14 Underrated Parody Movies That Rip A Whole Genre To Shreds

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Vote up the parody movies that thoroughly unravel a whole genre.

Some of the most underrated spoof movies are still more fun to watch than the genres they parodied. Comedy doesn't always get the credit it deserves, so spoofs that should be all-time classics are occasionally discarded or even lost to time.

Parody is inherently an artistic format that exists to critique. Parodies poke fun at a subject as a means to promote deeper thinking and analysis. Like all comedy and critique, the parody film's very nature lends itself to be viewed as a temporary, or of the moment, creation. That's too bad, though, because there have been great spoofs over the years that deserve to be remembered and rewatched with the same fervor as any other film - especially within the genres they so successfully skewer.

Vote up your favorite movies that made an entire genre their object of (affectionate) scorn.

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  • What Genre Is It Spoofing? Slasher movies. 

    How Does It Do It? Tucker and Dale vs. Evil features two very different social circles colliding in the most hilarious of ways. The film begins with a group of teenagers looking to escape into the woods for a vacation. While there, those teenagers meet up with Tucker and Dale, two older hillbillies who accidentally terrify the kids. Through a series of accidents, the teenagers are led to believe that Tucker and Dale are killing off their friends, when in reality, they're nothing but well-meaning backwoods residents.

    Most On-The-Nose Spoof: The whole film revolves around Tucker and Dale trying to help the kids and unintentionally scaring them. In one scene, Tucker and Dale try to leave a note for the kids to tell them they are taking care of their injured friend. To do so, they use an ax to mark into a tree, "We have your friend." Obviously, this ominous message comes across as a threatening horror staple to the teens who find it.

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  • 2
    50 VOTES

    The LEGO Batman Movie

    What Genre Is It Spoofing? Superhero films (with an obvious emphasis on Batman movies, which at this point are practically their own genre). 

    How Does It Do It? The LEGO Batman movie is a spin-off (typically a bad idea) of a movie about LEGOS (obviously a bad idea) that somehow worked incredibly well. The film is an over-the-top depiction of a superhero that showcased the ridiculousness of most heroes' macho attitudes and unwillingness to work with others. The film also tackles the romance-like relationship between Joker and Batman, among various other aspects of the Batman mythos.

    Most On-The-Nose Spoof: Batman is famously a hero known for brooding. One of the funniest sequences of LEGO Batman tackles Batman's isolation through a hilarious showcase of how the caped crusader spends his nights off.

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  • What Genre Is It Spoofing? Police/detective films.

    How Does It Do It? A staple of the detective genre is the sheer genius possessed by the film's protagonists. The Naked Gun subverts this expectation by asking the simple question: What if one of these detectives was literally the dumbest person alive? To answer this question, the hilarious and bumbling Leslie Nielsen is sent out on the case. The film, itself a spinoff of the TV series Police Squad!, launched a successful three-entry franchise, but in recent years has been somewhat overshadowed.

    Most On-The-Nose Spoof: In seemingly every cop movie, there comes a time when the detective has to shake down an informant. Normally, this involves a scene where the detective uses cash to help stimulate the informant's memory a bit. The Naked Gun spoofs this moment by having Leslie Nielsen and his informant pass back and forth the same $100 bill after each sentence, depending on who wants to know what.

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  • What Genre Is It Spoofing? Film noir/mystery movies. 

    How Does It Do It?: Most spoof films add an element of comedy into a genre by way of creating an entirely new movie. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid added an element of comedy into the film noir genre by literally splicing Steve Martin into old clips from black and white films.

    Most On-The-Nose Spoof: Film noir is fond of narration and dramatic explanations, both of characters and locations. In a sendup of that type of writing, Steve Martin's character describes a town as "the kind of town where they spell trouble t-r-u-b-i-l, and, if you try to correct them, they kill you."

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  • 5
    48 VOTES

    What Genre Is It Spoofing? Spy films. 

    How Does It Do It? Top Secret! spoofs spy films by inserting an Elvis-style rock musical directly into one. Roger Ebert described the film as being a mix of "physical humor, sight gags, puns, double meanings, satire, weird choreography, scatological outrages, and inanity." 

    Most On-The-Nose Spoof: Top Secret! contains just as many absurd stand-alone jokes as it does spoofs. The best scenes in the film have a little of both. Like most spy films, this movie has a scene in which the main characters go to a mysterious shopkeep in search of information. The shopkeep happens to run a Swedish bookstore, where the film portrays Swedish as simply English played backward. To close out the scene, the characters grab onto a fireman's pole and go up instead of down, punctuating the backward nature of the shop.

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  • 6
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    Spaceballs
    Photo: MGM

    What Genre Is It Spoofing? Star Wars and the copycats that followed. 

    How Does It Do It? Star Wars was a cultural phenomenon of a magnitude that had never been seen before. Luke Skywalker and co.'s adventures were so popular, they inspired a legion of copycat films. Thus, by parodying Star Wars, Spaceballs, in fact, parodied an entire subgenre of films, rather than just a single franchise. The film follows a plot reminiscent of Star Wars, with characters like Jabba turned into Pizza the Hut, and Chewbacca turned into Barf, all in Mel Brooks's typical absurdist fashion. 

    Most On-The-Nose Spoof: Spoofing Star Wars means spoofing Star Wars culture. Spaceballs hilariously parodies the real magic behind Star Wars, and, no, it's not the Force. In the world of Spaceballs, their version of the Force is known as Schwartz. Of equal importance to their Yoda stand-in is the other most important part about Star Wars: merchandising.

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