What's the attraction
of horror movies?
Americans love a good scare, but a belly laugh during
Halloween can be just as fun. This is evident in the parodies
or spoofs of horror flicks, said Wes Gehring, a film professor
at Ball State University.
"Sometimes people only see a movie one way,
such as just being a horror or comedy movie," he said. "But,
movie genres together can work on multiple levels."
The first popular parody of horror movies occurred
shortly after World War II when Universal Studios combined two
of its best-loved franchises of the 1930s and '40s - monsters
and Abbott and Costello - to create 1948's
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
In the 1950's, horror films served mainly as nuclear-age
parable, as "alien" radiation infected humans (and insects),
wreaking unexpected havoc. Today, of course, they're considered
some of the funniest films ever made.
Gehring says horror movies are continuously changing
to meet the demands of the audience or to find new ones. In the
1970s, films such as Carrie were
about grossing out the audience.
In the 1990s, parodies took center stage after
several decades of serious and lucrative horror flicks.
"It seems that horror is the genre of choice
for the younger generation," he says. "It's no surprise
that movies like the Scream trilogy
quickly became so popular.
In the 1990s, horror movies evolved into films such
as the Scream movies and The
Blair Witch Project.
"As a genre gets old and worn out, parodies
come to center stage," he said. "Then, the genre begins
to re-invent itself, as it did in the 90s with the Scream trilogy
and Blair Witch. These kinds of horrors weren't being made, and
a movie like Blair Witch shows that the genre is still undergoing
change," he said.
"Each time the horror movie genre changes,
the parodies change."
Gerhing's favorite horror parodies include:
Fright Night - "A very funny
spoof on vampire movies that is scary at certain parts."
The Lost Boys - "Much like Fright
Night, a humorous look at vampire movies."
An American Werewolf In London -
"A spoof of werewolf movies where the main character actually
becomes a werewolf."
-Source: Ball State University and Chiff.com
the Features Page