As the nights draw in, it's time to draw the curtains and carve some scary faces into pumpkins. If you're too chicken to watch a really nasty scary movie, then why not try one of my 5 best horror comedies this Halloween?
5 – 'Elvira: Mistress of the Dark' (1988)
In the late eighties, our vampy Valley girl Elvira made the leap from introducing low-budget horror movies on a local TV station to starring in her own big screen debut. Our wisecracking heroine inherits a mansion in Massachusetts, but the locals just don’t take to her immoral, witchy ways! Plenty of laughs, even more cleavage and rated PG-13, this one is definitely suitable for watching even if you’re alone in the house this Halloween.
4 – 'Death Becomes Her' (1992)
Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep's rivalry reaches murderous heights when it comes to the love of a good man, in this case played by Bruce Willis. Madeline Ashton (Streep) and Helen Sharp (Hawn) begin to play the long game when they discover 'Forever Young', a product that will reverse the effects of aging on their bodies. While the potion works its magic in the short term, over time, the girls' perfect bodies begin to deteriorate and they realise that if they want to remain among the living dead, they'll need to reconcile their differences. Lots of laughs, but some fairly gruesome scenes may put the more squeamish off, despite the light-hearted approach.
3 – 'Beetlejuice' (1988)
Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis play a couple who make the transition from newly-wed to newly-dead when they are killed on their honeymoon. They have some trouble adjusting to the afterlife, even with the help of their Handbook for the Recently Deceased. Told that they must remain in their holiday home for 125 years along with the new living occupants, yuppie family the Deetzes and their goth daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder), they decide to enlist the services of the rather unorthodox spirit Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) to scare the new family away. Rated PG in the USA, and 15 in the UK, Tim Burton's Beetle Juice is a hilarious horror with some classic set pieces.
2 – 'Shaun of the Dead' (2004)
Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's first feature film will delight fans of 'Spaced', the British comedy series, and Romero's Living Dead series alike. This time around, Pegg plays loveable loser Shaun who is in trouble with his girlfriend, his mum and his flatmate Pete. In fact, his only real mate is Ed, played by Pegg's real life bezzie mate, Nick Frost. When the zombie apocalypse hits London, Shaun realizes that he needs to take control of his life as well as the rapidly worsening walking-corpse situation if he's going to survive. SotD is an accomplished zom-rom-com, packed with quoteable one-liners, in-jokes for the zombie aficionado and some wonderfully gory deaths.
1 – 'Braindead' / 'Dead Alive' (US) (1992)
Some people will be amazed to learn that prior to making the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, Peter Jackson's claim to fame was his world record for using the most fake blood in a movie scene ever. If that factoid doesn't excite you, then you'll probably want to steer clear of my final recommendation, as you'll find that charming scene nestled at the end of 'Braindead'. In the town of Wellington, New Zealand in 1957, Lionel (Timothy Balme) is a mild, unassuming all-around nice guy, who lives with his domineering mother (Elizabeth Moody). When he falls in love with Paquita (Diana Peñalver), Mum has some serious approval issues and in the course of stalking them one afternoon, gets bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey. Sadly, this leads to her swift demise and reanimation as a ravenous zombie, a condition which rarely confines itself to just one victim. Lionel is such a doting son, that he feels compelled to look after Mum, along with the rapidly growing hordes of zombies, until things get seriously out of hand. There is no question about it, 'Braindead' is an adults-only gorefest, but if you can stomach the blood and guts, you’ll be treated to some of the funniest scenes ever committed to celluloid. Highlights include the desecration of 'The Archers' theme tune and the kung-fu priest who "kicks arse for the Lord". Fabulous.