Q&A: Hor­ror hu­mour

How can I mix hor­ror and hu­mour in a scene? Deon El­lis, Wales

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Nick replies

Hor­ror and hu­mour have a proven track record of be­ing great bed­fel­lows. Yet at the same time we all have senses of hu­mour that de­pend on in­di­vid­ual per­son­al­ity and cul­tural in­flu­ences.

Vis­ual hu­mour such as slap­stick crosses more cul­tural bound­aries than jokes re­lated ver­bally, and has proven to be fairly re­silient over time. The same gen­eral rules ap­ply to hor­ror. Our thresh­olds can be very per­sonal. This can make com­bin­ing and bal­anc­ing the two a hit-and-miss af­fair. Go with what works for you. That’s as­sum­ing you aren’t bound by genre con­straints such as your cre­ation be­ing des­tined for a spe­cific mar­ket – chil­dren’s pub­lish­ing, for ex­am­ple. Each genre comes with its own guide­lines, and will need to be fac­tored in. Still, try and keep it fresh. Try and keep it you!

The crypt set­ting and light­ing in­tro­duce an el­e­ment of un­ease, be­cause of their as­so­ci­a­tion with death. With­out the trap­pings of ter­ror, the two char­ac­ters and their pos­tures can be more clearly seen for just how ridicu­lous they re­ally are.

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