I’m a firm believer that horror has something for everyone. And if you’re somebody who wants to participate in this year’s Spooky Season but your tolerance is low or you just hate how melancholic so many scary movies can be (with all the death and whatnot), then there is hope for you yet. Horror comedies have a distinct advantage as the genre is already ridiculous to begin with.
There are plenty of silly horror B movies out there, like Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Chopping Mall, and Re-Animator, if you’re enticed by the glorious world of camp. But if you want to opt for something less traditional, here are six delightfully self-aware satires that will keep you up at night—laughing.
1. Hell Baby (2013)
Brought to you by Reno 911! alumni Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, Hell Baby follows Jack and Vanessa, expectant parents who have just purchased a startlingly affordable mansion in New Orleans with no catch whatsoever. And yes, the house is dilapidated and affectionally nicknamed “House of Blood” by the offbeat locals. But everyone is maintaining a cheerful disposition except for Jack, who becomes concerned when Vanessa’s pregnancy symptoms border on demonic.
2. Blood Sucking Bastards (2015)
Being stuck at a thankless job in a stale corporate office environment really sucks the life out of you. Brian James O’Connell takes this notion quite literally in his goofy, gory vampire film about the deadly changes brought on by new workplace management. Fran Kranz, who also starred in Cabin in the Woods, shines just as bright as yet another dorky parody protagonist determined to fight evil.
3. Murder Party (2007)
Christopher is a lonely guy who can’t believe his luck when he stumbles across an invitation to an exclusive Halloween party. Unbeknownst to him, the party is a front put on by a cohort of clumsy, deranged art students who plan to enact a gruesome murder to earn a grant from their unimpressed patron. I have a special appreciation for this movie as a former art school student who can confirm that this community is about as demented and dramatic as Jeremy Saulnier (who went on to direct Blue Ruin and Green Room) has written it.
4. John Dies at the End (2012)
Don Coscarelli directed this adaption of the novel by David Wong (also known as Jason Pargin, former executive editor of Cracked.com). The chaotic storyline veers into a mess of different genres and unexpected twists with a fever dreamlike quality. Narrated by David to a newspaper journalist in a nonlinear format, the film attempts to recount the origins of his paranormal investigation business with his (possibly doomed) friend, John.
5. Scare Package (2019)
A video store employee endures a bizarre onboarding process as his new boss demonstrates the rules of a horror movie through an anthology (each with its own director), featuring a day in the life of a scary movie background character, a goo-filled axe murderer, a men’s rights support group, a cursed lollipop, dismemberment by firecrackers, and a devoted TV show fan who would murder somebody before letting them spoil the finale for her.
6. Dave Made a Maze (2017)
The director of this movie is Bill Watterson, but not the same Bill Watterson who wrote Calvin & Hobbes. (Imagine?!) Anyway, Dave is an unemployed artist living off his parents and sharing an apartment with his much more ambitious girlfriend, Annie. Inspired suddenly when Annie is away for the weekend, Dave builds a cardboard maze from the inside out. Annie returns and is disappointed to find a bunch of boxes taped together but soon discovers Dave is trapped inside what has become a labyrinth of tunnels and monsters. She enlists the help of friends and strangers alike to retrieve Dave, who proves there is much more to him—and his maze—than everyone thought.