Top 10 Horror Satires

ghostface_in_scream-HDSATIRE – The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices

“Horror” is a broad genre. It has more sub-genres than I care to keep track of. Horror gets a bad rap because it recycles the same plots and stories over and over again. I mean, how many Friday the 13th movies are there now? (answer: 12) Somewhere in the mid 80’s Hollywood began spoofing horror movies, or making out right horror satire. I like when a genre can make fun of itself, especially when that genre is horror. So, in no particular order, the top 10 horror satires (or spoofs) …in my opinion. MANY SPOILERS AHEAD!

  1. Scream (1996) Not the first, but arguably the best of the horror satires. Scream was a breath of fresh air in the mid-90’s when horror movies were at an all time low. It was original, funny, and smart. Not since Alfred Hitchcock killed off Janet Leigh in the first act of Psycho has a horror audience been so surprised at an on-screen death. Drew Barrymore dies a grizzly, bloody death all before the credits roll. Scream also managed to make fun of itself and horror movies in a way that let us all in on the joke. There are nods to Wes Craven throughout, and of course the famous “Horror Movie Rules” monologue. I’ll be right back… 
  2. Heathers (1988) dish-091212-heathersUsually grouped in with movies called “dark comedies”, Heathers is a perfect example of a satirical horror movie. Heathers takes an extreme look at high school life through the lens of two teen lovers who accidentally (?) start killing all of their obnoxious friends and staging the murders to look like suicide. It’s awesome. I have so many favorite lines from this movie that I’d be hard pressed to choose just one. It stars Winona Rider and Christian Slater before they became intolerable. And Shannon Doherty as one of the Heathers. Think “Mean Girls” but meaner. Way meaner.
  3. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) I know. By no means is this a “horror” movie. But, it is a spoof and I will take any excuse to put a Don Knotts movie on a list. This one is my favorite. If you have kids, they will love it. Don Knotts plays Luther Heggs, the afore-mentioned “Mr. Chicken”. He has to spend the night in a haunted house. You get it. It’s a cute movie that is one part “horror” (lite!) and one part comedy. The comic timing couldn’t be better. I still watch this movie and smile. And here is a little “Easter Egg” for you. Listen throughout the movie for a voice saying “Attaboy, Luther!” multiple times in the film. Anyway, it’s a great little movie. (Start at about 2:00 for the speech) 
  4. Cabin in the Woods (2012) cabin_in_the_woods_posterOne of the most recent, and quite arguably one of the best of these movies ever made. I don’t want to say too much about this one because I would hate to ruin any of the surprises in this little gem. But I will tell you this: The screen play is by Joss Whedon. That should be enough for you, but here are the bare bones – a group of super hot college kids go to a secluded cabin in the woods. From there you can guess what happens… sex, drugs, nudity. Yep. But… what happens next? You’ll have to watch to find out.
  5. Young Frankenstein (1974) young-frankensteinWhen I think satire, I think Mel Brooks. And this one is his best. It’s the story of Frankenstein… as told by Mel Brooks. That means you are going to get a lot of slap stick comedy, a few song and dance numbers, and all of these awesome people – Terri Garr, Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn – and even a few sight gags. (Keep an eye in Igor’s hunch) The movie is smart and very funny. It pays tribute to the Horror Classics while pin-pointing the absurdities and cliché’s of the genre.
  6. Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010) If you like horror, and you haven’t seen this yet, then stop reading this and watch it. It is fantastic amounts of fun. This film takes your fear of red necks and turns it on its ear. That’s right, the red necks in this movie don’t have lampshades made of human skin, they aren’t collecting girls in the basement, and they don’t have a crazy inbred family or a meat hook at their disposal. They are just a couple of nice guys who happen to look creepy to the wrong bunch of college kids. 
  7. Shaun of the Dead (2004)  You’ve seen this one, right? It’s awesome. I know a lot of people have OD’d on Zombies, and I hear ya, but this film stands alone. It takes the “Zombie movie” and attacks each and every cliché and trope with hilarity.
  8. Zombieland (2009) amazon-will-produce-a-tv-show-about-zombies Speaking of Zombies… This movie is part Road Trip, part Apocalypse and of course, part Zombie movie. And for a “funny” horror movie, it’s pretty gross. But in a good way. A group of survivors take to the open road in an attempt to find sanctuary…someplace. This one is a lot of fun – all the characters have places for names (Tallahassee, Wichita, Little Rock) and well, Bill Murray is in it, and you just can’t beat that.
  9. Bubba Ho-tep (2002) BUBBA_HO_TEPI have two words for you: Bruce Campbell. Not enough? Ok, how about Bruce Campbell as Elvis Presley living on the down-low in an old folks home in Texas? The film also stars Ossie Davis as Jack, a black man who claims to be John F. Kennedy, stating that he was patched up after the assassination, dyed black, and abandoned. In Texas. It’s brilliant. The two team up to defeat an ancient egyptian mummy, and address themes like aging and growing old in a culture (and country) that only values the young.
  10. Dead Alive (Braindead) (1992) MV5BMTcwMzY5MTYxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTUwOTc4._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_Before Peter Jackson decided to dedicate his life to nerds everywhere and make Hobbit movies, he was a super cool horror movie director. This movie is so badass, I don’t know if I have the words to describe it. But, I’ll try. It’s all starts with a young man and his mother… and his monkey. A Sumatran rat-monkey to be exact. This cute little fella bites his mom. She gets sick and dies, then comes back to life eating nurses, dogs, neighbors, friends – she’s not really picky. And to be fair, she wasn’t that nice when she was alive. It’s really funny, really dark and really, REALLY gross. And, it’s the only movie where you’ll hear these words “I kick ass for the lord!”

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