Dark and mean, light and musical, or frickin’ scary with subtle humor? I look at three totally different types of horror films with varying levels of humor.
THE LOVED ONES (2009)
The overwhelming positive response I’ve seen online to this film speaks volumes about what people consider horror these days. Wahoo for you if you like torture porn with a deeper meaning. The Loved Ones is even considered by many to be a darkly comic film, but I couldn’t bring myself to find the flashes of “humor” funny because everything surrounding them was so cruel and tragic.
For starters, cutie Xavier Samuel of Bait, one of my favorite shark films, looks horrible here with long hair. In a very brief setup, we learn that Xavier is dealing with a mom he feels blames him for the death of his father in a car accident, has a hot girlfriend he’s taking to the dance, and politely rejects a girl who approaches him to ask him to the dance (played by Robin McLeavy of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter).
Next, Xavier is kidnapped, his dog is killed (really???), and he ends up tied to a chair in Robin’s house on the night of the dance. For the next hour, we watch she and her father sadistically torture him—to the point that he wouldn’t even be able to function in real life.
There you have it. A character already suffering emotional trauma is brutalized by another character that has little significance to his life…he was never mean to her and we learn nothing about her past experiences, so her motivation for getting “revenge” for being rejected by a guy who already has a girlfriend is strictly because she’s crazy.
The first hour of this film ruins what could have been a thrilling horror flick. Turns out Robin and her dad are feeding something that lives down a trapdoor in their floor. Xavier finally ends up down there…and within minutes, that threat is squelched. WTF? There was your horror movie right there. On top of that, there’s a completely pointless side story about Xavier’s friend at the dance with his goth girl date—a subplot that never even ties in to the main plot.
THE BLOODY INDULGENT (2014)
It’s a vampire rock opera comedy starring Kevin from The Backstreet Boys. Kevin plays an arrogant vampire who ends up being the target of vengeful strippers. I’ll start by saying right up front that this is mostly a mess with predominantly terrible songs, but it has some standout elements:
- Kevin is fantastic in this comic performance and totally nails the rock opera voice.
- Diva Zappa turns into a vampire and is then bitten by zombies, leading to the absolute best line in the whole movie. She should have had more campy moments.
- Kevin turns his best buddy into a vampire. As a result, the guy is convinced that he must now be bisexual, so he cozies up to Kevin.
- Kevin’s vampire also seems to be bisexual, because he openly admires another man’s body.
- During the final battle between vampires and zombies, things get really bloody!
- Three musical numbers stand above the rest: a song about sex in public toilets; a song that mimics “The Telephone Hour” from Bye Bye Birdie; and Kevin’s final comic solo performance during the closing credits.
WE ARE STILL HERE (2015)
Insidious and The Conjuring can suck it. We Are Still Here is my kind of ghost movie. These supernatural bitches are hardcore!
At first, I feared this was going to be a downer—a couple grieving over the loss of their son moves to an old house in New England. But they don’t have much time to dwell on it. Creepy assed shit begins happening immediately and never lets up. Surprisingly, this movie, while loaded with vicious, vindictive ghosts, also proves to have quite a sense of humor. And even though it takes place in a house, it gave me The Fog flashbacks.
Plus, the cast is loaded with actors with long horror resumes: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, and Larry Fessenden. Even Blanche Devereaux’s gay brother Clayton has a starring role!
A terrifying basement, burning apparitions, evil locals, demonic possession, gore—We Are Still Here is pure scary fun from beginning to end. This one is destined to be a classic.