Updated 17:58 PM PHT Mon, March 27, 2017
Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Jordan Peele’s directorial debut “Get Out” made for a timely film to open 2017. In the film, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black photographer, goes to visit his white girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) family for a weekend. Things take a turn for the worse, and Chris gets pulled into a terrifying world where racism’s horrors are heightened with the genre’s tropes.
“Get Out” offered a balance of terrifying moments, clever commentary on race, and moments of laugh-out-loud comedy. While it’s fairly novel in its approach to race, it isn’t the first film to alternate between jump scares and punch lines. Here are a handful of films in the same vein worth catching.
“The Evil Dead” (1981)
Sam Raimi’s cult classic “The Evil Dead” follows a group of university students off for spring break at a cabin in rural Tennessee.
Every horror trope in the book becomes an opportunity for laughs — from the old man warning the kids at the start to turn back, to an innocuous cursed necklace to the ancient Sumerian Book of the Dead. The film is also notable for its explicit gore and mania, which was all done with practical effects.
“Shake, Rattle and Roll II” (1990)
This Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes classic was a key chapter of the franchise with three terrifying, occasionally off-kilter segments. Played out with an all-star cast, the anthology film has everything from aswangs to cursed rings to a maternity ward full of tiyanaks.
In “Kulam,” Bogart (Joey Marquez) finds himself trapped in a hospital with Dr. Kalbaryo (Daisy Romualdez), who’s also a mangkukulam. In “Aswang,” Portia (Manilyn Reynes) must escape a town where everyone — including a handsome tricycle driver played by Richard Gomez — is an aswang.
“Shaun of the Dead” (2004)
This British horror comedy by Edgar Wright finds Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) going for a drunken night out at the pub, then finding themselves grappling with hangovers and a zombie apocalypse by morning.
As the zombies overtake London, the two hatch a plan to rescue their friends and family and wait out the apocalypse at the pub. What follows is an hour and a half of scares, thrilling fight scenes, and dry British humor.
Mitchell Lichtenstein’s low-budget indie darling “Teeth” made waves in 2007 because of its fascinating premise: A teenage girl named Dawn (Jess Weixler) develops vagina dentata (exactly what it sounds like) as an evolutionary adaptation to rape culture.
Hitting two birds with one stone, so to speak, the film gives commentary on male privilege while offering several satisfying moments of men trying to get their way with Dawn only to have their appendages bitten off.
“Drag Me to Hell” (2009)
“Drag Me to Hell” was Sam Raimi’s return to the genre nearly twenty years after “Army of Darkness,” the third installment in his “The Evil Dead” trilogy.
Peppered with moments of dark humor, the film takes you through the life of Christine (Alison Lohman), a bank loan officer who’s cursed to eternal damnation after turning down an elderly Hungarian woman’s pleas to extend her mortgage payment — and the subsequent curse cast on Christine after a series of unfortunate events.
“The Innkeepers” (2011)
Ti West’s “The Innkeepers” begins at the last weekend of operations of the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a hotel allegedly haunted by the ghost of Madeline O’Malley, a bride who killed herself after being jilted at the altar.
The two goofy front desk clerks, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) make use of the final opportunity to communicate with the ghost of Madeline, who wreaks havoc on the inn for one last time. Watch out for the Lena Dunhan cameo.
“Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington” (2011)
Jade Castro’s “Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington” opens with a series of murders of gays in Lucena. In the midst of an investigation into these deaths, an old curse turns Remington (Martin Escudero) gay.
Soon, the murdered gay men rise from their graves to take over the city. Remington and his friends must fight to save the people of Lucena, as well as to break the curse.
“Cabin In The Woods” (2012)
In what appears to be a playbook horror film in the tradition of "The Evil Dead," a group of college students are lured to the titular cabin in the woods for a mysterious ritual sacrifice to “the Ancient Ones.”
The surprise is that Drew Goddard’s film brings together literally every horror trope imaginable — from cosmic horror to apocalyptic events — to create a meta-narrative that plays on the dynamics of the genre.
“What We Do In The Shadows” (2014)
Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement direct and star in this mockumentary about a group of vampires who share a flat in the suburbs of Wellington.
In a combination of “Blair Witch Project”-style found-footage segments and reality show interview clips, the film plays on the various adjustments the vampires must make to survive the modern world. These include paying rent, finding human blood for sustenance, and having to be invited in before walking into the club.
This horror anthology by four female directors (Jovanka Vucovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin, and Karyn Kusama) balances out its terror with some moments of sheer hilarity.
Kusama’s segment entitled “Her Only Living Son” creates an unnerving environment for Cora (Christina Kirk), a single mother who comes to terms with the fact that her son is the spawn of Satan. Clark’s “The Birthday Party” is an all-out dark comedy with Mary (Melanie Lynskey) trying to hide a dead body in the midst of preparing for her daughter’s birthday party.