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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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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

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

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.