I’m running through my favorite horror films of the past decade or so, in honor of October and Halloween. These next few movies are humorous takes on the horrific, and I love all of them.
“Young Frankenstein” is one of my favorite movies, period, and certainly the funniest horror-oriented film I know. Way back in 1974 Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder (with credit given to Mary Shelley as well) co-wrote this comedic gem. Wilder stars as FRE-derick Franken-steen, with a stellar cast including Madeline Kahn as his fiance, Teri Garr as his assistant (“roll-roll-roll in de hay”), Marty Feldman as I-gor, Peter Boyle as the Creature, and Cloris Leachman as Frau BLUCH-er (neeeiiiigh!). The combination of Shelley’s classic Frankenstein tale with Brooks’ and Wilder’s jokes, riffing on everything from Igor’s moving hump to the perils of the hidden bookcase to the Creature’s hidden assets, crack me up everytime. If you’ve never seen this incredibly funny movie, no matter whether you’re a horror fan or not, you really owe it to yourself to see it (but of course if you’re familiar with the Frankenstein story, you’re going to die laughing even more…).
1994’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is, of course, as much about Christmas (arguably) as Halloween. But the dementedly delightful denizens of Halloweentown certainly are one of many reasons to check this film out in October, along with the star, Jack Skellington (dually voiced by Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman), and the songs celebrating Halloween and the joys of co-opting Christmas and turning it into another creepy (!) holiday.
Finally we have “Shaun of the Dead,” which came out in 2004. Co-written and starring Simon Pegg, as well as Nick Frost as his best pal (and drinking buddy), “Shaun” is both a hilarious and, at times, ghoulish ride as Shaun and his friends battle to make it through a zombie invasion. If you’ve never thought of utilizing LP’s as a weapon against zombies or holing up in your local pub to weather a zombie invasion, then you simply must see this movie! Seriously, this film is beyond hilarious, but it isn’t afraid to be serious about the consequences of zombie attacks either. This shifting tone was surely difficult to pull off, but Pegg and co. make it work.
Next up – some of my favorite horror classics that never seem to lose their charm…