It’s that time of year again – pumpkins line porches, bags of candy fill the drugstore shelves, and children everywhere are encouraged by their parents to ring the bells of strangers’ houses and demand handouts.
Halloween season also is the one time of year where it’s pretty much impossible to avoid horror movies. If you’re a horror fan like I am, there’s really no change in your viewing habits because you were probably going to be watching Suspiria and The Abominable Dr. Phibes tonight anyway. But if you’re only a seasonal horror fan, it can be a bit daunting to navigate the sea of bloody entertainments that flood the airwaves this time of year.
To that end, we’ve put together a list of over 50 horror movies that are as funny as they are scary (whether intentionally or by accident). Hopefully with the list below as a reference, even the most horror-averse moviegoer can have a Halloween movie night appropriate for the season without having to resort to the umpteenth re-watch of Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
WHY YOU WON’T FIND VAMPIRES SUCK ON THIS LIST
We’ve hand-picked these films because they’re all actually good enough to be worth watching (sorry, Teen Wolf!). And to make the list easier to navigate, we have assembled them according to type, with ratings for type each indicating the laughs-to-screams ratio viewers can expect.
So grab a candy apple, check it for razor blades, and let’s get this party started!
At the silly end of the spectrum lie horror spoofs – movies that have no interest in actually scaring anyone, and in fact aim to point out how ridiculous the conventions of horror movies actually are. These movies are usually pretty stupid, but that’s okay – we’re supposed to be laughing at the gags, not analyzing their subtext. So they rank about here:
Oh, also: Most horror spoofs are terrible. Here are a few notable exceptions:
This wackadoodle horror spoof from Alfred Sole (the director of the cult horror classic Alice, Sweet Alice) stars Judge Reinhold, Carol Kane, Tommy Smothers, Paul Reubens (pre-Pee Wee), Eileen Brennan, Eve Arden, Tab Hunter, Phil Hartman and more in a story of a series of murders that take place at a cheerleading camp. It’s broad, ridiculous, and totally awesome – think Airplane! with cross-dressing killers and hilarious murder scenes.
Check out this gem of a scene that spoofs Carrie:
See also: Student Bodies (1981), although it really isn’t nearly as funny as I used to think it is
Scary Movie (2000) and Scary Movie 2 (2001)
The first two movies of the Scary Movie franchise are pretty solid comedies with a smart eye for the genres that they spoof (in the first film it’s teen slashers, in the second it’s haunted house and possession movies). After that they devolved into total crap, so avoid the later installments. I particularly love the fact that the Wayans brothers were behind this wickedly smart and funny send-up of what is unfortunately often a lily-white genre.
Here’s one of my favorite scenes from either film, featuring my favorite character, Brenda (Regina Hall):
See also: Mel Brooks‘ classic Young Frankenstein (1974), and his inferior-but-still-amusing Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)