Let’s face it, 2022 has been off to a bit of a rocky start. It seems like one bad thing after another keeps barreling its way towards us and there is nothing we can do to stop it. While it is important that we acknowledge the realities of our world it is also vital to take the time to pursue activities that create feelings of joy in your life like reading a good book, catching up on a new television series, or maybe even watching a horror-comedy or two.
If you’re anything like me, nothing kindles joy more than a horror-comedy that perfectly blends thrills and kills with a dash of laughs and comedic timing. When I watch a horror-comedy, my worries are washed away and I can get lost in a world of wise-cracking vampires or zombie love stories that make it feel, even if for only a short time, that everything will be okay.
March 20th marks the International Day of Happiness and I think we can all agree that the world could really use some joy right now. I’ve put together a list of six feel-good horror-comedies that absolutely deliver on the laughs and the scares that we all love and desire. They will leave you grinning from ear to ear and your hunger for horror will be satiated!
6. What We Do in The Shadows (2014)
Have you ever taken the time to think about what some of your favorite vampire icons would be like if they had to blend in with the modern world? Would Count Dracula work a 9 to 5? Would Lestat go bar-hopping with friends on the weekends? Would David and The Lost Boys fight over whose turn it is to do the dishes? The answers to all those questions and more can be found in Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s hilariously charming mockumentary What We Do in The Shadows.
This spoof follows three vampire flatmates as they attempt to deal with the daily inconveniences modern life has to offer while also learning to live civilly together under one roof. The vampires inadvertently get into all kinds of hysterical hijinks in the small New Zealand town of Wellington. When they aren’t prowling the streets for human victims they are trying to get invited into nightclubs, even starting fights with a local pack of werewolves.
This film truly has everything a vampire fanatic would adore. It plays on all the popular tropes we have come to know and love while also giving a great deal of humanity to the three vampire leads. The characters even reference many famous vampire films like The Lost Boys, Twilight and more. What We Do in The Shadows is the perfect remedy for any bad day and will surely leave you sore from laughing so hard.
5. Little Monsters (2019)
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If you have ever wanted to see a film that has the heartwarming family-friendly fun of a Full House episode, and also gruesome zombies that eat a man’s face, then boy oh boy do I have the flick for you! Little Monsters (not the 80s fever dream with an adolescent Fred Savage and Howie Mandel in blue makeup and horns) is a truly delightful film about a kindergarten class trip that goes horribly wrong when a zombie outbreak threatens the lives of the children as well as their beloved teacher and slightly immature chaperone. Lupita Nyong’o is the shining star of the production and radiates a graceful beauty as she puts her life on the line to save the children she cares so deeply for, while also slaying the hell out of some zombies.
There is a little something for everyone in this witty, gritty zombie movie from bloody violence to romance and musical numbers. The innocent childlike lens we watch the film through helped the story resonate with me and even brought tears to my eyes. That is not to say it doesn’t also deliver on its fair share of laugh-out-loud moments that had me nearly falling off my chair. This is so much more than just an ordinary zombie movie and it left me smiling for days.
4. Shaun of The Dead (2004)
Shaun of The Dead is a love letter to all of Romero’s Dead films just with a cheeky comedic twist. It follows slacker Shaun and his best mate Ed who discover the world as they know it has changed forever and zombies roam among them. Desperate for survival (but more importantly, winning back his girlfriend Liz) Shaun rallies a group of friends to hole up with him at his favorite pub until things die down. As in most zombie movies, things do not go as planned and the group must band together to destroy every zombie in their path to make it out alive.
Shaun of The Dead is a brilliant play on the zombie sub-genre. It is utterly hysterical and borrows famous lines and tropes from Romero’s work while also establishing some new rules of its own. The film expertly displays how the mundanity of life can start to make you feel like a zombie. It isn’t until you actually come face to face with the living dead that you realize all you have to live for. I guarantee you will fall in love with Shaun, Ed, and all the other over-the-top characters they meet along the way!
3. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Any horror fan will tell you that nothing good can come from a group of teenagers going camping in the woods. However, the teens that venture out into the woods in this film initiate one of the silliest yet heartwarming horror-comedies that reminds us to never judge a book by its cover. Tucker and Dale, two well-intentioned hillbilly best friends, want nothing more than to go fishing, drink beer, and fix up their new summer home in peace. When a simple misunderstanding between them and a group of spring-breakers gets out of hand, they are thrown into a full-blown slasher with kills as gruesome as anything in Friday The 13th (1980), Sleepaway Camp, or The Burning.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evilis a complete comedy of errors with extremely gory effects to back it up. Tucker and Dale themselves are such wonderful characters that you will immediately love to root for. The film is incredibly innovative while also relying on slasher, and backwoods, horror tropes. It is a wildly fun ride that will subvert all your expectations and leave you cackling every step of the way.
2. Vampires vs. The Bronx (2020)
It is always exciting to see a talented young cast of kids successfully carry an entire film, especially when its a horror-comedy about evil vampires gentrifying a small neighborhood in the Bronx so they can feed on the residents. Yes, you heard me right! Vampires, gentrification, young kids trying to save their beloved neighborhood from bloodsucking monsters. Its all in Vampires vs. The Bronx.
Three young friends must come together to fight off a horde of vicious vampires posing as a lavish real estate company that’s turning The Bronx into their own personal hunting ground. Everything that the boys hold near and dear is threatened, but who would believe their wild claims? Like any other coming-of-age story, the trio learns to overcome the adversity that stands in their way while also becoming pretty remarkable vampire hunters along the way.
With the odds stacked against them, Miguel, Bobby, and Luis learn as much as they can about killing vampires, drawing lots of inspiration from Blade. They set traps, fashion weapons, and come up with ingenious plans for how to fight off the evil threatening their home. While it does tackle some very serious subject matter like racism, gang violence, and classism, it also delivers on epic vampire design and hilarious dialogue between the three boys. It’s a really fun twist on the vampire subgenre that you should definitely put on the top of your watch list.
1. Happy Death Day (2017)
Let’s do the time warp again! Oh wait sorry wrong movie. Although time is pretty warped in this film too. College student Theresa (Tree) is just like any other sorority sister. She dates, parties, hates going to class, but she’s also stuck in a time loop. A time loop on not only her birthday, but also the day she is viciously killed by a mysterious stranger in a babyface mask. The film uses the Groundhog Day formula and follows Tree as she attempts to not only stop the loop but unmask her killer and stop them before she dies. Again. It is a really innovative slasher that uses comedy to elevate how absurd the plot it.
Happy Death Day is a tried and true whodunnit that blends slasher tropes and time travel to create a completely unique take on a plot we have already seen before. It is also at its heart a comedy centered around a very broken young woman who learns to love life again in the face of losing the one she has. This film will have you wincing in fear, laughing out loud, and maybe even shedding a tear or two.
How do you plan on spending International Day of Happiness? What horror comedies bring joy to you? Share your picks with us over on Twitter and Instagram, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.