The List: 10 best horror-comedies

From the April 12, 2012 edition

With the wonderfully twisty horror genre send-up “The Cabin in the Woods” hitting theaters this weekend, I’m counting down my personal favorites for horror-based movies that bring lots of laughs.

10. “Cabin Fever”

Eli Roth would go on to make those squirmy “Hostel” movies, but his debut remains my favorite — and the one with the most humor. Partying college kids are driven mad by a flesh-eating disease, but the film has the wicked weirdness of a David Lynch landscape.

9. “Arachnophobia”

The Spielberg-produced flick had John Goodman and Jeff Daniels, so there were laughs, but people really got creeped out by the spiders. Unsure of which direction to go, the studio marketed the movie as a “thrill-omedy” — proving studios suck at making hybrid words.

8. “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil”

This newcomer is already getting a rabid following thanks to a quick appearance streaming on Netflix. As an inspired comedy of errors, it turns the horror cliché of the murderous redneck on its ear.

7. “Tremors”

One of my favorite degrees of Kevin Bacon, it’s set in a desert town besieged by mutant sand worms. It’s legitimately creepy, at times reminiscent of “Jaws,” but there’s a wicked sense of humor throughout.

6. “Gremlins”

Dude, he told you not to feed them after midnight! There are some really scary moments as the town is overrun with those mean little bastards, but there’s also a ton of great gags and a cartoonish feel.

5. “Zombieland”

Screw “The Walking Dead.” I want to see the fun side of the zombie apocalypse. Comically violent zombie deaths — and one of the best surprise comedic cameos ever — made this one a roller-coaster ride.

4. “The Cabin in the Woods”

Yes, I already think it belongs this high on the list — it definitely possesses that “Buffy” sense of humor. The less you know the better, but see it and tell me I’m wrong.

3. “Dead Alive”

Peter Jackson is now an Academy Award winner for his “Lord of the Rings” adaptation. Before that, he made one of the goriest, most one-liner-ific horror-comedies ever.

2. “Shaun of the Dead”

“Hey, you got a British buddy comedy in my zombie movie! Wait! This is perfect!” Definitely plays for laughs first, but being trapped by zombies? Always a little unnerving.

1. “Evil Dead II”

I couldn’t imagine anything else at the top of my list. Sam Raimi’s “cabin in the woods” homage was basically a remake of his scarier first “Evil Dead.” This one played up the camp, made Bruce Campbell a cult hero and even spawned a musical!