The Halloween celebration continues with six more of my top 31 favorite horror comedies. Today we’ve got a whole gaggle of vampires, a few werewolves, a would-be serial killer, more Deadites, a conniving paranormal investigator and… pickles.
13. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez together, doing a bank robbery-road trip-vampire-action-horror-comedy… YES PLEASE!!! From the opening scene with good ol’ Earl McGraw (Michael Parks) you’re in for a treat. It features Harvey Keitel being his usual bad-ass self, as well as George Clooney’s breakout performance, bolstered by a hilarious supporting cast including: Tom Savini, Fred Williamson, Quentin Tarantino, and Cheech Marin. Also, there’s a special place in my heart for this movie because the first time I watched it was with my mom… I’ll never forget her reaction when the Geckos and company arrived at the Titty Twister just in time for Cheech Marin’s… sales pitch… priceless.
12. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
I have an unhealthy addiction to slasher movies… and Behind the Mask plays upon that addiction perfectly. This hilarious mockumentary, following a budding serial killer who dreams of glory a la Michael Myers/Jason Voorhees/Freddy Kruger, is a brilliant parody/homage to the best of the genre. It also features Scott Wilson (In Cold Blood) as the would-be slashers mentor, Robert Englund as the obsessed Dr. Loomis-like psychiatrist, and a cameo by Zelda Rubinstein (Poltergeist). If you like slashers, then you’ll love Behind the Mask.
11. The Evil Dead (1981)
Ah, yes… where it all began for Ash. Regardless of whether or not it was intended as a horror comedy, The Evil Dead has some pretty hilarious moments. There’s just something intrinsically funny about Raimi’s Deadites and their mischievous shenanigans, always cackling and mocking as they attempt to swallow your soul.
10. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
I remember the first time I saw this I was surprised that it was a comedy. As a kid, I was always so creeped out by the cover image on the video, David and Jack alone on the moors with the moon looming over them. I think it’s John Landis’ humor that punctuated the horror and made it more terrifying when I was a kid. It might not scare me anymore, but I still love An American Werewolf in London. Also, it’s got my favorite (and Rick Baker’s Academy Award-winning) werewolf transformation.
9. Terror Firmer (1999)
Another Troma movie… it’s disgusting, it’s offensive, it’s ridiculously campy… what can I say? I grew up watching The Toxic Avenger marathons on USA. Troma is in my blood. I love the way Lloyd Kaufman and company relish in revolting. Terror Firmer is a celebration of unabashedly crass, uncompromising, corporate-bashing independent cinema, that just happens to feature a man-eating escalator, a de-fetusing, a man beaten to death with his own leg, a naked man running around Time Square, and pickles… oh, god, the pickles… You’ll never look at pickles the same way again. Again, Terror Firmer is not for the weak-willed. Unless you work for Troma, this trailer is NSFW…
8. The Frighteners (1996)
Michael J. Fox plays a paranormal investigator/con-man, using a few of the less-than-malevolent spirits he can commune with to “haunt” local houses so he can “exorcise” them. Of course, when an actual malevolent spirit shows up, things get tricky. Fox is great. Peter Jackson directs and his wonderfully dark sense of humor shines through. Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, From Beyond) is amazing as Special Agent Milton Dammers. I think this is my favorite of all his performances. Dee Wallace, another horror stalwart (The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, Cujo, Critters, E.T.), is also great. It’s just such fun fright fest.
Check back tomorrow the final seven of my top 31 favorite horror comedies.