Halloween Treats: Spoofs of Horror Movies Making Light of the Dark Side

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

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