It’s time to throw away the idea that horror is only good when it’s serious and thought-provoking. While horror is political by nature, there’s still horror content meant to be pure entertainment or is light on their deeper messages. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out fun horror. In fact, sometimes it’s needed and this pandemic has proved how necessary distractions are, especially where mental health is concerned. Whether you’re in the mood for a horror-comedy, straightforward slasher, or something absolutely bonkers, I’m certain one or more of the movies below will satisfy you.
Friday the 13th (2009)
Before you tell me that I’ve got horrendous taste, keep reading. This is genuinely one of the better installments in the Friday the 13th franchise. That may or may not be saying something about the franchise itself. Even though I personally love some of the films as a slasher fan. Regardless, this entry marked one of the last of the reimaginings/remakes/reboots of the aughts. And it’s also a good time if you like what a Friday the 13th movie tends to promise: sex, partying, and violence. Not to mention the first 24 minutes of this film are gold.
Friday the 13th (2009)’s plot is practically the same formula as the other films, but it doesn’t really matter. The noticeable differences are that Jason (Derek Mears) is more menacing in it and there’s a brother (Jared Padalecki) looking for his missing sister (Amanda Righetti). Basically if you’re looking for a fun slasher that doesn’t require deep thought, this is a good one to check out.
The Final Girls (2015)
Seeking a meta-slasher/comedy that’s original, heartwarming, and hilarious? The Final Girls is just the movie for you. And the bonus is that it was co-written by a queer couple (M.A Fortin and Joshua Miller). Practically everything is fun about this movie. Especially the plot being about an orphaned teen, Max (Taissa Farmiga), and her friends being transported into the slasher film her mother starred in. There’s a whole lot of homage to 80’s horror, memorable characters, and a perfect balance of comedic moments alongside tenderness. Don’t let the PG-13 rating discourage you because sometimes PG-13 horror doesn’t suck.
Tragedy Girls (2017)
Quite frankly Tragedy Girls is underrated in terms of modern and fun horror. This movie flips the rules of slashers on its head, stomps all over what’s expected, and is satisfying all the same. It follows 2 death-obsessed best friends, McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) and Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand). They go so far as to capture a serial killer (whom they admire) and start killing people to help their social media presence. Of course it lightly touches on the dangers of social media fame and how people will sometimes do anything to reach it. Overall it’s a bloody, lowkey queer-coded, and hilariously fun horror movie. Also those masks are iconic, right? Right.
The Babysitter (2017)
Don’t let Bella Thorne’s part in this film make you run away. Samara Weaving’s wit will diminish any hold ups you may have. She’s in fact one of the best modern scream queens. And this Netflix original wouldn’t be as interesting without her. The movie follows pre-teen Cole (Judah Lewis) whose babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving) winds up being part of a murderous Sataniccult. Ultimately they try to sacrifice him and he has to go through extreme lengths to survive. The humor is very much over-the-top and so is the gore (which is either your jam or it’s not). But what can be said is that you’re guaranteed a laugh or two.
Put Steven Yeun in more horror movies (thankfully we’ll see him in Jordan Peele’s Nope this year) and let them be as bloody as this Mayhem. The movie follows Derek Cho (Yeun), a lawyer who’s fired on the day his office building goes into quarantine due to a mysterious virus that causes people to act on their darkest impulses. The film is chaotic in the best way and it certainly lives up to its title. Not to mention Samara Weaving has a leading role! What more can you ask for when you’re needing an escape?
There’s something to be said about Canadian horror movies and how they usually become gems at some point. But Slaxx is one that’s not as well known or appreciated. The plot is very campy as it’s about a possessed pair of jeans that starts killing workers at a clothing store. Do the pants have a backstory that’s thought-provoking? Naturally. But it’s also comedic and the characters are weird in a way that’s endearing. While it may seem like such a nonsensical film that’s not worthy of your time, I recommend you give it a chance as it may surprise you.
Vicious Fun (2020)
There’s another thing to be said about Canadian horror movies. Their films often have a certain flavor of 80s horror, and Vicious Fun is full of said flavor. The plot isn’t all that meaty, though its uniqueness makes up for that. It follows a horror critic who ends up stumbling into a self-help meeting for serial killers. The movie has a lot of corny moments as a horror-comedy like this should. I mean, the focus is on a bunch of 80s serial killers who take themselves seriously, a dorky horror critic, and a badass woman in all black. All of those details speak for themselves. And there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.
Black Friday (2021)
Ignore the low ratings it’s received because this movie is pretty damn entertaining. Without taking the plot into account, it does what it needs to. It gives us scream kings Bruce Campbell and Devon Sawa for starters. Black Friday follows a group of toy store employees who are attacked by monstrous shoppers. There’s an alien parasite involved and everything snowballs from there. I’m a sucker for horror that’s set in hospitals, stores, or other contained buildings. Therefore this movie was a blast and the humor wasn’t horrendous. Ultimately it doesn’t make a lot of sense why the parasite is hell-bent on killing people. Nor does it make sense why the movie is apocalyptic at the last minute. But it’s all good because it’s not meant to be taken super seriously. You can kick back and enjoy this one without shame.