Shaun of the Dead Everett

Die Laughing

The 10 Best Horror Comedies

Laugh til you scream when Stan Against Evil comes to IFC this fall.

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Photo Credit: Rogue Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Horror movies play off of the fear of the unknown, but at their core, they’re inherently ridiculous. (The closest any of us will get to being sucked into a TV by scary creatures is by binge-watching a Kardashian marathon.) Some of the best creepy flicks understand this, and offer up some laughs with the scares. With the new horror comedy Stan Against Evil coming to IFC this fall, check out some horror movies that bring the fright and the funny.

10. The Toxic Avenger

The Toxic Avenger was marketed as the first superhero from New Jersey, which might be the best tag line you can give a horror comedy. His origin story is sort of like Spider-Man’s, if Spider-Man was written by someone who was clearly high. Nice-guy nerd Melvin is bullied by jerks at the gym until he flees in a tutu and jumps out of the window into a vat of toxic waste. This later causes his transformation into the monstrous hero, The Toxic Avenger, which his mother mistakes for puberty. Proudly low budget, The Toxic Avenger spoofs horror and superhero cliches in equal measure with a level of camp that’s so bad, it’s funny.


9. An American Werewolf in London

Mixing groundbreaking special effects and a darkly comedic tone, An American Werewolf in London comes from the mind of Animal House and The Blues Brothers director John Landis, a filmmaker who knows his way around comedy.  As in those other Landis comedies, you can count on some classic songs, and with Sam Cooke’s cover of “Blue Moon,” he juxtaposes the horror of David Naughton transforming into a werewolf with a soulful song to create a shockingly memorable scene. And let’s not forget Griffin Dunne as Naughton’s undead friend, who visits him in various stages of decay.


8. Evil Dead

If you love a little over-the-top gore with your horror, then it’s safe to say you are a fan of The Evil Dead, the cult classic horror movie franchise that, unlike the title, will not die. The original Evil Dead makes The Exorcist look like a trip to Disneyland as the characters have to use shotguns and shovels to fight each other off. Bruce Campbell’s performance as Ash fighting off his possessed friends has made him the Han Solo of horror in a film that still sticks with us like a pencil to the foot.


7. Tremors

Tremors isn’t just a great reference to keep in mind when playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” — it’s also a uniquely entertaining monster movie, that’s also part western and part comedy. It’s basically a bizarre take on Jaws, except swap a shark for giant underground worm-like creatures that begin wreaking havoc on a sleepy Nevada desert town. Kevin Bacon and a perfectly grizzled Fred Ward play a couple of ranch hands who stumble upon the sand creature. Michael Gross (Alex P. Keaton’s dad!) and Reba McEntire are hilarious as a survivalist couple who fight off the monsters with an arsenal of guns that would have made Ted Nugent proud.


6. Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies may not be the scariest zombie movie ever made, but it’s clearly the most adorable. The 2013 sleeper hit offers a very clever spin on the zombie genre by making a member of the walking dead the narrator. Taking place after a virus has wiped out a good portion of mankind and unleashed a plague of flesh eating undead, Nicholas Hoult’s zombie is given the name “R” by Julie, the girl he saves and protects from the completely unhuman zombies called “Boneys.” The airport deserted by the living and inhabited by the zombies is the setting for some funny and poignant moments as the zombies begin to slowly turn human. There’s also a makeover scene that will put a smile on the skeletal face of even the coldest Boney.


5. The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods has a title that makes it seem like it is going to be like any other horror movie where attractive young people go to a remote location and then start being killed off one by one. Sure, that is what happens, but the film, produced by Joss Whedon, turns the genre on its freakish head in original and funny ways. The cabin (SPOILER ALERT!) is being watched by technicians in an underground facility, whose job is to facilitate the mayhem in the cabin. Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins are like the office drone version of Statler and Waldorf as they crack jokes and place bets while trying to ensure the virgin dies last. The facility stores every kind of monster imaginable, making for a lively spoof of horror tropes. And any movie where Bradley Whitford gets killed by a Merman should be considered a classic.


4. Gremlins

For anyone who grew up in the 1980s and ’90s, Gremlins is the beloved horror comedy film that taught important life lessons. (If you dress up as Santa for your kids, nothing good can come from actually sliding down the chimney.) But most importantly, under no circumstances should you feed a Mogwai after midnight. Especially if your Dad got the Mogwai from a cryptic old man in Chinatown and your neighbor is Corey Feldman. Unfortunately for Billy, he did not follow the instructions for taking care of his adorable Mogwai Gizmo and the Gremlins wreak havoc in a quaint small town. Beware before you watch Gremlins: Not because it’s too scary, but you might just start humming “Hi Ho” and then change your dog’s name to Stripe or Gizmo.


3. Scream

In 1996, Wes Craven, who had once helped define the horror movie, not only revived the genre but reinvented the horror comedy with Scream. Kevin Williamson’s self-referential script taught us to never say “I’ll be right back” and, of course, to never try and escape a masked killer through a doggie door. From the opening scene, Scream lets the audience in on the fact that it is having fun with everything they expect to happen in a horror movie.


2. Zombieland

With Woody Harrelson as a bad-ass zombie-killing Twinkie lover and arguably the greatest Bill “F—-n'” Murray cameo ever, Zombieland has everything you would ever want in a post-apocalyptic horror comedy. After the world suffers from a virus that turns people into zombies, Jesse Eisenberg’s Columbia (everyone goes by where they’re from) teams up with Harrelson’s Tallahassee to kill zombies and search for Twinkies. The pair meet Wichita (Emma Stone) and her sister Little Rock (Abagail Breslin) and head on a road trip to an amusement park. When the group decides to stop at the house of Bill Murray it turns out that not only is he alive but he also apparently still kept his Ghostbusters outfit.


1. Shaun of the Dead

After his girlfriend breaks up with him for having a dead-end life, things couldn’t get much worse for British everyman Shaun (Simon Pegg), until he wakes up to find out that zombies have begun to attack his neighborhood. Of course, the brilliance of Shaun of the Dead is that Shaun wakes up after a night drowning his sorrows with his mate Ed (Nick Frost) at the pub and is so hungover he doesn’t even notice the un-dead dragging themselves around the street. The scene where Shaun and Ed see a zombie girl for the first time and think she’s drunk is a brilliant moment in a film filled with scenes that poke fun at the concept of zombies in a very British way. It turns out, the one thing Shaun really excels at, besides downing pints, is killing zombies, and Shaun, Ed and a group of survivors have an epic showdown in the Winchester Pub set to a classic Queen tune.

Laugh and scream with Scary Movie and Shaun of the Dead this month on IFC.

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Grow TFU

Adulting Like You Mean It

Commuters makes its debut on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella, and Tim Dean were once a part of Murderfist, a group of comedy writers, actors, producers, parents, and reluctant adults. Together with InstaMiniSeries’s Nikki Borges, they’re making their IFC Comedy Crib debut with the refreshingly-honest and joyfully-hilarious Commuters. The webseries follows thirtysomethings Harris and Olivia as they brave the waters of true adulthood, and it’s right on point.

Jared, Nick, Nikki and Tim were kind enough to answer a few questions about Commuters for us. Here’s a snippet of that conversation…

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IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Nick: Two 30-somethings leave the Brooklyn life behind, and move to the New Jersey suburbs in a forced attempt to “grow up.” But they soon find out they’ve got a long way to go to get to where they want to be.

IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jared: It’s a show about how f*cking stupid people who think they are smart can be.

IFC: What’s your origin story? When did you all meet and how long have you been working together?

Jared: Nick, Tim, and I were all in the sketch group Murderfist since, what, like 2004? God. Anyway, Tim and Nick left the group to pursue other frivolous things, like children and careers, but we all enjoyed writing together and kept at it. We were always more interested in storytelling than sketch comedy lends itself to, which led to our webseries Jared Posts A Personal. That was a show about being in your 20s and embracing the chaos of being young in the city. Commuters is the counterpoint, i guess. Our director Adam worked at Borders (~THE PAST!!~) with Tim, came out to a Murderfist show once, and we’ve kept him imprisoned ever since.

IFC: What was the genesis of Commuters?

Tim: Jared had an idea for a series about the more realistic, less romantic aspects of being in a serious relationship.  I moved out of the city to the suburbs and Nick got engaged out in LA.   We sort of combined all of those facets and Commuters was the end result.

IFC: How would Harris describe Olivia?

Jared: Olivia is the smartest, coolest, hottest person in the world, and Harris can’t believe he gets to be with her, even though she does overreact to everything and has no chill. Like seriously, ease up. It doesn’t always have to be ‘a thing.’

IFC: How would Olivia describe Harris?

Nikki:  Harris is smart, confident with a dry sense of humor but he’s also kind of a major chicken shit…. Kind of like if Han Solo and Barney Rubble had a baby.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Nikki:  I think this is the most accurate portrayal of what a modern relationship looks like. Expectations for what your life is ‘supposed to look like’ are confusing and often a let down but when you’re married to your best friend, it’s going to be ok because you will always find a way to make each other laugh.

IFC: Is the exciting life of NYC twentysomethings a sweet dream from which we all must awake, or is it a nightmare that we don’t realize is happening until it’s over?

Tim: Now that i’ve spent time living in the suburbs, helping to raise a two year old, y’all city folk have no fucking clue how great you’ve got it.

Nikki: I think of it similar to how I think about college. There’s a time and age for it to be glorious but no one wants to hang out with that 7th year senior. Luckily, NYC is so multifaceted that you can still have an exciting life here but it doesn’t have to be just what the twentysomethings are doing (thank god).

Jared: New York City is a garbage fire.

See the whole season of Commuters right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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C'mon Fellas

A Man Mansplains To Men

Why Baroness von Sketch Show is a must-see.

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Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.

However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.

No Dicks

Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.

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Huge Balls

Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal funhouse mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.

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Oh Canada

After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.

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Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:


Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show and watch the series premiere August 2 on IFC.

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Happy Tears

Binge Don’t Cringe

Catch up on episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia.

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Photo Credit: GIFs via GIPHY

A brain can only take so much.

Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?

Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.

Gender Inequality

Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.

Healthcare

From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.

Peaceful Protests

Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.

What Could Have Been

Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.

Fake News

A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.

The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.

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