5 Great Horror Comedies from New Zealand

New Zealand, movies, horror, comedy, halloween, housebound, dead alive, braindead, deathgasm, black sheep, what we do in the shadows

A giant, evil, flaming eye isn’t the only thing New Zealand has to offer. The small island nation has been creating its own brand of horror since the early 90s, and many filmmakers have tried their hands at mixing horror with comedic levity. I don’t know what it is about the people of New Zealand, but they sure do know how to make a great horror-comedy. In fact, I’d venture to say that they just might be the current champions of the genre — especially with these 5 picks.

Dead Alive

New Zealand, movies, horror, comedy, halloween, housebound, dead alive, braindead, deathgasm, black sheep, what we do in the shadows

Before Peter Jackson was goofing around with wizards and elves, he made a few low-budget gore flicks. My personal favorite has to be Dead Alive, also known as Braindead outside the US. Lots of slapstick gore holds this movie together: 300 liters of fake blood were supposedly used to film just the final scene — that’s not even including the rest of the film! The gross-out gags add to the juvenile charm of the practical effects, and it’s hard not to laugh when the gore looks like Jell-O and red water.

You might be sick of zombies, but this movie stands out among the shambling crowd. It has an ass-kicking priest, a lawn mower built for butchery, and an economy-sized mom zombie. What more could you want?

Housebound

New Zealand, movies, horror, comedy, halloween, housebound, dead alive, braindead, deathgasm, black sheep, what we do in the shadows

I didn’t really know what Housebound was about when I first saw it at a small festival. The closest comparison might be The People Under the Stairs. Throw in some ghost hunting and thriller elements, and you have Housebound. As the title suggests, it’s the story of a failed criminal named Kylie on house arrest, forced to live out her sentence in her mom’s house. And there are plot twists aplenty, throwing a wrench in the conventional haunted house film.

The acting is great, and the cast seem to embrace their roles. The comedy is circumstantial, as the characters are quirky enough in their chemistry. It’s a fun ride with plenty of surprises to keep you interested.

Deathgasm

New Zealand, movies, horror, comedy, halloween, housebound, dead alive, braindead, deathgasm, black sheep, what we do in the shadows

As a metalhead, I get a bit peeved when films misappropriate metal genres. Although Deathgasm does that, I completely forgive it. When Brodie moves to a small town, he is immediately out of place, but he meets fellow metalhead named Zakk and starts a black metal band with a couple Dungeons & Dragons kids. They find old sheet music and turn it into a doom metal song, which accidentally conjures demons who inhabit the bodies of locals.

Character archetypes are exaggerated to maximize laughs. You have the jocks, the metalheads, the pretty girls, and the geeks, and nothing feels offensive. In fact, it makes for some funny dynamics. Imagine Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Evil Dead 2 having a baby — that’s Deathgasm.

What We Do in the Shadows

New Zealand, movies, horror, comedy, halloween, housebound, dead alive, braindead, deathgasm, black sheep, what we do in the shadows

Vampire movies have become pretty polarizing lately. Perhaps we’re just taking the vampire as a “monster” too seriously. What We Do in the Shadows ignores this: there really isn’t a monster-versus-prey plot to speak of. This is a mockumentary about vampire roommates, and the real laughs come from how different the characters are, based on what time period they hail from. Watching a Dracula-style vampire trying to make sense of the internet (or computers for that matter), had me roaring at my TV.

Additionally, is the one movie here that puts comedy before horror and gore. And if you’re a horror movie fan, there are plenty of references to the old vampire classics that you’ll love.

Black Sheep

New Zealand, movies, horror, comedy, halloween, housebound, dead alive, braindead, deathgasm, black sheep, what we do in the shadows

Fact: New Zealand’s sheep population outnumbers humans 6:1. That makes this particular movie a bit more horror than comedy for islanders. For the rest of us, killer zombie sheep are pretty damn funny.

When genetic experiments on sheep go wrong, you can pretty much guess what comes next. The practical effects in this movie are great; there’s high production value despite the obvious low budget. The puppets, makeup, and rubber monster costumes make this a hilarious throwback to 80s monster films. Add in that kiwi sense of humor, and you have the perfect zombie sheep cocktail.

Article by contributor Dixter.

10 thoughts on “5 Great Horror Comedies from New Zealand

  1. You had me at Black Sheep! Great list and Deathgasm is easily the best one followed closely by What we do in the shadows.

    1. Thank you, good sir! I really liked your coverage of Deathgasm, too. That interview was great stuff. I wanted to get a hold of you about your coverage, but school and work just wouldn’t permit. Anyways, October is a great time to be a horror movie junkie.

      1. Thank you! Its our holiday for sure and glad the word is out on Deathgasm; horror fan to horror fan, I cant wait to read your next article brotha!

    1. Maybe it says something about my psyche, but I really want to visit New Zealand! I don’t think these a good majority of these movies are meant to encourage tourism.

  2. Movie recommendation lists are always welcome. I thought Housebound was amazing and What We Do In The Shadows was understated and fun.

  3. Fun side note: What We Do is currently filming a sequel, and has a spin off documentary series called “Wellington Paranormal” , which parodies cop ride-along television.

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