Horror comedies have been kicking tail lately, with the walking dead — natural laugh-riot source material — leading the way. The success of Zombieland has the genre back in the spotlight, so what better time to bust out my list of Top Ten Horror Comedies of All Time?
I’m avoiding tongue-in-cheek horror movies like Scream, which play games with the genre but still deal in real horror. Ditto movies that have plenty of humor but still finish strong on the spook-factor scale, like An American Werewolf in London. We’re going for comedies here. Comedies with bl-bl-bl-blood, baby. This isn’t the most original idea in the world — there are dozens of “Best Horror/Comedy Movie” lists out there, fo’ sho. There are also hundreds of horror/comedy flicks, so some of your top picks might not even be on my list, which is the nature of lists: One of my favorite horror movie sites compiled a roster of 30 titles that didn’t include freakin’ Ghostbusters … whoa! So I’m not even going to do honorable mentions: These are my ten best, and if you don’t agree with my selections, you’re probably very stupid. Just being honest, people; someday you’ll thank me.
10. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
When you want the good stuff, you have to go to the source. Bud and Lou? Back in the day, they were comedy, baby. Nobody laughed in this town without their say-so. And in this flick, they not only whup-ass on Frankenstein’s monster, they also get busy with Dracula and the Wolf Man. That’s a crap-load of monsterness. And you think James Cameron can do special effects? Hah! Check out this eight-minute clip of old-school FX awesomeness.
9. Black Sheep (2006)
This one is so over-the-top preposterous you can’t help but just wallow in it. Yeah, killer sheep. Roving hordes of killer sheep. It’s nice to get a little New Zealand action cooking up in here, and apparently NZ horror directors don’t stray too far from the subject farm. This is total slap-stick, if the “slap” is bloody, and the “stick” is a rabid sheep tearing out your throat.
8. Young Frankenstein (1974)
There are dozens of deathless lines in this all-time classic, starting with “It’s Fronk-un-schteen!” Haven’t seen it? Too young to have heard of it? Well, go get it, and get the giant tub of popcorn too, because this is a straight-up, “fun for the sake of fun” type flick.
7. Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Hooo … where to begin? This damn thing is basically made of memorable one-liners. Sam Raimi’s pre-Spider-Man days were filled with splashing blood, flying eyeballs and nasty-ass old grannies screeching “I’ll swallow your soul!” The granny, the hand, A Farewell to Arms, the moose head, the basement… Evil Dead 2 is like the Combos of movies — a stark-raving, terror-filled crusty outside with a cringing, laugh-riot cheese center.
6. Beetlejuice (1988)
When it opened, Michael Keaton was the hottest funnyman in the flicks, thanks to a string of box-office heavy hitters like Night Shift, Mr. Mom and Johnny Dangerously. He brought that No.1 comedic pedigree into a spin on the haunted house tale, absolutely nailing the role of “the ghost with the most.” Straight-up comedy that only gets a wee bit sinister at the end, Beetlejuice holds up… just watch out for them sandworms.
5. Tremors (1990)
Isolation, nuclear testing and Kevin Bacon… that’s all you need for 90 minutes of pure escapism. Add some landsharks and you’re really in business. An absolute gem of a comedy that plays the hick-schtick to the max and comes complete with eaten people, eaten cars and eaten buildings.
4. Zombieland (2009)
Yeah, I know it just came out, and it’s elbowing out a lot of established flicks for the number four slot, but did you see it? Friggin’ brilliant. It’s a blast from beginning to end, not to mention it has the greatest cameo of all time. Zombieland has a ball poking fun at zombie-movie stereotypes, much as Scream did for slashers and Feast did for man-sized monster flicks. Plus, Woody Harrelson really needs to get back into character acting for action flicks — dude was nails in this one.
3. Gremlins (1984)
What — you didn’t see this coming? That’s either because you graduated high school in 2000 and were, like, 2 when it came out and your head is stuffed with Care Bears, or because you were on the tail end of the “better living through chemistry” generation and don’t really remember anything that happened before 1988. Anything other than that Iron Maiden concert, of course, ’cause who could forget that?
2. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Holy crap, is this movie already 6 years old? This fantastic zombie comedy (why do flesh-eating, undead corpses make for good laughs?) — probably the best since Return of the Living Dead — flat out blew horror fans away when it opened. All the zombie tropes are here, and all funnier when they’re inadvertently mimicked by sleepy workers shuffling through another brain-dead retail day. An instant classic that will hold up for many decades to come.
1. Ghostbusters (1984)
Why is this number one? Well for starters, it’s the highest-grossing horror comedy of all time. After that? Bill Murray in his snarky prime. And then? Slimer, of course. The final reason? I’ve written about ten columns that start with “I Ain’t ‘Fraid ‘o No” and end in a word that rhymes with “ghost,” (sort of rhymes, anyway) and it was this movie’s theme song that kicked off all that shiz, proton-pack style. While the creature effects now verge on the unwatchable, Ghostbusters still brings the laughs and delivers every time.
You think that’s funny?
That’s my list and again, if you disagree, it’s because you were dropped on your head as a child. Repeatedly. That’s just the truth, guy, so deal with it. If you disagree, however, feel free to give me the business in the comments section below.
New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler writes tales of hard-science horror, then gives them away as free audiobooks at www.scottsigler.com. His novel INFECTED was named as Border’s #1 mystery, thriller and horror novel for 2008. His next major hardcover horror/thriller ANCESTOR will be out on May 4, 2010.
And that part about you being stupid? Sorry about that. Sometimes Scott writes these columns before he has his morning latte. That, and sometimes he’s just a jackass. You be the judge.Read More