11 Funny Horror Books For Readers Who Love Creepy Novels But Hate Being Scared
I'll be honest with you, fellow book-lovers: on September 1st of every year I burn all my bathing suits, give away all my fun beach reads, and build myself a fort made of plastic skeletons and Shirley Jackson novels to hide in until November 1st. I'm all about creepy fall books. My favorite thing in the world is to curl up on a rainy autumn afternoon and think about demons. But I'm also, unfortunately, an enormous chicken who is very easily scared. This poorly thought out combination of character traits has driven me to seek out those oh-so-rare books that manage to walk the line between creepy and funny. Because you can't get murdered while laughing, right? Here are a few of the best books that the horror-comedy genre has to offer.
You might think that horror and comedy are natural adversaries, as far as genres go. One is about scaring you with monsters and ambiance, and the other is about delighting you with goofs and wordplay. And yet, much like pumpkin and coffee, these two very different flavors can work together to create something even better. Both genres are essentially trying to surprise you, after all, whether that surprise results in tears of laughter or paralyzing fear. So here are some surprisingly funny horror books for your fall reading pleasure:
'Horrorstör' by Grady Hendrix
The idea of a horror novel told through the format of an Ikea catalog might sound funny... until you imagine what it would be like to actually spend the night in an empty Ikea. Then it becomes terrifying. Horrorstör is an inventive, hilarious haunted house tale that follows three employees camped out overnight in a Scandinavian furniture store, and the subsequent horrors they encounter.
'Gil’s All Fright Diner' by A. Lee Martinez
Duke (a werewolf) and Earl (a vampire) are just passing through. They've stopped at a roadside diner for a quick bite to eat. They have no intention of sticking around to save the world from imminent destruction. But when the diner's owner offers them a hundred bucks to take care of a couple of zombies, they find themselves sucked into an increasingly apocalyptic crisis of undead cows, teen witches, and the otherworldly powers of Pig Latin.
'Slasher Girls & Monster Boys' edited by April Genevieve Tucholke
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is a collection of short stories ranging from hilarious to just straight up creepy. Nearly all of the stories draw from classic tales of weirdness, with nods to Alice in Wonderland, paranormal romances, high school horrors, and good old fashioned zombie scares.
'How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend' by Linda Addison
Linda Addison's writing blends horror, humor, and science fiction in this collection of poetry and prose. How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend includes tales of jealous ghosts and dimension-shifting dreams, Halloween paranoia and comic cannibals. There's something for everyone, all wrapped up in Addison's wonderfully weird imagery.
'Popular Hits of the Showa Era' by Ryū Murakami
Six aimless young men and six fierce, confident career women are fighting for control over a single Tokyo neighborhood. At first, their turf war seems fairly silly. The boys mostly loaf around and sing karaoke. And then one of them commits a murder. Popular Hits of the Showa Era is a hilarious, disturbing satire filled with explosive gang warfare and nefarious schemes that are not for the squeamish of stomach.
'Hold Me Closer, Necromancer' by Lish McBride
Sam is an ordinary boy with an ordinary job. He has no particular interest in raising the dead. But then a fast food prank brings him to the attention of the necromancer Douglas, who resurrects corpses for cash. Now Sam is well on his way to becoming a necromancer too, with the help of a few monstrous friends. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is a hilarious trip through the horrifying, undead underbelly of Seattle, and the title will definitely get Elton John stuck in your head.
'Welcome to Night Vale' by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Night Vale is that little desert town where all the conspiracy theories are true. Strange lights float above the Arby's and the public library is full of eldritch horrors. Based on the wildly popular podcast, Welcome to Night Vale ties together a number of delightfully creepy plot threads to create a funny, bizarre, wholly original tale of terror.
'How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea' by Mira Grant
Mira Grant's Newsflesh series is a must-read for all fans of humorous-yet-still-horrifying zombie fiction. Her various novels, novellas, and short stories explore the zombie apocalypse from every angle... but only How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea dares to feature zombie kangaroos. It's equally funny and gory (although if bloodthirsty kangaroos keep you up at night, then this will be a genuinely frightful read).
'Good Omens' by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
The apocalypse is coming, and someone has misplaced the Antichrist. Now it's up to one very fussy angel and one especially cool demon to fix this mix up of divine proportions... or maybe go about preventing the end of days entirely? Good Omens takes all "child of the devil" horror tropes and turns them on their head in this laugh-out-loud funny take on Judgment Day.
'iZombie, Vol. 1: Dead to the World' by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred
Gwen is a 20-something gravedigger who also happens to be a zombie. She has to eat a brain once a month to keep her human memories—but the trouble is that eating brains gives her all the thoughts and personality of that brain's former owner. So Gwen finds herself carrying out the last requests of her various victims, with the help of her ghostly best friend, a lovesick were-dog, some paintball loving vampires, and a very hot mummy.
'Get in Trouble' by Kelly Link
Get in Trouble includes stories about Ouija boards and evil twins, ghost-hunting shows set in Florida and life-size animated dolls. Kids attend off-kilter slumber parties and co-habitat with unseen visitors. In true Kelly Link fashion, every tale is wildly original. She's the master of crafting brilliant stories that are creepy-but-funny-but-seriously-creepy.