Freaky (2020, dir. Christopher Landon)

An awkward teenager and a serial killer swap bodies. Superior horror-comedy, maximising the potential of its Freaky Friday-meets-high school slasher conceit, along the lines of Landon’s earlier mashup Happy Death Day. Plenty of fun, a few straightforward though relevant points made, and zippy lead performances help no end.

Here’s the trailer.

The Evil Dead (1982, dir. Sam Raimi)

Five students spend the weekend in a remote shack: demons are unwittingly raised. Gleeful no-holds-barred horror. What’s most striking is the sheer confidence on display, plus Raimi’s grasp of camerawork and the spectrum of lo-fi practical effects possibilities. Sequels, a remake, and a TV series followed, each taking a more comic route through the core material.

Here’s the trailer.

Tales From The Lodge (2019, dir. Abigail Blackmore and others)

Three couples reunite to scatter the ashes of a friend from their university days. The horror anthology meets a Big Chill/Return of the Secaucus Seven/Peter’s Friends-style relationships flick. A strong cast of UK TV comic faces helps, though the movie falls apart when the framing narrative plays its awkward, clumsy hand.

Here’s the trailer.

C.H.U.D. (1984, dir. Douglas Cheek)

A cop, a photographer, and a charity worker each investigate the disappearances of New York street people. Quirky horror-comedy with an anti-authoritarian streak. Benefits from location shooting and a solid cast in depth, even if the story is slight. A sequel followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Willy’s Wonderland (2021, dir. Kevin Lewis)

A laconic drifter battles possessed animatronics in a children’s amusement attraction. While not quite as much fun as its Five Nights at Freddy’s-ish premise indicates, this mashup of The Banana Splits Movie and Cabin In The Woods just about earns its keep. Cage is Cage as ever, and here that’s a good thing.

Here’s the trailer.

The Monster Squad (1987, dir. Fred Dekker)

A group of monster-obsessed pre-teens have to face off against a gallery of Universal Studios villains. Straightforward and very contrived sub-Spielbergian kid adventure post-ET/The Goonies. Some of it works well, and the creature effects evidence love, but too much is perfunctory tick-box stuff that’s being rushed through.

Here’s the trailer.

Hellbenders [AKA Hellbenders 3D] (2012, dir. JT Petty)

Unorthodox priests, who sin to make themselves attractive to demons, come up against a powerful foe. Scrappy horror-comedy that isn’t as shocking as it wants to be. Game playing from a talented cast helps, but this is a grab-bag of other, better movies.

Here’s the trailer.

Corporate Animals (2019, dir. Patrick Brice)

A team-building weekend goes awry when colleagues are trapped in a cave. Poor entry in the office politics horror-comedy sub-genre, with a decent cast struggling with under-powered scripting, direction, and lighting choices. There’s nice Gary Sinise and Britney Spears running gags, but that’s about it.

Here’s the trailer.

The Banana Splits Movie (2019, dir. Danishka Esterhazy)

Animatronic children’s TV characters from a long-running series come to murderous life during a show recording. A couple of plot niggles aside, this is generally a fun revisiting of the 60s show, updated a la Fantasy Island via Westworld. Could be darker in places, but matters are set up well for sequels.

Night of the Creeps (1986, dir. Fred Dekker)

A student prank gone wrong triggers the release of dormant alien parasites. Generally sprightly horror-comedy, mashing up 50s monster invasion SF, zombie flicks and sorority slashers. Joky but not spoofy, Creeps benefits from a dark touch when needed, not least with Tom Atkins’ veteran cop.