Funny moments in horror movies are a staple of the genre, running the gamut from intended hilarity in flicks like The Cabin in the Woods to unintended laughs brought on by poor writing and acting, as in Manos: The Hands of Fate. Other times, a character's comic relief role overtakes the scares. It's a rare movie that can seamlessly weave together the terror and humor, leaving most funny scenes jarring to the audiences watching otherwise frightening movies.
Even classic horror movies like Alien have moments that make the audience stop and giggle in the midst of being terrorized by a Xenomorph alongside the crew of the Nostromo. Moments like this are often unintended by the director and actors, but come across as cringe- or laughter-inducing to the audience right before the film plunges them back into the depths of horror. So go ahead and vote up the scenes most likely to elicit a chuckle in the midst of real fear.
- Photo: Universal Pictures
Writer/director Sam Raimi always has elements of intended humor in his movies, beginning with The Evil Dead in 1981, and Drag Me to Hell is no different.
After being cursed by an old woman (Lorna Raver), Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) seeks the assistance of medium Shaun San Dena (Adriana Barraza) to release her from the clutches of the lamia out to drag her to hell. During the seance, the spirit of the lamia transfers into a goat whose face changes into something hilarious instead of spooky - much like the deadites of the Evil Dead series.
The attacks by the possessed bovidae provide more slapstick than horror, pushing viewers into spasms of cackles.
- Actors: Octavia Spencer, Justin Long, Lia Johnson, David Paymer, Alison Lohman
- Released: 2009
- Directed by: Sam Raimi
- Photo: New Line Cinema
Freddy (Robert Englund) stalks a new set of teenagers in this sequel, targeting those in a psychiatric hospital where his former victim Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) works. He hunts Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette), a girl who can pull other people into her dreams. Nancy understands what is happening and attempts to teach the patients how to fight Freddy while they sleep.
One night Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow) attempts to stay awake by watching television and burning herself with cigarettes to avoid Freddy. It's tense, and audiences are readying themselves for a bloody attack from Freddy when, suddenly, Zsa Zsa Gabor appears on the television with Dick Cavett on a talk show. She answers a question and Cavett insults her before turning into Freddy and slashing her.
The moment is unexpected, and completely pushes the audience out of their frightened expectations into laughter at seeing such a strange celebrity encounter in the franchise.
- Actors: Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, Zsa Zsa Gábor, Robert Englund, Dick Cavett
- Released: 1987
- Directed by: Chuck Russell
- Photo: Warner Bros.
One could argue that this remake of the 1973 film of the same name has a lot of strange scenes that garner nervous giggles from audiences, but that's different than being funny.
Case in point: the scene in which Edward finds out the true intentions of the women of Summers Isle and their ritual of sacrificing men to receive a bountiful harvest. He has a helmet filled with bees placed on his head. Since Edward is extremely allergic to bees, this should be a moment of excruciating terror and pain felt by the audience. Instead, director Neil LaBute and Cage decided yelling, "THE BEES! OH NO NOT THE BEES!" was the way to go with the scene, creating something memorable in all of the wrong ways.
- Actors: Nicolas Cage, James Franco, Leelee Sobieski, Ellen Burstyn, Aaron Eckhart
- Released: 2006
- Directed by: Neil LaBute
- Photo: Universal Pictures
The Jurassic Park movies are frightening for those who immerse themselves in the reality of the films, hoping that heroes don't become dino food and reacting to the series as monster flicks with a lot of science thrown in. When Jurassic Park III hit theaters, many fans likely expected the same heart-pounding adventure and excitement, especially given the return of Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant.
Instead, they got a talking velociraptor in Dr. Grant's dream, jarring many out of the world of genetically engineered replicas of former creatures and into peals of giggles due to its absurdity.
- Actors: Téa Leoni, William H. Macy, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Linda Park
- Released: 2001
- Directed by: Joe Johnston