Kittens, there is something I find so delicious about the intersection of horror and humor, from a dry black comedy to the ridiculous delight of absurdly over-the-top gore. It seems like it’s been a while since we’ve talked about solid horror films available to stream, so why not start this week with five excellent horror comedies available on Netflix Instant, Amazon On Demand, and iTunes? As usual, all five of the movies on this list are currently available on Netflix Instant and have earned their R rating, so brace yourself for a full measure of blood-drenched guffaws, darlings.
1. Slither (2006)
Slither is an under-the-radar science fiction-horror-comedy film from 2006 starring Whedonite-beloved Nathan Fillion and the underrated Elizabeth Banks. It’s also the directorial debut of Troma-alumnus and TYoH favorite James Gunn. Equal parts “creature from beyond” sci-fi and “ravenous zombie” horror, this fabulously, hilariously gross film was a surprising box office disappointment. If you were one of the folks who skipped it the first time around, you are missing out, sweetlings.
“In the small burg of Wheelsy, housecats are turning into hellcats and townsfolk are morphing into zombies, prompting Sheriff Bill Pardy and the concerned wife of one of the town’s richest citizens to uncover the dark forces at work.”
2. Chop (2011)
Another film with Troma alums involved in the writing and directing, Chop came to my attention last year as one of Bloody Disgusting Selects films. Although body horror in general and “mysterious omniscient stranger torture” in particular isn’t really my cup of tea, the lead actor, Billy Bakshi as the not-so-innocent Lance Reed, is such a quirky delight that this film has become a favorite here at TYoH. The story definitely requires the occasional suspension of disbelief, but it is worth it to watch Bakshi chewing up the scenery as he exchanges limbs for increasingly off-the-wall paranoia.
Lance Reed, a seemingly innocent man, is forced by a psychotic stranger to confront his duplicitous past. The mysterious stranger, seeking retribution for a past crime, forces Lance to reveal his inner most secrets by systematically removing his limbs. As time runs out and Lance’s limb count dwindles, he must recall what he’s done to the stranger before he doesn’t have a head to remember with!
3. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Turning genre conventions on their head, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil embraces the “scary rednecks in an isolated cabin” tropes, then turns it upside down by subverting the usual villains and heroes. Starring Alan Tudyk (another Whedon favorite, formerly Wash from Firefly) and Tyler Labine (Sock from Reaper) as two well-meaning but accidentally homicidal rednecks, this gore-drenched horror-comedy will charm genre fans while attempting to drown them in a couple thousand gallons of fake blood. Vacation, anyone?
“Expecting to relax at their “vacation” cabin, two backwoods boys see their trip turn into a nightmare when they’re accused of being psychotic killers.”
4. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Earlier this year at Mad Monster Party, I met David Naughton, who played lead American-tourist-turned-ravenous-werewolf David Kessler. He told many stories about An American Werewolf in London, but my favorite was about the number of angry complaints that were received by theaters when the film first opened in 1981. The director, John Landis, was known for successful over-the-top comedies like Kentucky Fried Movie, Animal House, and The Blues Brothers. Perhaps hoping to bank on Landis’ name recognition and not scare off his usual audience, the trailer for An American Werewolf in London so heavily played up the comedy angle that many moviegoers didn’t realize they’d come to see a horror film until that first, eye-poppingly horrific transformation from man to wolf. With revolutionary makeup effects with a delicious tongue-in-cheek tone, this one is a horror-comedy classic.
“After surviving a vicious werewolf attack that left his friend dead, an American backpacker in London becomes a murderous werewolf himself. Prowling the streets of London, he learns that his living-dead victims will wander in limbo until he’s dead.”
5. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
With multiple references to Joss Whedon and subversion of genre on this list already, it is a given that The Cabin in the Woods would make an appearance, kittens. Written by Joss Whedon and frequent collaborator Drew Goddard, this is a film that embraces genre conventions so hard they squish them right inside out. I admit, I was skeptical at first (and I’ve always believed the trailer doesn’t do this movie many favors), but once we get into the real existential meat of the story, this film really takes off. If you skipped this one in the theaters, give it a chance now that it’s available on demand. You can ask for your money back if it doesn’t wring at least one or two good laughs out of you, darlings.
“Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.”