Psycho Goreman (2020)
One of the most joyful new horror comedies sees an all-powerful force of evil bested by the small girl who inadvertently releases him from cosmic jail. Problem child Mimi and the brother she bullies discover they can control “The Arch-Duke of Nightmares” and rename him Psycho Goreman. They just want to play games, he just wants to destroy the universe. Packed with over-the-top gore, great gags, and a surprising level of sweetness, this is an ’80s-style schlocker with a modern twist.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Directed by Drew Goddard, who went on to make the stylish, and star-studded Bad Times at the El Royale, this clever, surprising, love-hate letter to the horror genre is packed with rug pulls, reveals, and gags. The movie juxtaposes a typical gang of teens taking a doom-laden vacation and the white collar workers who are pulling the strings behind the scenes. If you somehow missed it–go watch! Now! If you’ve seen it before, this is a movie that rewards repeat viewing.
This Canadian eco-horror about, yes, killer trousers, which played the festival circuit before making its way to Shudder, is actually smarter than it appears. Slaxx is set around a trendy designer store which purports to be ethically sound but is anything but. Yes, there are multiple pants-based slayings as a sentient pair of jeans exacts its bloody revenge on the store workers, but there’s also dark satire and a killer sense of humor at work here–and surprisingly a catchy, cool dance routine to boot.
Zombieland: Double Tap seemed a little late when it came out in 2019, but that shouldn’t detract from the original, which was a refreshing take on the zom-com with great performances from its now-starry cast. Zombieland sees a bunch of misfits who name themselves after their respective hometowns navigate the apocalypse via a strict set of rules. Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Woody Harrelson star in this zippy comedy with heart, and a surprise cameo to die for.
Trick ’r Treat (2007)
If a film ever truly captured the spirit of Halloween it’s this one. Michael Dougherty’s seasonal anthology movie weaves together four stories with a wraparound that brings just the right level of chills and giggles–it manages to be both funny and scary without compromising either. A murderous school principal, a bus driver with a horrible past, teenage girls reclaiming the night, and a little kid dressed in a burlap sack bring the Halloween spirit to life in this cult movie with a cool cast including Brian Cox and Anna Paquin.
Happy Death Day (2017)
This Groundhog Day-style slasher sees college student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) get murdered on the day before her birthday, only to discover she’s stuck in a time loop and destined to relive the day over and over. It’s up to Tree to work out who’s been killing her, while fixing some bad life choices along the way. Blackly funny with some good kills–even if it is, largely speaking, the same person being killed–Happy Death Day is a glossy production from Blumhouse which spawned a sequel in 2019 that is also worth checking out.
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