31 Days Of Hell: A List Of Five Somewhat Obscure Cult Horror-Comedies

Here is a list of five cult horror-comedies that you should watch at least once. Most hardcore cult film fans have probably seen these already. Have you seen them all?

A Bucket of Blood 1959

“You'll be sick, sick, and sick - from laughing!” (1). Dick Miller stands out in his lone starring role as a ridiculed busboy at a Bohemian café that is frequented by local artists. When he accidentally kills his landlady’s cat, he covers it in plaster and calls it a sculpture titled “Dead Cat.” The artists hail him as a genius and he proceeds to kill off people in order to create new work. Miller is mostly known for his many appearances as minor characters in Roger Corman’s productions.

This was director Corman’s first black comedy and it was shot quickly over five days on a $50,000 budget. His next project would be the comedy Little Shop of Horrors featuring Jack Nicholson, which was shot in only two days. The film is in the public domain and had a remake released in 1995 and a musical production that took place in Chicago in 2009.

Spider Baby 1967

“Spider Baby will give you nightmares forever!” (2). This is a dark-horror comedy about the caretaker Bruno (Lon Chaney Jr.) who cares for three orphaned siblings who suffer from a disease that makes them mentally, socially, and physically regress when they start to reach puberty. The three siblings all act in odd and unusual ways. When a lawyer and his secretary try to kick them out of their home, the trio shows off how demented and dangerous they can be.

This is basically the more insane and weirder version of the Addams Family, with some awesome performances from Chaney, Haig, and Banner. Because of bankruptcy issues with the production company, this wasn’t released until after Chaney had died. This was unfortunate, because he gives one of the greatest performances of his career. Chaney also performed the theme song, which was meant to be a parody of “Monster Mash.” It is widely considered director Jack Hill’s masterpiece, who was responsible for such cult hits as The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage, Coffy, Foxy Brown, and The Swinging Cheerleaders. The picture didn’t do well initially and went through multiple title changes, being billed as The Liver Eaters, Attack of the Liver Eaters, Cannibal Orgy, and The Maddest Story Ever Told. This is a must see for fans of Jack Hill, Sid Haig, or general movie weirdness.

Motel Hell 1980

“Visit this tasty "meating" place if you dare...” (3). This is a satirical or dark comic take on Psycho and Texas Chainsaw Massacre that is also very heavy on the gore. Vincent’s meat is the best in the area. He has a big dark secret about where the meat comes from and how he harvests it.

It’s simply great campy entertainment, with funny dialogue, an excellent performance from Rory Calhoun as farmer Vincent, multiple horror clichés, and plenty of violent action including a wild finale. Tobe Hooper was originally slated to do this but ended up directing Funhouse instead. The studio brought on veteran British director Kevin Connor who had made several pictures for Amicus Productions that included From Beyond the Grave, The Land That Time Forgot, At Earth’s Core, and The People that Time Forgot. If you’re a fan of TCM, horror, or the horror-comedy subgenre then you need to check this out.

Fade to Black 1980

“People used to laugh at Eric Binford. Now with every performance, he knocks them dead” (4). A shy and deranged cinephile ends up killing people, all while impersonating some of his favorite characters from various movies. This includes the killer in Kiss of Death, Dracula, the Mummy, Hoppalong Cassidy, Laurence Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl, and James Cagney in White Heat. Clips of the pictures are interwoven into the murder sequences as he recreates the kills and moments from the various classics that he is addicted to.

This has to be one of the first Meta films, easily predating Scream. There are so many references besides the ones previously listed including a recreations of scenes from Psycho, Halloween, and various clips from other old pictures. The main character works in the film industry so we see tons of film canisters and other equipment. There are also posters, memorabilia, movie theaters, and locations around Hollywood including Mann’s Chinese Theater. It features appearances from Mickey Rourke and Tim Thomerson (Trancers). This one isn’t going to be for everyone as the humor is dark, similar to Psycho and other Hitchcock movies. Dennis Christopher absolutely kills it as the main character whose cinema addiction is so intense that he is partly living in that world and switches from being nice and innocent to terrifying, similar to other flawed characters like Norman Bates or Martin. This is an underrated movie that may be somewhat hard to find as there was only a VHS release and DVD release back in 1999.

Big Meat Eater 1982

“Pleased to meet you, meat to please you!” (5). This is a Canadian low budget effort that combines murder, musicals, comedy, and aliens to create something totally goofy that must truly be seen to be believed. Bob is the owner of the local butcher store, whose character resembles a mix of Harold Lloyd and Jimmy Stewart. He hires a new butcher Abdullah, who likes to kill people and sing blues songs. The musical sequences are totally outrageous. Aliens and zombies get added into the mix to push it even further than you thought it could possibly go. It’s total lunacy at its best. This is the perfect midnight film for fans of weird cinema.

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Works Cited

1. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 6 8, 2016. [Cited: 6 8, 2016.] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052655/?ref_=fn_al_tt_3.
2. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 6 8, 2016. [Cited: 6 8, 2016.] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058606/?ref_=nv_sr_1.
3. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 6 8, 2016. [Cited: 6 8, 2016.] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081184/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1.
4. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 6 7, 2016. [Cited: 6 7, 2016.] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080711/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1.
5. IMDB. [Online] IMDB, 6 8, 2016. [Cited: 6 8, 2016.] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0126814/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1.