ByMatthew Clancy, writer at
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Matthew Clancy

While Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movies are the best-known films made in New Zealand, he's far from the only great filmmaker from the island nation. In fact, the New Zealand horror industry has been cranking out some great under-the-radar modern classics for decades, much of it with a lot of sardonic comedy thrown in. (After all, this is the country that gave us Flight of the Conchords.)

The stories in most horror comedies out of New Zealand aren’t just slapstick comedies making fun of other horror movies. They are true horror films that deliver the scares just as strong as the laughs. Don’t get me wrong, American movies like Scary Movie are funny, but if you want a movie that truly has both horror and comedy, New Zealand is the place to look.

If you love horror, don't limit yourself to Hollywood — check out these scary, funny, awesome New Zealand horror flicks.

'Dead Alive'

When Dead Alive appeared in theaters in 1993, they actually handed out barf bags. Yes, it really is that gross. The horror scenes in this movie are one for the record books.

The characters that star in New Zealand horror comedies are often quirky and have a ton of personality. This gem is Peter Jackson’s horror comedy masterpiece about an awkward young man named Lionel who is completely wrapped up in winning his mother’s approval, no matter how sadistic she is — even when she turns into a zombie and wreaks havoc on their small town. He remains loyal to her as she turns others into zombies and tries to conceal what is happening as chaos takes over his small town.

Inspiration for this character was absolutely taken from Psycho, as the relationship between Lionel and his mother Vera mirrors Norman and Norma's — except it's much more exaggerated and violent. Norma Bates may have been obsessed with her son Norman, but Vera takes it to a whole new level. At one point, Vera (in her zombie monster form) literally tries to put him back into her womb. It’s terrifying, over the top and hilarious.

'Black Sheep'

Black Sheep is about a genetic experiment gone wrong that turns sheep into murderous monsters. Think Cujo, but zombie-sheep instead of a dog. The movie will make you cringe and hide behind your hands as much as it will make you laugh out loud. If you've ever pictured yourself in a horror movie, it probably wasn't being chased by sheep.

'The Frighteners'

Another shining example from the master Peter Jackson, The Frighteners was more popular in the U.S. since it starred Michael J. Fox. The movie features terrifying ghosts and ghouls while also carrying a very lighthearted atmosphere. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but still is able to have a very careful balance between horror and good laughs. Essentially, Michael J. Fox is a "ghostbuster" who's friends with a few ghosts and is trying to take down the grim reaper.


Housebound follows a young woman, Kylie, who is under house arrest in her estranged mother's home, which just so happens to be haunted. She may be a crook, but she has a deep, dark past with her mother that continues to influence her into adulthood. Throughout the movie you discover more and more about their relationship, but it's complemented with Kylie's dry humor and facial expressions that can kill — you'll laugh just from her responding perfectly to someone with a look.

In Housebound, there are many, many original jump scares. Think walking around a haunted house that you can’t leave and having to deal with things literally jumping out of the walls. Then Kylie gives you a quirky one liner that has you rolling on the floor laughing.

The best part about this movie is that it isn’t your run-of-the-mill haunted house story. The writers throw a curveball when you realize that the ghost is actually a man that has been living in their walls and is trying to warn them of the true killer right below their noses!


"Do demons recognize daylight savings?"
"Do demons recognize daylight savings?"

Last but certainly not least, we have 2015's rocking horror comedy Deathgasm. Yes, it's insinuating exactly what you think it is. In Deathgasm we follow Brodie, a major heavy metal fan, who accidentally unleashes a particularly nasty demon named the Blind One. Have you ever seen a death-by-sex-toy? If not, you should check this one out. (Warning: Don't watch it with Mom!)


What's your favorite horror comedy on this list?


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