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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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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