Horror and comedy are two genres that have long worked well together. Author Robert Bloch wrote that they “are opposite sides of the same coin,” and given that they are both emotion-inducing genres, that makes sense.
“Horror comedy” is a personal favorite subgenre of mine. These are my top 5 favorites:
1. Scream (1996)
We’re starting the list with a classic, and personal favorite of mine.
Everybody knows Scream. Even those who haven’t sat and watched the entire film can instantly recognize the mask. I think that’s in part due to how well the film resonated with its audience. Its unique satirical tone and meta self-awareness is not often seen in horror films.
2. Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
This brilliant film sets up what the viewer expects to be a typical backwoods slasher, only to turn the entire subgenre on its head. It still delivers on all the tropes: mystery, killings, and a whole lot of gore… but in a unique, comedic way.
3. Waxwork (1988)
Another classic, Waxwork is genius on so many levels. At its core, it’s a genre-bending film, containing several vignettes of other sci-fi and fantasy genres, all within its established horror comedy tone. Though it came out in 1988, the comedy still holds up, as do its impressive monster effects.
4. The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
Like Scream, Cabin in the Woods works well as a horror parody, self-aware of the tired tropes and cliches and using that awareness to subvert expectations. In doing so, it delivers a lot of laughs.
5. Happy Death Day (2017)
Any film that can do time loops as good or better as Groundhog Day deserves recognition. Especially in horror, the time loop device has turned into a tired, overused cliche that is hardly as good as its predecessor.
In the Tall Grass is an example of a film that attempts to breathe new life into time loop horror, but fails miserably. Luckily, Happy Death Day more than succeeds. It somehow feels fresh, likely due to its great cast and masterful use of horror comedy to engage the audience.
Do have a favorite horror comedy that wasn’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments!