Serial killers vs. killer animals—which will be king of the comic jungle?

How much hilarity do you like with your horror? Here are two very different horror comedies that don’t take themselves seriously.

HOW TO BE A SERIAL KILLER (2008)

 howtobeserialkiller cover

How to be a Serial Killer is a satirical look at a serial killer and his apprentice that seems to turn on itself almost immediately. Mike, the serial killer, is presented infomercial style as an expert in the field who does seminars to teach you how to transform your life through serial killing. There are even spotlight segments of him throughout the film, giving his lectures on the “Lessons” of serial killing.

howtobeserial stage

Is this supposed to be all in his head, or are we supposed to assume we are watching a “how to” video? His acts of murder are planned to avoid arrest, so clearly the movie doesn’t suggest some alternate reality where serial killing is applauded and an aspiration.

howtobeserial kill

The movie is also third person yet switches to “found footage” style during kills. Plus, there are “reality show” interviews…even with Mike’s girlfriend (Laura Regan of Dead Silence, They, and My Little Eye), who doesn’t know he’s a killer. I guess that means it’s not a documentary about his serial killing ways, so who’s supposed to be filming this footage and why?

Clarke, Dameon

Anyway, Mike (hottie Dameon Clarke) finds his apprentice (Matthew Gray Gubler of Suburban Gothic, which I blog about here) working at a video store—my favorite part because of the nostalgia.

howtobeserialkiller kid

From here, if you’ve seen movies like Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon or The Last Horror Movie, you’ve pretty much seen all the dark humor that can be directed at horror from the serial killer’s POV.

There’s simply nothing new here and it’s not done any better than any of those other films. Plus, the generic instrumental psychedelic rock soundtrack gets old (irritating) fast. But, if you’re new to the serial killer satire game, check it out.

RISE OF THE ANIMALS (2011)

riseofanimalscover

The brilliant Rise of the Animals is a great lesson for indie filmmakers with no money. Here’s what you can learn from watching this delight of blood and belly laughs:

  • Make the tone of your horror film laughable comedy so that you can use puppets and cartoonish CGI animals as the baddies and still guarantee it will feel so right.

riseofanimalsbear

  • Throw buckets of fake blood at the actors from off screen at just the right times.
  • Hire a small cast of actors with a talent for delivering funny lines and who also know a thing or two about comic timing.

rise of animals girl

  • Don’t allow your film to run much over an hour—this one is an hour and ten minutes, with nearly ten of those minutes being end credits.

The plot is simple. When a pizza boy and his buddy deliver some pies to a slumber party in the middle of the woods, little do they know that they and a bunch of girls will be stepping into an unexplained “nature strikes back” scenario in which all the animals of the forest suddenly start attacking them!

riseofanimals guy

But first, the pizza boy hooks up with the girl of his dreams. When she’s gone the next morning, he drags his friends along to battle nature’s beasts as they take a road trip (mostly on foot) to find his new lady.

I hope no one ever gives director Chris Wojcik tons of money to make a horror film because I want him to keep making movies just like this.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES.

I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.

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