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We continue our list of the 10 best horror comedy movies.
Entries 1 Through 5
5. Dead/Alive (1992) AKA Braindead [Directed by: Peter Jackson]
This is why back alley tonsillectomies are not recommended.
This horror comedy comes out of New Zealand and is from Peter Jackson, the guy behind Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, and The Frighteners. (Oh yeah, he also directed something called Lord of the Rings – have you heard of it?) Anyway, Dead/Alive puts together equal amounts of gore and slapstick comedy. The amount of blood used in the zombie/lawn mower sequence has to be some kind of record. We personally laughed our asses off at the zombie baby and the kung-fu priest who exclaims “I kick ass for the Lord!” But make no mistake – this isn’t the Peter Jackson you know from the big budget Tolkien adaptations. This Peter Jackson gleefully grosses you out, in many disturbing ways (Dead/Alive may be one of the goriest films ever made). It’s still pretty funny.
4. Night of the Creeps (1986) [Directed by: Fred Dekker]
Another hazing incident goes terribly wrong.
For our money, Fred Dekker’s Night of the Creeps is more entertaining then his more family-oriented followup The Monster Squad. It’s a unique take on the zombie genre – using space slugs to turn people into walking undead. It also is a very funny B-movie with tongue firmly in cheek. It has likable leads (Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow) and throws in the always-welcome Tom Atkins as a brooding police detective with a dark past. But the comedy – mixing up college/fraternity antics and memorable one-liners – is dead-on. Night of the Creeps is the perfect horror comedy for B-movie fanatics and the nerds who got picked on by the jocks. Our review here.
3. Return of the Living Dead (1985) [Directed by: Dan O’Bannon]
Honey! I'm back from the tar pits!
Awesome comedy from Dan O’Bannon (who wrote Alien) takes its inspiration from Romero’s Night of the Living Dead by having one of its main characters suggest the movie was based on real events. Frank (James Karen) and Freddy (Thom Mathews) accidentally release experimental gas from a canister in the basement of their warehouse, which turns them (and the inhabitants of a nearby graveyard) into zombies who crave brains (to relieve the pain of being dead). This has awesome looking monsters, good gore, and some really great scenes of comedy (“Send more cops!”) It also has Linnea Quigley doing a nude scene in a graveyard that is essential viewing, a good scene where paramedics can’t figure out just why our two main characters have no pulse, and awesome performances from Clu Gulager and Don Calfa. Review here.
2. Shaun of the Dead (2004) [Directed by: Edgar Wright]
Their favorite game is Left 4 Dead, duh.
Edgar Wright’s awesome horror comedy is as much about Shaun (Simon Pegg) growing up and taking responsibility for his life as it is about being a wonderful homage to Dawn of the Dead. Smart about its influences and careful enough to develop its characters, it has many funny scenes but properly balances the comedy with the horror of a zombie outbreak. There’s scene where Shaun semi-sleepwalks to the local store after a night of drinking, completely oblivious to the walking dead around him – it’s one funny bit out of many. To Shaun, zombies are an annoyance – all he wants to do is go to his favorite pub with his girl, drink pints, and play video games with his best bud. Shaun of the Dead makes for good commentary on the similarities between the apathetic regulars walking through life and the living dead, an updating on Romero’s stabs at consumerism. Funny stuff.
1. Army of Darkness (1992) [Directed by: Sam Raimi]
The great thing about the middle ages is - no waiting period or background checks!
Sam Raimi’s followup to the smart (and also funny) Evil Dead 2 is a hilarious cheesefest which finds our hero Ash stuck in the middle ages, fighting against the “deadites” with his “boomstick” and chainsaw-hand, which is soon replaced by a metal one. Probably the single inspiration for the lines in the Duke Nukem video games, this one has it all – spurting blood, fighting skeletons, a love interest, one-liners galore, and an evil version of Ash (oh – and “little” Ash’s). The nods to The Three Stooges in the second film are given even more screen time here, and while this third movie tones down the horror of the first two, it’s still very inventive, especially with its limited FX budget. Bruce Campbell’s character Ash, of course, is turned into a wise-cracking anti-hero who is normally just a loser working at S-Mart, but he certainly has a knack for getting rid of demons. Gotta love him.