The Best Horror-Comedy Movies

Even those who tend to shy away from horror movies can usually take the ones with a good sense of humor. Horror-comedies unite men and women, young and old, fanged and clawed with their potent dose of laughs to release the tension built up by the scares. Some of these are more horror than comedy, while others are more comedy than horror, but all of these films will keep you screaming ... with laughter.

It might not be laugh-out-loud funny, but it's at least perpetual-smirk humorous, with ludicrous scenes of evil alien clowns wiping out humans with giant mallets, balloon animals, and killer shadow puppets.

This tongue-in-cheek homage to '50s monster movies will make you giggle in between squeals as you attempt to mask how creeped out you are by the thought of a giant mutant spider invasion.

In this campy sequel to the 1978 cult hit Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, mad scientist Dr. Gangreen has found a way around the tomato ban by transforming the veggies into people! That Return of the Killer Tomatoes is the best of the series isn't saying much, but amidst its rapid-fire, corny-and-proud-of-it jokes, quite a few actually work -- including the breaking down of the "fourth wall" when the film runs out of money and has to resort to product placement. Plus, there's George Clooney.

Like a road trip into hell, Dead End's witty dialogue captures the painfully funny and accurate dynamics of a family (headed by Ray Wise of Jeepers Creepers II and Reaper fame) driving through the night on a never-ending haunted highway. Are we there yet?

TV show Project Greenlight's attempt at a genre flick (i.e., one that might actually turn a profit), Feast didn't fare much better at the box office than previous winners, but it succeeded in its goal of creating a wild, wacky horror comedy that plays with the conventions of the genre.

Sure, it's a bit of a Gremlins knock-off (with a bit of Terminator to boot), but Critters established itself in its own right as a freewheeling diversion about porcupine-like alien fugitives wreaking havoc on Earth and the equally destructive alien bounty hunters who arrive to retrieve them. Feel free to ignore the sequels.

Apparently, Santa (wrestler Bill Goldberg) is really the muscle-bound son of Satan who lost a bet with an angel and has had to deliver presents to kids as part of his thousand-year sentence. Now that the thousand years is over, however, he's free to be his natural homicidal self, driving a sleigh pulled by a demonic buffalo and killing anyone who looks at him cross-eyed. Wantonly irreverent, Santa's Slay features deaths by candy cane, eggnog, menorah, Christmas tree star and turkey leg, not to mention the pivotal caroler massacre scene.

Sort of like Pleasantville of the Living Dead, this smartly written satire of the conservative values and conformity of 1950s suburbia is set amidst the backdrop of a world in which zombies have been domesticated. What could possibly go wrong?

A haunted house movie with a real fun streak, House features cartoonishly grotesque monsters and slapstick action, including flying lawn tools and a pesky disembodied hand -- plus great comedic performances from William Katt and George Wendt.

An unapologetically juvenile yet frequently laugh-out-loud slasher spoof in the mold of Airplane!, Scary Movie manages to overcome the dubious writing talents of both the Wayans Brothers and Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans) to become a riotous send-up.

This spot-on mockumentary with an "ad-libby" tone plunders well-worn slasher movie clichés -- from the "final girl" to the archenemy (or "Ahab") -- for big laughs.

of 25

Satan's Little Helper (2004)

Satan's Little Helper
© Universal

This low-budget slasher is built on a foundation of dark, dark humor, as a naive little boy eagerly helps a serial killer dressed as Satan, thinking he's a character from his favorite video game.

The concept -- bumbling kidnappers who end up in a remote cottage inhabited by a deformed killer -- doesn't sound terribly funny, but in the hands of those wacky Brits, The Cottage becomes a witty take on "backwoods horror" films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes.

Serving as producer, Steven Spielberg lent his magic touch to this modern classic about mischievous little beasts who, if not taken care of properly, turn loveably evil -- like Muppets with a hormone imbalance.

Hilarious caricatures -- from alpha male security guard Boris to hyper-violent mobster Peter to religious zealot Sonya to the overly dramatic killer -- combine with the ridiculous premise of a serial killer living in a booby-trapped Russian office building to create one heck of a good time.

One of the first modern "zom coms" (zombie comedies), The Return of the Living Dead took the extreme gore of George Romero's universe and placed it into a goofy setting with scaredy-cat characters and talking zombies who use an ambulance CB radio to tell the hospital to "send...more...paramedics" after they've dispatched the first bunch.

Alien slugs invade Earth in this outrageous and wildly imaginative combination monster movie, zombie movie, alien invasion movie, comedy and gross-out-fest with an ever-present zany sense of humor.

of 25

Night of the Creeps (1986)

Night of the Creeps
© HBO Video

The forerunner to Slither, Night of the Creeps also finds slug-like aliens controlling human bodies -- dead ones, that is -- combined with an '80s teen comedy vibe and anchored by a great performance by Tom Atkins (The Fog, Halloween III) as walking burnt-out cop cliché Ray Cameron.

This slasher about a deformed killer roaming the Louisiana swamps touted itself as "old school American horror," but it stands out just as much for its sharp comedic dialogue and cartoonishly over-the-top gore.

This breezy popcorn flick is a welcome throwback to '50s monster movies, with great creature design to boost the thrills and lighthearted character interaction to pump up the funny. Plus, it can come in handy when playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Ghostbusters is the biggest horror-comedy hit of all time, and rightly so, with its iconic characters (including Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man), timeless storyline and stellar cast of comedic actors in their prime.

More lighthearted than the first Evil Dead film and less slapsticky than the third, Evil Dead 2 strikes the perfect balance between campy humor and blood-soaked scares, buoyed by Bruce Campbell's star-making performance and Sam Raimi's wildly kinetic camerawork.

A zombie baby, a kung-fu priest, a Sumatran rat-monkey and a lawnmower bloodbath highlight this early taste-optional zombie romp from New Zealand director Peter Jackson.

A pitch-perfect parody of 1930s Universal horror classics melded seamlessly with Mel Brooks' brand of vaudeville-esque comedy, pushed over the top by Marty Feldman's hilarious portrayal of hunchbacked servant Igor (that's "EYE-gor").

A wry British sense of humor colors every corner of this superbly scripted and acted Romero zombie tribute, making it the funniest horror movie of all time. Or is it the scariest comedy movie of all time? Either way, it paved the way for a rash of horror-comedies in the early 21st century looking to cash in on its success, but none could touch Shaun's sheer brilliance.