Horror movies can be damned horrific, what with all the entrails and the screaming. Sometimes we need a good laugh to take the edge off. That's where humorous horror movies come in.
Blood, gore and suspense are awesome. But after watching these movies, we've decided that we like our horror best when it's laugh-out-loud funny. It's as if humor and horror are better together than they are apart. Kind of like chocolate and peanut butter.
For the 21st in our series of 31 posts for the 31 days of Halloween, here are 11 you need to watch if you like laughing and screaming at the same time.
Evil Dead II/Army of Darkness
The first movie in the Evil Dead series was a straight-out gorefest. But the second (Evil Dead 2) and third (Army of Darkness) movies knew how to have a good time. The movies follow the adventures of Ash, who battles Deadites that are unleashed from a book called the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. The best part of these movies is their star, Bruce Campbell, whose good looks take a back seat to his rubber face and his complete lack of fear of looking ridiculous. He's totally "groovy."
Great humorous/horrific moment: Ash is forced to cut off his possessed hand after it torments him.
Shaun of the Dead
Shaun is a London slacker with no ambition except to hang out at the pub and win back his smart, has-it-together ex-girlfriend. Later, as zombies spread across London, his ambition turns into "fighting a zombie horde and keeping my friends and family alive."
Great humorous/horrific moment: Shaun shops at the corner market, oblivious to the bloody handprint on the glass refrigerator door.
Teenagers in this sleepy town of Woodsboro are being picked off one by one. The best part? They're all media-savvy horror fans who recognize their plight. Resourceful Sydney is trying to cope with the death of her mother when the killer, Ghostface, appears. It surprises no one to learn that the murder of Sydney's mother is ultimately linked to the Ghostface killings.
This movie had three sequels ... so far.
Great humorous/horrific moment: When learning that the school principal was disemboweled, students run to look at the body.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil works with role reversals: Just as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where vampires are afraid of the blonde, in T&DvsE, the rednecks are afraid of the college students. What starts off as a few amusing misunderstandings escalates into a full-scale slashfest, and we learn fairly quickly who the "evil" is in the title. (And it's not the good ol' boys.)
Great humorous/horrific moment: Though perfectly innocent, Tucker and Dale appear as chainsaw-wielding, woman-beating mass murderers. Multiple times.
Shadow of the Vampire
This what-if tale surrounding the classic 1922 horror movie Nosferatu asks the question "What if the actor who played Nosferatu was a real vampire?" The answer: As bodies drop all over the set, the director is in constant negotiation with a vamp who doesn't know the meaning of delayed gratification.
Great humorous/horrific moment: Vampire Max Schreck grabs a bat and enthusiastically sucks it dry. Rather than be frightened, his co-workers are deeply impressed with his acting ability.
A meteor plunges to Earth, bringing with it an alien parasite, and a small-town man, Grant, becomes infected by alien slugs. The sheriff battles the slugs, as well as his attraction to his ex-girlfriend, Starla, Grant's wife. As the slug infection spreads to the townspeople, they retain Grant's memories ... and they want his wife back.
Great humorous/horrific moment: When confronted with an obvious infection, one man claims poison ivy. His possessed, evil-eyed daughters say in unison, "We're itchy."
Little Shop of Horrors
Little Shop of Horrors is a romantic horror musical, with toe-tapping tunes that distract you from the fear of being eaten by a killer plant from space, aka "Audrey II." It's definitely not as horrific as some movies on this list, but you won't fail to be creeped out when Audrey II tempts his owner into providing him with fresh blood: "A lot of folks deserve to die."
Great humorous/horrific moment: Comedian Steve Martin, who plays a sadist, sings "Dentist," a song about his love of torture.
The real Elvis Presley (again, the awesome Bruce Campbell) and a black John F. Kennedy live in Shady Rest Nursing Home ... a nursing home that's under attack by a soul-sucking mummy. Despite age and infirmity, they band together to drive out the monster. Although a larger budget may have helped amp up the scares, the film's dry, quirky wit makes it a don't-miss movie.
Bubba Ho-Tep was based on a short story written by Joe Lansdale, the master of humorous horror.
Great humorous/horrific moment: Elvis' frequent mention of the "growth on his pecker."
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy is your typical Southern California cheerleader ... or at least until she learns she's the Slayer, the one chosen out of every generation to fight vampires. But what will that cute boy Pike think? Poor Buffy doesn't have too much time to ponder. She's too busy fighting the evil Lothos and his minions.
Joss Whedon later brought Buffy to television, where it thrived.
Great humorous/horrific moment: When Buffy learns that her internal vampire detection system is menstrual cramps.
Neurotic college student "Columbus" survives a zombie infestation thanks to a heightened sense of self-preservation and teams up with gun-toting, Twinkie-obsessed "Tallahassee." They form an alliance with two con-artist sisters, journey across America and, of course, fight zombies.
Great humorous/horrific moment: In a narration, Columbus contradicts Tallahassee's claim to having earned the prize "zombie kill of the week."
American Werewolf in London
This classic humorous horror movie is about two American college students, David and Jack, on vacation in England, when a werewolf attacks them. Jack dies, but David lives, infected with the curse of the werewolf. David's gruesome transformation into a werewolf is shocking. But it's somehow normal compared to Jack's post-mortem pleas for David to kill himself.
Great humorous/horrific moment: Every time Jack appears to David, he's in a more progressed state of decay.
BTW—This subgenre is actually so popular that there are dozens more movies (for example, House, House 2: The Second Story, Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh) than one simple article can hold. Click here for a more complete list.