Everyone has a different tolerance for horror movies.
But the one thing even those easily spooked can agree on is that scary movies can be overall enjoyable if they’re more funny and less, you know, spine-chilling.
Not everything has to be Hereditary-levels of sinister or conversely, veer into the extremely silly Scary Movie category.
The following films offer the perfect balance for those looking to dive into the genre through comedy and without worrying about being haunted by nightmares for weeks.
Happy Death Day (2017)
Happy Death Day is actually a great modern-day slasher film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s got a well-defined, fun narrative.
College student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) is stuck in a time loop (a trend!) because she keeps getting killed on her birthday. With each loop, she tries to solve her own murder. Think of it as a Mean Girls-esque thriller but with heart.
The sequel, titled Happy Death Day 2U, released in February 2019, expands on this world. It’s even less scarier, which means the franchise really knows what it’s doing for its audience.
Fair warning: It will satiate your need for a few jump scares but it’s the comical writing and Rothe’s phenomenal work that will keep you invested until the credits roll.
Warm Bodies (2013)
Almost every depiction of the zombie apocalypse represents the undead as gory, gruesome creatures. Not many tend to ask the question “what would would happen if an introspective zombie fell in love?”
The answer, my friends, is a light-hearted horror film called Warm Bodies.
In a post-apocalyptic world, a brain-craving zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult) falls for human Julie (Teresa Palmer) and saves her from his kind. The stronger his feelings get, the more alive he feels.
Fair warning: Warm Bodies is essentially a “zom-com,” venturing away from usual tropes. As a result, it’s the ideal film for all of you who find The Walking Dead to be a mess; literally and figuratively.
Little Evil (2017)
A big paranormal movie reoccurrence is young possessed kiddos.
Netflix’s Little Evil is a well-executed satirical take on this theme. Yes, there’s a little boy who is possibly the antichrist. No, he won’t haunt your dreams after you finish watching the film.
Adam Scott aces his role as Gary, a paranoid stepfather to Lucas (Owen Atlas), believing his stepson is the evil incarnate. Both of them begin a weird push and pull in which, and I’m not joking, they attempt to kill each other.
Fair warning: It’s bonkers, sure, but it’s also funnier than you’d expect, so you can get involved in something supernatural without being perturbed.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
The Cabin in the Woods has developed quite a cult following in the years since its release.
It’s a trippy journey that bashes on horror stereotypes with an unexpected level of wit.
A group of friends believe they’re vacationing in a remote cabin. In reality, they are being controlled as part of a ridiculous experiment to decide the fate of humanity.
Fair warning: The film offers a confusing (in a good way) mix of laughs and terror by undercutting the archetype American college student personalities of “the jock” or “the nerd” or “the virgin.”
Teeth can either be real funny or real terrifying, depending on which gender is watching. It’s an absurd film that gives horror a feminist spin. But in a way, it’s momentous with its mission.
Dawn O’Keefe (Jess Weixler) is an abstinent teenager who has ‘vagina dentata’ aka the perfect tool to castrate any man who tries to sexually assault her. It’s kind of genius as a plot. Teeth delves into a lot of tragedy as a motivator for Dawn to seek revenge.
Fair warning: You won’t know whether to fear or laugh at the boldness of this film so, I guess they fulfilled their task at hand as a horror comedy well.
If the kind of dark humor you’re into involves Christmas toys coming to life and going on a murderous rampage, this movie is your jam.
In this holiday-themed sci-fi horror comedy, titular demon Krampus terrorizes the dysfunctional Engel family for losing their Christmas spirit.
I guess it is the most wonderful time of the year, after all.
Fair warning: Unless monsters really creep you out, you have (mostly) nothing to fear, except the need to replace A Nightmare Before Christmas with Krampus as your annual holiday tradition.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead holds up even after 15 years as a classic and for good reason. It’s a bloody good movie, with emphasis on the word bloody.
Set in London, the film follows electronic store salesman Shaun (Simon Pegg) who thinks being dumped is the end of his world. That is until actual world-ending zombies show up in his city.
Fair warning: The movie doesn’t lack in gratuitous ways of killing off people, trust me, but it circumvents its goriness with plenty of dry British humor. It’s the best of both worlds, honestly.
The Final Girls (2015)
This is a slasher comedy that deconstructs the notion of a Final Girl aka the female protagonist who miraculously always survives the serial killer.
In the process, it hilariously takes down other modus operandi of this genre.
A bunch of friends find themselves trapped in a fictional 80’s film called Camp Bloodbath. Max (Taissa Farmiga) is designated as the Final Girl because she’s a virgin and her mom is the actress of the movie.
Fair warning: It is a slasher so expect the unexpected deaths by a machete-wielding murderer but don’t worry, the carnage ain’t bloody. Instead, The Final Girls finds its footing as a mockery-filled caper.