In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Rob Zombie once said that horror-comedies, "never work. They're either campy or stupid." Generally, a lot of horror directors, especially those that specialize in splatter films, don't have much respect for the horror-comedy. However, those of us with a more open mind understand that two of the most exhilarating emotions a human can experience are terror and pants-wetting hilarity. What could possibly be wrong with a movie that successfully combines both? In an homage to the best hybrid horror-comedies out there, Jocelyn and Linnie are going to break down a list of their favorites and discuss what makes them so effective.
L: So Jocelyn, if you had to pick a favorite horror-comedy, what would it be?
J: It’s a tricky animal - and I’d argue that there are some amazing straight-up horror movies that use just a dash of humor effectively to relieve the ratcheting tension - my most recent example being last year’s Cabin in the Woods. That being said, I’d have to go with Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil (2010). Aside from my well-documented love of Alan Tudyk, Tucker & Dale was an ingenious twist on the murderous hillbillies so often found in horror movies, sporting battered jean overalls and brandishing pitchforks while they spit gobs of brown chewing tobacco at the feet of the nubile teenagers (side note, does the word “nubile” ALWAYS make you think of The Sure Thing as it does me?)
|He didn't do nothin'!|
The movie posits a world where two amiable backwoods friends are off to work on their fixer-upper of a lake cabin and keep getting interrupted by a group of moronic teenagers who are sure that Tucker and Dale are out to kill them. The teenagers commence dying in ever more creative ways (impaled by branch, tripping and falling head-first into a woodchipper) as Tucker and Dale attempt to save them. To me, this one was arguably just as creative and meta as Cabin in the Woods, and deserved just as wide of an audience.
|They're just trying to do some light housework man!|
One of my older favorites, without question, was Vamp (1986), a classic “one crazy night” horror movie about a strip club staffed by vampires, led by Grace Jones. I love a good “one crazy night” movie in ANY genre (examples being Can’t Hardly Wait, Adventures in Babysitting and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) but Vamp is truly one of my all-time “must see” movies. Starring 80’s stalwart Chris Makepeace as the dorky Keith and killer smarm-expert Robert Rusler as his irrepressible skirt-chasing best friend AJ, the movie follows them on a classic boys-will-be-boys trip to the strip club to recruit a stripper for their fraternity initiation. Side note - is there a more loathsome group in movies than the frat boys?
|Yeah... That's... hot.|
|Oh, to be sexy in the 80s. You didn't even have to have good|
L: I’d have to say, the first horror-comedy I remember seeing is My Best Friend is a Vampire. To be totally fair to the gore hounds out there, it is just barely a horror movie. But it’s also one of those great, lost 80s classics; a weird mash-up of vampires, losing your virginity, lusting after the outcast girl, miscommunications with your overprotective parents, and a host of other classic 1980s tropes. I’ve suffered from insomnia since I was 4, so the majority of my first experiences with horror were late at night on random cable channels. I remember seeing My Best Friend is a Vampire probably at around 10, and I was utterly enamored with Robert Sean Leonard (the baby-faced teen who would eventually become best known as Wilson on House). It was only as an adult that I caught on to the subtext. My Best Friend is a Vampire is a not-so-thinly veiled coming out of the closet story. It may not be bloody or violent, but My Best Friend is a Vampire is still a really entertaining (and funny) entry in the horror-comedy cannon.
|How could you be afraid of that baby face?|
I just wanna squeeze it!
Also, while it is utterly insane and makes not one lick of sense, I love Botched (2007). The plot is really irrelevant; basically there is a heist gone bad, a serial killer that thinks he's Ivan the Terrible and his psychotic sister, a bunch of English actors playing Russians without even attempting passable accents, and more gore than you could shake a dismembered torso at. The first time I saw it, I had no clue it was a comedy and within half an hour I had bought it on Amazon.
|Ivan the... well, yeah, he's pretty terrible.|
Botched isn't intelligent and its certainly not a classic, but its clever and fun which frankly, sometimes even the most jaded gore-loving ladies need. If you don't laugh out loud the first time Ivan comes running maniacally down the hallway, I'll watch a Nicholas Sparks film of your choosing. (Just not The Notebook. Please. We all have limits.)
|No! In the name of all that is holy, please no!|
Is water boarding an option?
Gore-Loving Ladies and Lads, what are some horror-comedies that broke through your steely reserve?
Some other horror-comedies that J & L recommend are Detention & (of course) Young Frankenstein. Before you freak out over the lack of zombie-horror-comedies, they will be getting their own post in due course!