On the surface, the words horror and comedy appear to be the exact opposite of each other. After all, one terrifies, while the other delights, right? However, they are essentially two sides of the same coin. Not convinced? Well, check out this list of the best horror comedy movies of all time. By the time you are done with watching some of the movies on this list, you will realize that horror and comedy go as well with each other as peanut butter and jelly.
Here are the best horror comedy movies of all time:
We will start our best horror comedy movies of all time list with a movie which is about to release its sequel soon. Zombieland proves that surviving the zombie apocalypse comes with a lot more rules than you might have thought. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin, Zombieland really wants to have fun with the zombie sub-section of the horror genre.
The film follows the perpetually petrified loner Columbus (Eisenberg), a college-age survivor of the zombie apocalypse. Columbus has developed a set of rules that has saved his behind from a brain-hungry zombie on multiple occasions. Columbus is trying to make it back to his parents in Ohio and finds himself hitching a ride with a Twinkie loving, zombie smashinh wildcard, Tallahassee (Harrelson). The pair decide to head back East with hopes of finding other survivors and safety. The duo eventually meet up with sisters and con artists Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin). The sisters desperately want to go West to the theme park Pacific Playland, one last time. After initial disagreements, Columbus and Tallahassee are eventually suckered into their plan and the quartet travels cross-country, dodging zombies and bonding together to form a new kind of family unit.
Over the last 20 years, Christopher Smith has built a reputation as one of the most unpredictable and consistent genre filmmakers in the industry. He has shown his dexterity over multiple styles of films. From the subterranean horrors of his feature debut Creep to his terrifying time loop drama Triangle, his bleak-as-hell plague-era period horror Black Death, and even a charming holiday family film with Get Santa, Smith has entertained us thoroughly. But his 2006 sophomore feature Severance remains a hell of a calling card on his diverse resume, and finds a place on our best horror comedy movies of all time list. The movie is set during a corporate team-building retreat in a remote European mountainside cabin. The team of co-workers is hunted down by a group of mysterious trained killers. Leads Laura Harris and Danny Dyer standout among the ensemble, bringing more to their characters than initially meets the eye while making the most of the script’s wry humor.
Smith pulls no punches on the violence in his survival horror, but there’s also a cheekiness to the entire affair that sits right on the razor’s edge of hilarious and heartbreaking. Severance doesn’t exactly make the horror funny. However, it does make very horrible things happen to very funny characters. The movie doesn’t hold back on scares or laughs and keeps bouncing back and forth.
Return of the Living Dead
The next entrant on the best horror comedy movies of all time, is a classic. Return of the Living Dead is a zombie B-movie which is filled with the three Bs: Blood, Boobs, and Brains. The movie is a total blast and it’s tough to have more fun with the undead than this movie does. After a pair of fumbling medical warehouse employees accidentally unleash a toxic gas on a nearby cemetery, the dead return to life in ghoulish, grizzly fashion with an insatiable hunger for brains.
The directorial debut from Alien and Total Recall screenwriter Dan O’Bannon, Return of the Living Dead is a zombie film and a party rolled into one mud-smeared, punk rock romp. Long before the meta-horror trend, Return of the Living dead name-dropped its inspiration openly, casually referencing Night of the Living Dead without abandon. It’s an outrageous film from start to finish, including iconic moments like Linnea Quigley’s nude grave dancing, a morose talking zombie, and slimy, gory creature effects that make you want to take a shower. Return of the Living Dead is over-the-top and gleefully tongue-in-cheek. It’s almost like the pages of an E.C. comic issue brought to life on screen. If George Romero’s ‘Living Dead’ movies are heavy metal, Return of the Living Dead is Spinal Tap. It does go to 11.
One Cut of the Dead
The best horror comedy movies of all time list is going to be packed with zombie comedies. Just letting you know so that you don’t get surprised later. One Cut of the Dead is a festival circle hit that has proudly clawed its way onto the list. The movie was a tremendous financial success, earning over thousand times its budget in Japan. One Cut of the Dead easily ranks as one of the downright funniest horror comedy movies ever. It’s an absolute banger of a crowd-pleaser that starts off slow but culminates in a brilliant third act that positively brings the house down with laughter. Don’t let the familiar-looking found footage first act fool you, this one’s something special.
There are a lot of zombie movies in the world. All of them can’t make the best horror comedy movies of all time list. For the simple reason that with so many zombie movies over the years, eventually, you’re going to run out of ways to freshen up the sub-genre. Enter Tommy Wirkola’s decidedly skewed take on zombies in this horror-comedy with plenty of guts. Sure, zombies are great movie monsters, but if you have Nazi zombies, well you’ve just doubled-down on the level of villainy (and pun-worthiness) in your movie.
This splatter-fest puts a Nordic spin on the traditional zombie by adding in elements of the Draugr, an undead creature from Scandinavian folklore that fiercely protects its treasure horde. In the case of Dead Snow, these draugr happen to be former SS soldiers who terrorized a Norwegian town and stole their belongings, only to be done in or chased into the freezing mountains by the villagers themselves. As one of the best horror comedy movies of all time, Dead Snow earns a lot of originality points for this. It’s also a very funny, gory, and satisfyingly violent movie with elements of Evil Dead and “teen sex/slasher” flicks scattered throughout.
Directed by Dario Argento protege Michele Soavi, Cemetery Man (or Dellamorte Dellamore) is a weird, wild head trip of a movie that treats the living dead as more of a nuisance than a deadly threat. Based on the comic series Dylan Dog, Cemetery Man stars Rupert Everett as Francesco Dellamorte, a misanthropic gravedigger who prefers the company of the dead to the living. There’s just one catch, the dead won’t stay burried in his graveyard. When he meets a stunning widow (Anna Falchi) at her husband’s funeral, Dellamorte falls head over heels, courts her in the morbid halls of his ossuary, and before you know it, they’re stripped naked and steaming it up on top of her dead husband’s grave. That’s when things start getting weird.
Dellamorte descends into madness, and the further he falls the more Cemetery Man threatens to go off the rails, leaving logic behind in favor of a slipstream psychosis. The result is a bit of a mess without a plot to speak of, but a gloriously and weirdly funny mess it is. And a deserving entrant on the best horror comedy movies of all time list. Cemetary Man is all about sex and death, friendship and deception. It’s a surrealist, satirical and stylish trip to the brink loaded with splendid visuals and a knockout performance from Everett. His performance takes him from a strapping hunk of a hero to a spitting psychopath with more than a few laugh-out-loud moments along the way.
This is the End
This a-laugh-a-minute entrant on the best horror comedy movies of all time comes from the minds of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Starring Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson, the story follows each of the actors playing fictional versions of their famous selves as they try to survive the end of the world, which kills all of their friends ― including Michael Cera, Rihanna, Aziz Ansari, and Kevin Hart. Yes, it’s an all star comedy cast. The movie goes on to involve terrifying creatures rising up from the depth of hell to take them out. Things don’t go well as all of their big personalities and egos get in the way of a good time. They can’t ration, nor do they know how to forage for supplies, but somehow, things work out in the end. Now, how things work out, in the end, is another matter entirely and one you need to see for yourself.
This Is The End is the quintessential horror-comedy for modern viewers. It has a perfect blend of post-apocalyptic terror and gut-busting jokes that run the gamut of amusing to absurd to outrageous. Plus, the deep, deep bench of prominent comedic actors (and a surprise appearance from one very famous ‘90s boy band) serve this film well and make for one truly enjoyable viewing experience.
Jennifer’s Body, starring Megan Fox at the height of her popularity and Amanda Seyfried, is definitely one of the best horror comedy movies of all time. The plot has a lot on its mind it would like to unpack with you, the viewer. Aided by Diablo Cody’s script and under Karyn Kusama’s direction, Jennifer’s Body takes your typical demonic possession story, modernizes it, and contorts it in such a way that you’ll never stop being surprised where the story is leading you. The fun of watching Jennifer’s Body is the ridiculous, sexy, hilarious, and horrifying journey it takes you on.
The film follows childhood besties Needy (Seyfried) and Jennifer (Fox). Needy has always been bookish and Jennifer has always been popular (as expected). Together, it doesn’t seem like their friendship should work but Needy and Jennifer have forged an unbreakable bond over the years. That bond is tested when Needy and Jennifer go out to a local bar one night to see one of Jennifer’s favorite bands. Jennifer ends up with the band as Needy goes home and instead of a tryst, Jennifer ends up getting sacrificed to a local demon so the band can achieve fame and fortune. A newly-possessed Jennifer returns home and Needy begins to suspect there is something seriously wrong with her best friend, especially when the boys in their small town start turning up dead.
Shaun of the Dead
Smack-dab in the middle of walking dead fever, Edgar Wright—along with frequent collaborator Simon Pegg, who stars in the title role—dropped Shaun of the Dead, an ingenious Night of the Living Dead love-letter set in London. With a whip-clever ensemble cast at his disposal, Wright juggles about three severed heads in the air the entire time. Shaun of the Dead is a commentary on the drone-like life of the working class. It’s a joke-a-minute comedy with dozens of sight-gag gems. And it’s also just a killer freakin’ zombie flick, where blood splatters and guts get crunched. All these years later and Shaun of the Dead might still be the freshest movie in a genre about rotting flesh. It’s place in every best horror comedy movies list of all time is set in stone.
Eating Raoul is one of the most gleefully immoral horror-comedies of all time. Though it’s not as gruesome as other cannibal films. The plot of the film centers on a drab, condescending married couple, appropriately named The Blands (Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov). The Blands are fed up with the influx of swingers and degenerates in their apartment complex. When one said swinger gets aggressive with the wife, it sets off a chain of events that leads to a delightfully absurd and completely unhinged series of murders that culminate in a finely prepared people-meal. Eating Raoul is backed by moments of underplayed humor, an exploration of seedy sexual deviancy, and a quiet, wry wit that makes the film an absolute must-see, and a definitive member of the best horror comedy movies of all time list.
The original Fright Night is one of the best cult classic comedy horror films ever made. And a permanent fixture on every best horror comedy movies of all time list. The film from writer/director Tom Holland stars a William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall, Amanda Bearse, and Stephen Geoffreys. Imagine being a massive fan of horror films and horror TV shows when you discover that your new next-door neighbor is a vampire. How willing would your friends, family and the police be willing to believe you? This is Charley Brewster’s (Ragsdale) situation. He suspects his new neighbor, Jerry Dandridge (Sarandon), is a vampire and sets about trying to prove it in order to stop Dandridge from killing him and his family.
The movies hilariously puts Charley in these insane situations and slowly removes anyone who might believe him or help him from his life. Charley eventually receives the aid of Roddy McDowall’s Peter Vincent, a horror TV host. The movie turns into this madcap thriller where Charley and Peter have to band together to find a way to kill Jerry before Amy permanently turns into a vampire. Holland’s dark humor works so well in this film without ever losing the life-altering stakes Charley is trying to fight off. Like any good horror film, Holland left a hint of a sequel in Ed’s red eyes who’s somehow still alive and watching Charley and Amy from inside Jerry’s former house.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil
A positively uproarious spin on the backwoods killer genre, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil turns the tables of the Texas Chainsaw-type thrills, turning the would-be killers into the good guys. Tucker and Dale just want to fix up their cabin. The longtime brothers (played to perfection by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine) are looking for a quiet retreat when a group of stuck-up teens wander into their property and immediately assume the worst about these backwoods hicks. Despite doing everything they can to be friendly and helpful, Tucker and Dale can’t stop innocently scaring these kids to literal death, and the result is a bloody, boisterous and sometimes quite touching horror-comedy about friendship and learning to look past stereotypes. Eli Craig directs with perfect pacing and some spectacularly cut scenes that will have you gasping for breath between the laughs before gasping at the brutality of the bloodshed. Of course it belongs to our best horror comedy movies of all time list.
Night of the Creeps
A year before he hit big with Monster Squad, writer/director Fred Dekker unleased this truly insane genre mash-up on a world that was not ready for it yet. Extraterrestrial experiments, slugs that take over your brain, corpses rising from the slab. An earnest homage to drive-in B-movies—the cheesier, the better—Night of the Creeps mangles and mashes all the best parts of your typical zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, 1950s creature feature all into one gloriously bloody package, and lands straight on the best horror comedy movies of all time list. This movie is pretty much the definition of a cult classic, Night of the Creeps is the most fun you can have laughing your head right off.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
This entrant on the best horror comedy movies of all time list is a great addition to the meta-horror genre. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon takes a mockumentary approach to a burgeoning slasher killer a la Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) and Michael Myers (Halloween). From physical training to psychological prep, the documentary crew led by intrepid reporter Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals) follows every step of Leslie Vernon’s quest to become a horror legend… until the night of his massacre arrives and the film transitions from found footage to a legitimately thrilling slasher where everyone is fair game.
Nathan Baesel is equal parts magnetic and unnerving as the title killer, igniting a crackling chemistry with his co-stars that gives the film’s bloody final act an extra kick. Featuring cameos from genre greats like Zelda Rubinstein, Robert Englund, and Scott Wilson, Behind the Mask brings its own spin to the legacy of Scream; a witty, scholarly love letter that deconstructs the slasher classics that came before while also standing strong as an original horror movie in its own right.
The Final Girls
A heart-warming mother-daughter bonding drama by way of laugh-out-loud funny meta-slasher comedy, Todd Strauss-Schulson’s The Final Girls is one of the best horror comedy movies of all time. Taissa Farmiga stars as Max Cartwright, a young woman grieving the loss of her mother (Malin Ackerman), who also happened to be an 80s slasher scream queen, when she and her friends get sucked into one of her mom’s most beloved horror films.
The ensemble is a killer in its own right, including Alia Shawkat, Thomas Middleditch, Nina Dobrev, Adam Devine and Angela Trimbur in a scene-stealing role as a girl who just can’t stop sending out a siren’s call to the killer with her sexy dance moves. Meanwhile, Max can’t help but reconnect with the mother she lost while they head towards the inevitable showdown with the machete-wielding killer, the ensemble weaving in, out and around familiar genre tropes in their fight for survival. Innovative, hilarious, and touching, The Final Girls finds a new avenue into the self-aware horror genre, literally taking us through the screen into the world of the peak 80s teen slashers we love so much and setting an updated story there that stands on its own. The kills are brutal, the laughs are abundant, and the heart-warming bits land with tear-jerking resonance, making The Final Girls a horror-comedy must-watch.
What We Do in the Shadows
This is a cracking entry into the mockumentary category from co-writers/directors/leads Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. The film follows three vampires — Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) — who live together, bicker over who does the chores, and go on the prowl for new victims together. The story stays focused on the mundane parts of life as a vampire. Rather than focus on the sensational aspects of vampirism (although there are sensational moments aplenty, including the inventive ways the film shows the vampires flying and turning into bats), we watch our protagonists re-assess what it means to live forever, try and find long-lost love, and get updated on all the latest tech trends. There are some truly gross, disturbing moments that remind you this is a horror film but underneath all the blood and viscera is the beating heart of a film completely ready to subvert what’s expected of a vampire. Before Taika Waititi entered the mainstream with Thor: Ragnarok, he gave us this gem of a horror comedy movie.
The horror genre in the 1980s was dominated with slasher sequels from iconic horror franchises. It was hard standing out in the horror genre, unless you had a Stephen King story as your source material. The 1980s were the golden age for Stephen King adaptations, and from 1980’s The Shining to 1989’s Pet Sematary, there were 14 films based on King stories alone. One of the most unusual entries during this decade was 1982’s Creepshow, directed by horror zombie godfather George A. Romero.
This entrant on the best horror comedy movies list is actually an anthology of Stephen King stories that also marks the horror authors debut as a screenwriter. The cast included Ted Danson, Ed Harris, Leslie Nielsen, Adrienne Barbeau, Hal Holbrook, E.G. Marshall, and even featured horror veteran Tom Savini in a bit part as Garbageman #2. The film is made up of five short stories titled “Father’s Day”, “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”, “Something to Tide You Over”, “The Crate” and “They’re Creeping Up on You!”. The stories feature a zombie patriarch taking revenge on his money grubbing family, an uncontrollable meteorite that overwhelms a backwoods gentleman, a creature released by a man and his male friend who use it to enact revenge on the man’s wife that escapes after they try to drown it, a horde of cockroaches that overrun a germophobe’s apartment and my personal favorite, a wife and her lover who are creatively drowned by her husband but then return as waterlogged zombies to exact their revenge. Throughout all of these stories, Romero finds the comic relief inherent in these horror tales to keep the viewer enjoying what they’re seeing without losing the unsettling creepiness that decorates all of these stories
There’s something about the Kiwi sense of comedic timing that manages to make any movie it’s featured in exponentially better. That’s one of the reasons why such a small country has so many entrants on the best horror comedy movies of all time list. Take Housebound for example. Directed by Gerard Johnstone and starring Morgana O’Reilly and Rima Te Wiata, the movie is a haunted house tale told with the sharpest, driest punchlines delivered like jump scares.
Housebound follows Kylie (O’Reilly), a petty criminal living in the city who is put on house arrest following a botched robbery. The only catch is that Kylie has to go back to the suburbs and stay with her parents, always optimistic, chatty-as-heck mum Miriam (Te Wiata) and her eternally checked-out dad, Graeme (Ross Harper). In between idling away the hours, unable to leave her house, Kylie begins to think there might be something to the stories Miriam has told for years about their house being haunted. Kylie launches an investigation after a series of unexplainable events start happening in rapid succession. Kylie and Miriam are on the hunt for the truth behind the hauntings but it turns out, the truth is not at all what they thought it would be.
When a film is such an unapologetically scathing satire and critique of capitalist society, you’ve got to have some laughs. In John Carpenter‘s They Live, Roddy Piper plays Nada, a drifter who discovers a pair of sunglasses that lets him see the world as it really is: run by monsters with subliminal messages telling people to worship money and obey their leaders. Thankfully, you’ve also got great lines like, “I’ve come to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I am all out of bubblegum,” and all-time fistfight between Piper and Keith David. Definitely one of the best horror comedy movies of all time.
Who would have thought that Ari Aster, the writer/director behind the wholly disturbing trauma-drama Hereditary, would make one of the best horror comedy movies of all time? Built around another searing tragedy, Midsommar trades dark, cramped corners for the sun-soaked fields of Sweden, where Dani (Florence Pugh) seeks to work through an inconceivable tragedy alongside her terrible boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and his buffoonish friends. There’s just one problem — they wandered straight into a pagan ritual, which requires human sacrifices. Aster once again directs with precision mastery, leading his actress to a phenomenal if grueling performance. Midsommar dances with disturbing themes about co-dependency, nationalism, and the seductive power of false securities.
Happy Death Day
Repeating the same day over and over to solve a problem is not a new concept in film, yet Happy Death Day manages to make it feel fresher than ever. This entrant on the best horror comedy movies of all time isn’t a Groundhog day ripoff. Directed by Christopher Landon (son of Little House on the Prairie star Michael Landon) and featuring a breakout performance from Jessica Rothe (La La Land), Happy Death Day mixes the horror genre with the unique hilarity of an existential crisis that can be brought on when you find yourself repeating the same day over and over agai .
Happy Death Day follows Tree Gelbman (Rothe) as she tries to figure out the identity of the person who killed her on her birthday. When we first meet Tree, she’s a sunny sorority sister who believes the world revolves around her and is too focused on her own drama to notice anyone else’s. Tree wakes up on her birthday in an underclassman’s bed, confused, hungover, and ready to get the heck out of there. As she goes about her day, we see various personal issues bubble up to the surface: engaging in a secret affair with one of her professors, participating in problematic house meetings with her sorority sisters, and gently rejecting her roommate’s birthday present. It’s a doozy of a day but nothing really sticks out quite like the fact that Tree gets straight-up murdered in an underground walkway on campus by a masked killer.
Trick or Treat
If there were a musical equivalent of horror movies, it’d definitely be heavy metal. It’s no wonder that heavy metal goes so well with horror movies. This entrant on the best horror comedy movies of all time list features Metal god Sammi Curr, who mysteriously died in a fire during the peak of his success. It turns out it was a Satanic ploy, as Sammi plans to return from the grave by possessing radio airwaves via his as-yet-unreleased final album. When his biggest fan Eddie (Marc Price) gets a hold of it first, Sammi uses Eddie to collect sacrifices until Eddie’s had enough and tries to fight back. As the title suggests, this is a Halloween set metal horror mashup. Trick or Treat is one massive love letter to metal. It features cameos by Ozzie Osbourne and Gene Simmons, music by former Motörhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke, and a ton of metal references throughout. A must watch for horror and heavy metal fans.
Army of Darkness
Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness? Take your pick, they’re both iconic, downright hilarious films from horror icon Sam Raimi. Army of Darkness is easily one of the funniest movies of all time, which is why it nudged into this spot on the best horror comedy movies of all time list. Bruce Campbell returns as Ash, the long-suffering Deadite hunter who spent two films trapped in a cabin in the woods with the undead, and by now, he’s fully settled into the hamminess and physicality of the role, with the added bonus of an enhanced ego that makes Ash’s buffoonery all the more hilarious. Easily one of the most quotable horror films ever made, with fountains of blood and even more of the franchise’s signature stop-motion spookiness, Army of Darkness is an iconic benchmark of horror-comedy that’s arguably only bested by its own predecessors.
Before he transported audiences to Middle Earth, Peter Jackson made some of the weirdest, most wondrous genre films out there, and none more grotesque or hilarious than his 1992 slapstick splatter film, Dead Alive (aka Braindead). Timothy Balme stars as Lionel, a young man kept under the heavy thumb of his oppressive mother (Elizabeth Moody) until he falls in love. But just when he thinks he’s free, mother’s vengeance comes calling the form of a blood-soaked zombie outbreak that puts Lionel’s sudden hunger for independence to the ultimate test. With flourishes of stop-motion, an ungodly amount of on-screen blood, and one of the all-time best cringe-worthy gags in the iconic soup scene, Dead Alive is one of the zaniest and most unhinged horror comedies of its time, culminating the lawnmower vs. zombie horde set-piece that ensured it would become a cult classic. Peter Jackson will definitely go down in history as one of the few directors whose movies will make the best movies of all time and the best horror comedy movies of all time list.
An American Werewolf in London
When you hear the name John Landis, you might think of his notable 70s and 80s comedies, like Animal House, The Blues Brothers, and maybe even Trading Places and Coming to America. But for horror aficionados, another film will come to mind: The Oscar-winning horror-movie icon, An American Werewolf in London.
The story follows two young American men, David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), backpacking their way through England when they’re attacked by a werewolf, killing Jack, and wounding and cursing David. That’s your basic werewolf curse mythology, but Landis takes it a step further: Each of the creature’s victims will exist in a state of reanimation (be sure to take a look at our best zombie movies, by the way) until the bloodline is extinguished. The undead Jack acts as a sort of conscience and sounding board for David, which is something rarely seen in horror films. But what makes this entrant on the best horror comedy movies of all time a gruesome werewolf flick is the Oscar-winning effects work of the legendary Rick Baker and his team. Even today, they are as bone-crunching and cringe-inducing as ever.
The final entry on the best horror comedy movies of all time list comes from, yet again, New Zealand. Written and directed by Jason Lei Howden, this New Zealand horror comedy is a definitive love letter to metal music and metalheads. Brodie is a social outcast, further ostracized because of his adoration of metal. He finds a kindred spirit in Zakk, who convinces him to break into an abandoned house to find metal musician Rikki Daggers. They succeed in finding Daggers, who hands them an album that contains “The Black Hymn,” before being murdered by a Satanic cult moments later. Naturally, the boys play it and invoke a demon. Gore, death, and speed metal ensue. A soundtrack with artists like Axeslasher, Beastwars, Skull Fist, and Elm Street set against Howden’s ode to Peter Jackson’s early splatter work is a thunderous blood-soaked blast which will be an all out assault on your senses.