So far, 2022 has been a banner year for cinematic horror comedies, whether it’s the Foo Fighter fright-fest Studio 666Mimi Cave’s cannibalistic curio Freshor Shudder’s alien invasion film Seed. The last six months or so have given the filmgoing world a wildly amusing mix of laughter and lethality that is bound to continue through the summer and fall as more horror movies get releases ahead of Halloween.
To get a pulse on where some of the newest horror comedies stack up in the pantheon of all-time great generic mash-ups, the good folks at Ranker have weighed in and cited an extremely formidable roster of filmmakers, including Tim Burton, Sam Raimi , Mel Brooks, Edgar Wright, and more.
Note: Ranker lists are live and continue to accrue votes, so some rankings may have changed after this publishing.
10 Gremlins (1984)
Stream On HBO Max
Amblin Entertainment’s massive commercial hit Gremlins blended family-friendly humor with intense violence so deftly that the MPAA created the PG-13 rating as a go-between for PG and R-rated movies shortly after. Written by Chris Columbus and directed by Joe Dante with kinetic energy and irreverent humor, the film follows a race of little green ghouls who overrun a small town during Christmas, forcing a teenager named Billy (Zach Galligan) to rescue the town while keeping his pet. Mogwai Gizmo safe.
With great rules that establish the mythological stakes of Gizmo and his evil counterparts (no water, no bright light, no food after midnight), the world-building is full of heart, silly cartoonish set pieces, practical puppeteering, and a gonzo sense of pacing that is not too scary but tons of fun to watch.
9 Tremors (1990)
Stream On Starz
Riffing on classic sci-fi B-monster movies from the 1950s, Tremors is another highly entertaining horror-comedy that holds up extremely well. The premise concerns two local handymen, Earl (Fred Ward) and Val (Kevin Bacon), whose exodus from the tiny town of Perfection is rudely interrupted by gigantic deadly subterranean worms called Graboids that hunt humans by sound.
Aside from the practical FX that goes a long way in the film holding up over time, it’s the elaborate death scenes and the waggish rapport between Ward and Bacon that really makes the self-reflexive humor work. Director Ron Underwood is in on the joke, poking fun at and paying homage to the cheaply made, absurdly-premised, yet supremely amusing sci-fi creature features of the ’50s.
8 Evil Dead II (1987)
Stream On IndieFlix
If Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead had moments of unintentional levity, then Evil Dead II is an outright laugh-fest successfully meant to make viewers scream, squirm, giggle, grin, howl, and writhe all at once. The slapstick cartoon of a movie continues the horrific exploits of Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell in his most iconic role) as he tormented by a grisly host of demoniacs inside a secluded cabin in the woods. Pure demented fun at its finest!
The tonal balance of gruesome over-the-top carnage and silly physical comedy is accentuated by the hyperkinetic camerawork, creating a completely bonkers sense of lunacy that never lets up for a second for viewers to catch their breath.
7 The Cabin In The Woods (2011)
Rent On Apple TV
From one Cabin In The Woods to another, Drew Goddard’s cheeky 2011 riff on Sam Raimi’s classic trilogy amounts to one large cinematic prank in the end. The film follows five friends enjoying some R&R in an isolated cabin, only to slowly learn something foul is afoot, including a large-scale manipulative role-playing plot with sinister implications.
To be fair, most of the film plays like a straightforward horror movie, finally making its subversive and morbidly humorous turn in the final act. Things go completely off the rails during the finale, including a very satisfying appearance from a Merman. More a clever twist on an age-old formula than a true horror-comedy, the film is still highly entertaining on repeat viewings.
6 Army Of Darkness (1992)
Stream On Max Go
While most ardent horror fanatics feel Evil Dead II is the best of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy, Ranker fans favor Army of Darkness instead. Easily the most absurd and cartoonish of the lot, the story whisks Ash to the middle ages where he must use the Necronomicon to return home safely, escaping bondage and fighting an ancient horde of Deadite zombies in the process.
Frenetic, frenzied, and ferocious as can be, Army of Darkness deliberately leans into the mordant humor more than most, giving Bruce Campbell free rein to act a lovable fool in a funny fish-out-of-water premise. The hilarious quips, zingers, and memorable one-liners Ash spouts are perfectly balanced by Raimi’s visual flare and lighthearted violence.
5 Young Frankenstein (1974)
Stream On Amazon Prime
What would a comedy compilation be without the inclusion of the great Mel Brooks? The oldest horror comedy to make the grade, per Ranker, is Brooks’ classic Young Frankenstein spoof, which eviscerates the mythology of Frankenstein so badly that it leaves almost everyone who sees it in severe stitches, including the monster itself!
Bolstered by a terrific cast, the story finds the grandson of the evil Dr. Frankenstein out to prove to the masses that the scientist was not as mad as everyone believed. Arriving in Transylvania, Young Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) discovers the reanimation process and begins his own experiments that go completely haywire, balefully backfire, and hilariously untether the doctor’s legacy. Just as Brooks does with almost every other movie genre, the master satirist proves he is the king of lampoonery.
4 Ghostbusters (1984)
Stream On Fubo TV
The biggest financial hit of 1984 (per Box Office Mojo), Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters remains a landmark horror-comedy and pop-cultural touchstone for generations of movie lovers. The FX-driven spectacle features one of the all-time funniest ensemble casts, the comedic chemistry of which is the chief reason to return to the film again and again. Venkman, Egon, Slimer, Gozer, Zuul, the Marshmallow Man … all stuff of cinematic legend.
Hitting all of the right notes like a virtuosic symphony, the story of a team of bumbling parapsychologists saving New York City from a rash of ghostly and ghastly supernatural activity is genuinely scary when it needs to be and legitimately hysterical when it’s designed to be, marrying. tones better than almost every movie that’s come before and after it.
3 Beetlejuice (1988)
Stream On HBO Max & Tubi
Despite appearing on screen for just 17 minutes, Michael Keaton’s indelible turn as the Ghost with the Most, aka Beetlejuice, remains one of the most hysterical and eminently-quotable ghoulish characters on record. The baleful bio-exorcist is creepy yet charismatic as can be, which makes his interactions with the Maitlands so iconic.
Directed with his trademark Gothic style by Tim Burton in one of his most acclaimed movies, the inventive and imaginative ghost story finds two amiable ghosts trying to rid their country house of trendy new city buyers, calling on the help of the despicable Beetlejuice to do so. . Between the “Day-O” dinner dance, wicked wedding, sinister sand worms, and the like, Burton has created an all-time beloved mash-up of tones that continues to have fans clamoring for a sequel.
2 Zombieland (2009)
Rent On Vudu
With sight gags and hilarious verbal jokes coming a mile a minute, Zombieland has an absolute blast rewriting the rules of the tried and true zombie film formula to create an excitingly subversive take on the genre. Set during a zombie apocalypse, four strangers named for the state they hail from join forces and go on a road trip to find safe haven at an amusement park. Cue the brain-eating carnage and humorous infighting!
Aside from the whip-smart script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick that has a lot of fun toying with the well-worn conventions of zombie films, the comedic chemistry among Wichita (Emma Stone), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg). ), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) is what really ascends Zombieland to a whole new stratosphere of pure delight. The Bill Murray cameo alone is comedic gold.
1 Shaun of The Dead (2004)
Stream On Amazon Prime
According to Ranker, Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead is the all-time best horror-comedy. A cheeky spin on George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead slanted with the dry wit of British humor, the story is a redemption tale for Shaun (Simon Pegg), who tries to reconcile his frayed romance with Liz (Kate Ashfield) by saving her and her friends from a hyper-gory zombie incursion.
Beyond the entertaining ways in which Wright plays with audience expectations as it relates to the traditional zombie movie formula, teetering between side-splitting humor and head-splitting horror, the heartfelt bond between Shaun and his best friend Ed (Nick Frost) goes a long way in rooting for and relating to the characters.
NEXT: 10 Scariest Moments In Edgar Wright Movies
The 10 Best References in Jurassic World: Dominion