across the streaming-verse

Best of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu Streaming: Horror-Comedy Movies

Photo: Universal Pictures, PSC, Magnet Releasing

This weekend, as you search for a movie to watch, you can either see Life After Beth or pick one of approximately 14 billion options available on streaming over a variety of services, be it Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, On Demand, or other sites. Every Friday, Vulture tries to make life easier by narrowing it down to a handful of heartily recommended options. This week, goblins, ghosts, cannibals, and blood-spewing kittens terrorize unsuspecting victims in the name of belly laughs.

Cannibal! The Musical (1993)
Before The Book of Mormon, before South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone produced this no-budget, song-and-dance horror romp retelling the story of prospector turned cannibal Alferd Packer. With numbers like “Shpadoinkle,” “When I Was on Top of You,” and “Let’s Build a Snowman” (which Frozen totally stole), Cannibal! is identifiable proto-comedy from Parker and Stone that manages to bounce along with the musical integrity of Oklahoma! Okay, maybe Paint Your Wagon. Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma Entertainment went on to distribute the film, which tells you everything about it’s shlock quality and mainstream-defying behavior. It doesn’t matter if it looks like it was shot on your parents’ DV camcorder. Raucous is raucous. (Stream on Netflix, Rent on iTunes)

Bad Milo! (2013)
Stress can do a number on our insides: cramps, migraines, and even kidney stones can all stem from life beating us down. Bad Milo! depicts the worst-case scenario. Steamrolled by his co-workers, family, and wife over and over again, Duncan (Ken Marino) finds his stress physically manifested into a three-foot monster. Living in his butt. That craves human flesh. Not every actor could pull off a buddy movie with a naked, razor-toothed wart puppet, but Marino manages to make it riotous and thoughtful at the same time. Maybe not when he’s expelling Milo from his behind, but there are definitely moments when this overlooked horror-comedy transcends the gimmick and brushes with Joe Dante–level greatness. (Stream on Netflix, Rent on iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Xbox, Target Ticket)

The Frighteners (1996)
Before becoming the overlord of live-action Tolkien adaptations, Peter Jackson was a horror geek with a sick sense of humor. His 1989 movie Braindead (released in the U.S. as Dead Alive) is one of those gorefests designed to make you laugh and hurl. It’s beautiful. The Frighteners is a bit tamer — and funnier for it. Starring Michael J. Fox as a sprit medium tracking a ghastly grim reaper, Jackson channels the spirit of Ghostbusters with wilder spectacle and broader humor. Fox has the mannerisms for ghost-filled slapstick; if you thought he looked dazed and bewildered after traveling through time in Back to the Future, wait until you see a ghost sock him in the jaw or a translucent R. Lee Ermey give ‘em hell. (Stream on Netflix, Rent on iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Target Ticket)

Hausu (1977)
Nobuhiko Obayashi’s gaudy ghost story is 24-karat kitsch. Wall-to-wall with widowed ghosts, butt-chomping floating heads, vomiting cats, killer pianos, and dream sequences that look like Fifth Dimension karaoke videos, Hausu makes little sense while making total sense for those in need of a stimulating, substanceless trip. Obayashi applies a well-tread setup: When a precocious schoolgirl and six giggly cohorts spend a weekend with her auntie, they find themselves tormented by paranormal forces. Hausu is Dario Argento by way of Liberace, the extravagance and lunacy of a quintessential Japanese game show rolled up in the worst (best?) episode of The Munsters. (Stream on Hulu, Rent on iTunes, Vudu, Amazon)

Best of Netflix: Horror Comedies