Friday, October 27, 2006

Camera Obscura - Top Funny Horror Movies

When the holiday of Halloween occurs so close to an election day, it's rather difficult to conjure creeps and shivers which could compete with candidates and nefarious unnamed committees

Given the surreal absurdity of politics and the dread of the voter, it seems a fine time to offer a list of some of the Funniest Horror Movies. Please feel free to add your favorites. Oh, and just because the movies mentioned here do have humorous qualities - some can still scare you witless.


10. PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE -- I never tire of watching this aberrant attempt at filmmaking. It truly is so awful it is completely hilarious. The writing, the acting, the sets, the narration, the plot, just every thing about it will make anyone laugh. Can anyone even understand a word that Tor Johnson says? Rumor has it that the TV host Vampira spoke no words in the movie because she said the writing was so bad it could ruin her career to utter the lines. Like many a classic comedy, it gets funnier every time you watch it. The pie-plate flying saucers on strings wiggling across the tiny sets, the shower curtain that serves as a doorway to an airplane cockpit and lines like:

"Colonel Tom Edwards: Why is it so important that you want to contact the governments of our earth?
Eros: Because of death. Because all you of Earth are idiots.
Jeff Trent: Now you just hold on, Buster "

Sheer genius.

9. BEETLEJUICE - A box office hit with bona fide stars, directed by Tim Burton, this movie has much in it's favor - like The Handbook For The Recently Deceased, which reads like "stereo instructions." I also liked the football team killed in a crash who just can't fathom that they are dead. Great satire on many levels, and the scabby, crusty Beetlejuice performance from Michael Keaton: "I got demons runnin' alll through me!!"

8. RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD - This movie's ending gets really scary, but what fun to be had along the way! Start with the medical warehouse where the movie is set as actor James Karen goes into a screaming panic when he realizes a canister containing a zombie has broken open. Karen nearly steals this movie, closely followed by actor Don Calfa as a mortician who reluctantly agrees to help burn the pieces of a zombie in his crematory - which creates an instant rainstorm which brings even more zombies back to life. Famous for the introduction of the line "Braaaaaaains" from a zombie, and my favorite, when a zombie gets on the radio from an ambulance and says "Send more paramedics!"

7. EVIL DEAD 2 - Yes, numbers 7 and 6 are pretty much a tie for Sam Raimi's hilarious antics of poor Ash (Bruce Campbell) fighting off demons from some comedy one-liner Hell. Make no mistake, Campbell turns in a performance worthy of Harold Lloyd or Buster Keaton or any comic legend. He cuts off his demon-possessed hand, then has to chase it all over the house as it taunts him and makes goofy noises. Prior to cutting it off, the hand proceeds to bash the hell out of Ash's head with so many dinner plates you'd think this cabin he's in is a warehouse for a restaurant. Gory and comedy non-stop.

6. ARMY OF DARKNESS - And Campbell and director Raimi don't stop - poor Ash is sucked into a demon dimension and of course Prophecy says he will save the medieval world he is trapped in. He is attacked by tiny two-inch high Ash-clones, has his faced nearly sucked into a demon vortex and has a shotgun on one hand and a chainsaw welded to the other. Plus, he wows the crowds with lines like:

Now listen up, you primitive screwheads. See this? This... is my boomstick! The 12-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about $109.95. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You *got* that?"

5. DEAD-ALIVE - Before he fund fame as the director of "Lord of the Rings", Peter Jackson made some very strange, very funny and very gory movies. Bitten by a Giant Rat of Sumatra, the hero's mom turns into a flesh-eating zombie, which our hero tries to protect. Bad idea. Plenty of jokes are here, especially the local preacher, Father McGruder, who fights the zombies with his kung-fu skills. Oh and there is the scene where the hero takes a roaring lawnmower to a room full of zombies. Unforgettable (but be warned - this is a clear-the-room gorefest).

4. HIDE AND CREEP - Made in Alabama a few years ago for about $1.95 and cheered by Kevin Smith, the story presents a simple set-up. What happens when the dead begin to come to life in a town full of dim-witted hicks? Lots of zombie-movie jokes and it may be the first movie to be labeled a "zomcom."

3. GHOSTBUSTERS - Another big box office hit, with a hilarious script ("Here's your mucus, Egon!") and many other quotable lines. It's a modern version of the old Bob Hope horror comedy "Ghostbreakers", plus it spawned a terrible sequel and an animated series. And that song that Would Not Die.

2. SHAUN OF THE DEAD - If you haven't seen this one, run as fast as your feets can go and grab a copy. This British comedy makes it quite clear that it is rather difficult to determine just who a zombie might be as so many people drift so lifelessly thru the day. Once our "heroes" figure out what's happening, their plan is ... well, not so much a plan as a desire to hide out in a pub. And even in the worst of times, there is always time for friends to argue.

1. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN - A masterwork of moviemaking from Mel Brooks, which makes careful homage to all the old Universal horror movies of the 30s and 40s. And it's "Fronkenstein!" And of course, "Eyegore" and not "Igor."
If you are rushed for time and don't have the chance to see a full length horror comedy, then try this one out - "Night of the Living Dead" in 30 seconds acted by bunnies.


  1. Fabulous! I love every single one of those movies.

    Honorable mention: My Boyfriend's Back.

  2. thas is a fine choice.
    for some reason, that movie always reminds me of a Wes Craven movie called "Deadly Friend," where this boy puts his dead girlfriend's brain in a robot body he just happened to build. The movie is worthwhile for one scene - when the dead/robot girl explodes a guy's head by hurling a basketball at him.
    good times.

  3. Anonymous6:09 PM

    Student Bodies is a pretty good funny horror movie

  4. I love all of these movies, especially Dead Alive.

  5. You got them dead bang, Joe! Also, I find "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (the original) more than a little bit funny. Is it just me?

  6. oh yes, Wednesday, it is a very funny (and horrifying) movie. i love it when the uncle screams "Look what yer brother did to that door!!" and i can't help but laugh when gramps keeps dropping the hammer.

    but in all honesty, Number 11 on this list must be the very under-appreciated sequel, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2", which has not only Dennis Hopper weilding two chainsaws fer Jesus, the movie also gave us the amazing Bill Mosley as Choptop, and Joe Bob Briggs has a cameo at the "chili cook off".

    That movie is the Looney Tunes equivalent of a chainsaw movie.
    I've quoted it for years. It is a near perfect example of Grand Guignol madness. And the heroine is one ferocious female disc jockey - don't mess with radio jocks!

    A new DVD version of the movie is about to be released and I want one!

    Jilly - i had forgotten about Student Bodies - the opening announcer speech is great stuff.

  7. Dr. Powell,
    What about Frankenhooker? Now thats funny!

  8. The bunny movies are the best.. CliffNotes on crack.

  9. Tim Smasken1:57 PM

    LOVE the bunnies! "I Hurt." HEE HAAW!!!

  10. An American Werewolf in London, too.

    Oh, and TCM 2 is absolutely hilarious. Very underrated sequel. Good call.

  11. DH - i totally forgot the brilliance that is "Frankenhooker"!! I remember the old video box for that Frank Henenlotter classic where you could push a button on the front and she'd say "Wanna date?"
    A must-see!!!

    Tim - that "i hurt" line makes me laugh insanely whenever i hear it. God loves 30-second bunny movies.

  12. Um... Speaking of bunnies... What about "Night of the Lepus?"

  13. not just giant bunnies - but li'l bunnies filmed with cameras set very low to the ground. not just funny, it was ground-breaking (so they could get all the cameras low enough to make the bunnies look big.)

  14. And Dr. McCoy in a pink neckerchief! Classic.

  15. I believe the thing in Dead/Alive is actually called a Samutran Rat Monkey.
    And yes, after checking my copy, it is.
    /geek off
    Oh, and I saw "My Boyfriend's Back" in the theater. They did the boom a disservice by not crediting it as an actor.

  16. i think i was channeling an old Firesign Theatre album involving Hemlock Stones and the Giant Rat of Sumtra.

    It wasa a Sumatran Rat Monkey. (explains why my monkey friends egged my house last nite ...)

  17. Yes, us monkey people don't like it when you get things wrong, Joe.
    We are apt to throw our own poo at you.