Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Horror of Bugs

…Bunny that is. Ever noticed how many Looney Tunes cartoons have elements of horror in them? Or how many horror movies have been inspired by children’s cartoons? It is an extremely common storyline: the small, defenseless little protagonist is threatened by a big villain. He tries to get away but the killer is always behind the next door. The hero runs as fast as is only cartoon-world possible and the bad guy calmly walks after him. He is un-escapable.

Then there are the more obvious horror-inspired shorts; where Bugs Bunny meets Mr. Hyde, Dracula, or Witch Hazel. It is so easy to take scary stuff and turn it into comedy. Why are horror and comedy so intertwined?

Horror experts say that it is a needed aspect of the horror story. It is impossible to maintain such high adrenaline tension throughout a story. We need a release. That may be true in the modern terror oriented horror, but why not just throw in some more jumps?

The answer may lie more in the nature of true horror. Horror, as opposed to sheer biological-fear-for-your-safety terror, is a commentary on serious issues of life. It has always been a way of addressing serious subjects in society. (Any wonder that graphically violent horror involving torture has become popular in the past decade?) In the same way, comedy and satire are ways of addressing serious subjects that may be too taboo for open discussion in culture. It is only natural that the two genres would compliment each other.

Other than that, it is just further proof that classic cartoons like Looney Tunes were always intended for adults. If it weren’t for the silly animation some of those storylines would be downright scary!

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