We Are Serious: THN’s Top Five Movie Parodies

movie parodies

To celebrate… is that the right word?

To acknowledge the release of SCARY MOVIE 5 today, we at THN present the Top Five Movie Parodies. For the Top Five WORST Movie Parodies, click here.

Before we begin, some ground rules. The Top Five can only contain one film per director. Otherwise Mel Brooks and the mob behind POLICE SQUAD would dominate the upper regions. This does not apply to The Bottom Five, which presumably will be owned by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Don’t know who they are? Consider yourself lucky.

Carry On Screaming!

dir. Gerald Thomas (1966)
‘Frying Tonight!’ screams Kenneth Williams in what was the greatest British horror send up ever (until Simon Pegg got his cricket bat out). Like all the great parodies, it doesn’t just spoof its subjects (targets?) but pays homage as well. Thomas and screenwriter Talbot Rothwell clearly love the Great British horrors of the age, such as Hammer and Amicus productions and this film sits comfortably beside them as a worthy spin off from the genre.

hot fuzz

dir. Edgar Wright (2007)
Action comedy spoofs are nothing new. In fact, films such as TANGO & CASH showed a sense of self-deprecation even in the late 1980s. But one set in England? That’s pretty rare. Having already paid homage to their favourite genre in SHAUN OF THE DEAD, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright gave us the ultimate meta-action film in HOT FUZZ. With post-modern, intertextual references to films like POINT BREAK and BAD BOYS II, they proceed to blend the Michael Bay and John Woo-isms we’ve become so familiar with into the tropes of small town, British crime drama such as MIDSOMER MURDERS. The result is a game changer. Much like all zombie comedies will forever be compared (unfavourably) with SOTD, HOT FUZZ will be a hard act to follow for action movie spoofs.

spinal tap

dir. Rob Reiner (1984)
Although this stone cold classic takes aim at (rock) documentaries and how they canonise their subjects, Reiner’s main target of spoofery is the rock’n’roll lifestyle. The ridiculousness, extravagance and egomania of metal icons at the time was skewered so perfectly that many RAWK stars since have found it less than comfortable viewing. Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Van Halen and Ozzy Osbourne are among many head-banging legends who found the film to be brilliantly, if painfully, accurate. And there can’t be many higher accolades for a parody. Apart from it being funny. Which this is.

Blazing Saddles

dir. Mel Brooks (1974)
Can you believe that this came out in the same year as YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN? That would be like THE AVENGERS and THE DARK KNIGHT coming out at the same time whilst sharing the same director. And star. BLAZING SADDLES was the latest in a long line of cowboy comedies (CARRY ON COWBOY and CALAMITY JANE being other excellent examples), but not only did it send up the canon, it stepped out of the movie, literally breaking the fourth wall, and becomes a comedy about cinema, ALL THE WHILE tackling racism in a subversive, clever and, most importantly, funny way. When Bart persuades the townsfolk to help him by claiming ‘You’d do it for Randolph Scott!’ BLAZING SADDLES shows it is a cowboy film about cowboy films, and was way ahead of it’s time.

Clarence Oveur in AIRPLANE!

dir. Jim Abrahams/David Zucker/Jerry Zucker (1980)
Arguably the king of spoofs, this exceptional film raised the bar in terms of straight acting juxtaposed with anarchic comedy, sight gags, jokes per minute, puns puns and more puns. One of the most quoted films in history, AIRPLANE! made a star of Sir Leslie Nielsen and changed the way disaster films would be seen forever more. Even modern apocalyptic-pornos like THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and 2012 can be retroactively pointed at by this monster of mirth. The greatest of them all. And yes I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley. Except for on weekends.

Honorable mentions must go to such fantastic spoofs as YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, HOT SHOTS 1&2, BLACK DYNAMITE, DRACULA: DEAD AND LOVING IT, WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY, SHAUN OF THE DEAD, SPACEBALLS and of course, THE NAKED GUN series. Most of their directors are well represented in the Top Five above and we at THN salute them all for being so timelessly, ridiculously hilarious.

However, tomorrow, we must look to the flipside of the comic coin. Did that last sentence work? No, absolutely not. And neither did these, frankly appalling, attempts at parody. Movies so misguided, so flimsy in their writing, so astonishingly unfunny that their audiences must have resembled that of Springtime For Hitler. Some of the following movies feature stars from the Top Five, a whole bunch were even directed by one of the great spoof makers, whose fall from grace is quite unparalleled. David Zucker, in case you’re wondering. Are you ready to laugh? Then get ready to be disappointed.

Click here for The Top Five Worst Movie Parodies.

Incidentally, SCARY MOVIE 5 is in cinemas today. Click here for our review.

John is a gentleman, a scholar, he’s an acrobat. He is one half of the comedy duo Good Ol’ JR, and considers himself a comedy writer/performer. This view has been questioned by others. He graduated with First Class Honours in Media Arts/Film & TV, a fact he will remain smug about long after everyone has stopped caring. He enjoys movies, theatre, live comedy and writing with the JR member and hetero life partner Ryan. Some of their sketches can be seen on YouTube and YOU can take their total hits to way over 17!


  1. Mauricio

    April 13, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    What about Top Secret??

  2. John Sharp

    April 14, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Ah yes, Top Secret. That has the same directors as Airplane! so couldn’t make the list. Plus the songs out stay their welcome, I reckon. Some brilliant visual comedy in there though :)

  3. Dan B

    April 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Hot Fuzz. Blazing Saddles. Airplane.

    All creative juice that feeds me endlessly and throughout my life. Could we throw in Shaun of the Dead as well?


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