Horror Comedies Never Go Out of Style
6/9/2021 • 3 min read
In addition to making us laugh, THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR: MEET THE BLACKS 2 makes one point abundantly clear: Horror comedies will never go out of style. We don't see as many of them as we might like, but that's part of their appeal. Every few years a new movie lambasts the horror conventions we love, and each new effort is always irresistible.
The reason? It’s just too tempting to make fun of horror premises. Mining both new movies and stone-cold classics for comedy always works, because horror movies create such an elemental response that we never quite forget them. THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR riffs on a host of great horror films like FRIGHT NIGHT, but always makes sure the comedy comes first no matter how many bloodsucking vampires show up. Here are some other horror-comedies that prove this genre isn’t going anywhere.
Meet the Blacks (2016)
While THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR sticks with a variation of FRIGHT NIGHT, the original stuck it to THE PURGE, the popular horror series in which the whole country gets one night to break any law they want. (Spoiler: everyone focuses almost exclusively on murder.) Series hero Mike Epps must survive a Purge Night in his fancy new neighborhood where everyone is out to get him. He is bedeviled not only by snooty upper-class neighbors but by Mike Tyson as well.
The Burbs (1989)
THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR also recalls this classic horror-comedy in which a suburban neighborhood gets totally weirded out by a house full of new neighbors who may or may not be terrifying murderers. With a cast that includes Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, Corey Feldman, and a scene-stealing Bruce Dern, there’s no way this would not go on to be a cult classic. But it certainly helps that the film is funny and terrifying in equal measure.
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
Yes, SCARY MOVIE part one came first, but this sequel is superior in every way. If you only have time to watch one, this is where you should go. While the first film is mainly a parody of the popular SCREAM franchise, the sequel goes into a direction more akin to the HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL direction. (The remake had been a solid hit in 1999.) In both cases, the plot is really just an excuse to riff on any and every horror-related idea the filmmakers might have.
While GHOSTBUSTERS probably feels like too much of a comedy to be on this list, think back to the opening scene with the ghost librarian. Yes, it’s a hilarious movie, but its horror moments are legit. This is true of the first sequel, too. Dan Aykroyd should have done more horror!
Dead Alive (1992)
On the other end of the spectrum, we have one of the most disgusting movies ever made, created by Peter Jackson’s — the guy who, a decade later, made THE LORD OF THE RINGS. But if you can look past all the gore - and there is a lot of gore to look past - every inch of the movie is underlined with humor. If that’s not clear at first, it will be by the time the hyperactive zombie baby shows up.
FREAKY was one of the few movies to release in theatres during the pandemic, and those who came out for it got a real treat. The film riffs on the classic FREAKY FRIDAY story, except this time a slasher villain (Vince Vaughn) switches bodies with a high school girl (Kathryn Newton). A premise like that cannot avoid laughs, but thankfully FREAKY’s gore and high body count make sure no one forgets this is a horror film.
THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR: MEET THE BLACKS 2 opens on June 11!
All images courtesy of Dimension Films, Freestyle Releasing, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures.