Released in 1980, Motel Hell tells the story of a creepy brother and sister who run a motel/slaughterhouse, which is of course, not my favorite subject. But when these two lunatic siblings include people in their delicacies, it makes me do a little dance inside. As sick and twisted as it all is, this is clearly a horror/comedy, with more focus upon the latter genre. Farmer Vincent makes his popular meat snacks from unsuspecting motorists and motel guests. Their motel provides them no shortage of…supplies, shall I say.
This disturbing, yet highly comical cheese fest definitely ranks right up there with the most underrated classics of the genre. Even stranger is that Vincent’s cousin is a law enforcement officer, and is none the wiser of his relative’s taste for human suffering and flesh. This family is incredibly twisted, and as you can imagine, this movie does not lack for anything in the laugh department. With that gross, icky pig mask Vincent wears and his garden full of harvested humans, you will most certainly never forget this one!
The Return of the Living Dead
The Return of the Living Dead burst on the scene in 1985 just in time as horror fans were craving something besides hockey-masked killers and one-dimensional portrayals of victims. They were becoming no doubt cynical about horror ever providing something new and fresh, until this little film came along. Another horror/comedy, Return is about a deadly, poisonous toxin that somehow brings the dead back to life. Typical, I know. But in this fan favorite, we get a motley crew of misfit teens (a few preps and some Nazi-like punks) fighting off rotting flesh and disease-spreading vermin from beyond the grave. Frank and Freddy, employees of a medical supply warehouse unwittingly release this toxic gas, causing all hell to break loose. Not only will the living dead kill you, they will infect and transform you if end up merely being bitten.
The aforementioned group of misfits has decided to party it up in the cemetery while waiting for Freddy to get off work, when the poison is dispersed into the air, causing acid rain to fall. These survivors try to find their way out of this yucky mess they’re in, while hilariously trying to fend off these decomposing sacks of flesh. Featuring the notorious Tar Man, and a perfectly fitting theme, as well as a few recognizable horror actors, this is a comedy to the end, and is high on many horror fan’s list of all-time classic zombie films.
This underrated slasher from 1992 has been considered of the horror/comedy genre, as well, though this movie is much more gruesome and squirm-inducing than the two previously mentioned films. If you’ve ever wondered what could happen with all those doctor’s utensils in the hands of one psychopathic physician, this is the movie for you. This one actually used to freak me out as a kid, because the kills were relatively realistic, and Dr. Giggles’ arsenal of weapons is expansive. This guy has a terrible sense of humor, and laughs at the most inappropriate times.
Dr. Giggles (named for his heinous laugh) has escaped from a mental facility where he was imprisoned years earlier for helping his father kill patients. He has come to take his revenge on the town, particularly on a group of teens who think he’s all urban legend and decide to explore his old house. That’s never a good idea. His methods of killing appeal to some of our greatest fears – about different body parts being violated (not like that, you perv), and about what someone with as much power as a doctor can do if they feel like it. If we really think about it, doctors are given such a degree of trust, that it is absolutely terrifying to think what might happen if that trust was broken in such a violent way, albeit this guy is not scheduling appointments in the usual way, and has no “office” or bedside manner. This is, to me, one of the all-time greats, that I think few have seen, at least that I know of. I found it to be pretty cringe-worthy and not in the typical “slasher” way.