Contrary to what Ryan Murphy may say, Scream Queens did not invent the idea of mixing horror and comedy. It’s been like that for decades, ever since Abbott and Costello met Frankenstein, Dracula and other Universal monsters. Yes, horror is frightening but there’s also a dark humor to it and many movies are able to use it. It’s not just flat out parody like the Scary Movie franchise or Freddy Krueger doing one-liners as he slashes people up. It’s movies that are smart about using the horror motifs and even honoring them as they also send them up nicely for laughs.
Picking the best of the horror comedies is a task but there are plenty of great picks out there, movies that mix the scares with the laughs equally and backed by smart writing, great acting and more to provide true entertainment. Here are 15 movies that put horror films in a new light for a great time in both frights and laughs for this month.
15 Little Shop of Horrors
14 Army of Darkness
12 Tucker & Dale vs Evil
11 Return of the Killer Tomatoes
10 The Lost Boys
9 What We Do in the Shadows
8 The Toxic Avenger
7 The Rocky Horror Picture Show
5 Gremlins & Gremlins 2
It’s set at Christmas time but Joe Dante’s 1984 hit is scary no matter the time of year as Zach Gilligan plays a teen who brings home a loveable furry creature named Mogwai. However, he ends up breaking the rules of feeding it after midnight and letting it get wet. This causes Mogwai to spit out replicas that soon turn into vicious gremlins that run all over town, causing sheer havoc across the place with wild stuff (like one blown up in a microwave) and all done with a nasty darkly funny tone (witness Phoebe Cates’ story of her father).
4 Young Frankenstein
3 The Monster Squad
2 Shaun of the Dead
It’s a perfect storm in so many ways. A high-caliber cast of Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson and Rick Moranis at the top of their game. Ivan Reitman providing direction with then-cutting edge FX. The clever idea of a “professional paranormal containment team.” And of course, that famous theme song. Put together, it’s a true classic, mixing blockbuster Hollywood antics with great comedy, funny lines (“Cats and dogs, living together, total hysteria!”) and yet still providing some wild scares to you along the way. It still stands the test of time as a fantastic comedy experience and while it can be freaky (the library ghost and the demon dogs), the laughs are what make it so great.
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