Horror comedy books have the power to make you scream and make you laugh. Read on for some of the best horror comedy books out there!
Horror and comedy. Are there any two genres that are more incongruous? Surprisingly, horror fiction and comedy have more in common than you might think.
Both genres rely heavily on surprises and the unexpected. Surprising things in a humorous context make you laugh, of course. And when you’re surprised by horror? Get ready to scream or jump our of your seat or find somewhere to hide. Both genres also bank on tension and build up that leads to a funny (or scary) pay-off. Additionally, both horror and comedy can be difficult to execute well. So when you read something truly funny or really, really, scary, it’s feels rewarding.
So it turns out horror and comedy are like two sides of the same coin. Which is why they pair so well together in iconic horror films like Get Out, Jennifer’s Body, Army of Darkness, Scream, and more. And the combo works in books too! Here are just a few horror comedy books that will have you laughing and hiding under the covers.
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
If you’ve ever worked retail, Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör is going to be all too relatable for you. And while Hendrix is perhaps the true master of the horror comedy genre mix, Horrorstör is the author’s outright funniest book. This book is about a furniture store that’s not IKEA (but totally is) that is maybe haunted. To get to the bottom of it, a group of employees agree to stay after hours, and… weird stuff happens. One of the best parts of this novel? The catalogue-like illustrations that get more and more wild as the story continues.
Bunny by Mona Awad
Mona Awad’s Bunny is a strange, satirical, supernatural dark academia novel. This is the story of Samantha Heather Mackey, an introvert who feels like an outsider in her highly selective MFA program at Warren University. The rest of her cohort is incredibly cliquey and they oddly all call one another “Bunny.” But then Samantha gets invited to the Bunnies’ “Smut Salon,” and in spite of herself, she finds that she’s drawn to the strange group of girls. And when she starts going to their off-campus workshops where otherworldly monsters are conjured, reality begins to blur.
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
Meddling Kids updates the humor of Scooby Doo for adult readers and mixes it with Cthulhu mythos. It’s the 90s, and the Blyton Summer Detective Club is all grown up. They haven’t seen each other in years. Not since they solved their final case in 1977. The case that still gives them nightmares to this day. But now the time has come to return to the source of those nightmares. To discover what’s really behind the terrors that won’t leave them. Will it be another man in a mask? Or are the monsters real this time?
Popular Hits of the Showa Era by Ryu Murakami
This book is a brutal dark comedy horror book about an epic rivalry: six aimless young men against six tough middle-aged women. As they battle it out for control over a Tokyo neighborhood, chaos ensues after the fighting becomes lethal. One of the women is killed, and the rest of the women are committed to exacting their revenge. But the youths won’t take their punishment without a fight. Popular Hits of the Showa Era turns gang fighting into a humorous battle between the sexes and between generations.
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
If Veronica Mars could raise victims from the dead to uncover how they died, then you’d have Lily Anderson’s Undead Girl Gang. When Mila’s best friend Riley (along with two other girls from their school) die under mysterious circumstances, Mila uses her amateur witchcraft skills to bring the girls back to life. Unfortunately, Riley and the other girls have zero recollection of the murders. Will Mila be able to uncover the truth about their death before the killer strikes again?
A Touch of Jen by Beth Morgan
A Touch of Jen is a quirky new novel that starts off as a tongue-in-cheek comedy and gradually morphs into something truly terrifying. Remy and Alicia are a couple bonded by their obsession with their former coworker Jen rather than their love for one another. Jen is a jewelry designer and Instagram influencer who seems to be living her dream, and Remy and Alicia are enthralled. So when Jen invites the couple on a surfing trip to the Hamptons with her wealthy boyfriend and their friends, Remy and Alicia jump at the opportunity. Then things get weird.
How to Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend by Linda Addison
This book is a collection of sci-fi and horror short stories and poems. How to Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend is darkly funny, and if you enjoy a through-line in your short story/poetry collections, you’ll appreciate that the stories and poems here have recurring characters and themes that connect the whole thing together in a really satisfying way.
The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones
There have been plenty of books that have taken on the slasher film final girl trope, but Stephen Graham Jones’ The Last Final Girl is the most off-the-wall satirical take on the teen slasher. This campy novel is written in to mimic a film script, so you experience the story as if you were watching an over-the-top B horror flick. Lindsay is a homecoming princess who barely escaped a bloody death at the hands of a killer wearing a Michael Jackson mask. Now Lindsay is assembling a group of final girls to replace her original homecoming court. This time, it won’t just be a fight for survival. This is a fight to become the Last Final Girl.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
Emily M. Danforth’s Plain Bad Heroines is feminist dark academia, sapphic, sarcastic, comedic, and really scary. It all starts in 1902 at the Brookhants School for Girls. Two girls become obsessed with author Mary MacLane and are inspired to start a Plain Bad Heroines Society. Shortly after their dead bodies are discovered on campus surrounded by a swarm of yellow jackets, the school closes down. Now, over a century later, a film crew is moving into the closed down campus to make a movie about what happened at the school. But the curse of the Plain Bad Heroines Society still lingers.
Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s literary short story collection mixes a lot of genres. Many of these stories incorporate dark humor into the sci-fi dystopian and horror genres to create smart commentary about a number of topics that plague contemporary America: violence, racism, capitalism, consumerism, alienation, and more. These short stories often manage to be deeply disturbing and funny in the same breath.
Vampires Never Get Old ed. Zoraida Córdova & Natalie C. Parker
With this YA horror anthology, you’re getting every kind of vampire. Some of these stories are intense. Some are super scary. And yes, many of these stories are comedic. This collection features eleven different new vampire stories from some of YA’s most acclaimed authors, including Zoraida Córdova, Natalie C. Parker, Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.
Eat Your Heart Out by Kelly DeVos
Kelly deVos’ Eat Your Heart Out is described as Shaun of the Dead meets Dumplin’. Vivian Ellenshaw is fat, but she’s also totally happy with her body just the way it is, so when she’s forced to go to Camp Featherlite, a weight-loss camp, she knows something is up. The camp claims to have a “miracle cure” for obesity, but everything about the place seems off. And besides, Vivian firmly believes obesity is not something that needs to be “cured.” Not long after she arrives, one of Vivian’s fellow campers goes missing, and then Vivian encounters something horrifying. Something not human.
Yes, horror comedy can seem like a niche genre, but if you’re looking for even more horror comedy books, the Bibliologists with TBR (Tailored Book Recommendations) will totally be able to find the perfect book for you. Bibliologists are book experts who have made it their life’s work to hunt down whatever kind of book combos your heart desires. So you want more horror comedy books? They’ve got you covered.