There is a fine line between Comedy and
Horror is a strange genre, for it makes us face our worst fears. It brings us eye to eye with terror, death and bloodshed, whether it be physical, psychological or pure mania, horror touches us all. Yet at the same time, there is something intrinsically comedic about a great many horror movies and stories.
Take a look at the Evil Dead movie franchise. These are legendary horror productions, yet have obvious comedic undertones or cast a glance at the world of fiction with the wicked mind of Stephen King. Undoubtedly a master of the Horror genre, his Magnus Opus ‘The Dark Tower’ series has possible the most dryly comic ending I have ever read. To go so far and to lose everything he did only to find …well I won’t spoil it for you, but trust me. Once you reach the end of that seventh book you will chuckle.
Why is this? What is it about horror that makes us want to throw in comic moments?
I feel the answer is two-fold and in both cases done for simple reasons and when used to good effect can actually generate even more terror.
Everybody likes to laugh, it relaxes us, makes us feel at ease. In short it is the perfect state of mind for a fright or horrific event to have the maximum impact. To catch us unawares just as we thought things would settle down. It is a break that allows us to calm down and recover from what has happened before the next ‘round’ of prose comes along and sends us back into the darkest corners of our mind in search of a sofa to hide behind. When used well, comedy allows the writer to relief the tension in the reader and that ultimately makes the next scare or creepy moment all the more real.
The second reason I believe horror and comedy go so well together without overpowering the other is because comedy is a common human response to difficult situations. I have not been to many funerals, but that I have attended, while sad were filled with moments of laughter. Happy memories being shared of the departed, anecdotes and tales passed around with whimsical reflectance. Comedy helps us grieve; it helps us cope with the stresses and strains of life, and so is ideally suited to help guide us through the scary moments in both film and fiction.
Comedy and Horror are both about introducing moments into life that are unexpected, that are at time hard to believe and under ordinary circumstances could not happen. It is only logical that that these two polar opposites come together as often as they do, they are drawn by an undeniable attraction that cannot be resisted.
Of course this does not mean that all horror has or needs comedy in it, nor am I saying that it is always pulled off. Because it’s not. However, when it is, the result is often a scarier read.
Horror writer Alex Laybourne was born in the UK but relocated to The Netherlands to be with his wife. Together they have three wonderful children who despite their young age are showing all the signs of following in their father’s creative footsteps.
Alex’s debut novel Highway to Hell is a 96.000 word horror novel and the first in a trilogy that will take readers on a journey not just into hell, but through it.
Highway to Hell can be found on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.de, and for all non-kindle readers via Smashwords.com for just $2.99. You can also download a free sample of the novel at all of the above sites.
Alex is always interested in making new friends both readers and writers alike. You can find him at most hours of the waking day on Twitter under the name @vanplank or on his blog www.alexlaybourne.com
Heaven and Hell, Angel and Demons, these things were once considered opposites, but now you will see that they are neighbors, allies…. friends.
Marcus, Becky, Richard, Helen, Sammy and Graham. All complete strangers, different ages, backgrounds and even countries, but they all have one major thing in common…They all must DIE.
Sentenced to offer their penance in the many chambers of Hell, their lives are nothing but a torturous experience. They are brought face to face with their past, their mistakes and the implications that had for others. Until one by one they are rescued and thrown together. Waking in a dying world, they are introduced to their rescuers who do anything but conform to their angelic stereotype.
Together, bonded by an unknown destiny the group is set on their quest; to find one individual buried deep within the many Hell worlds. Not only does the fate of their world rest on their shoulders, but that of existence itself.