Jordan Peele & 9 Other Comedic Actors Who Were Great In Horror

Some actors are famous for their ability to transform into any role they play. However, comedic actors are often placed in boxes and assigned comedic roles. However, comedic actors have found success in many other genres, particularly horror.

RELATED: 10 Most Harrowing Quotes from Jordan Peele’s “We’re Not Over”

The most notable recent example of this trend is comedian Jordan Peele becoming an established horror filmmaker following the success of Get Out and Us. But he is not the only one as other comedic actors have shown their proficiency in the genre in front of the camera like Bill Hader in It Chapter 2 and behind the camera like Danny McBride with the Halloween reboot.

10 Jordan Peele In Get Out

Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington in Get Out

Jordan Peele, who was previously best known for his role in Key & Peele’s comedy duo, took the horror film world by storm with Get out. The psychological thriller brilliantly uses the story of a family transplanting consciousnesses into different bodies to make powerful social commentary.

Peele’s directorial debut is undoubtedly the best of 2010. The film instantly made him a star and his follow-up Us proved that he is more then a one-hit wonder. His comedy has always had a layer of depth and social awareness to them, and he used those instincts in creating a brilliant horror screenplay that won him an Oscar.

9 John Krasinski In A Quiet Place

After becoming a household name thanks to his work in The Office, John Krasinski made the surprising move of writing, directing, and starring in A Quiet Place, playing a father who tries to protect his family during an invasion by sound-sensitive aliens.

Krasinski skillfully taps into the universally relatable fears of parenthood and used that anxiety to compose a tense and thrilling film that ranks among the best horror movies of the 2010s. He also benefits from the smart decision to cast his real-life wife Emily Blunt as the other lead, utilizing their natural chemistry.

8Tig Notaro in Army Of The Dead

Tig Notaro as Marianne in Army of the Dead

Director Zack Snyder had to cut an actor from his zombie heist thriller Army of the Dead. Comedy star Tig Notaro quickly reshot the scenes in isolation, and was even CGIed into the group shots.

RELATED: The 5 Best Performances In Jordan Peele’s Get Out (& 5 In Us)

Given the context and all the factors that are against her, her performance should be a disaster. However, Marianne Peters’ snarky delivery combined with her effortless coolness make her one of the most memorable characters in Army of the Dead.

7Kevin James in Becky

horror movie villain

Kevin James had never shown any signs that he could be intimidating or dangerous to viewers who had seen his previous work. He surprised everyone by playing the villainous role of Dominick, the leader of a group convicts who terrorize a girl’s father.

James has been known to use his physicality for slapstick humor and pratfalls. However, he uses this same ability to become a formidable figure in Becky. The film is good, but James’s performance alone is reason to watch it.

6 Elizabeth Banks In Brightburn

Elizabeth Banks in Brightburn

While Elizabeth Banks has mostly appeared in comedic films recently, such as Pitch Perfect and The Lego Movie, she has the opportunity to demonstrate her versatility in the superhero hero movie Brightburn, in which she plays a woman who takes in a Superman-like alien with incredible powers.

The film is a unique take on the classic superhero origin story. But it really hinges on Banks’ character Tori and her adopted child. Banks shows off her solid acting ability as she delivers an emotional and sympathetic performance.

5Bill Hader, In It Chapter 2

Bill Hader, a Saturday Night Live star, has been regarded as one of today’s most funny and talented comedic actors. He is the perfect fit to play Richie Tozier’s grown-up role in It Chapter Two, the horror sequel.

RELATED : The 5 Most Quotable Lines from Jordan Peele’s Get out (& 5 From Us).

Richie is an actor and comedian so Hader has many opportunities to be funny. The character is also a showcase of Hader’s talents, as his relationship to Eddie Kaspbrak is touchingly and heartbreaking.

4 Adam Scott In Krampus

Adam Scott in Krampus

Adam Scott is a comedian who has displayed versatility, including his roles as a lovable geek in Parks and Recreation and as more confident villains in Step Brothers and The Good Place. The Christmas horror movie Krampus, however, sees him taking on the horror genre as a man trying protect his family from the vengeful spirit.

Scott is endearing as the patriarch of the family and makes the viewer care about his fate. The film is a mix of horror and comedy, which allows Scott to still deliver some hilarious lines while he becomes frustrated with his extended family. His relationship with his son is what provides the heart and emotional center of the film.

3Chris Rock in Spiral

Female Killer Speculation in Spiral

Chris Rock is a stand-up comedian who has earned a reputation for his energetic delivery. This made him a perfect fit as the lead in the nest Saw film, Spiral. In it, he plays a detective assigned to stop a Jigsaw murderer.

Rock is a compelling character in the film, despite the movie’s mixed results. The script does not fully portray his character, but Rock’s natural charisma gives the audience reason to believe in the character.

2Danny McBride Halloween (2018)

Michael Myers in Halloween 2018

Danny McBride is a well-known actor who has a reputation for being brash and outrageously funny. He showed his versatility when he co-wrote 2018’s Halloween. This reboot functions as a direct follow-up to the original film.

McBride is able tap into the most fascinating elements of the original film, such as the unknowable nature Michael Myers’ motives. While adding something new to franchise, McBride explores Laurie’s trauma at a deeper level. You can feel his creative voice in quirky characters like Julian. McBride might not have been the best choice to write Halloween. But the movie was a huge success.

1Courtney Cox, Scream

Gale Weathers in Scream

Courtney Cox is most well-known for her iconic role in Friends as Monica Geller, an neurotic woman. In Scream, she gives up her neurotic persona to be the confident and snappy Gale Weathers as the reporter investigating the Ghostface killings with the hope of making a name.

Cox’s performance is in perfect sync with the film’s tone. She is able to take a could have been a forgettable side character and establishes her as one of the best elements of the franchise.

NEXT: 5 Scariest Scenes From Jordan Peele’s Get Out (& 5 From Us)

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About the Author


Shane Redding
(141 Articles Published)

Shane Redding is an American writer. He graduated from the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. He is now a Screen Rant List writer for Valnet, Inc. He spends his spare time enjoying sports, escape rooms and board games. He also enjoys spending time with his family.

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