This week I watched Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead, and I was going to write a review. I got about two paragraphs in until I realized that the review was really only going to amount to "Hey guys this was pretty fucked up, but golly was it funny!" So there's my review on that.
On that note, I've decided that instead of boring you with my take on one horror comedy, I'm decided to bore you with my take on several horror comedies! Here is a list of my favorite of all time. Let me know if I missed any of your favorites. I won't do anything about it, but I'd still like to hear from you.
Broken Lizard's follow-up to their cult hit Super Troopers was this send-up of slasher flicks, with the comedy troupe playing a group of employees at Coconut Pete's Pleasure Island resort who must find out who is behind the grisly murders targeting their fellow staff members.
People didn't really seem to dig this, but I loved it. It was funny as hell, especially Bill Paxton who played the aging Jimmy Buffet knock-off perfectly, and who in all fairness wrote Pina Coladaberg "nine and a half fucking years before Margaritaville was even on the map!" Plus, the members of Broken Lizard weren't afraid to be killed off for the story, so it gave the movie a sense of tension that might not have been there if you knew all of the main characters would make it through.
Evil Dead 2
Of course this is on my list. I won't bore you with a rehash of what a million people have already said. However, I will note that my wife (a non horror fan) once wondered aloud how Bruce Campbell never quite broke into the mainstream, as she said he has that Hollywood leading man look.
You know what, she's 100% right. And I defy you to name me anyone today who could pull off a scene where a man has the shit beaten out of him by his own hand (cue the barrage of "Well, actually..." examples of other people doing this in movies).
Little Shop of Horrors
I remember seeing this movie several times as a kid, and I really liked it but for different reasons than why I like it now. Rick Moranis plays a timid flower shop worker who buys a venus fly trap that turns out to be an man-eating alien. For 8-year-old me, you can pretty much stop drilling once you hit "man-eating venus fly trap." Although I had to balance this with the fact that this was also a musical, and you could ruin pretty much any movie for me by sticking a few songs in it.
Today, though, I can appreciate it for all of its campy glory, as well as some perfectly cast cameos from some of the funniest comedians of the 80s. As exhibit A, I show you this song that blends both of these elements into heavenly glory.
Return of the Living Dead
In the hands of a lot of other film makers, this movie could have been a lot darker in tone. A group of people have to fend off a zombie plague after a military toxin is released, and by the end of the movie (Spoiler Alert for a 30 year old movie) everyone is blown up by a nuclear missile launched by the government, which incidentally doesn't event stop the plague.
Pretty bleak, but as anyone who's seen this movie before knows, it's also damn funny. The epitome of the punk attitude, this flick is all about the gallows humor.
An American Werewolf in London
This movie could have easily been rewritten as a buddy comedy about childhood friends David and Jack, who backpack across Europe with hilarity inevitably ensuing. However, as it is Jack is slaughtered by a werewolf within the first 10 minutes of the movie and David is bitten and cursed with lycanthropy. Yet somehow, hilarity still ensues and we, of course, are treated to the grandfather of all great werewolf transformation sequences in the history of the genre.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
This mockumentary follows aspiring serial killer Leslie Vernon as he attempts to achieve the notoriety of icons such as Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger. It's a hilarious dissection of slasher tropes, which culminates in a climax that utilizes all of them while still managing to be effective and scary.
Many people would include Cabin in the Woods for their meta-horror flicks, but I went with this one, because it's just as good and doesn't get nearly as much love.
Bubba Ho-Tep pairs one of my favorite genre actors (Bruce Campbell, making his second appearance on this list) with one of my favorite genre directors (Don Coscarelli, who is responsible Phantasm, maybe my favorite horror movie ever made). It also features one of the most ridiculous premises I've ever heard: An aging Elvis Presley, living at an old folks home, must fend off a mummy who feeds off of the souls of the elderly. His only ally in this fight is a fellow resident who claims to be John F. Kennedy (he's also African American).
As goofy as this movie is, what really stuck with me was how poignant it managed to be as it tackled the themes of aging and the struggle to feel vital after you've been put out to pasture. This is helped by a very well-done score by Bryan Tyler, who creates a bittersweet atmosphere that highlights the movie's core themes without disrupting the ample amounts of silly.
And, of course, this.
I just fucking adore this movie. James Gunn proved he could do comedy sci-fi years before he gave us Guardians of the Galaxy with this story of an alien parasite who lands on earth, spreading via small slugs that turn people into zombies acting as a hive mind for the alien.
In addition to Gunn's work behind the camera, we have Nathan Fillion doing his thing, which is oozing copious amounts of charm, and Michael Rooker, who as usual plays Michael Rooker to perfection. Add this in with some great dialogue and some of the best gore-gags on this list and you've got something special.