Horror comedy is one of the most accessible sub-genres. After all, most people who watch horror movies are looking to laugh at them anyway. When done right, the balance of scares and humor will cause the audience to be engaged by the story but have fun with it at the same time. However, this doesn’t always work. These two ideas are hard to pull off on their own, let alone together. But, nonetheless, comedy and horror have always walked hand in hand.
It’s such a wide area of the genre that some movies often go overlooked and never really get the attention they deserve. Others just get a bad rap. Whatever the case, here are horror comedies both scary and funny that are worth another look.
Student Bodies isn’t stellar work and is kind of funny in spite of itself, but it’s definitely worth pointing out. It beat Scary Movie to the punch by almost twenty-years. Some of the tropes here, especially the body count, work really well. And even the stupidest gags have their own sort of charm. This was a spoof on slashers right at the dawn of the craze, so there were still some kinks to work out. But in some ways, it hits the nail on the head. The funniest moments are the kills, not only because there’s a kill counter at the bottom of the screen, but because the weapons get more and more absurd as the movie goes on.
It’s outrageous and it’s definitely a B-Movie, but Frankenhooker is also kind of wonderful. A young man loses the love of his life in a freak lawnmower accident. All that is preserved is her head, so he goes about trying to find a new body for her by assembling the rest of the pieces from the bodies of sex workers. Of course, in trying to lure the prostitutes he needs in order to get an assemblage of body parts, he winds up creating a new strain of crystal meth that he takes to the streets, which sees him making enemies of all the wrong people. It’s an absurd comedy that never takes itself seriously. It is truly out there and delivers a surprising and delightful ending.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark
Horror hostess Elvira’s first solo feature is not something that anyone expected to be such a sheer amount of fun, but it is. In it, Elvira inherits a mansion and goes to claim it under the notion that the estate is actually worth something. Instead, the horror vixen finds herself in a quaint, backwards, conservative town. She eventually gets them to reconsider their way of thinking and it’s all surprisingly sweet and poignant. Cassandra Peterson really has a chance to play Elvira as a character here, indulging her goofy personality and having moments of sincerity at the same time.
House II: The Second Story
House was a surprisingly fun and inventive take. But the sequel takes things even further. It’s an imaginative, totally absurd story about a crystal skull that opens up doorways to other worlds. Two friends and the corpse of a long-dead, distant relative have to try and keep it from falling into the wrong hands. Add in a swashbuckling electrician and an undead cowboy and it has just about everything you could need from an absurdly funny B-movie.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
It’s not usually classified as a horror comedy, but that’s certainly what The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is, and it’s a good one at that. This movie is everything the first movie was not, sending it up and satirizing it but showing a great deal of respect at the same time. Everything about it is over-the-top, but that works well. Like the original, it’s very much a product of the time in which it was made. The Sawyer family might be even more fun to watch here and the dynamic between them is great. Tom Savini’s gore effects contradict the bloodless first film, but are perfectly fit for the absurd, almost slapstick style of the second.