The 10 Funniest Scary Movies Ever Made
You know that laugh, the one that comes right after something in a horror movie—a sudden knife-attack, a ghost's reveal, some stupid cat that knocked over a paint can—scares the hell out of you? Yeah, you laugh—because you don't want anyone to think you're really scared. The only thing better than that comforting laughter is when you laugh before a scare. That's because some of the best horror movies manage to be pretty damn funny, too. Let's face it: zombies and werewolves and haunted houses aren't that serious, after all. Here are 10 great movies that happen to be equally hilarious and frightening.
Fright Night (1985)
Horror movie-obsessed Charlie discovers that his new neighbor (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire—and worse, his neighbor knows that Charlie's aware of his true identity. Naturally, Charlie enlists the help of a washed-up actor who hosts his favorite late-night horror movie TV show (played by a perfectly bumbling Roddy McDowall) in order to slay the beast who's ruining the neighborhood.
There's nothing super funny about a movie in which a venomous spider preys upon a small New England town—a terror that for many of us is very real indeed. But while Arachnophobia may make your skin crawl, it's also very funny; John Goodman's turn in the film's second act as a bumbling exterminator is great comic relief, providing plenty of laughs as spiders creepily dangle and crawl all over the place.
Dead Alive (1992)
Long before he ventured into Middle Earth, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson made his directorial debut with this crazy gorefest. When his cruel mother is bitten by a Sumatran Rat-Monkey (just go with us here), young Lionel is stunned to see her rise from the dead as a blistering, festering, cannibalistic monster. Can Lionel keep his zombie mother a secret from his new girlfriend?
The all-American zombie apocalypse film gets a hilarious update with this road-trip comedy that sees uni student Columbus heading back home to see if his family is still alive. Along the way he encounters a gun-toting badass, Tallahassee, and a pair of plucky sisters Wichita and Little Rock. Oh, and Bill Murray, too.
Tim Burton's comedy about the afterlife features a particularly manic performance from its star Michael Keaton. And while this movie about two ghosts (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) whose home is now "haunted" by a living family plays up the laughs over the frights, there are still plenty of super spooky moments—such as its exorcism-themed finale.
Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987)
Bruce Campbell returns as Ash in Sam Raimi's sequel to / sort-of-remake of his 1981 cult classic directorial debut. Immediately following the events of the first film, Ash and his girlfriend Linda take a romantic vacation...to a similarly creepy cabin in the woods. Naturally, all hell breaks loose—literally—when the ancient evil is unleashed once again and Ash must fight an army of demons in order to escape.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
This bait-and-switch directed by Drew Goddard (who co-wrote it with Joss Whedon) begins as your typical horror flick: A group of unwitting college students go to a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere for a boozy, druggy, sex-filled weekend away, where monsters of varying sorts are waiting to pluck them off one-by-one. But it has a postmodern twist, turning this slasher film into a hilarious horror satire.
A group of teens is stalked—and slowly picked off, one by one—by a masked and hooded killer who just happens to have an obsession with horror movies. But the killer also happens to have a cheeky side in Wes Craven's postmodern slasher satire.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
John Landis turned the werewolf genre on its head with this horror comedy, in which a pair of American tourists, David and Jack (David Naughton and Griffin Dunne), are attacked by a wolf in the English countryside. David, who survived, wakes up in a London hospital—only to be greeted by the undead apparition of Jack, who delivers the harsh news that David will transform into a werewolf during the next full moon.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Edgar Wright made his directorial debut with his horror spoof, one that was co-written by its star Simon Pegg. The titular Shaun spends his mediocre days shuffling to and from work, playing video games with his best friend, and pining for his recently estranged girlfriend. But that humdrum life is instantly spun out of control when a zombie apocalypse takes over London, forcing him to action to protect his best friend, his mother, and the love of his life.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.