Thursday Movie Picks – Halloween edition: Horror Comedy

For this week’s Thursday Movie Picks, run by Wandering through the Shelves, we’ve been asked to list three to five films that are in the comedy-horror subgenre for the next part of a special Halloween series of posts. As usual I have based my selection from films I’ve watched.

Shaun of the Dead  (2004, Dir. Edgar Wright)

I’m a big fan of Messrs Pegg, Frost and Wright, and there’s a lot to like in the first instalment of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. It’s packed full of British humour and has an excellent supporting cast including Brit favourites Bill Nighy, Dylan Moran and Lucy Davis.

Sightseers (2012, Dir. Ben Wheatley)

Sightseers is a black comedy gem that, like Shaun of the Dead, is quintessentially British. Principally written by its leads, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, it follows a couple as they take their dream caravan holiday across the UK. It’s well worth a watch, especially if you can relate to the humour and misadventures that come with caravanning.

Death Becomes Her (1992, Dir. Robert Zemeckis)

Rounding out my selection is this classic from Robert Zemeckis. I adore 1980s/90s Goldie Hawn and she is in fine form here. Meryl Streep and Bruce Willis round out the trio and while the special effects are a bit hit and miss now, it is still a fun film with some brilliant melodramatic performances.

10 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks – Halloween edition: Horror Comedy

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  1. I still need to see Shawn of the Dead but hope to as I like Simon Pegg and love Bill Nighy. I don’t know your second choice but I found the last one better than I thought it would be.

  2. Three great picks there Claire. Love the offbeat tone of Sightseers and it’s so unpredictable. That’s probably my favourite of the three.

  3. All three are excellent choices. I can remember seeing Death Becomes Her on release back in 1992 and really disliking it. Clearly it has grown on me over the years ha ha.

  4. I’ve only seen Death Becomes Her. It is a twistedly wild funhouse ride thanks to the sly performances of the three leads who all dive into their cockemamie characters with undisguised glee. I also love Goldie Hawn! Her film career has been erratic but when she’s comfortable with the material she’s pure gold. I’m so glad she plans to make another film, I’d hate for her final picture to be the wretched Snatched.

    I’ve heard of Shaun of the Dead but horror isn’t something I gravitate towards so I’ve never tracked it down, maybe some day. The other is new to me.

    As I said horror isn’t my bag especially present day horror-too much blood and gore-but the milder scares of the 40’s I’m good with so I reached back there for my three this week.

    Hold That Ghost (1941)-Inheriting a mobster’s dilapidated country tavern rumored to contain hidden treasure through an odd set of circumstances Chuck Murray and Ferdie Jones (Abbott & Costello) find themselves trapped there on a dark and stormy night. Along with some other stranded travelers the boys live through a night of wacky shenanigans including a ghost, hidden doors and a couple of vanishing detectives while looking for the loot. One of A&C’s better films, you even get a couple of musical numbers by The Andrews Sisters.

    You’ll Find Out (1940)-Heiress Janis Bellacrest (Helen Parrish) books Kay Kyser (Kay Kyser) and his big band “The Kollege of Musical Knowledge” including singer Ginny Simms and Ish Kabibble to play her 21st birthday party at her country mansion. When an intense storm blows in the band finds themselves stuck along with Janis, her eccentric Aunt Margo (Alma Kruger) and trio of questionable “friends” professor Fenniger (Peter Lorre), Prince Soliano (Bela Lugosi) and Judge Mainwaring (Boris Karloff) as things go bump in the night. A trifle overlong but a chance to see three horror giants playing for laughs.

    The Ghost Breakers (1940)-Inheriting a distant relative’s supposedly haunted castle of an isolated island off the Cuban coast young Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard) decides to take possession despite a stranger’s (Anthony Quinn) warning to stay away. Setting sail Mary finds radio announcer Larry Lawrence (Bob Hope), on the lam because he thinks he’s bumped off a gangster’s henchman, stowed away in her trunk. Amid pratfalls and wisecracks Mary & Larry team up to get to the bottom of the voodoo magic, zombies and ghosts that curse the spooky estate.

    1. ‘Cockemamie’ – what a word! I agree completely.

      There are a handful of gory scenes in Shaun of the Dead but even then they are quite tame. It definitely ranks more on comedy side rather than horror.

      You’ll Find Out sounds very amusing, as does The Ghost Breakers. I haven’t seen Hope in anything yet.

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