Horror with a smile for your next watching (and reading!) binge

in Fiction by

I’m kind of a horror wimp. If we’re ever watching a slasher film together, expect a lot of squealing, a lot of covering my eyes, and maybe some nail gouging during the particularly gory parts. This is why I like my horror served up with a healthy side of comedy—if I’m going to watch someone get chased by monsters, I might as well be laughing, too.

Funny, campy horror has a long history on television: I still remember the plots to old episodes of The Munsters and The Addams Family I watched as kid. And even now there are some great shows out there that regularly mix their fake blood with a few jokes. So if you’re looking for the lighter side of horror, here are three shows and one book to binge on:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I spent my teen years idolizing Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar)—and, 15 years later—I’m still idolizing the tough, smart, sensitive slayer chick. Creator Joss Whedon is the master of campy television that still somehow manages to gut you with emotions, and Buffy is his first triumph. The series follows Buffy Summers, a teenage girl who was chosen to be a slayer. After burning down the gym of her old high school, she moves to Sunnydale, hoping to start over. Little does she know, it’s home to a Hellmouth. And then she has to save the world. A lot. Along the way she kills vampires, falls in love with a couple of them, and develops a group of loyal and devoted friends (known as the Scooby Gang). If you haven’t seen this amazing show, now is definitely the time for a bingewatch.

Supernatural

Supernatural stars both Jarec Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, and they’re always in epic battles over who has a stronger jawline. All right, all right, they’re actually busy fighting demons and stuff. This show has something for everyone: weekly mysteries, plenty of CGI, and all the eye candy a girl could want. Sam and Dean Winchester are two brothers who set out to find their father after he disappears. What starts as a familial mystery becomes an epic journey, which has them fighting ghosts, a looming apocalypse, and even Lucifer himself. The show is so popular among fans that they’ve formed online communities where they write fan fiction or create fan videos celebrating Wincest—which is exactly what it sounds like. For the rest of us, we can simply revel in the easy charm, humor and horror that Supernatural brings to every episode.

Sleepy Hollow

If you like a little history with your horror, then check out Sleepy Hollow. There’s endless charm in this time traveling spin on the legend of Ichabod Crane—from the snappy relationship between Ichabod (Tom Mison) and modern cop Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), to watching him try and navigate his way through the 21st century. Here he is taking on the banking system:

 

Abby and Ichabod battle threats from the past and the present, ultimately trying to figure out the mystery of the Headless Horseman. Like any bingeworthy show, Sleepy Hollow is filled with romance, humor and enough creepy bad guys to satisfy any horror buff.

Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story by Christopher Moore

Eden AfterDark 2

Long before Edward and Bella were making kissy faces in Twilight, Moore introduced us to Jody and Tommy, a pair of slackers who are slowly falling in love. There’s only one problem: Jody is a newly formed vampire, and she’s not quite sure what to do with her undead status. The novel, published in 1995, perfectly captures the slacker, punk era of the ‘90s. But with vampires, of course. So if you’re looking for a little humor (Tommy is the king of frozen turkey bowling at the local Safeway) and horror (dead bodies start popping up all over town), then try Moore’s bestselling ode to bloodsuckers.

Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.