Laughter often follows unfounded fear, as a method of relieving tension. Usually, it’s just a nervous laughter, but what if it wasn’t?

This is one of the reasons the Evil Dead series has had such a lasting appeal, horror and humor go hand in hand. While most games adjacent to the genre play it straight, going for scares and tension only, there are some games which recognize the comedic potential of horror and go straight for the funny jugular.

Below you’ll find five such titles, all of which have a fair bit in common with various kinds of horror, but they provide just enough silliness and absurd to land closer to the silly side of the humor-horror spectrum.

Maniac Mansion 1987 Adventure Lucasfilm Games
Graveyard Keeper 2018-08-15 Adventure Lazy Bear Games
Ghost Master 2003-08-23 Strategy Sick Puppies
Yuppie Psycho 2019-04-25 Adventure Baroque Decay
Death Road To Canada 2016-07-21 Action & Shooter Rocketcat Games
Stubbs The Zombie In Rebel Without A Pulse 2005-11-15 Adventure-Action Aspyr
Catherine Full Body Nintendo Switch 2020-07-07 Logic Studio Zero
Harvester 1996-09-25 Adventure DigiFX Interactive

Graveyard Keeper

Release date:2018-08-15
Developer:Lazy Bear Games

Graveyard Keeper has one of the least funny openings to a comedy game you’ll ever see, but after that you’ll be dealing with talkative skeletons, revolutionary donkeys, and other fun NPCs.

You’ll also need to restore a rundown graveyard to its full potential and do some farming on the side, Stardew Valley-style. Thankfully here you don’t need to sleep if you have a way to replenish your energy.

It’s more comedy than horror, however, your graveyard hides a mysterious dungeon below, bats and monsters spawn at night, and you can even become a necromancer if you have the DLC. But at its most basic, it’s a management game with a silly theme and a good sense of humor.

Ghost Master

Release date:2003-08-23
Developer:Sick Puppies

Ghost Master could count as a reverse horror, as you are a leader for a host of ghosts and your job is making mortal lives much scarier.

Sometimes all you must do is scare them away from the haunted house of your own making, other times there is something you must first manipulate them into doing. It’s like a mixture of The Sims and Dungeon Keeper, with a bit of social engineering-based puzzles.

Ghost Master is very silly, full of pop culture references and exaggerated reactions mortals have to your scares. Even the ghosts you recruit are mostly humourous. On the other hand, some ghosts and their powers manage to be spooky even in this goofy game (looking at you, Shivers).

Yuppie Psycho

Release date:2019-04-25
Developer:Baroque Decay

Beginning a new job can be incredibly stressful on its own, without the extra horror of a witch making the workplace much, much weirder than it has any right to be.

To make things worse, you’re supposed to be the one who hunts the witch. Be ready for a lot of puzzles, plenty of workplace exploration and investigation, and virtually no combat ability to help you survive the dangers.

The game definitely delivers on the horror front, but there are quite a few elements which prevent it from being just a horror. The pixel graphics can look almost friendly, until you look closer, and there are some pointed jokes about corporate culture that easily cut through the horror.

Death Road to Canada

Release date:2016-07-21
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Rocketcat Games

Death Road to Canada is a roguelike game about trying to escape from the zombie-overrun USA to its northern neighbor.

The journey is long, randomly generated and filled both with zombies and random encounters which might result in you being joined by other runaways. You’ll also have to scavenge for food and other resources, or your road trip will end prematurely.

Despite all this, Death Road to Canada is…cute. The pixel art designs and overstated, yet relatively simple animations make even the most intense fights look fun, and the recruitable weirdos include many thinly veiled, but legally distinct pop culture references, such Rambeux or Tortuga.

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel without a Pulse

Release date:2005-11-15

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse is a game about starting your own zombie apocalypse.

You will eat people’s brains to turn them into undead under your command, use parts of your body as weapons and tools, and enact your vengeance upon those who wronged you and disturbed your grave in a Punchbowl, Pennsylvania in a retrofuturistic version of American 1959.

It might sound like something that could be relatively serious, but it’s not. Stubbs the Zombie is deliberately comedic, from a mockery of Patton’s speech to a dance-off against the local police chief. It’s all quite silly, highly stylized, and uses the retro-SF elements to great effect.

Thrilling laughs

This concludes our list, but there are more games which do a great job introducing comedy into horror scenarios with confidence and commitment. Some are mostly comedy, other are mostly horror, while others still manage to fall into both camps equally. Hopefully they’ll be exactly what you need to make this Spooktober fun!