Due to my overwhelming humbug-ness, I’ve eschewed the traditional “Best Christmas Movie” list to post a list much closer to my twisted, little heart. In this time of joy and cheer, I find nothing brightens my day more than screaming and demon decapitations. Therefore, my holiday gift to you: a list of the seven best horror-comedies.
You heard me. Some of you might not be familiar with the idea of a horror-comedy, but they exist and they are glorious. Films of this genre are usually ridiculous, covered in gore, and completely inappropriate. If you find pleasure in any of these attributes, read on. Cuddle up by the fire with your hot cocoa and bask in the beauty of flying body parts and gratuitous boob shots. Counting down …
A vacation weekend turns into madness and horror for a bunch of drunken groupies looking for fun in a beaver-infested swamp. But not just any beavers. Zombie beavers! These big-toothed bullies are out for blood. Not only do you get some horrendous animatronics (think Princess Bride’s ROUS), but you also get sex, bad puns, and an unfortunate castration. Nothing says Christmas cheer like an unfortunate castration.
A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus. Pure 80s fun, this retelling of Lovecraft’s short story of the same name is chock full of one-liners. (My personal favorite: “Cat dead. Details later.”) Again, blood and body parts fly! There’s nudity and, well, a living decapitated head with dubious intent. Don’t forget the horrible soundtrack. You’ll be ho-ho-ho-ing all the way to the morgue.
5. Witching and Bitching
A coven of witches traps a gang of escaping jewelry thieves. True, since this is a Spanish horror flick, you have to deal with subtitles, but it’s totally worth it as this group of bumbling criminals become the captives of some seriously no-good witchy bitches. The jokes are, of course, over the top, but the dialogue is brilliant and there’s a naked, silver Jesus. Yes, a savior is born.
4. Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
Still on the run from a group of Nazi zombies, a man seeks the aid of American zombie enthusiasts and discovers new techniques for fighting the zombies. Come on, Nazi zombies, people. (And don’t worry about watching the first one. Just watch this one.) As with all zombie films, you have to deal with a ton of gore, but the plot is fast-moving and actually makes a lot of sense. Plus, there’s a guy with a zombie hand, and geeky, idiot zombie hunters run amok. Blood in the snow is very festive this time of year!
3. Army of Darkness
A man is accidentally transported to 1300 AD, where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home. I understand that film snobs will disapprove of me choosing the third in the Evil Dead trilogy and not the original, but sue me; this one’s the funniest. (“Gimme some sugar, baby.”) Bruce Campbell is comic-horror gold as he pulls some Three Stooges gags and reels off one-liners fast as Santa filling stockings.
Two teenage metal heads unwittingly summon an ancient evil entity known as The Blind One by delving into black magic while trying to escape their mundane lives. Oh, you crazy New Zealanders with your cute accents! The writing in this film is absolutely dazzling, including asides that’ll make you break a rib laughing. The brilliance of this movie is in its use of unexpected plot twists and its love of all things hard rock—and the gore. The gore is gorgeous. Nothing says Christmas snacks like your neighbors vomiting blood in the streets!
1. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
White trash dudes Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids. Although the story is great, it’s the lead actors who make this movie. Their response to a bunch of strangers accidentally dying at every turn is comic gold, and they achieve that extreme level of comic genius without being crass or obscene—which is saying something in the modern horror genre. If you ignore the rest of the list, consider this my generous holiday gift to you: a movie to warm the cockles of your heart and make you reconsider the many uses of a wood chipper.