish to blood…..the production manager who gets sh*t-pipe-emptying duty…..and much much more.
08 – Scary Movie (entire series of films)
These films are so clever in bringing relevant horror films into their premises, that they easily serve as iconic representations of horror genre trends from the previous year. I think the takeaway here is that you have to be pretty connected with the “best of” films to get the humor as the gags are directly related to iconic scenes. The films also manage to mashup horror movies into a single combined narrative that works in more ways than one. Combine “The Grudge” with War of the Worlds”?…now there’s a challenge!
09- Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)
A new entry into the horror comedy hall of fame. Tyler Labine is perfect and of course a great comedic talent porting over from the “Reaper” TV series. The film takes familiar horror scenarios and cleverly twists them into slapstick from unlikely origins.
10- Reel Zombies (2008)
A clever documentary using obvious and not so obvious humor that just “works” as a whole. Character flair, a movie production in process and alot of reality meets fiction meets reality makes this one of my new favorites from the list. With “Reel Zombies” being a low budget offering, it hasn’t received the exposure it deserves. Do yourself a favor and add this one right away.