Boo! Ha, gotcha. For some people, that's about as spooked as they like to get. Unlike the millions of people in our world obsessed with slasher films — who genuinely love to be frightened beyond their wits — others hate the mere idea of feeling scared. The opening credits of Silence of the Lambs could keep this skittish section of the population sleepless for weeks. So, although you'll never get everybody on the same page about horror movies, most movie-watchers can agree that they love to laugh. Enter the quirky, fun movie genre where horror meets hilarity: funny scary movies.
From deadpan lead characters to truly zany scenarios, funny scary movies offer a little bit of something for everyone, making them the perfect movie night staples. Whether you opt for something relatively kid-friendly, like Hocus Pocus or Goosebumps, or settle in for the wildly inappropriate classic Scary Movie, you'll find yourself laughing in no time — and looking over your shoulder as the end credits roll.
Not sure which one to dive into for your next movie night? Try these.
Funny Scary Movies to Fire Up First
1. The Haunted Mansion (2003) — rated PG
A few versions of The Haunted Mansion exist, including a Muppets version. The Eddie Murphy-led 2003 version might is a classic, though. Sure, it's horror... but it's rated PG. So, it's perfectly safe for your baby bats to enjoy alongside you.
2. Ghostbusters (1984) — rated PG
Name a better movie — any genre. I'll wait. Whether you go for the OG Ghostbusters with Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, the funny new female-led version, or the even newer, slightly darker Ghostbusters: Afterlife, they're all superb and relatively family-friendly.
3. Hocus Pocus (1993) — rated PG
For most millennials and Gen Xers, there's nothing quite like the fun and familiarity of Hocus Pocus. Bette Midler is obviously at her finest, but you also witness SJP's peak silliness (before she became Carrie Bradshaw). Love you forever, Binx.
4. Goosebumps (2015) — rated PG
Did you tear through every one of these early reader horror books when you were a kid? Of course you did! Many of us were either Team Goosebumps or Team Babysitters Club growing up. (OK, some of us played for both teams.) This Jack Black feature takes Goosebumps to a whole new level. It's all of R.L. Stein's work put right out there on the big(ish) screen, and it's a truly silly, somewhat scary, and altogether delightful romp.
5. The Addams Family (1991) — rated PG-13
Raise your hand if you know someone obsessed with The Addams Family. Raise your other hand if that person is you. For many young moviegoers, The Addams Family was the first taste of dry humor and possibly "scary movies." There's also something just oh-so-lovely about Morticia and Gomez's devotion to one another. They may not always understand each other — and the world around them certainly misunderstands them — but they are fantastically in love. That means it's actually a romantic funny scary movie.
6. Transylvania 6-5000 (1985) — rated PG
This cute classic isn't as trendy as the other picks, so it can be a little harder to find. However, it's 100 percent worth the effort. Need convincing? Transylvania 6-5000 stars Geena Davis, Ed Begley Jr., and Jeff Goldblum. *swoon*
Recent Funny Scary Movies
1. Studio 666 (2022) — rated R
Take note: This movie requires a very special audience to truly appreciate it. Love straight-up horror films? Studio 666 is not for you. But if you love Foo Fighters or campy, funny horror films, you're sure to enjoy watching a "possessed" Dave Grohl murder his bandmates — and make a new album.
2. Freaky (2020) — R
Remember the 2002 movie The Hot Chick with Rob Schneider and Rachel McAdams? Freaky is sort of like that, but make it horror. This time, the 17-year-old who winds up in a body-switch situation is 17-year-old Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton) — and the body her spirit lands in is none other than her town’s infamous serial killer, The Butcher. And since the Butcher is played by Vince Vaughn, you know it’s funny.
3. The Cabin in the Woods (2011) — rated R
If you enjoy a good tongue-in-cheek movie that pokes fun at the horror genre as a whole, this is the pick for you. Watch as five college friends arrive at a remote cabin for a weekend getaway, only to realize they may be part of something strange and sinister. The all-star cast includes Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson, Jesse Williams, Brian White, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford. Yup, it’s good.
4. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) — rated R
Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine play well-meaning rednecks Tucker and Dale, who are mistaken for serial killers by a bunch of fumbling college students. Chaos and hilarity ensue when people actually do start showing up dead and, well, just watch.
5. Ready or Not (2019) — rated R
Things seem to be going well for Grace (Samara Weaving). She’s just married the man of her dreams (Mark O’Brien), and all that’s standing between them and wedded bliss seems to be a family tradition: playing a game on the night of their wedding. Suffice it to say, this isn’t any ordinary game. Is it bloody? Absolutely. But Wiley’s performance supplies enough levity that you almost overlook the gore.
6. Scary Movie (2000) — rated R
Scary Movie is parody perfection. Created by the Wayans brothers, Scary Movie turns horror flicks like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and The Exorcist into hilarious references. But it doesn't stop at scary moves as there are even jokes about Election, Shakespeare in Love, Amistad, Titanic, and American Pie in the movie too. Halloween, The Blair Witch Project, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and The Matrix are also wrapped into this comedic plot. You’ll be dizzy with laughter and movie references after watching this film.
7. Warm Bodies (2013) — rated PG-13
Zombies need love too. On the heels of the vampire craze, Warm Bodies threw a cinematic curve ball and gave us zombie romance. In a world overrun by the undead, there is one zombie that’s not quite like the rest. After he falls in love with a human, they work together to fend off an even greater evil and, along the way, discover a way for the living and the dead to coexist.
The Best of the Rest
- Beetlejuice (1988) — rated PG
- The Babysitter (2017) — rated TV-MA
- Gremlins (1984) — rated PG
- Scooby-Doo: The Movie (2002) — rated PG
- A Haunted House (2013) — rated R
- Frankenweenie (2012) — rated PG
- Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988) — rated PG-13
- Zombieland (2009) — rated R
- Tremors (1990) — rated PG-13
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) — rated R
- What We Do in the Shadows (2014) — rated R
- Life After Beth (2014) — rated R
- Dark Shadows (2012) — rated PG-13
- Shaun of the Dead (2004) — rated R
- Jennifer's Body (2009) — rated R
- Young Frankenstein (1974) — rated PG
- The ‘Burbs (1989) — rated PG
- Little Shop Of Horrors (1986) — rated PG-13
- Clue (1985) — rated PG
- An American Werewolf in London (1981) — rated R
- Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (1992) — rated PG-13
- Army of Darkness (1992) — rated R
- Mars Attacks! (1996) — rated PG-13
- Slither (2006) — rated R
- Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015) — rated R
- Idle Hands (1999) — rated R
- The Hunt (2020) — rated R
- The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 (2021) — rated R
- Serial Mom (1994) — rated R
- Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020) — rated PG-13
- Little Evil (2017) — rated TV-MA
- Tusk (2014) — rated R
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