Perhaps it’s just coincidence. Perhaps it’s something in the water. Or perhaps it’s simply the fact that the deadpan sense of humour is pretty much unparalleled.
Whatever the reason, our Kiwi cousins certainly seem to have a killer knack for comedy horror – gleefully creating tongue-in-cheek shockers that have the ability to make us both giggle and scream.
If you’re after a bit of gloriously gory entertainment this Halloween, look no further than these five example of delirious laugh-packed horror from the shores of New Zealand.
Forced to move back to her childhood home under house arrest after one too many brushes with the law, wayward brat Kylie initially mocks her mother’s insistence that the residence is haunted – until she too begins to experience things going bump in the night.
A thoroughly accomplished debut by writer/director Gerard Johnstone, Housebound sends a familiar sounding premise stratospheric through liberal use of offbeat comedy and some genuinely inspired twists, turns and revelations. It manages that unusual feat of being both hilarious and creepy – making it essential viewing for comedy horror enthusiasts.
What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
A superb mockumentary following a dysfunctional collective of secretive vampires in modern-day Wellington, Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s gag-packed sensation readily sends-up aspects of classic bloodsucker folklore. It’s hard to dress yourself without the aid of a mirror…
Watching a newbie try to adjust to life in the coven is great (“I love chips!”), while the eclectic mix of characters provide a regular procession of punch-lines, along with a surprisingly endearing narrative thread.
Long before he became the toast of Hollywood with his epic, record-breaking Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson was making fun, schlocky low-budget gore-fests – including this cult favourite.
Spewing blood and guts all over the quaint 1950s, the movie follows mollycoddled hero Lionel as he battles his overbearing mum and an outbreak of ravenous corpses after an evil monkey spreads a dangerous epidemic. Featuring fantastic make-up, insane lawnmower slaughter and a kung-fu vicar (“I kick arse for the Lord!”) Frodo’s journey has nothing on this.
(NB: Those not acquainted with Jackson’s pre-LOTR work should also check out Bad Taste and The Frighteners).
Black Sheep (2006)
Doing for New Zealand’s most famous agricultural export what Hitchcock did for birds, Jonathan King’s tale of livestock gone bad is an absolute hoot. Sympathetic protagonist Henry has a chronic phobia of sheep following a childhood trauma; and his fear of the dozy, woolly pests turns out to be well-founded when they start devouring people.
Taking an absurd but inspired premise and running with it to the very furthest reaches of cinematic lunacy, King’s gloriously daft and gruesome romp is a perfect successor to the early splatter-work of Jackson.
Armed with some wicked visual flair and kick-ass tunes, Jason Lei Howden’s tale of a high school heavy metal band who accidentally summon demonic forces has been causing quite the stir on the festival scene -netting some glowing reviews in the process.
So if you’ve ever wanted to flash the horns, mosh and watch a bunch of hapless teens fight the forces of darkness with sex toys, you’ve come to the right place.