11 Hilarious Horror Comedy Movies to Stream this Halloween

Danielle Ryan
Horror Movies
Horror Movies

It’s almost inevitable every Halloween — that one friend in your group who doesn’t like getting scared puts the kibosh on watching horror movies. Or maybe you’re that friend who wants to get into the spirit of the season but doesn’t want to get too frightened. Fear not, for here is a collection of horror comedy movies designed for laughs as well as screams, complete with a handy guide to tell you just how tame or terrifying each movie is.

The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods is at the top of this list because it’s an incredible subversion of horror tropes. The titular cabin is the setting for the film, where a group of hapless college students are caught up in a global conspiracy to keep the elder gods below happy. To do this, a team of engineers located beneath the cabin orchestrates traditional horror techniques to kill off their victims as a form of ritual sacrifice.

The film deals heavily in horror stereotypes. To appease the elder gods, the sacrifices must be very specific. They include the deaths of an athlete, a scholar, a fool, and a promiscuous woman. The final sacrifice, that of the virgin, is optional. Written by director Drew Goddard and Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, The Cabin in the Woods has a great horror pedigree. It’s funny, smart, and features lots of little nods to the horror movies it’s taking apart.

How scary is it?

Cabin features a few scary moments, but they’re heavily undermined by the concept of the control room below. It’s definitely a gory film, but much of the violence is comedic, especially in the second half.

The Cabin in the Woods is available to stream on Netflix.

What We Do in the Shadows

Created by the same guys who brought us Flight of the Conchords, What We Do in the Shadows isn’t just a horror comedy, it’s also a mockumentary. The faux documentary follows a group of vampires around New Zealand as they explain what it’s like to be undead. There are some fantastic send-ups of vampiric lore, including a Nosferatu-esque vampire, a vampire that’s clearly based on Dracula, and some hilarious encounters with werewolves.

The movie is getting a sequel about the werewolves (cleverly titled We’re Wolves) sometime soon, assuming that director Taika Waititi is available post-Thor: RagnarokWhat We Do in the Shadows is a bloody brilliant bit of filmmaking with a refreshing take on the well-tread vampire genre.

How scary is it? 

Not at all. It’s also one of the least violent films on this list, and probably the safest for the squeamish (save for one bit of vampiric puke that’s super gross).

What We Do in the Shadows is available to stream on Netflix.

Shaun of the Dead

The first of director Edgar Wright’s Cornetto TrilogyShaun of the Dead is a hilarious look at what people might actually do if a zombie apocalypse happened. The average person isn’t an ace zombie fighter, and protagonist Shaun is about as ill-equipped for the apocalypse as possible. His idea of a battle strategy involves picking up his loved ones and hiding in a pub until it all “blows over”.

Filled with funny moments and lines that quickly became catchphrases, Shaun of the Dead is a horror comedy with a dark sense of humor and a big heart.

How scary is it? 

This one’s middle-of-the-road scary. There are definitely some frightening moments, but the funny ones are close behind.

Shaun of the Dead is available to stream on Netflix.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Much like The Cabin in the WoodsTucker and Dale vs. Evil is a subversion of horror tropes. The movie centers on two blue-collar guys who buy a fishing cabin and go out to fix it up one weekend. A group of teens is out partying at a nearby cabin the same weekend, and when one of the teens falls and nearly drowns, our titular heroes rescue her.

The problem is, her friends think that Tucker and Dale kidnapped her and are actually evil hillbillies. This comedy of errors only worsens as the teens kill themselves off one by one in horrific accidents. The most gruesome (and funniest) of these happens when a teen trips and goes straight into a woodchipper.

Alan Tudyk plays the titular Tucker, and he is clearly having a blast playing the cranky, world-weary guy who just wants a break. His best friend, the optimistic Dale, is played by Tyler Labine. The film is very funny and makes a good point about assuming the worst in people.

How scary is it? 

Not at all, though it is gory. Most of the violence is cartoonish or for comedic effect, however.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is available to stream on Netflix.

Housebound

Kiwis must really have a thing for mixing horror and comedy. The second of four New Zealand movies on this list, Housebound is a funny and frightening film about a young woman under house arrest in a creepy home with old secrets.

Protagonist Kylie left home after feuding with her mother for years. She pursued a life of crime, and after getting caught, ended up right back where she started, trapped in a house with her mother. Kylie’s mom believes in the paranormal, but Kylie doesn’t, at least in the beginning. Things start getting really weird around Kylie’s personal prison, and Housebound takes incredible twists and turns. This is a movie where spoilers should be avoided.

How scary is it? 

Housebound is very scary in places, but it’s also very funny. This is one film where both sides of the horror comedy spectrum are played to their fullest.

Housebound is available to stream on Netflix.

Cooties

Cooties has a bizarre pedigree. It was co-written by the guy who created the Saw and Insidious franchises and one of the guys behind Glee and Scream Queens. It’s directed by first-time directors but stars Rainn Wilson, Elijah Wood, Allison Pill, and Jack McBrayer. It’s unapologetically, insanely violent towards (zombie) children, and it’s basically bonkers.

For whatever reason, Cooties works. It takes a simple premise: a school gets infected with tainted chicken nuggets that turn children into psycho-zombies. (They’re not mindless, they’re just insane and evil.) The adult characters are all a bunch of small-town weirdos, and each brings their own humorous bit to the ensemble. Cooties is not for the faint of heart, but it’s a fun and demented little flick.

How scary is it?

Cooties has a few unnerving sequences because creepy kids are always scarier than creepy adults. It’s up there with Dead Alive (see below) for inappropriate content, however, so be advised.

Cooties is available to stream on Shudder.

The Frighteners

The Frighteners, helmed by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, barely made an impact when it debuted in the U.S. despite doing well in its native New Zealand. It found a following on home video, however, and is often hailed as one of the best horror comedies.

The Frighteners stars Michael J. Fox as a man who develops the ability to communicate with the dead after his wife dies in a tragic accident. He uses his powers to con people, sending ghosts to haunt them only to charge exorbitant fees to “exorcise” the ghosts.

When he discovers that the spirit of a mass murderer is going around killing people and posing as the Grim Reaper, our hero finally uses his powers for good to track the spirit down and send him packing. The Frighteners is silly and scary and features Fox in his last leading role in a live-action film.

How scary is it? 

The Frighteners really isn’t too scary, and definitely leans heavily toward the comedy side of things. There are ghosts and killings, but they’re not too bad.

The Frighteners is Available to stream on Amazon.

Evil Dead 2

Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead was made on a tiny budget and was intended to be a true horror film. His sequel/soft reboot, Evil Dead 2, expanded on the horror elements of the first film while including more comedy. Star Bruce Campbell is a physical comedy genius, and he has a ball here, throwing himself around like a rag doll.

Evil Dead 2 is about a group of college students who go to a cabin in the woods and accidentally unleash an ancient evil. It’s a tried and true trope that allows the film to get as nasty as it wants.

How scary is it? 

A great deal of the humor in Evil Dead 2 is based on being gross, so it’s not a film for the squeamish. It’s less scary than its predecessor, but it still has some spooky moments. Most of the horror and comedy here is derived from violent gags, so expect lots of blood, gore, and pus.

Evil Dead 2 is available to stream on Amazon and YouTube Movies.

Get Out

Jordan Peele’s Get Out isn’t as silly or traditionally comedic as many entries on this list, but it’s a brilliant film that manages to be both horrific and hilarious, so it deserves its place. What else would you expect from one half of the sketch comedy duo Key and Peele? Get Out is a modern horror classic that takes on systemic racism ala The Stepford Wives.

With such heavy content, Get Out should be a bit of a downer. Thankfully, Peele’s comedic chops shine right when tension needs to be released. The film features a great cast, most of whom have been great in traditional comedies (Bradley Whitford in the aforementioned The Cabin in the Woods, Catherine Keener in The 40-Year-Old Virgin). Lil Rel steals the show, however, as TSA Agent Rod. Awards season is around the corner and Get Out is already sweeping nominations, so it’s time to see this fantastic film.

How scary is it?

Get Out is more unsettling than “scary”. There are a handful of jump scares, less gore than the average horror flick, and some disturbing imagery. It’s pretty tame, despite its disturbing story.

Get Out is available to stream on Amazon and YouTube Movies.

An American Werewolf in London

An American Werewolf in London is the granddaddy of all horror comedies. Written and directed by comedy master John Landis, American Werewolf helped found the genre when it was released in 1981. The film tells the story of two college students who are attacked by a werewolf. One of them dies but cannot go on to the afterlife until the werewolf is killed, while the other becomes a werewolf.

American Werewolf features a great soundtrack (Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” is used to great effect) and stellar performances from its leads. It also shows off some incredible special effects, including a werewolf transformation scene that is as scary as it is gross. This is one horror comedy that blends the two genres perfectly and is as terrifying as it is funny.

How scary is it? 

An American Werewolf in London shouldn’t be too bad for viewers used to today’s gory films, though there are a few uncomfortable moments. It’s a classic, and even viewers who avoid the nasty stuff should check it out.

An American Werewolf in London is available to stream on YouTube Movies.

Black Sheep

Black Sheep is yet another great Kiwi horror comedy. With a humor styling like Piranha 3D meets Dead Alive, Black Sheep is a gory, ridiculous romp.

A young man who grew up on a sheep farm has a tragic accident (involving sheep) that leaves him with a phobia of the animals. He goes through treatment to get over his fear, only to have a genetic experiment on local sheep go very, very wrong.

It’s a movie about killer sheep, and when you realize there are more sheep than humans in New Zealand (by a ratio of 7 to 1), it suddenly gets a whole lot scarier.

How scary is it?

This is another one that’s not ever particularly scary, though it is extremely gory. Blood and guts galore!

Black Sheep is available to stream on YouTube Movies.

A version of this article was previously published on October 30, 2016. 

Danielle Ryan
A cinephile before she could walk, Danielle comes to Fandom by way of CNN, CHUD.com, and Paste Magazine. She loves controversial cinema (especially horror) and good cinematography; her dislikes include romantic comedies and people's knees.
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