A plus side of horror comedies: Nearly all of them are worth watching, even the ones that are considered “bad” by conventional standards. In fact, the only truly “bad” ones are those which commit the ultimate cinematic sins: They’re boring. Luckily, we’ve vetted the comedy horror movies on Netflix for you, and we’ve found nine films that range from being amazingly incoherent to genuinely great. We think you’ll find at least one that’s a perfect fit for you.
Comedy Horror Movie No. 1: Grabbers (2013)
Neither the “horror” nor “comedy” label could be left out of describing Grabbers. The plot involves a remote Irish shoreline village that must survive a stormy night of invading squid monsters, which survive solely on blood and water.
They suck people’s blood through whip-like tongues, but here’s the catch: Alcohol blocks the blood-sucking, because it’s poisonous to them. This means that surviving the beasts (or at least the smaller, more common ones) requires that a .2 BAC is maintained, which results in the entire village gathering in its only pub to stay extremely shitfaced. They don’t even know about the squid monsters—they’re just told that a celebration of sorts is happening—and the entire town gathers at the pub, anyway.
It’s bit like Jaws meets Slither. The giant squid creatures are, despite being CGI, quite scary and well done. (It’s actually quite exciting for an independent film to have CGI this good.) The drunken townspeople are quite hilarious, but you’ve probably already guessed that.
Don’t be fooled by the marketing materials: This is not a careless SyFy Channel production. It’s a legitimately good movie, which also happens to be odd (think Bubba Ho-tep).
Comedy Horror Movie No. 2: Housebound (2014)
New Zealand’s Housebound’s comedic aspects are certainly dark but nonetheless present. If you saw the amazing You’re Next in theaters, and you were the only person laughing at the deaths, you’ll get along swimmingly with Housebound.
The film begins with the New Zealand version of young Winona Ryder attempting to steal an ATM and fucking it all up by getting her getaway car stuck in a parking lot. She’s sentenced to eight months of house arrest with her mother and stepfather (whom she doesn’t really know), rather than facing a minimum of 15 years in prison.
There’s a lot of weirdness in Housebound, and it all answers one question: Is society’s view of a person’s normalcy actually worth anything, in the grand scheme of things? Everybody in Housebound is odd, but their oddness has no effect on their moral compass.
The tone is a nice throwback to the dark and disgusting comedies of Peter Jackson’s early filmography; indeed, he’s actually a fan of the film. New Line Execs, unfortunately, are also fans: They’ve planned a U.S. remake for 2016, and they feel that writer/director Gerard Johnstone is worth keeping an eye on.
Inevitably, the original will disappear from Netflix in favor of diverting all possible attention to the U.S. remake, which will most likely be a tone-deaf, overly blue-tinted mockery of the original film. It currently holds a 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, which is not a bad rating for a horror film or a comedy film, but an absolute miracle for a film that’s both of those genres.
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Comedy Horror Movie No. 3: The Coed and the Zombie Stoner (2014)
This looks like it might be a Skinemax flick, where a plot exists solely to break up the softcore porn scenes in which a male humps a female’s general torso area, and then they both sigh as the scene fades to black after about four minutes of synthesizers and saxophones. Thankfully, it’s not.
The humor is corny, the acting is over-the-top, but that’s OK: The corny humor and over-the-top-acting combines with extremely bizarre takes on college movie stereotypes, to create something that’s, at the very least, consistently entertaining. The characters manage to be simultaneously completely stereotypical and yet entirely unique. For instance: Our protagonist is a scientist at a college. She’s a student, but is always shown working in a science lab—with a lab coat and a badge and all that jazz—conducting experiments and creating new formulas with a freedom that’s hopefully not allotted to any undergrad student at any actual college.
So, she’s a stereotypical scientist and also a student who belongs to an extremely snooty sorority that she takes very seriously. Most of the characters are Frankensteined together like this: It’s like the screenplay was written on software that allows you to to right click on any characters’ name, and pick a stereotype to add to all their actions and lines.
The plot is every bit as insane as the characters are. When a sorority girl offers a zombie a dildo within the movie’s first three minutes, you can rest assured that the plot will be a memorable one.
As icing on the cake, the technobabble—of which there is a lot—resembles the utterings of a fevered bum who’s attempting to explain Bitcoin.
Somehow, though, it all works. It’s aware of its silliness, which is often a recipe for disaster (see: Robert Rodriguez movies), but the movie’s heart and earnest (and usually successful) desire to entertain its audience keeps it fun from start to finish.
Comedy Horror Movie No. 4: All Cheerleaders Die (2013)
Fans of weird movies will be pleasantly surprised by All Cheerleaders Die. This is, hands down, the weirdest movie in this roundup (and this is a roundup that includes the aforementioned The Coed and the Zombie Stoner and a movie about an ass demon). It’s both incredibly stupid and subversively smart, and that’s a combination that never fails to amaze.
The plot: Some cheerleaders crash their car in a creek, and they all die. Luckily, the newest cheerleader was friends with a slightly younger Wiccan girl, who happens to be standing by the creek when the car crashes. She utters a phrase, she tosses out some crystals—which light up and enter the wounds of all the dead people who were somehow pulled onto dry land from the car—and they all come back to life. (There’s also a full moon involved, but that seems to just be a coincidence.)
In life, the four girls all engaged in mean-spirited gossip toward each other, and were awful to everybody. Once dead, though, they bond together in their situation (ultimately caused by one man, who is a major asshole). The existence of the dead-alive cheerleaders both heralds the film’s second act, and also marks the place where the plot/mystical rules/everything else stops making any sense whatsoever.
The Wiccan girl’s crystals seem to have millions of uses—they fly into other people’s heads and kill them, and if another person digs one out of a cheerleader and swallows it, they gain random powers (and without a full moon, or a spell, or anything special involved at all…). The word count needed to adequately explain the plot’s stupidity would be irrationally high, so I’ll just sum up the whole shebang with this: It really is so, so stupid, and we also highly recommend watching it.
For a movie so centered on the negative effects that a patriarchal environment can have on females’ relationships with each other—which is a rich and deep topic to explore—it’s so unbelievably nonsensical that the subtext is replaced in the viewer’s mind with What the fuck is happening right now?
Is this movie good? No. But is it special? Absolutely—and that’s the most important thing that a movie can be.
Comedy Horror Movie No. 5: Zombeavers (2014)
What can you really say about Zombeavers? It’s named Zombeavers, for fuck’s sake, which is a rare example of a film’s title putting a near-perfect vision of it inside your head. Consider this simple list of facts about the movie:
- Bill Burr and a heavily disguised John Mayer (yes, that John Mayer) play truckers—Joseph and Luke, respectively—who flawlessly improvise all their lines in the movie’s opening scene. From the outtakes.
- There are a lot of beaver puns. A LOT. OF BEAVER PUNS.
- A dick is bitten off.
- The effects are almost (if not entirely) all practical, and the zombeavers are all puppets, so they’re all fucking awesome.
- An undeniably feminist theme is sown throughout the movie: Female characters are not specifically punished for sexual indiscretions, and everything the men do results in utter disaster.
- A dude sacrifices a dog, who resembles the really cute one from Frasier, to distract the zombeavers.
- We mentioned the large amount of puppet beavers, right? And that they’re zombies? OK—just wanted to make sure.
If you got through those bullet points without an urge to see this movie, we don’t know what to tell you.
That said—even though the bullet points make it sound cool—we can’t promise that you won’t think Zombeavers is shit, because we think it might actually be a turd painted in gold (and in puppets, and also gore), but we really don’t care, just as long as it’s shiny.
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Comedy Horror Movie No. 6: Re-Animator (1985)
Do you like any of Peter Jackson’s horror films? Does practical gore fill you with awe? If so, watch Re-Animator. Then again, if you’ve made it this far into this roundup, you’ve probably already seen Re-Animator at least three times.
Comedy Horror Movie No. 7: Bad Milo! (2013)
When a movie is about a stress-induced, infant-sized monster growing inside of Ken Marino’s ass that climbs out and starts killing people, it’s already a winner for its plot description alone. Bad Milo! doesn’t rest on its plot’s laurels, though: It goes above and beyond by also being a legitimately well-made film, with far more heart than you’d expect from a movie with several scenes of a disfigured yard gnome climbing in/out of a butthole.
Milo himself—the creature living in Ken Marino’s ass—is designed with an incredible range of expression (his face had its own puppeteer). Trust us: Before the credits roll, you’ll be scared, disgusted, saddened, and emotionally moved by Milo. Like E.T., Milo was created with extraordinary practical effects, with the main difference between the two creatures being that Milo is—brace yourself—way cooler than E.T. (and we will only revisit that fact if E.T. gets a sequel in which he lives inside of somebody’s ass).
Bad Milo! is very good: The actors are great, it’s shot well, the narrative keeps your brain from drifting, and there are scenes between Milo (the Ass Demon) and its host/creator/Ken Marino which hint at a version of this film with humor so black that it absorbed the paint from your walls, and had a tone that never be described as goofy.
As it stands, it’s a goofy story that’s played with a straight awareness of its own camp factor, but it’s still loads of fun to watch and shows an occasional flash of brilliance.
Comedy Horror Movie No. 8: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
This film is a piece of art. That is an irrefutable fact.
The story follows harmless, slapstick-drenched hillbillies who scare a group of stereotypical, drunken teens on a debauched retreat in the woods. It spirals into a series of tragic events that are as ridiculous as they are tragically needless. The laugh-out-loud dynamic between the two good-hearted but misunderstood hillbillies, portrayed by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine, results in more belly laughs than most straight-up comedies released, and the horror is biting. Its thesis is that the greatest villain out there is bigger than any single, physical body, but is rather a combination of fear, distrust, and a lack of empathy.
If you haven’t seen Tucker & Dale yet, it’s best if you simply trust us on its quality, and watch it with a less-than-usual amount of knowledge of the film when you dive into it. The film’s brilliance, however, would still entertain you if you already knew the plot in great detail before seeing it. It plays like an extremely gory take on Shakespearean farces, with each view of the film yielding a greater understanding of the emotionally charged breakdowns in a communication that are plaguing society as a whole.
You know what? We’re going to throw down the fucking gauntlet: This movie’s deconstruction of the genre, which is accomplished while still managing to be an awesome genre entry, is on par with Cabin in the Woods. It’s just that good.
Comedy Horror Movie No. 9: Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (2014)
The first Dead Snow had a lot of potential, and it had some truly wonderful moments. It was stretched thin, though; Nazi zombie mania hit the world with such force that Dead Snow needed to be made fast. According to this list of Nazi zombie films, there were five films about Nazis-turned-zombies in the 31 years between 1977 and 2008. There were eight made in the six years that followed.
Martin Starr gets a lot of airtime in Dead Snow 2. You might know Starr as Bill in Freaks and Geeks, Joel from Adventureland, or Roman from Party Down (he was the nerdy guy in all of them). Starr seems to be fairly picky with his projects, and his face on the screen is an immediately good omen for this sequel.
Director Tommy Wirkola does justice to his Sam Raimi obsession with this movie. The violence is creative, mostly practical, and often disgusting. The plot (which was something the original film didn’t really have) is completely convoluted, but in such a great way: The original’s lone survivor, Martin, has the arm of that film’s villain zombie sewn onto the place where he’d cut off his own arm in the first film. This gives him a possessed arm that can throw bodies immense distances. He learns to control it through techniques that Wirkola wisely decides don’t need to be explained, and he eventually learns that slamming his possessed fist on the ground below has a weird effect: It brings all the dead people in his proximity back to life.
Of course, the villain is doing this, too, so the film actually finds a way to remake World War II with zombies. It’s an arms race (hah!) between good and evil.
It’s everything that the original film failed to be. If you were severely disappointed in Dead Snow, please give the sequel a chance. After the first viewing, you might not be able to think anything other than How is this so good?
Screengrab via Movie Trailer Graveyard/Youtube
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.