31 Campy, Cheesy Horror Films for Halloween
Silly Scary Cinema
If you like comedy mixed in with your blood and gore, here's a random list of 31 movies to die (laughing) for. They range from subtle to over-the-top. I realize not everyone will agree with my choices, so feel free to leave comments.
Watch some trailers, and make your selections. Once you've got your favorites ready, pop some corn, turn down the lights and prepare to be both frightened and amused. Thanks for stopping by; have a happy and safe Halloween.
31 Not-So-Horrific Horror Films
- They Live
- My Name is Bruce
- Motel Hell
- Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
- Idle Hands
- Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn
- Shaun of the Dead
- Return of the Living Dead
- Bubba Ho-Tep
- Trick or Treat
- From Dusk Till Dawn
- Lake Placid
- Fright Night
- An American Werewolf in London
- The Cabin in the Woods
- Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood
- Planet Terror
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3
- Army of Darkness
- Dead & Breakfast
1. They Live (1988) - Directed by John Carpenter
Starring Keith David and the late, great (Rowdy) Roddy Piper.
Wearing sunglasses allows our hero to see aliens (they appear human to everyone else) that are trying to take over the world. I guess this is more of a sci-fi film, but let's not get technical. It's classic John Carpenter, and Roddy Piper is terrific as Nada.
2. Otis (2008) - Starring Daniel Stern, Illeana Douglas, Kevin Pollack
A family seeks revenge on the creep who kidnapped their daughter. Probably not too many people have even heard of this one, in which case, you're missing out, because it's a delightful combination of dark and funny.
3. My Name is Bruce (2007) - Directed by Bruce Campbell
Starring Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell as himself.
A small town associates the actor with characters he has portrayed in movies, and they expect him to rid them of their demon. This is one of my personal faves; it's just so much fun, especially if you're a Bruce Campbell fan.
4. Motel Hell (1980) - Starring Rory Calhoun
"It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent's fritters." Farmer Vincent kidnaps people and plants them in his garden. Apparently he's quite taken with one would-be victim, because he decides not to plant her. Will he later regret his decision? As campy as it is, it creeped me out a little.
5. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010) - Starring Alan Tudyk & Tyler Labine
It's not your average slasher film, because the twist here is that the kids are accidentally killing themselves. The main characters are endearing. And hilarious. There's blood and gore, but you'll be laughing through all of it.
6. House (1986) - Starring William Katt and George Wendt
The protagonist inherits his aunt's house after she dies. It turns out his young son (who has been missing for some time) is trapped in the house, held hostage by the protagonist's old war buddy (played by Richard Moll). It's not your typical haunted house story, and the monsters are perfect.
7. Idle Hands (1999) - Starring Devon Sawa, Seth Green, Jessica Alba, and Vivica A. Fox
Music by The Offspring
Anton's hand is possessed, and it does things he has no control over. Killing people, for instance. This movie is engaging and funny; it's worth watching more than once. There's violence, gore, pot-smoking, an animated corpse, a demon hunter, and plenty of general silliness.
8. Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987) - Starring Bruce Campbell
Written and directed by Sam Raimi, the second film in the Evil Dead trilogy is every bit as entertaining as the first. Part 2 picks up right where the first film ended; Ash is still in the remote cabin, and all of his friends are dead. There's no time for him to fully process this though, because he's got bigger problems.
9. Shaun of the Dead (2004) - Starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost
Written (with Simon Pegg) and directed by Edgar Wright. I would describe this as sort of a spoof homage to zombie films. It's outrageous and clever; if you're into this sort of thing, this film is a must-see. Shaun seems to be on everyone's bad side. Everyone except for his best friend, Ed. The two most unlikely heroes soon discover that they must protect their loved ones from walking corpses. Zombie movie fans will appreciate the allusions to other films of the genre.
10. The Return of the Living Dead (1985) - BONUS: Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)
Starring Don Calfa, Clu Gulager, and James Karen. You'll notice some of the same actors playing different characters in both movies. Both are preposterous zombie films; they're not for everyone, but I enjoyed watching them. After having seen so many serious zombie movies from earlier years, these two were refreshing and uproarious.
Have you seen these? - Did you enjoy them?
Which one did you like better?
11. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) - Starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis
Bruce Campbell's character claims to be Elvis. Ossie Davis's character thinks he's JFK. These two nursing home residents are the only ones who can stop an ancient evil. The story is original, and it's well-acted and directed. Those who prefer action-packed, fast-paced movies might find this a little slow moving. If you don't have a short attention span, it's worth your time.
12. Trick or Treat (1986) - Cameo Appearances by Ozzy Osbourne & Gene Simmons
Starring Marc Price.
A dead rock star comes back to life, and one of his teenage fans must figure out how to send him back to the grave. Yes, it's raunchy, but it's fun, and the soundtrack is good. If you have fond memories of the 80s, you will most likely enjoy this film.
13. Slither (2006) - Starring Elizabeth Banks, Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker
I'm not really sure how to sum this one up. The townspeople are more or less being taken over by aliens, but it's a lot less subtle than Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It's hilariously absurd and seriously gross. You won't get bored watching this.
14. Critters (1986) - Starring Dee Wallace, M. Emmet Walsh, and Billy Zane
More alien hi-jinks. This time, the aliens are little furry creatures with sharp teeth that have escaped from a prison planet, stolen a spaceship, and come to a small town in Kansas to feed. In pursuit of them are two bounty hunters with the ability to look like anyone they see. The sheer absurdity will keep you in stitches. This is tame; there is blood, but not buckets of it, and there are surprisingly few deaths.
15. May (2002) - Starring Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto and Anna Faris
Here's one that's a lot more subtle than some of the others; it didn't have me rolling on the floor, but I did enjoy it. May has trouble connecting with her peers, and she has some creepy ways of dealing with rejection. It's different, and I would describe it as a modern day Frankenstein story. If you don't like overt silliness and over-the-top carnage, give this a shot.
16. Leprechaun (1993) - Starring Jennifer Aniston and Warwick Davis
It's a typical slasher film, with the slasher being an atrociously evil little mythical being. If nothing else, you can laugh at the awful 80s attire and count the mullets. Fair warning though, if you're thinking there can't be any substance to a horror movie about a leprechaun killing people, you are absolutely correct.
17. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) - Starring George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino and Juliette Lewis
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, screenplay by Quentin Tarantino - a winning combination. A pastor and his teenage children are taken hostage by two criminal brothers. They all wind up at a strip club (which turns out to be a den of vampires) in the middle of nowhere. This is worth viewing more than once.
18. Lake Placid (1999) - Starring Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda and Oliver Platt
A giant crocodile on the loose in Maine? What else is there to say? Betty White has a supporting role, and she is as charming as ever. I almost fell out of my chair laughing at a couple of the lines she delivered.
19. Fright Night (2011) - BONUS: Fright Night (1985)
A vampire moves in next door to a teenage boy and his mother. I'm not usually a fan of remakes, but I never really cared for the original version. Watch them both, and decide for yourself. The re-imagining is a little darker, it builds some tension, and the acting is superior.
Which version is better? - The original or the remake?
2011 or 1985?
20. An American Werewolf in London (1981) - Written and directed by John Landis
While vacationing in England, a young American man and his friend are attacked by a werewolf. The special effects are pretty decent, considering the year this was filmed. The scene in which the protagonist first transforms into a werewolf is fantastic; it truly looks agonizing.
21. The Cabin in the Woods (2011) - Starring Chris Hemsworth and Richard Jenkins
Strange things happen to a group of young friends when they arrive at a remote cabin for some rest and relaxation. There is so much going on in this movie, I don't know what more to say about it without giving too much away. It's fast-paced, full of action, and it will keep you entertained.
22. C.H.U.D. (1984) - Starring Daniel Stern
Cannibalistic, humanoid underground dwellers. How stupid is this? Watch the trailer. Fair warning: This and Leprechaun are probably the worst two on the list. You might want to have a few drinks before attempting to view either.
23. Cursed (2005) - Directed by Wes Craven
Starring Christina Ricci, Joshua Jackson, Jesse Eisenberg and Judy Greer.
It's an indulgent werewolf movie with a good cast; it doesn't disappoint.
24. Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood (1996) - Starring Dennis Miller, Corey Feldman and William Sadler
Here's another vampire fix for you. It's better than Fright Night, but not as good as From Dusk Till Dawn.
25. Planet Terror (2007) - Written & Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Starring Rose McGowan, Jeff Fahey and Josh Brolin. This is another one of my favorites. It's hands-down the best zombie film ever.
26. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (1990) - BONUS: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)
Part III stars Viggo Mortensen. The Next Generation stars Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey. I can't decide which movie is worse.
Is one worse than the other? - Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Part III or TNG?
Which is worse?
27. Piranha (2010)
This updated version of the 1978 film has a great cast including Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames, Richard Dreyfuss and Christopher Loyd. It doesn't get much cheesier than prehistoric fish with needle-sharp teeth devouring swimmers.
28. Feast (2005) - Starring Balthazar Getty, Eric Dane, Henry Rollins and Jason Mewes
Some people get trapped inside a bar together, then things get really crazy. This flick just doesn't let up, once it gets going. There is a lot of action and even more blood. It'll gross you out and make you laugh.
29. Army of Darkness (1992) - Starring Bruce Campbell
The third part of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy is also the coolest. Ash tries to get back home after being sucked into some kind of wormhole into medieval times. The budget is bigger, and the effects are better.
30. Zombieland (2009) - Starring Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin
One of the best zombie films out there; this ranks right up there with Planet Terror and Shaun of the Dead. It's an epic good time.
31. Dead & Breakfast (2004) - Starring Jeremy Sisto, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Diedrich Bader and David Carradine
And yet another great zombie movie; this one is very campy.
With the bonus picks, there are 34 movies here to choose from. If that's not enough to get you through October, check out 31 More Campy, Cheesy Horror Films for Halloween.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Sara Krentz