Crash Discussions: The Riddle of the Horror-Comedy, Episode 14

PodcastimageAre horror-comedies a good thing for the horror genre? You’ll find out when Billy Crash and Jonny Numb explore some of horror’s best juxtapositions, and explore why such contrasts work – and help us fend off our fear of death. What are your thoughts onĀ horror-comedy?

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3 Replies to “Crash Discussions: The Riddle of the Horror-Comedy, Episode 14”

  1. I don’t have a whole lot to add to this one. I think comedy has its place in horror, but I don’t like it when the comedy takes precedence over the horror (Scary Movie, Army of Darkness, etc.). I think comedy can play two very important roles in horror if it is executed *correctly*. First, it can be used to temporarily relieve the tension in a horror movie. If a movie is just gore on top of gore on top of gore, we quickly become desensitized to it. However, if are watching something extreme, relieve the tension with humor and then follow it up immediately with something else extreme, we are that much more shocked. We are ripped out of our temporary comfort zone and dragged kicking and screaming back into the horror. It can also be effective if horror and comedy are used simultaneously in a scene, causing a conflict of emotions as we watch it. A perfect example of this is the scene in Repo! where the Repo Man sings the bitter working-man song “Thankless Job” as he disembowels a victim. The song is funny as hell, but the visuals are disturbing, causing an internal conflict in the viewer.
    Second, humor can add a sense of realism. Real life is full of humor. When you remove all humor from any movie, including horror, you are denying that movie an integral part of humanity. Characters like Evil Ed from Fright Night and Hudson from Aliens may come off as silly to some people. They seem real to me because they maintain a sense of humor in a life or death situation as a coping mechanism, which is a very human thing to do.

    1. That’s one killer comment, Lizard.

      I totally agree about comedy usurping horror in a horror film as an ultra-bad move. This is why I couldn’t stand ARMY OF DARKNESS – it was just too silly.

      Although I’m sure some gorehounds would beg to differ about interrupting a gorefest with comedy, I understand what you are saying. However, when comedy is used to break up suspense and get the audience off the hook, then I have issues (I always fall back on THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT as the perfect example.)

      Again, your comment about “real life” comedy is perfect. This is why I loved Hudson and Evil Ed, and why I enjoyed MAY so much. When the humor is genuine, it should definitely add to the value of the tale.

      Regardless, it all comes down to good writing, whether straight horror or comedy, or a mix. Most screenwriters say that comedy is the toughest to write. After all, a joke a minute isn’t easy. Then again, maintaining suspense and chills in a horror film per minute isn’t a cake walk either. Putting the two genres together successfully takes some special talent.

      Rock on, Lizard!

      1. I know it’s not horror, but for as much as it’s being hyped, BIG BAD WOLVES is another example of the silly humor / dark subject matter equation executed poorly. But we’ll get to that on an upcoming show…

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