By Stephen Aspeling23 October 2023
Scream with laughter: 5 horror comedies to stream
What’s your favourite scary movie? The answer to this loaded question says a lot about the kind of horror you gravitate (or levitate) towards. If you think the genre is best served with just as many howls of laughter as buckets of blood, step right up!
These wild horror movies have a fiendish and wacky sense of humour that’ll make you feel almost normal again. Or at least normal enough to mask up, keep to the shadows with your ole friend ‘Chete and percolate that delightful cackle so that it’s on standby for what you like to call your “extra special surprise”. On second thoughts, maybe it’s best you just have a quiet night in.
Jaws was all the rage in the 80s, racking up three sequels to Spielberg’s classic. An apex predator of the seas, it inspired the horror comedy Piranha. In the same spirit comes the bloody and outrageous action comedy horror Cocaine Bear, which tracks the rampage of a bear hooked on cocaine. Based on the true story of an American black bear who ingested 34kg of nose candy in the Georgia forest, this wild misadventure stars Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and the late Ray Liotta.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks, the tongue-in-cheek is strong with this one as a host of oddballs come into contact with a mislaid stash and a 227kg bear with a bad habit. An entertaining yarn, the star-studded cast lean into the calamity and madness with a few surprise twists. The movie’s heightened energy and tone is best summed up by the casting of comedian and disgruntled “IKEA employee” Scott Seiss.
Slasher movies have their own lore, which has been dissected many times in Wes Craven’s beloved Scream movies and subsequent revival. As many times as you’ve yelled at the screen for the wayward teen not to go in there, there’s something entertaining and twisted about watching just desserts play out. For this merry band of rich 20-somethings overnighting at a remote mansion, a harmless guessing game spirals horribly out of control. Horribly.
Backstabbing may not be that far removed for this party of fake friends in Bodies Bodies Bodies, but becomes the order of the night as a hurricane sets in. Starring a snappy cast in Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Pete Davidson, Lee Pace and Rachel Sennott, this edgy Gen Z horror comedy thriller hot tub devolves into a bloodbath as the bodies bubble up. Beautifully photographed as you’d expect from A24, the casting and satirical wit is just as sharp.
There was a time when Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda and Oliver Platt got top billing over Brendan Gleeson and Betty White… a time when Crocs were something that lurked beneath dark waters and not at the back of your closet. When a ranger, sheriff, mythology professor and paleontologist team up to unlock the secrets of Black Lake after a brutal underwater attack, something with a taste for human flesh decides to breach the surface.
Trying to live up to the hype of sharks and coast in the wake of movies like Jaws, Lake Placid’s ripple effect may make you think twice before taking a dip in a dark lake, or pool, even. Yet this creature feature’s biggest strength (apart from Betty White’s eccentric performance) is its wry comedy and guilty pleasure horror, made by David E Kelley, the guy who brought us shows like Ally McBeal and Boston Legal. Believe it.
If a snake-infested pit is good enough for Indiana Jones, who are we to judge? Featuring more than 450 snakes with over 30 different species, Snakes on a Plane does what it says on the box. The outlandish airborne horror thriller stars Samuel L Jackson as an FBI agent tasked with escorting a witness to a brutal murder to Los Angeles to testify against a gang boss. In a bid to ensure the plane never makes it, a crate of poisonous snakes is deployed with an aggression-inducing pheromone in the air.
Combining the fear of flying, heights and snakes make this a horror intersection, a wildly entertaining and cheesy guilty pleasure. Sadly, daredevil zookeeper Steve Irwin passed in the year of its release, leaving Samuel L Jackson to crank up the bad-ass heroics amid the absolute silliness, serving up a blast of epic B-movie fun.
You can imagine the pitch. “What if we took all the best Christmas movies and stuck them in a blender?” That’s what you get with the outrageous Violent Night starring David Harbour, Beverley D’Angelo and John Leguizamo. This wild action comedy flick takes the Billy Bob from Bad Santa, the Macaulay out of Home Alone and mixes it with a sprinkle of Yippee Ki-yay from a little Christmas movie called Die Hard. As if it wasn’t venturing quite far enough, there’s even a touch of Skarsgård from The Northman in a flashback that could have made its own amazing Santa origin story.
Violent Night’s horror undertone is courtesy of Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola, who injects dark comedy and enough gore to go with the gritty Christmas motif. Santa has a bad attitude, a bar tab and a seriously naughty list filled with mercenaries. Reluctantly taking a break from the busiest day of the year, Santa decides to rescue a few hostages from a compound.
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