A good horror movie makes us squirm, jump and even shout, “Get out of the house!” Often these movies rely on gimmicks and clichés to get a reaction, and these are exactly the things that horror movie spoofs exaggerate to get us to laugh. So get comfortable, pull up a plate of fava beans and a nice Chianti, and look at the best of the horror movie spoofs.
This Mel Brooks movie came out in 1974 and stars Gene Wilder as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein—surgeon, teacher and, incidentally, the grandson of Dr. Victor von Frankenstein. Frederick inherits his grandfather’s castle and passion for creating life from bits and pieces of other bodies.
Nearly 40 years after the movie’s release, people still remember scenes and lines from the movie, such as how the horses whinny whenever Frau Blücher’s name is mentioned. Much of the humor in this movie comes from its one-liners, but the movie is packed with them from one moment to the next. It’s hard to pick one favorite scene. It could be the Frankenstein monster tap dancing. Or discovering what Frederick received in exchange for giving his brain to the monster.
This movie is a classic spoof. It’s one that you can still get friends together to watch over and over. The humor is timeless and the clichés are just as effective.
This low-budget 1982 movie spoofs the slasher movie genre. It features a small town with a killer in its past faced with a repeat of those events. Joe Don Baker of “Walking Tall” fame plays the police officer who tries to convince the town that the lawnmower killer is back. Of course they don’t believe him.
This movie takes a shot at dozens of horror movies. There’s Mary Graves, whose sister was killed by the lawnmower killer. In spite of therapy, lawnmowers show up every where to haunt Mary. On prom night (of course) the killer returns, pumpkin head and all.
‘Saturday the 14th’
This 1981 movie was primarily a spoof of the “Friday the 13th” movies, but it references other movies along the way. A family of four moves into a house before a pair of vampires can take it over. The family sees the house as a “fixer-upper,” but the vampires know it’s full of evil.
One of the kids spies “The Book of Evil” on an old bookcase and opens it up, releasing the monsters pictured within. The monsters begin annoying the family. The parents, played by Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss, provide much of the dry humor as they fight to keep the house monster-free. They even contact a bat exterminator who turns out to be Professor Abraham van Helsing, the original vampire hunter from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”
Van Helsing tells the family, “In one minute, terrible things are going to happen! (A scream is heard off-camera.) Um, less than a minute?” The movie is full of one-liners like this.
‘Love at First Bite’
Released in 1979, this spoof of vampire movies stars George Hamilton as a modern-day Dracula and Susan Saint James as the object of his toothy affection. This movie centers on how the vampire moves from his old digs in Transylvania to New York City and the struggles he has. It’s a little like “Dracula” meets “Seinfeld.”
There are plenty of campy one-liners, such as when the count says, “I’m going out for a bite to drink.” But most of the laughs are in the subtle storyline as the count pursues a model, and her boyfriend tries to convince the police that she is being stalked by a vampire. It’s New York City. Who would believe that?
‘Cannibal! The Musical’
This 1993 movie, written and directed by “South Park” creator Trey Parker, is about a man waiting to be executed for murder. This mountain guide got lost with his party in the snowy mountains and resorted to eating his party to survive.
While not really a horror movie spoof, this movie makes crude situations funny by having people break out into song and dance when least expected. This independent movie used friends and family to play the actors. IMDB estimated the budget at $125,000. Few movies, though, have such an entertaining website. It’s a great site for funny pics and includes songs, lyrics and videos. This movie proves that horror genre spoofs work best when taken to extremes. A little might be frightening, but when topics are taken to the extremes, we just have to laugh at ourselves.
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Eddie is glad he ignored his biggest critic (his mother) and followed his dream to be a TV and movie reviewer.