Celebrating the Absurd: The Rising of Comedy-Horrors

19 October, 2023

Image: Ash vs Evil Dead, STARZ

As Halloween approaches, US audiences consistently demonstrate an increased appetite for horror content. Historically, TV show demand within the horror genre surges each October, and 2023 is anticipated to be no exception. The chart below shows demand peaks for horror TV series during the months of October in the last years.


The fluid nature of the entertainment sector ensures that the horror genre remains ever-evolving. Within this genre, audience preferences shift, as new shows introduce trends and captivate viewers, while interest in others wanes. A case in point is the burgeoning popularity of horror-comedy shows.

In the first quarter of 2021, this sub-genre accounted for 10.8% of the total horror show demand. Fast forward to two and a half years later, and its market share has risen to 17.4%. Contrastingly, suspense horrors, the frontrunners in the genre, have seen their demand slip from 72.6% to 66.4% during this timeframe.


Historically positioned at contrasting ends, horror and comedy have now converged, offering audiences an enticing blend of laughter and chills. Netflix's Wednesday stands out as a testament to this blend's success, registering 17.3 times the demand of an average show in the recent quarter nearly one year after it first premiered. Closely following is Starz’s Ash Vs. Evil Dead. Notably, both stem from iconic horror franchises: the Adams Family and the Evil Dead respectively, highlighting the sub-genre's ability to engage fans deeply, thereby fostering merchandise sales, conventions, and spin-offs.

Within this subgenre, anthology shows have also carved their niche. Creepshow from 2019, which is an extension of its 1980s namesake, and HBO’s Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996) ranked among the top 10 horror-comedy shows recently, underscoring that the amalgamation of horror and comedy is not just a recent phenomenon.


By intertwining horror and comedy, creators have breathed fresh life into traditional narratives. Series like Ash vs Evil Dead and Santa Clarita Diet stand as standout examples, showcasing inventive scripting that retains a sense of unpredictability.

At its core, the horror-comedy genre thrives on absurdity. These shows act as a lens to amplify and mock societal idiosyncrasies, resonating deeply with viewers who are increasingly drawn to satirical takes on reality. This can be seen in shows such as iZombie, a mix of supernatural, procedural, horror, drama, and com

edy show, that focus on a brain-eating zombie doctor who solves murders. 

In conclusion, the ascension of horror-comedy TV shows in the US isn't a mere passing phase. It mirrors an evolving societal palate in entertainment, indicating a move towards narratives that are intricate and emotionally layered in order to prevent traditional genres from growing stale.

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