The list of new arrivals to Shudder for February 2020 is below, but first, we’re going to talk about horror/comedies. The combination represents one of the toughest sub-genres to nail down as the latter element almost always drowns out the former. Think about it — what’s the last horror/comedy you watched that was legitimately frightening? We previously listed 10 of the scariest, but even there the most recent is from five years ago. As I said, it’s a tough combination.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t fantastic horror/comedies that deliver big laughs paired with blood, monsters, and dark thrills. Absolute classics like The Return of the Living Dead (1985) and Re-Animator (1985) are light on chills but are masterclasses in combining bold comedy, gory set-pieces, and terrifically fun worlds. They’re deservedly well known, but other greats are far less familiar to the mainstream. To that end, I’ve combed through the offerings on the Shudder streaming service — a must-have subscription for horror fans — and have picked out five terrific horror/comedies currently available for injecting straight into your eyes and funny bones.
Juan Piquer Simón’s early 80s slasher is every bit the classic in my house as those two films mentioned above, but as beloved as it is it never quite found the same degree of awareness and acclaim in pop culture. A killer is chopping up young women and crafting a life-size body puzzle, and only Christopher George and Linda Day can stop him — but first they have to identify him, and that’s where much of the film’s immense fun comes into play as red herrings both subtle and blaring keep everyone guessing. Pieces isn’t technically a comedy, but it is laugh out loud funny. It’s also not a deconstruction of the genre like Scream (1996) or a pure attempt at making a slasher comedy like Student Bodies (1981), but instead it’s a rare bird that finds humor everywhere but the main narrative. To be sure, it’s every bit the graphic, bloody, flesh-filled horror movie suggested by the film’s title and marketing, but it’s also so, so much more.
Demon Wind (1990)
Like Pieces above, Demon Wind isn’t technically categorized as a comedy — but sweet jesus is it one of the funniest films out there. A young man and his friends head to his family’s home only to find monsters, mayhem, and martial arts awaiting them. It’s a film that feels birthed of the 80s despite its 1990 release date, and it’s packed with ridiculous scenes, crazy practical effects, a nonsensical narrative, and more demonic wind than you’ll know what to do with. It’s madly entertaining and guaranteed fun when looking for something memorable to show friends, family, and strangers alike.
What more can I say about this absolute gem of a film that I haven’t already screamed from the rooftops? It’s one of the great zom-coms (of sorts) and sees a handful of young heavy metal-lovers accidentally turn normal folks into demonic tools in need of a good dildo bashing. It’s the movie on this list I’ve re-watched the most times as it has yet to grow tiring. The jokes are funny, the gags are fresh, the gore is plentiful, and there’s just such a lively energy to the whole thing leaving no room for dull spots or down time. Plus, I’m not kidding about that dildo bashing.
Dude Bro Party Massacre III (2015)
There’s really no reason that this comedic slasher should work as well as it does. The title is absurd! The budget is non-existent! I even avoided it for a couple years thinking it was a cheap throwaway not worth my 91 minutes — but after finally being convinced to give it a spin in 2018 I immediately fell under its ridiculous but very, very funny spell. The dialogue and banter is top notch, and it’s a creative, spirited take on slashers that both acknowledges the genre and has a gleeful time riffing within it. Leave your preconceptions at the door, grab yourself a beer or three, and settle in for some goofy slasher fun with an eclectic cast.
Another Evil (2016)
Comedy, horror, and the art of cinema are all subjective, but that said, this is the pick that will probably be the most divisive among horror/comedy fans. I love it, but while the films above are gory blasts the humor and visuals here are far more subdued. It’s a pitch-perfect dry humor that pervades this tale of a haunted house and the questionable exorcist hired to clean out the ghost, but if you’re on its wavelength the laughs are frequent and audible.
Here’s what’s new to Shudder for February 2020.
A SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE. Starring Dora Madison, Tru Collins, Jeremy Gardner and Rhys Wakefield, directed by Joe Begos. (Also available on Shudder Canada and Shudder UK)
Child’s Play (1988)
Starring: Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Dinah Manoff (Also available on Shudder Canada)
Escape from New York (1981)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes
The Fog (1980)
Starring: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John Houseman
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Starring: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck
Night of the Comet (1984)
Starring: Catherine Mary Stewart, Geoffrey Lewis, Kelly Maroney, Mary Woronov, Robert Beltran (Also available on Shudder Canada)
Like Me (2017)
Starring: Addison Timlin, Larry Fessenden, Ian Nelson (Also available on Shudder Canada)
“The Whistler” — short
Starring: Karis Cameron, Baya Ipatowicz, Nelson Leis, Alison Wandzura, John Emmet Tracy, Ava Sleeth (Also available on Shudder Canada and Shudder UK)
Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019)
A SHUDDER ORIGINAL Starring Pekka Strang (Tom of Finland) & Krista Kosonen (Blade Runner 2049), directed by J-P Valkeapää. A SHUDDER ORIGINAL (Also available on Shudder Canada)
“Catcalls” — short
Starring: Martin O’Sullivan, Edel Murphy, Francesca Saunder, Sarah Kinlen (Also available on Shudder Canada and Shudder UK)
The Golden Glove (2019)
Starring: Jonas Dassler, Margarethe Tiesel, Hark Bohm (Also available on Shudder Canada)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Starring: Suzie Lanier-Bramlett, Robert Houston, John Steadman (Also available on Shudder Canada and Shudder UK)
Prom Night (1980)
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Leslie Nielsen, Casey Stevens (Also available on Shudder Canada)
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)
Starring: Lisa Schrage, Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon (Also available on Shudder Canada)
3 from Hell (2019)
A SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE. Starring Sheri Moon Zombie (Lords of Salem), Bill Moseley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), Sid Haig (Bone Tomahawk), Richard Brake (Mandy), Dee Wallace (The Howling) and Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn), directed by Rob Zombie. (Also available on Shudder Canada)
“Blanketyy” — short
Starring: Toks Olagundoye, Joshua Burge, Amy Okuda, John Pirruccello, Hermie Castillo (Also available on Shudder Canada and Shudder UK)
Seoul Station (2016)
Starring: Joon Lee, Eun-kyung Shim, Seung-ryong Ryu (Also available on Shudder Canada)
Return of the Living Dead III (1993)
Starring: Kent McCord, James T. Callahan, Sarah Douglas, Melinda Clarke, Abigail Lenz
Jessica Forever (2018)
A SHUDDER ORIGINAL. Starring Aomi Muyock, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Augustin Raguenet and Lukas Ionesco, directed by Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel. (Also available on Shudder Canada and Shudder UK)
Dog Soldiers (2002)
Starring: Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee, Emma Cleasby and Liam Cunningham. (Also available on Shudder Canada)
Empathy, Inc. (2018)
Starring: Zack Robidas, Kathy Searle, Eric Berryman, Jay Klaitz (Also available on Shudder Canada)
Starring: Patricia Clarkson, Jake Weber, John Speredakos and Eric Per Sullivan (Also available on Shudder Canada)