Ha-Ha-Halloween: Making monsters funny again
I was eight the first time I watched a truly terrifying movie. It was the 1998 classic, “The Man in the Iron Mask” and it gave me nightmares for months. After that traumatic cinematic experience, I swore off scary movies for life. So the moment Halloween came every year around I was screwed. All my friends wanted to watch the scariest of the scary, the cream of the horror crop, the bloodiest, goriest, gruesome-est, Halloween-iest films they could conjure up (witch pun intended). Year after year I politely passed, feigning ill or saying I was busy with better plans or that I had already seen “Paranormal Activity.” Still, I felt like I was missing out on Halloween traditions. So, I created my own. That’s right kids, this Halloween special is sponsored by zany zombies, witty werewolves and you guessed it, vagarious vampires. Alliteration aside, my new Halloween tradition began with the frightfully funny films that induce more smiles than squeals. For your convenience, dear reader, I have included a selection of five of my favorite funny monsters to make your Halloween hauntingly hilarious.
“What We Do in the Shadows” (2014)
This mockumentary-style film follows a group of vampire housemates in modern-day New Zealand. They argue about everything from dirty dishes to torture chamber etiquette. If you are looking for a “poke” in your funny bone, look no further. Written and directed and starred in by Jemaine Clement (“Flight of the Conchords”) and Taika Waititi (“Hunt for the Wilderpeople”), “What We Do in the Shadows” is a ridiculous romp of a vampire flick that will make you laugh so hard you will want to scream.
“Young Frankenstein” (1974)
This Mel Brooks classic is just that, a classic. Starring Gene Wilder (“Blazing Saddles”) as the young grandson of the famous, or rather infamous, Dr. Frankenstein, “Young Frankenstein” follows the doctor as he attempts to continue his grandfather’s work in reanimating the dead. Filled with crazy antics, penis jokes and musical numbers, this comedy would leave Mary Shelley rolling in her grave, but it will leave you rolling in laughter.
In this zombie apocalypse comedy, Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”), Emma Stone (“La La Land”), Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) and Woody Harrelson (“The Hunger Games”) make their way across a zombie-filled America following Eisenberg’s Columbus’s 30 rules for survival. In desperate search of Bill Murray, twinkies and home, the rag-tag group of survivalists do their best to stay alive and kill a shit-ton of zombies along the way.
“Shaun of the Dead” (2004)
Another zombie apocalypse comedy for the books. Written by and starring the very British, very funny Simon Pegg (“Hot Fuzz”), “Shaun of the Dead” is a satirical play on the 1978 horror film, “Dawn of the Dead.” Be sure to watch this film if you are in the mood for a dirty, British-humor filled zombie comedy in which there is actually a resolution, and especially if you are craving a bloody good laugh, in more ways than one.
“Troll 2” (1990)
Labeled one of the worst movies of all time, “Troll 2” is definitely the best of the worst (for proof, check out the documentary on the film, “Best Worst Movie” directed by the child star of the terrible film, Michael Stephenson). The film has no trolls, it was actually intended to be called “Goblins” before skeptical American distributors renamed it “Troll 2” in attempts to garner a bigger crowd for a film that they hoped would somehow appear to be a sequel to the 1986 Empire Pictures film, “Troll.” The film follows a family vacation to the town of Nilbog (yes, goblin backwards) where they discover the town is filled with vegetarian goblins disguised as humans who wish to turn them into plants and eat them. So take a trip to Nilbog for the night and see why this horrible movie is so bad, it’s good.