Funniest Moments in Horror Movies

Fan art of The Shining featuring the cast in a composite cartoonish style with seventies prints in the background.

Image Credit: ChrisOzFulton on Deviant Art.

While the main purpose of horror movies is to send chills down your spine, the funniest ones are sometimes the scariest.So metimes this humor is intentional. Other times, it’s simply the result of poor writing or acting.

However it happens, a good laugh and some levity can heighten the fright factor, and make an otherwise terrifying movie all the more memorable. Here are the funniest moments from some of history’s scariest horror movies.

 

 

The Exorcist (1973)

Director: William Friedkin
Starring: Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Where To Watch: HBOMax, Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

The Exorcist has lost a great deal of its scare value over the years, since other movies have improved upon its premise.

Many of the special effects seem dated, as well, and the acting is less than solid in some places.

However, the scene where Detective Kinderman tries desperately to relate to Regan’s mom and asks for her autograph is quite silly, and was obviously intended to be.

 

The Shining (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Where To Watch: HBOMax, Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

To be fair, much of The Shining rides the line between ridiculous and creepy.  The funniest part of this horror cult favorite, though, is also one its most iconic scenes.

While most people were spooked by Nicholson’s sinister portrayal of Jack, his “Here’s Johnny!” moment also sparks a certain amount of hysterical amusement.

 

Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

Director: Dan O’Bannon
Starring: Clu Gulager, James Karen
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Where To Watch: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

At the end of the movie, emergency paramedics are sent to investigate the scene. They come upon the zombies, who devour them.

A canny zombie overhears the dispatch radio asking if they need reinforcements. Demonstrating a surprising ability to speak, he radios back, “Send more paramedics.”

 

Day Of The Dead (1985)

Director: George A. Romero
Starring: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Where To Watch: HBOMax, Vudu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, Apple TV

The beginning of the movie is a dream sequence of a woman looking at a calendar. She’s suddenly surprised by tons of zombie hands reaching through the wall.

The scare is sound, but the actress’s reaction is hilarious. She sighs dramatically and spins away, leaning back towards the wall—and all of the hands.

 

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Director: Stephen King
Starring: Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle
Rotten Tomatoes: 15%
Where To Watch: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

There’s no way King meant for this movie to be taken seriously. It’s about evil, possessed trucks that hold people hostage at a diner.

But despite the already ridiculous premise, the film goes to a whole new level when the waitress runs outside to protest that the trucks can’t do this. She starts screaming, “We made you!” and jumping up and down.

The trucks were probably taken aback by the apparently crazy person, but it didn’t deter their plans to kill her.

 

Child’s Play (1988)

Director: Tom Holland
Starring: Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Where To Watch: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

For some of the movie, the audience doesn’t know whether or not the doll Chucky is actually alive, or if it’s all in his owner’s mind.

However, after confirmation of the doll’s sentience, the film—as well as the franchise—quickly devolves into strangely funny moments.

Chucky responds to situations with potty-mouthed insults, such as when he tells an old lady “F*** you,” after she comments on his ugliness.

 

The Happening (2008)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel
Rotten Tomatoes: 17%
Where To Watch: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

Unfortunately, the idea of this film was much better than its execution.  Plants want their revenge on humans, due to their destruction of the environment.

A great premise, for sure—but Shyamalan obviously had nowhere to go but down.  Frankly, it’s astonishing how such a well-known director and all-star cast can create such a catastrophic flop.

That said, the funniest moment in this horror flick is when a woman, who’s knitting, suddenly turns the needle around and jams it through her eye for no apparent reason.

 

Quarantine (2008)

Director: John Erick Dowdle
Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Where To Watch: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

The majority of this movie builds a very tense atmosphere, as a woman and her cameraman venture into a building to get the scoop on some strange events.

When the government quarantines the building, they’re trapped with whatever’s killing people.

Some of the scariest scenes happen when the power goes out. All the viewers are left with is the nightvision from the camera.

When the cameraman passes by an aggressive and zombified elderly woman, however, he knocks her out while yelling, “Excuse us, ma’am!” The audience can’t help but crack up, despite the tension.

 

Happy Death Day (2017)

Director: Christopher Landon
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Where To Watch: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

There are plenty of funny moments in this horror movie, so it’s a definite watch for those who love cracking up and freaking out pretty much simultaneously.

A young woman is trapped in a time loop on her birthday. Every time she is murdered, she must restart the day and try to stop her inevitable demise.

As she continues along, the murderer has to get increasingly creative, since a simple knife doesn’t work anymore. One funny scene shows the murderer blowing up a car with a birthday candle.

 

IT (2017)

Director: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Where To Watch: HBOMax, Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, Apple TV

Richie Tozier delivers some scathing and hilarious one-liners to the terrifying creature in It, both the book and movie adaptation.

The comebacks are everything you would expect from a prepubescent boy. What’s more, the actor’s voice squeaks just a bit during the deliveries, making them all the more authentic and funny.

 

via GIPHY

While it’s sometimes jarring to laugh out loud during movies meant to scare you stupid, there’s also a great whiplash effect when horror meets comedy.

For more horror recommendations, check out the best horror anime or video games, or the scariest shows now streaming on Netflix.