Why So Serious?

Perhaps you've noticed, horror tropes have taken up starring roles in YA lit: vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, dark fae and your Midnight-In-The-Garden(-of-Good-And-Evil) variety psychopaths have taken center stage by the throat and bit it clean off. And while I'm the first to admit that I'm a total wimp when it comes to straight-up horror, I am a HUGE fan of the snark on stage, screen, and page. So when the two manage to come together, a balancing act of black humor and classy classics, that's *my* kind of magic!

You can keep your 24. This was Kiefer Sutherland in my book.

While there are plenty of good (and bad) vampire movies, there are rarely vampires movies that poke fun while maintaining a balance of horror and dread. It's so easy to spoof and revel in the silly like Joss Whedon's original Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the big screen (of which, like Highlander and The Matrix, there should be only one), or pendulum swing into melodrama like the last Bram Stoker's Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola. For me, Lost Boys was a cult classic romp through the usual lore with a lot of (pardon the pun) biting humor on a bright 1980's backdrop with the Coreys being Coreys (or Frogs, as it were).

I give it two BWAHAHAHAHAHAs!

Of course, there's nothing wrong with a romp that manages to hold a little horror gold and tender moments of true chill along with the laughs and never have I seen it better done than in the zombie spoof Sean of the Dead which was too too too funny as well as surprisingly poignant and frightening with sparks of brilliance. Of course, zombies are (again, pardon the pun) ripe for just about any type of humor, but unless it was Michael J. Fox in a well-groomed orangutan suit, it's hard to say the same for the werewolves. But there is a much older cult classic, Ginger Snaps (including Ginger Snaps 2 and Ginger Snaps Back); I challenge you to find a better example of headstrong girls given the keys to melodramatic, wanton mayhem, blood and destruction that doesn't involve heavy artillery! One thing's for sure, no one could take themselves seriously in any of this.

This is one of those "It's so bad, it's fantastic!" or "It's so brilliantly awful!" movies you've got to show to everyone. I love it.

And then there is a tie in my mind for the Top Snarky Psychopath (which is not to be confused with the Top Psychopath, which is also a tie between Jack Nicholsen's Jack Torrence and Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter); on the one hand, there is a cult favorite that also hails from the 80's: J.D. in Heathers (and I know a ton of you have no idea what this movie is and you should rectify this at once because L-rd knows you'll never see a movie like this made again!) and given that I'm not a huge fan of Christian Slater and I was a huge fan of Heath Ledger, you can understand how much I admire that teenage whack-job when I hold it up to the current pinnacle: the Joker in The Dark Knight.

Heath Ledger's Joker got it right. Probably why that Batman movie will always be one of my favorites!

So while I can't pretend to be immune to the dark lure of horror in its most classic sense, I'm more often swayed by the sly, wry and silly--one clever step to the left of the spoof. In my heart, the snark is the trendsetter, bridging the emo to its twin guffaw, and the most quotable lines can live on for years. Or maybe just one catchy theme song...

Do you prefer tongue-in-cheek or fangs-in-neck type of horror?


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