The horror comedy is among the most beloved sub-genres of the already wildly popular horror genre. Mixing two opposing genres births a unique and endlessly entertaining picture guaranteed to keep audiences engaged and invested; the best horror comedies complement each other, keeping the chills while delivering the laughs.
Modern horror comedies aren’t afraid to go all-in on their premise, mixing blood, gore, monsters, killers, and everything in between with absurd situations that will keep audiences in stitches. Indeed, many modern horror comedies are already classics, thanks to their fresh and distinctive approach to a sub-genre that will always deliver.
10 ‘Mom and Dad’ (2017)
Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair make one zany pairing in the 2017 horror-comedy Mom and Dad. The plot centers on a teenage girl who must protect her younger sibling against their parents, who have become murderous because of mysterious circumstances.
Wild and bloody, Mom and Dad thrives because of Cage and Blair’s wicked and committed performances, particularly the former, who delivers a truly maniacal turn that ranks among his career’s most memorable. The film could be funnier, but it is brutal enough to cement its place as a modern classic and a severely underrated gem.
9 ‘Freaky’ (2020)
Body-swap comedies are nothing out of the ordinary in Hollywood, but few have as much bite as Christopher Landon‘s slasher comedy Freaky. Vince Vaughn stars as a middle-aged serial killer who swaps bodies with a shy teenager, played by Kathryn Newton.
Although it doesn’t redefine the body-swap genre, Freaky has enough refreshing ideas to rise above the numerous entries in the popular sub-genre. Clever and wickedly funny, Freaky is a showcase for Kathryn Newton, with the actor delivering a fierce and uncompromising performance that elevates the film into classic territory.
8 ‘Frankenweenie’ (2012)
Tim Burton might be best known for fantasy, but he has experimented with other genres; from his unique and weird mind comes the animated comedy-horror Frankenweenie. Based on Burton’s 1984 short, the film revolves around a young boy who brings his recently-deceased dog back to life. When his friends discover what he’s done, they replicate his experiment, bringing chaos to their neighborhood.
Burton’s now-trademark style is all over Frankenweenie. Using macabre humor with several disturbing images produces an animated film that will scare every child and many adults. In typical Burton fashion, the film is a love letter to oddballs and an exercise in grief hiding underneath its gothic facade. A triumph in stop-motion animation, Frankenweenie is a timeless classic and one of Burton’s last great films.
7 ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ (2012)
Drew Goddard‘s directorial debut, 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods, introduced him as a promising voice behind the camera. The film stars an ensemble, including Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford, and centers on a group of college students terrified by numerous monsters while staying at a secluded cabin.
Juggling horror, comedy, and sci-fi elements, The Cabin in the Woods is a breath of fresh air. Guided by Goddard’s confident hand behind the camera and intelligent screenplay, the film is a meta-comedy that subverts expectations while delivering plenty of shocks and even more laughs.
6 ‘Happy Death Day’ (2017)
The slasher genre experienced a rebirth in the 2010s, with directors and writers becoming more willing to experiment with it; 2017’s Happy Death Day is among the best results of that willingness. The film follows a college student trapped in a time loop, forced to relive the day of her birthday, culminating with her murder at the hands of a masked killer.
Creative and endlessly entertaining, Happy Death Day is among the most original slashers in the genre’s history. The film delivers the blood-spatter fans expect from their slasher content while imbuing the plot with clever and hilarious social commentary, delivering a distinctive and unforgettable thrill ride and a modern classic in the making.
5 ‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’ (2010)
Eli Craig‘s black comedy-horror Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is already a classic. The film follows Tucker and Dale, two unsuspecting friends whose vacation becomes derailed after a group of college students confuses them for a pair of hillbilly killers.
Like the best meta-horror movies, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil rolls its eyes at many of the horror genre’s conventions while embracing them, resulting in a unique mix of laughs and scares. Complementing the chills with a healthy dose of slapstick, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil achieves the impossible, delivering a scary movie that never keeps the laughs too far away.
4 ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ (2014)
Taika Waititi‘s best movies have his signature blend of fast-paced comedy and heart all over them, and his 2014 horror-comedy mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows is the perfect example. The film centers on several vampires living together in a shared Wellington apartment.
Witty and with a macabre sense of humor, What We Do in the Shadows was Waititi’s ticket to fame. Taking more than a few notes from Christopher Guest, Waititi crafts a fresh take on the vampire movie that signaled a new dawn for the sub-genre. What it lacks in chills, it makes up for in bloody comedy, resulting in a clever and hilarious comedy with real fangs.
3 ‘Attack the Block’ (2011)
Before he visited a galaxy far, far away, John Boyega was defending his neighborhood from aggressive aliens. The 2011 sci-fi horror-comedy Attack the Block centers on a street gang who unexpectedly find themselves fighting an alien invasion on Guy Fawkes Night.
Like many of the decade’s best horror pictures, Attack the Block seamlessly mixes poignant social commentary into its genre premise, becoming an instant cult classic. Balancing the scares with a generous dose of laughs and a few impressive action sequences, Attack the Blockis the rare film that delivers on its premise while leaving audiences wanting more.
2 ‘The Final Girls’ (2015)
Modern scream queen Taissa Farmiga leads an impressive ensemble, including Malin Akerman, Adam DeVine, Nina Dobrev, and Alexander Ludwig, in the 2015 slasher comedy The Final Girls. The plot centers on a young girl who, along with her friends, becomes trapped in the cult classic 80s slasher movie that her mother starred in.
Filled with meta-humor and a genuine love for the slasher movies it’s indebted to, The Final Girls is a bloody good time. However, the film still finds the time to imbue its story with genuine and poignant emotion, balancing the gore and satire with a deeply affecting message about grief that turns it into a bonafide modern classic.
1 ‘Ready or Not’ (2019)
Samara Weaving, another of the new millennium’s most recognizable and beloved scream queens, leads the now-iconic 2019 horror comedy Ready or Not. The film tells the story of Grace, a newly-married bride hunted by her spouse and his Satanic-worshipping family during her wedding night as a part of a ritual.
Led by an outstanding and engaging performance from the ever-underrated Weaving, Ready or Not is “Good for Her: The Movie,” and an instant classic full of grim laughs, gore, and chills. The film subverts the rules of the horror-comedy with a wickedly funny script and gallons of blood, delivering a diabolically good entry into the “eat the rich” genre.
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