1. Yandos
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    Yandos Member

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    Horror Horror AND Comedy

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Yandos, Feb 14, 2011.

    I'm currently working on a dark sci-fi fantasy and I'm coming up with some great ideas and scenes, but every so often I see an ideal opportunity to add humour to my work.

    My question is: Can you have a storyline that's quite dark and harrowing with comedy? If so can you give me some examples of books that have succeeded doing this or should I keep clear of the funny stuff all together?
     
  2. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi

    Personally, I think that humour is a big asset to many novels, even in the horror genre. Stephen King, who is arguably the most successful horror novelist of the last 40 years, has many humorous moments in his books, although they are often contained within the words or thoughts of his characters, rather than via the narrator himself.

    You can't lay it on so thickly that you compromise the mood that you are trying to set, but humour definitely has a place for the skilled writer.
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, at times at it easy to make movie and TV references rather then book, because it easier to point out things a lot of people encountered.

    The zombie genre for example do often flirt with humor often trough the fact that the situations that can occur can as well be horrifying as hilarious at the same time.

    The paranormal tv series The Fringe often mix humor and horror it the same time. Let the storyline be scary, and the situation the encounter be scary as well, but getting in a lot of character based humor.

    So humor and horror can be combined in lots of different way. Though situational humor (zombie flicks) or character humor (the Fringe) for example.
     
  4. Yandos
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    Yandos Member

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    Thanks for the reply.
    So you mean that humour is fine but I need to be careful of what type of humour I use.

    At the moment it seems like I'm finding a lot of character humour which should be fine but the other kinds (slapstick, visual etc...) may not work.
     
  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I'm not saying that some sort of humor doesn't work. But you should be careful with what humor you use and how.

    Horror is about building tension, humor is a way of deflating tension somewhat -or- about building tension. You know how at times everyone laughs, and then every one relaxes. At other times every one laughs, but it is this tense laughter, and tension keeps rising.

    In some scenes you want to deflate tension in a horror story. Like the scene in the Alien movie when it just the cat not a xenomorph jumping out of the shadows.
    In other scenes you want that tense nervous laugher when the reader don't know what to expect anymore.
     
  6. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try Shakespeare's Macbeth. Or lots of stuff by Poe. Do it right and the comedy makes the horror seem all the more horrible because of the contrast. Do it wrong and you defuse the horror, though. Like any powerful technique, it needs handling with care.
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hehe yes Shakespeare is brilliant - goes from deep soliloquy to the porter peeing in the corner. There are others I can't think of any right now but often the slapstick humour can intensify the horror - the Wickerman (original film) comes to mind.

    My third book combines romance, humour and horror - the end has something truly dark and the main theme is about the destruction of the universe. However there is the moment when my MC is trying to have the most passionate sex of his life and it is destroyed by 'his kids' (Newton, Einstein, Archimedes and Robin Hood) using apples dipped in liquid nitrogen for target practice, there is the moment his fire elemental boyfriend assaults him for chatting up a falcon belonging to Merlin, Alice has an issue with the way Merlin smells, then there is himself and his partner (both 150 years old) caught snogging in the back of the cinema, Boudicca and Joan (of Arc) are bossy kids and take care of Little Chick (Charles Darwin), I even have whoopie cushions. Merlin and Alice are both upset that Lewis Carroll used blonde haired blue eyed Merlin for the inspiration behind his character instead of the green haired, green eyed Alice. (Merlin and Alice provide a teen romance). Without the various humour moments the book would be plain miserable and distressing.

    It seems to be working lol
     

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