What a weird time that we’re living in. The world is in such a commotion that you may find yourself having a hard time simmering your self. And that’s okay! We are all in the type of situation where we are allowed to have feelings of worry, doubt, and fear.
I’m here to suggest a number of films to at least help you take your mind off of the world’s commotion for a moment, and enter it into worlds of lighthearted fare. Sure, some of the films will have some nasties and some tension, but in the end, these films want nothing more than to just have you smile and laugh.
10. Doom Asylum (1988) – Streaming on Tubi
Doom Asylum is a film that I wish I could watch with everyone as they take in the pure absurdity of what occurs. The plot is your standard slasher fare where a group of young people are stalked by an individual set out with its own demented motive. The absurdity comes from the performances of the cast (which includes Sex and the City’s Kristen Davis and Frankenhooker’s Patty Mullen) and the lines that they are given to … express. It is horrible dialogue, but it is a dialogue delivered at the ultimate level of cheese that makes the film ever so enjoyable. Enjoy the high levels of practical gore! Stay for the character that asks her boyfriend if she can call him “mom,” and then does so for the entire movie.
9. Mr. Boogedy (1986) – Streaming on Disney+
Disney’s Mr. Boogedy was a childhood staple of mine, and for that alone, the nostalgia is worth all 45 minutes of the ghostly tale about a family who buys a new house that happens to be haunted by the titular character. Disney level scarejinks occur. Mr. Boogedy (Howard Witt) succeeds in coming off as playfully creepy, and as with the majority of Disney fare, there’s a lesson to be learned within the scary and funny. The lesson being that a family that works together will eventually eradicate the malevolent spirit with a corny ruse or two.
8. Little Monsters (2019) – Streaming on Hulu
There are many other zombies films that I could have included on this list, but Little Monsters seemed the most appropriate. The performances from Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Josh Gad (not Adam Green’s Frozen), and Alexander England (Alien: Covenant) are aces, and you may find yourself earworming a certain Taylor Swift song after watching. The film isn’t without the normal bloody affair that a zombie movie exudes. What makes Little Monsters is the heart that exudes from it. The film vibes heavily on heroic happiness, and the film succeeds at placing a small on your face and a little warmness in your heart.
7. Madman (1981) – Streaming on Prime, Tubi
Madman is a slasher favorite of mine. Sure, it’s a little dark, and Madman Marz (Paul Ehlers) does come off as a creepy hulk of ick, but there’s a delightful flair that encapsulates the entire film. While a lot of early 80’s slashers tried to capitalize on either sleaze or scary effectiveness, Madman manages to make the experience a bit more fun. It also has one of the wackiest and eyebrow-raising non-horror scenes in a slasher film in the scene that I like to call “the hot tub ballet.”
6. Tremors (1990) – Streaming on Netflix
Tremors is a 100% bonafide monster movie classic. It has characters you’ll fall in love with. It has set pieces that are plastered onto the corkboard of your horror fueled brain. For many of us, it was a childhood staple that has stretched into our adulthood. It’s a film that can be revisited multiple times over the years, and never gets old. I’ll stop my proclamation of the love that I have for Tremors with this one suggestion: Instead of playing “The Floor is Lava,” play “The Floor has Graboids.”
5. Once Bitten (1985) – Streaming on Prime, Tubi
What’s more lifting than sitting and watching a movie that you caught constantly on cable TV as a kid? Not a lot, and that’s where Once Bitten comes into play. From Jim Carrey’s (The Number 23) early showings of his comedic timing to the downright diva vampirific performance of Lauren Hutton (American Gigolo) to the wonderful 80s aesthetic that the film exudes. Every 80s comedy had to have a choreographed dance scene to a hitting pop number, right? Once Bitten has that. It’s a fun, feel good, 80’s horror-comedy, and one really can’t go wrong with that.
4. Tucker and Dale Vs Evil (2010) – Streaming on Netflix
If Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) can’t make you cheer for the good guys who aren’t bad guys but are perceived as the bad guys by the actual bad guys, then who can? Tucker and Dale Vs Evil is one of the best horror comedies of the 21st century. The performances from Tudyk and Labine are so essentially lovable. While they’re trying to avoid a group of young individuals who predestined the two backwoods individuals as insane, we watch as the group of young ones annihilate themselves in outlandish ways. Two words: wood chipper.
3. Anna & the Apocalypse (2019) – Streaming on Hulu
Christmas. Musicals. Zombies. A triple threat to the negative feelings, and a glorious triple blessing to our souls. Anna & the Apocalypse incorporates all three into a glorious film, and we should all be better for it. As the zombie apocalypse takes over a town, it’s inhabitants find their Christmas festivities cancelled, and their lives in much danger. But before they face the danger, or while they face the danger, they let out their emotions through song. Surprising moments and heartfelt songs elevate Anna & the Apocyalypse to great heights that are sure to take a while to come down from.
2. Satanic Panic (2019) – Streaming on Shudder
If you were to take all of the aspects from almost every single film listed prior to this entry, and put it into a single film, that film would be Chelsea Stardust’s Satanic Panic (2019). It’s a hilarious entry into the plethora of satanic films within the horror genre. There’s just a buttload of heart put into the story, in the performances, in the writing, and behind the scenes that makes this one of the best. Not to mention our lead, Sam (Hayley Griffith), is a pizza delivery driver, a part of the unsung heroes in this situation that the world is in, right now. Her hero status elevates as she saves the world from a coven bringing forth the demon, Behemoth. Let us remember the words spoken within the film, “Complications are just opportunities in disguise.” Sure, it’s spoken by one of the villains of the film, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find strength in that quote, right?
10. One Cut of the Dead (2017) – Streaming on Shudder
I’ve never been able to put into words how One Cut of the Dead made me feel after watching it. The film is a love letter to horror, to zombie films, to horror fans, and to everyone who has ever put their heart and soul into a film. Director and writer, Schin’inchirô Ueda, crafted a film that is everything a heartwarming film should be. Everyone behind the scenes and in front of the camera made absolutely sure that his vision was brought to life 110%. Very few movies motivate me to stand and applaud as the credits rolled, but that’s exactly what I did in my very own home once the credits begin to roll after One Cut of the Dead. I did it with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.
There are many horror films out there that do what these 10 do. For each and every one of them, thanks should be given. Horror in general is an outlet for us to release many things. While the majority of the films help release fear, there are those that help us gain happiness and an appreciation for film and for life. Horror is a lifesaver, and horror can help us get through these crazy times that we are experiencing.