It is rare that a book, television program or film successfully combines “creepy” and humor. Many have tried, many have failed.
Those few that have succeeded rank high on my list of favorite videos/films, witnessed by the fact I have watched them over and over again.
Many devotees of the Twilight Zone point to “Mr. Dingle, the Strong” as Rod Serling‘s best funny/creepy work. I disagree, and point to TZ’s “To Serve Man” as his best tongue in cheek work. (Although written by Damon Knight, Rod’s editorial hand is all over the script.) The late Richard Kiel as the super-intelligent Kanamit with the permanent “duhhhh” look plastered on his face is classic. He was obviously enjoying mugging for the joke.
Did you know TV Guide in 2013 gave this episode the honor of “Greatest Twist of All Time”?
Also, Owlswick Press printed a gag version of the book “To Serve Man” in 1976, including a recipe for Cowboy Stew (ingredients include 1 large cowboy).
This and the following entries embody the ideal of “mirthful macabre” I steep into every one of my stories, especially my latest book, “If I Can’t Sleep, You Can’t Sleep“.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Hush”
This episode of Joss Whedon‘s juggernaut series won an Emmy — and rightfully so. It’s sheer inventiveness and bold stroke to have a full 1/2 hour of NO DIALOG is an astounding and spellbinding accomplishment. Not to mention the (spoiler alert) scene where some poor innocent cannot scream as he suffers one of the most painful deaths imaginable, is a cinematic moment that will make your skin crawl.
And yet, peppered amid the horrors perpetrated by baddies (“The Gentlemen”), are a bevy of sight gags that are rip-roaringly hilarious.
The Fifth Element
A rocket-fast trip into the future. The tongue-in-cheek humor comes non-stop at a lightning pace, so that you almost dare not laugh because you’ll miss the next visual/verbal/physical jibe.
Big Trouble in Little China
Not true horror, but a few nice creepy moments (it is from John Carpenter, after all.) Kurt Russell as the smart-ass trucker is casting perfection. I find myself quoting this film quite often.
My favorite line –
Jack: “Hey Egg, how did you get all the way up there?”
Egg: “It wasn’t easy!”My favorite scene – Wang’s and Thunder’s final fight scene. It is a perfectly executed example of what I call “implied comedic violence”.
Shaun of the Dead
The first of many films pairing the creative and acting talents of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Can you spot the Cornetto in all the “Cornetto Trilogy” films?
My favorite line –
“There is nothing of the man you loved in that car!”
(Zombie Philip turns off radio.)
Cabin in the Woods
Another one of Whedon’s wonders. The man just seems to have the knack to combine bone-chilling horror and humor spanning the spectrum from cerebral to “inside-joke” to slapstick.
I’m sure, given time, I can come up with more.
Please comment, and let me know your favorite chiller/comedy.
If I haven’t seen it, I want to!