Top 13 Horror Comedies

Things are finally opening up and we’re all slowly going to crawl out of our houses over the next few weeks. After what the world has been through the past three months, I’m very concerned about the impact this will have on the horror genre. Will people want more scares after the coronavirus? I have a strong feeling that therapists won’t have a free hour in the day for years to come. This pandemic has given birth to a host of new fears for many, some still lurking under the surface and waiting to leap out the moment folks start to regain their equilibrium. I speak from experience, having grappled with a crippling anxiety disorder twenty years ago. If you’ve been sheltering in your house for months watching the news and worrying, it’s going to leave a scar.

So, what will the wave of the horror future be? I think what people need now more than ever is laughter. We’ve dwelled in the darkness for too long. We need the light. Luckily, if you’re a die hard horror fan like me in need of a chuckle, there are a lot of good movies out there to satisfy your craving while letting in the light. Here are 13 movies guaranteed to give you a break from your worries. What are some of your favorites?

EXTRA ORDINARY

 

EVIL DEAD 2

 

ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK

 

SHAUN OF THE DEAD

 

SIGHTSEERS

 

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS

 

SATANIC PANIC

 

FINAL GIRLS

 

A HAUNTED HOUSE

 

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE

 

STUDENT BODIES

 

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN

 

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER

I Remember The Alamo

I was recently talking with my friends…remotely, of course, and we got into some of the things we’ve been missing since the pandemic went all horror movie on us. As a writer, I have enjoyed the benefits of less distractions and more free time to do what I love most. Working from home has eliminated my hellacious commute. And it’s saved me hundreds of dollars on gas a month. Spending much more time with my family has been a godsend. Eating out less has been beneficial to my wallet and my stomach. Though we do honor Take Out Tuesday and get delivery from a local restaurant each week. I’ve been able to read more, watch a ton of movies, fix things around the house.

Man, I guess there’s been more positive than negative (like our coronavirus tests) here at the end of the world.

But there are two things I do miss dearly. One is baseball. It feels like those spring training games I was watching happened in another lifetime. Not being able to catch a game every night of the week, or devour the latest stats every morning, has been depressing. What I wouldn’t give to go to a game right now, smell the fresh cut grass, hear the crack of a bat, feel the sun on my face, be one with the roar of the crowd.

That being said, what I miss most of all is going to my local Alamo Drafthouse theater.

alamo

I had finally bought the season pass that entitled me to 30 movies a month for a mere $20. Over the course of January and February, I had gone to the Alamo twenty-three times! When I had a total crap day, I would pull up my app, look for a movie (hoping they were showing an old horror or exploitation movie that night) and download a ticket. That one minute action would completely turn my day around. I instantly had something to look forward to and daydreamed about their popcorn (best ever), craft beer, curated trailers by Birth.Movies.Death and if I was lucky that day, a theme party with perhaps a giveaway or two or the chance to check out a slew of movies to buy before the show, Vinegar Syndrome titles laid out under the big screen. (I can never resist. I’ve added titles like Berserker, Threads and The Incubus to my shelves thanks to those impromptu shopping opportunities.)

What I miss most is just the place itself. It has a vibe that says to me, you’re home. Come set a spell. The Alamo by me used to be a six-theater multiplex called Movieland. That’s the theater where I always took my first dates and where the girl who would become my wife made me rip off the black rubber bracelet my ex had given me as a way to show she was staking her claim, the ex was history.

yonkers alamo

Over the past few years, the Alamo has been my place of choice to celebrate my birthday, which is coming up this month and will make the temporary loss cut a little deeper. A steady on the horror revival flick programs that were part of Alamo’s signature series presented by Video Vortex, Prints of Darkness and Temple of Schlock, I got to see and know a lot of like-minded people who just wanted to see a bit of horror history we may have missed or wanted to revisit in a theater with a bunch of people wearing black t-shirts emblazoned with horror movie images.

I miss my Alamo home, my Alamo family, cold glasses of Wrench IPA (from Industrial Arts Brewing), carpet from The Shining, cool merch in the lobby, talking about films with strangers and most of all, their NO TALKING OR TEXTING policy. Wish I could enforce that at home. But, I have to pick my hill to die on, and that ain’t it when we’re all stuck in here together 24 hours a day.

There is good news. The Alamo has made some changes to bring their experience to pining people like me. You can now stream movies through them for less than the price of going to the theater. We just went through Alamo to check out Fangoria’s latest release, PORNO and it was great. You can see our review below.

 

Certain Alamos are delivering food (alas, mine is not…really could go for ten bowls of popcorn right about now). You can also buy merch online before or after you stream a movie so you can trick your brain into thinking you’re out of the house.

The last movie my wife and I saw at the Alamo was The Thing in early March when we knew the coronavirus was out there but didn’t think it would send the world scurrying for the darkness like rats. Seemed a fitting way to end our run.

Whether I have to wear a hazmat suit or sit in a plastic hamster ball, I will be back, sooner rather than later. We can’t run from everything. The less we give our immune systems to fight against, the weaker we’re getting. Maybe a trip to the movies is exactly what we need so we don’t up dying from the common cold.

Until then, support your Alamo in any way you can and look forward to the day when we can all don our Amityville Horror t-shirts, knock back some beers and enjoy the show.

Roger Corman and The Attack of the Pandemic Monsters

We’re all finding ways to cope with our shelter in place orders. And everyone has their own private concerns they have to grapple with while in isolation. It could be loss of a job,  loss of a loved one, illness, anxiety, grappling with home schooling, feeling disconnected or, as most of us will agree, worrying about the future.

Some days are better than others. Two days ago was just a gray fog kind of day for me. I woke up that way and the fog never lifted. After a while, I didn’t fight it. I just reconciled myself to the fact that the blahs would win this battle. After beating down a panic disorder some twenty years ago, I keep feeling as if those old ways are going to break down my defenses and find their way back. That fear leads to the irrational fear that nearly broke me.

For me, I had to find a new line of defense. Something that could take my mind out of my mind (aka, my head out of my ass) and also give me comfort.

Enter Roger Corman.

Knowing his birthday was coming up was what made him top of mind for me. He just turned 94 and is still cooking. He’s even started a short film fest competition where people in quarantine shoot a 2 minute video in their home. 

I immediately went to online streaming haunts like Amazon Prime, YouTube and Tubi to see what I could find. Damn, I found plenty. When I feel like my day is shit or even when I’ve had a great day, a Roger Corman film is both a perfect, nostalgic pick me up and a reward for a job well done.

Lately, I’ve been devouring Corman flicks like an elephant at a peanut factory. Or a bottle fly at a murder scene. These movies take me back to when I was a kid or an early twenty-something, eager to devour anything horror and scifi. If you’re of a certain again, they might do the same for you. So, what movies have been keeping me sane? Check out the trailers below and maybe you’ll find one that will give you an hour and a half of blessed relief and comfort.

THE TERROR WITHIN – George Kennedy, Andrew Stephens, the end of the world and gargoyles. Need I say more?

 

FORBIDDEN WORLD – A cheesy, sexy, gooey Alien riff that’s a blast to watch. And check out some of the walls in the spaceship. They were made of painted Big Mac boxes.

 

GALAXY OF TERROR – Erin Moran, Sid Haig, Robert Englund and Ray Walston head this total Alien ripoff that is seriously creepy and trippy. Some pretty cool monsters in this one. Be careful what you fear!

 

HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP – Polluted salmon turn into bipedal, horny fish men. Always a go-to movie for me. That dummy scene in the tent is a true WTF moment in film history.

 

IT CONQUERED THE WORLD – A line from this movie is very apropos today – “It’s the end of everything!” If that monster doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will. And it has Peter Graves and Lee Van Cleef!

 

ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS – The Professor from Gilligan’s Island wishes he was back with the crew of the Minnow. This movie is way better than it has any right to be with some really disturbing concepts. Oh, and the crab monsters are a lot of fun.

 

X : THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES – Ray Milland kills it in this horror/scifi thriller. It also inspired my novella, Optical Delusion.

SLASH on Sale for 99 Cents for a Limited Time

Since Flame Tree Press only gives very small windows for book deals, I had to make sure I let you all know about this one ASAP. Take advantage of this one-time special between 4/15/20 and 4/17/20. If you ask me, The Wraith could straight out murder the coronavirus and get us all back to normal. 

“A story surpassing in concept any slasher novel/film made thus far.” – New York Journal of Books

3D SLASH

Five years after Ashley King survived the infamous Resort Massacre, she’s found hanging in her basement by her fiancé, Todd Matthews. She left behind clues as to what really happened that night, clues that may reveal the identity of the killer the press has called The Wraith. With the help of his friends, Todd goes back to the crumbling Hayden Resort, a death-tinged ruin in the Catskills Mountains. What they find is a haunted history that’s been lying in wait for a fresh set of victims. The Wraith is back, and he’s nothing what they expected.

“Watch out, world, the Wraith is coming for you. As always, Shea brings the thrills with this urban exploration mystery chiller!” Megan Hart, New York Times bestseller author

“The violence is visceral and unnerving.” – Publishers Weekly

GRAB A COPY OF SLASH TODAY! 

Pandemic Horror Hangouts

Well, I have to say, this pandemic has definitely gotten Jack and I to increase our production of Monster Men episodes. Craving some sort of social interaction and realizing everyone is looking for something to take their minds off of things, we’ve been interviewing someone every Sunday night and just shooting the shit, talking horror, how we’re dealing with the coronavirus, baseball, booze, comfort movies and more. So, if you’re looking to have a little fun in your favorite genre, I encourage you to give these a watch. Next week we’ll have an episode with author Glenn Rolfe. Any suggestions for future guests?

Grab your favorite adult beverage and sit back for an hour and let’s all forget about the shit show going on in the world…

Interview with horror author Laurel Hightower

 

Interview with author and audiobook narrator Chris Sorensen

 

Interview with author Matt Manochio

R.I.P. Stuart Gordon – King of the 80s Video Store

Man, as if all this craziness with coronavirus (and the possibly more dangerous reaction to it) wasn’t enough, did we really have to lose a horror legend? News that Stuart Gordon suddenly passed away was a total shock. I have to admit, it rocked me. Let’s be glad Dr. West wasn’t around to revive him. That would not have gone well. (And no, not too soon! Gordon had a wicked sense of humor, as anyone one who has watched his movies can see.)

When I think back to the glory days of the video store in the 80s and 90s, the films of Stuart Gordon loom large. Some of my favorite discoveries on VHS were products of his warped imagination. I read Lovecraft as a teen, but I never truly enjoyed his stories until Stuart Gordon made his, most times, loose interpretations. Who knew they could be so…sexy?

He wasn’t afraid to inject his tales of terror with dark humor (Dr. West battling a reanimated feline), sex (Barbara Crampton in full S&M gear), gore (the feasting creature locked in the dungeon) or even utter sweetness (a little girl befriending a man who is just a kid at heart). Above all, he brought Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton into our lives. For that, I would never be able to thank him enough.

I’ve been spending the week going back and enjoying Gordon’s filmography. Below are my top 5 in order. Step away from the anxiety for a spell and lose yourself in some trailers. If you haven’t seen any of them, shame on you! If you’re a fan like me, which ones are your favorites?

 

#5 – DAGON

 

#4 – CASTLE FREAK

 

#3 – DOLLS

 

#2 – RE-ANIMATOR

 

#1 – FROM BEYOND

Horror Double Features For Social Distancing

The coronavirus has really turned things upside down. I have to tell you, I really miss going to my local Alamo theater a couple of times a week and watching old and new horror movies. I miss seeing all those familiar faces and just having a good time together.

I’m sure most of you are home and wondering what the hell you’re going to do to fill your days and nights. I’m here to help you by curating fun double features that you can watch online. Give them a gander and post your comments here so we can all interact without the fear of catching something.

I happened to suggest this one on the recent Final Guys and felt it’s perfect to kick thing off.

GRABBERS

grabbers

This was the strangest St. Patrick’s Day ever. No bars. Nor parade. Nuthin. To get a flavor for the special day, my family watched the Irish horror flick, GRABBERS. A monster crashes into the sea around an island in Ireland. The tentacled beastie does have one weakness – it doesn’t like to eat people who are drunk! So the townspeople gather in the pub to drink their faces off while under attack. One of my favorite modern monster movies, Grabbers should be watched while sipping whisky.

It also has the most succinct and accurate synopsis ever –

“A small town must stay drunk in order to fight back an alien attack.”

You can watch Grabbers on Hulu or Amazon Prime.

THE HOST

host

Now let’s head over to South Korea for another killer sea creature that will make your heart race and give you a jump scare or two. Although it came out 14 years ago, the CGI here is excellent and the solid performances will suck you right in. It would be a dream to see the baddie in The Host battle it out with the Grabbers. Heads will fly…literally!

“On 09 February 2000, the American military base of Yongson releases toxic chemicals in the drain to the Han River under the direct order of an arrogant coroner. Six years later, a mutant squid monster emerges from Seoul’s Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people.”

You can watch The Host on Amazon. 

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