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The Common Ground of Horror and Comedy – Movie Genres

  • Posted on: January 11, 2019
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The thrill of watching a movie that either spike your adrenalin funnily or fearfully are what makes the movie industry thrive. Every single year, movies are made around the world, and 80% of them are either the horror or the comedy genre for its commercial value that they provide the movie makers. People in general, love the idea of being scared to death without being in actual danger. When you sit at a movie theatre to watch a horror movie, the chances are that you will see people both laughing or screaming.

Theatrical Reactions

The reactions from the audience are always in the same order; scream first then giggle. The phenomenon of where people scream in horror and then begin laughing is called as ‘relief theory.’ The theory explains that most human minds tell them that they should be scared by what their senses are seeing on screen. However, deep down, the mind knows that what is happening on screen is not dangerous. As a result, viewers are relieved to know that they are safe and that’s when the laughter escapes. The story is perfect proof that the horror and comedy genre has many common factors as they help each other.

 The Horror-Comedy Genre

When you watch a movie that is of the horror-comedy genre, the makers focus on what the audience already know about horror movies and then deliver a humorous scene. The act of consecutively making scenes of different genres helps the audience to thoroughly enjoy the film as the resulting comedy scene is funny enough to take the comedy further into their minds. The tactic of using comedy in horror movies was first seen in the late 1940s. The film titled ‘Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein‘ is a perfect example that used the tactic to thrill the audience. Another perfect example of this sequence is in ‘Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.’

The genre can be used to create a sense of suspense.  People are aware that something terrifying is going to happen and begin to brace themselves for the worst. The movie then makes a turn about and turns the scene into a humorous one. Audiences love it, and in turn, fall back on their seats with laughter. The movie ‘Scream’ used this tactic and was an instant hit, and that is the reason why we have so many takers for the trilogy.

Feelings of fear and laughter are very closely linked as they are one of the primal instincts. They are very straightforward and unlike drama movies. Drama movies and other genres need to be analyzed and thought about and will require some knowledge and interest when watching. Whereas, the horror and comedy genre is entirely for entertainment. Movie makers get more bang for the buck when they make a horror-comedy movie because the response is more significant because of the unpredictable nature of the film itself. Simply put, the genre follows simple physics,’ When tension is built, it has to be released.’