It can be a bit tricky to define a comedy-horror. There’s plenty of horrors out there with elements of humour in them (particularly if you have a sick sense of humour!), not to mention numerous horror films that are so bad they’re funny. What I’m going for here though, is a list of films that are clearly intended as comedic, first-and-foremost, but which also contain some genuine scares or quality moments of horror and gore.
I really love comedy-horror films, particularly because they often seem to be written and directed by horror fans, offering their tongue-in-cheek version of a one sub-genre or another, and littered with in-jokes for fellow horror fans!
1 – Tucker and Dale VS Evil (2010)
- Director: Eli Craig
- Writer: Eli Craig, Morgan Jurgenson
- Cast: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden
‘Oh hidy ho officer, we’ve had a doozy of a day. There we were minding our own business, just doing chores around the house, when kids started killing themselves all over my property.’
Two sweet and somewhat simple country boys, Tucker and Dale, head up to the Appalachian mountains to start fixing up their new holiday home. However, a bunch of obnoxious college kids – who may have watched too many horror films 😉 – jump to the conclusion that they’re murderous hillbillies out to get them. A series of misunderstandings and freak accidents ensue, around the oblivious and innocent Tucker and Dale.
2 – The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
- Director: Drew Goddard
- Writer: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
- Cast: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz
‘Cleanse them. Cleanse the world of their ignorance and sin. Bathe them in the crimson of… Am I on speakerphone?!’
Five college kids set out for a weekend of partying at a remote cabin in the woods. However, this is not the standard old horror cliché. Behind the scenes, a group of scientists are planning and manipulating every move the group makes, even down to messing with the kids’ hormones to turn them into standard horror stereotypes.
3 – Shaun of the Dead (2004)
- Director: Edgar Wright
- Writer: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
- Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield
‘Go to The Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over’
The cult classic zom-rom-com! Shaun is a bit of a loser, who decides he needs to turn his life around to get his ex-girlfriend back. Unfortunately, his plan to sort his life out is somewhat side-lined by the dead returning to life and laying waste to suburban London. It’s now down to him to get his ex, his best friend Ed, his mum and his ex-girlfriend’s obnoxious friends to the local pub…and safety.
4 – Severance (2006)
- Director: Christopher Smith
- Writer: James Moran, Christopher Smith
- Cast: Danny Dyer, Laura Harris, Tim McInnerny
‘Just saw a geezer in a balaklava with a suitcase. No…more of a travel bag.’
Seven employees of an ethically-questionable weapons manufacturing company, on a team-building retreat in Eastern Europe, find themselves stuck in a crumbling lodge in the middle of the forest. And they’re not alone. Their company has pissed off a lot of people over the years, and now some of them are back for revenge.
5 – Zombieland (2009)
- Director: Ruben Fleischer
- Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
- Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone
‘Hey, for fuck’s sake, enough already! We are being chased by ravenous freaks. Like we don’t have enough problems…we can’t just fucking drive down the road, playing I Spy or some shit for two hours, like four normal-ass Americans?!’
Welcome to Zombieland! In post-zombie apocalyptic America, we join anxiety riddled ‘Columbus’, who – despite the odds – has survived following a series of strict rules. He joins up with ‘Tallahassee’ (Woody Harrelson, on epic form!) and sisters ‘Wichita’ and ‘Little Rock’, forming a misfit and rather unwilling crew, who need to learn to work together and trust each other if they’re going to survive.