If I said “Trick or Treat” and you cut off my hand, that would be horrifying. But depending on the movie, it might be funny. In the micro-genre of Halloween Horror Comedy, it’s often both.

A micro-genre drills down on one idea, creating a category unto itself. Netflix’s algorithm will occasionally create one for you such as sci-fi adventures with a strong female protagonist or 80’s action featuring heroes with mustaches. Micro-genres are meant to target a specific mood, so in honor of the black-and-orange holiday, this list ranks Horror Comedies that take place on Halloween.

royalty-free-halloween-imagesEach of the ranked films bring together the dual thrills of screaming and laughter, punctuated by costumes, candy, and glowing gourds. No Hocus Pocus on this list, or Boo! Madea’s Halloween or Ernest Scared Stupid; they are Halloween comedies. The movie needs legit scares too. John Carpenter’s Halloween franchise uses jokes to humanize characters and make interactions feel genuine, but there is never enough humor to balance out the horror. By sampling from both sides, this micro-genre creates something unique.

Also, if this list was horror comedies to watch on Halloween, it’d be very different. There are many incredible horror comedies, such as Shaun of the DeadThe Cabin in the Woods, Scream, Evil Dead 2, and Slither. Any one of those would be a solid option for a Halloween movie marathon. Also, a shout out to Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, which has a gluttonous amount of fun circumventing horror conventions. If you’ve been kept awake by a horror film that’s pure nightmare fuel, Tucker and Dale is the camomile tea of prescription cinema.

Or the sugar coating on scary

AKA the sugar coating on scary

But none of those movies take place on Halloween and there is a special magic when all your characters are wearing costumes and there is a whiff of mischief in the air. As with any micro-genres, few films fit, but for those precious freaks who walk the razor’s edge, you’re in for the best kind of treats.


  1. Idle Hands

The stoner-horror-comedy asks: what if Idle Hands really were the Devil’s plaything? In this case, they start murdering people. A couch-bound stoner has his hands possessed by murderous evil. He’s too lazy to confront his curse and instead gets wasted with his undead buddies, dodges a murderous priest in a winnebago, and woos the manic pixie punk rock biker dream girl. Hilarity and gore galore.

Idle Hands is shameless with its horror tropes, most scares are just splashes of blood or off-camera screams, and not much of it’s 90’s-era style and swagger has aged well. That said, it’s got great talent with Seth Green, Fred Willard, and Jessica Alba, and enough jumps and laughs on cosplay night to rank among the top three of this micro-genre.


  1. Trick ‘r Treat

If you like horror comedy with an emphasis on gallows humor, this is your bag. The creators set out to create the most visually rich Halloween possible, thus acres of gleaming jack-o-lanterns litter every frame. Pumpkins are the wallpaper, but also the film’s mascot: Sam – the psycho killer kid with a burlap sack on his head. While he’s a late entry into the stable of slasher icons, he earns his spot as the only pint-sized vengeful Halloween spirit.

The film bounces between several short stories taking place on the same night, and while you won’t find many redeeming characters to root for, you will meet murdering teachers, horny werewolves, and vengeful ghosts. Plus, its varied tales enjoy a sandbox of horror tropes while laughing at terrible things happening to terrible people. Most of its humor is dark enough to make you feel bad for laughing, but the film’s pulp horror vibe and attention to detail makes it a modern classic. Many people might have picked it for the top spot on this list, but those people have never been to a….


  1. Murder Party

When it comes to juggling Halloween, Horror, and Comedy, this one doesn’t drop any balls. It’s an indie gem and a perfect midnight movie for October. It won awards at small film festivals, but it was never given a wide release so it doesn’t have ratings on Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes. It was made for almost no money, which adds to its sophomoric charm. There are no known actors (except Macon Blair), yet all the players attack their parts with gusto. It is a forgotten film, which is criminal given the manic fun and raw creative energy on display.

Along with Blue Ruin (which is amazing) and Green Room (the best thriller of 2016), Murder Party kicked off in the aptly-named Clusterfuck Trilogy and it rules. All three were written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, which is a name you should know. He has a gift for staging action and he commands pacing and mood like a master. Each of his films will make your knuckles white, but all catch moments of visual poetry and manic humor.  He’s a cinematic cousin of David Fincher and Edgar Wright and it won’t be long before people go looking for his earlier work.

Murder Party is a one-crazy-night story where a lonely schlub finds an invitation to a Murder Party and, having nothing better to do, decides to attend. What follows is a wild and nightmarish carnival ride that is best not spoiled. You will laugh. You will cringe. You might want to eat candy corns. Track it down and enjoy the surprise

King Sheep wishes everyone a happy cosplay day

King Sheep wishes everyone a happy cosplay day