Some think that horror comedies are almost impossible to pull off because they elicit two different reactions but when you think about it, they really are one in the same. Fear and amusement may elicit different reactions (screaming and laughter) but someone who’s truly scared may find themselves laughing later or laughing so hard that they scream and even in cases of an extremely funny or scary moment, both can lead to the inevitable wetting of one’s pants.
The David Wong novel John Dies at the End
is a perfect example. Both the book and the movie, directed by Don Coscarelli who also helmed another great horror comedy “Bubba Ho-Tep,” have moments of sheer terror followed by mind-bending hilarity. This got me thinking: What other horror comedy novels should become horror comedy movies?
1. Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel:
This is probably the most obvious choice because Moore is a master at taking strange monsters and supernatural mischief makers and turning them into something equally poignant and hilarious.
He’s like an intentionally funny Stephen King.
His inevitable take on the zombie genre turns it on its head after removing it with a samurai sword by setting the undead loose in his literary home of Pine Cove and its population of insane characters right in the middle of the holidays. It’s definitely the funniest holiday story with zombies until someone greenlights a “Shaun of the Dead Holiday Special.”
2. William Browning Spencer’s Resume with Monsters:
Office life is ripe for satire because, well, it always sucks. It doesn’t matter if your job is taste testing bacon or judging swimsuit models. You’re bound to find something about having to go to work that makes you dread waking up in the morning.
Spencer’s bizarre, funny novel mixes the drudgery of office temp work with the bizarre creatures and imagery of H.P. Lovecraft in such a way that it could make the most jaded office drone feel just a little bit better about having to go to work every day. Just imagine an above-average episode of “The Office” starring Cthulhu.
3. A. Lee Martinez’s Gil’s All Fright Diner:
Some of the best horror stories involve stranded people stuck in the middle of nowhere on a road trip having to fight for their very lives. It’s a wonder that someone hasn’t taken Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” and thrown some zombies and werewolves into the plot.
Martinez’s novel features just a short stop on that kind of road trip story with a heroic vampire and werewolf trapped in a backwoods diner that’s the target of every kind of supernatural evil from the undead to the un-living.
4. Andrew Fox’s Fat White Vampire Blues:
If there is one literary genre that needs to be taken down a peg or two, it’s the vampire novel. Anyone who had to sit through any of the “Twilight” movies knows it’s the least anyone can do to apologize on behalf of mankind. Fox’s take on vampires gives us the perfect anti-Edward: a 400-pound and year-old vampire living in New Orleans who got fat off the fatty food that is the population of the Crescent City.
He ends up having to do battle when a younger and healthier vampire moves into town and tries to take over his territory and subsequent food supply. It’s a wonderful mix of “Tru Blood’s” southern charm with “A Confederacy of Dunces'” insane sense of humor.
5. Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide
: The popular handbook that helped kick off the zombie humor and useless handbook humor literary genres set the standard for both. Brooks attempts to use his love for the undead to create a serious handbook to surviving a zombie apocalypse but the deranged details and do’s and don’t’s are so meticulous that it makes for a very funny and entertaining read. Brad Pitt may have chosen Brooks’ second and not-so-silly zombie story “World War Z” to be turned into a film first, but someone with some serious comedy chops would have no problem crafting a funny story for a film around Brooks’ first work.