Tuesday, 22 January 2008

On Comedy: Questions About Monsters...

Thanks for your comments and questions, and I will try to answer them here.
StevenC asked...
Is that why Shaun of the Dead worked so well? Outside of Ed at the end, the monsters basically were still flesh-eating zombies and it was the interaction of the group Shaun was leading that was the comedy.
Okay, I won't be too specific about Shaun of the Dead, because I keep missing chances to see the whole film. But I'm assuming that this Ed, as a zombie, does something funny at the end.

Well, my theory is that monsters are allowed some sort of funny business especially when the film leans more toward comedy than horror, but it's best to leave that sort of thing for the finale of the film, where it becomes a pleasant surprise.

On the flip side, if you're making a horror comedy and it ends with your slapstick heroes being eaten alive, or shredded into meaty bits, would be too much of an unpleasant surprise that replaces the laughter the audience just had with a sense of uneasiness. Which defeats the purpose of comedy.
Forlourned asked...
How would you rate the '82 classic "Gremlins" then? Those little monsters where typically the comics and the humans where for the most part the straights.
I've always considered Gremlins more of a kid-friendly fantasy adventure than a horror-comedy. It was also heavily inspired by cartoons, specifically Golden Age Warner Bros. cartoons, where outrageous creatures do outrageous things. This puts the humans in the role of straight man, but the film's cartoonish style makes them also capable of doing funny business in their own realm as well as in reaction to the Gremlins.

I hope these answer your questions.

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