Scream was not the first movie to parody the horror and slasher genre. It certainly won’t be the last film either. What made the original film stand out in 1996, and to this day, was that it threw away expectations. It gave rules to the setup in each movie. It may have broken a few rules along the way but that too is a commentary on filmmaking.
Scream also went out of its way to set up the idea that seemingly anyone could be the killer. No one had a solid alibi. This was true for the sequels going forward. What other meta-horror and parody horror films are out there? After watching Scream 5, fans might be ready for more. So, here are some good picks to continue the meta marathon.
8 Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Gremlins 2: The New Batch is a silly sequel that is more of a comedy than its predecessor. There are still horror elements to it with deaths aplenty, but this sequel is into being more bizarre and meta. The premise sees Gizmo bleeding off more evil gremlins once again.
The twist this time is that they drink experimental juices and turn into new monstrosities such as vegetables, gargoyles, pure electricity, spiders, and the list goes on. There are fourth-wall-breaking moments too like the movie stopping halfway through and zooming out to an audience presumably watching the film.
7 The Cabin In The Woods
The Cabin in the Woods is set up like a typical slasher film. A bunch of teens go out to a cabin in the woods, literally, to party and make kissy-face at one another. Slowly they start getting picked off. Nothing weird there for horror.
The twist is that these teens are on some lot wherein they are being watched by a secret government organization. Their job is to sacrifice teens in situations like this to appease the old gods.
6 Happy Death Day
Happy Death Day is a time loop, whodunit slasher movie. The main character finds out that she keeps dying on her birthday with that day resetting infinitely. At first, she does what Bill Murray does on Groundhog’s Day. She tries to make everyone’s life amazing.
However, that’s not how she can break the loop. She needs to find out who the killer is before she goes mad. The meta part comes in after the film referencing Groundhog’s Day as a concept. The movie knows it’s a copycat. The sequel gets even wilder.
5 The Final Girls
The Final Girls is about a young girl, Max, who loses her mother in a car crash. The film fast forwards a few years when she goes to a screening of a movie her mom was in, Camp Bloodbath. It’s a cheesy copycat of Friday the 13th.
Partway through the theater starts on fire and the only way out is through cutting a hole in the projection screen. This doesn’t lead to a backstage area. It instead transports Max and her friends inside the movie. Why is this happening? Let’s have that remain a mystery for now.
Freaky is a horror parody of Freaky Friday and all films like it. The genre is seemingly as old as time. Two characters make a wish to switch bodies or get magically switched via some ungodly force of nature. Freaky falls on the latter of the two ideas. It sees a killer switch bodies with a teen girl, Millie.
Now Millie, in this killer’s body, has to convince her friends that her original body is being possessed by a killer. It’s a fun mash-up of body swap films, teen comedies, and horror slashers. Vince Vaughn plays a teenage girl so well.
3 Shawn Of The Dead
Shawn of the Dead is a great zombie movie that plays with expectations. Multiple zombies are presented to Shawn in the film but he treats them like drunk wanderers. It’s easier to believe someone is drunk rather than a zombie. That’s true for any reality since the conceit is so outlandish no matter how much people wish zombies were real.
When Shawn and his friend realize what’s going on, it’s chaos from there. There’s plenty of action and gore to go along with the comedy. The end has a satisfying sweet twist to it as well.
2 Vampire’s Kiss
Vampire’s Kiss may not seem like a meta-movie but it is. It’s more of a drama with horror-like elements but it deserves to be discussed. Nicolas Cage’s character, Peter, thinks that a random girl he met at a bar turned him into a vampire.
Spoiler alert. Vampires aren’t real. He’s paranoid and sees what he wants to see. This leads him to sleep in a makeshift coffin, wearing sunglasses at night, and various other things that make him look like a lunatic. It’s a great movie that’s bad but also very fun to watch again and again. It begs the question. Is it smarter than what people give it credit for?
1 Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes
Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes is an outlandish comedy that parodies b-movies from the height of them from the 50s and 60s. The so-called killer tomatoes aren’t even dressed up to look like monsters. They are literal tomatoes that people poorly pretend are eating them or causing other bodily harm.
It’s a cheesy movie that belongs on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Eventually, they do mutate more but it takes a long time. It tries a bit too hard which makes it just as bad as the movies it is trying to parody. It’s like a meta 360 loop. Whether that was on purpose or not is still a mystery.
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