Naturally, we think of comedies as the direct opposite of horror films. The first is for fun and laughter, the latter for terror and shrieks. Then again, there is a way in which a brainless comedy can morph into an absolute horror movie, before you know it. And this does not even depend on what is onscreen. No sudden monster appearance needed. No unexpected twist in the plot.
As an extreme example, we all know that the Scary Movie franchise is more of crassy comedy than actual scary scares. But with some five of them (so far), titled so similarly, other than with the numbers 1 to 5 as the suffix, it is easy to lose track of what was watched and what not… not that the satirical ‘series’ should be followed too seriously.
Where is the actual scary part? When you see a show, as if for the first time, before a vague sense of déjà vu creeps in… ‘Did I see this before? If I did, why do I not remember for sure? Maybe I caught glimpses of this in its trailer online? Perhaps I caught a few scenes on TV?’ Trying to solve the mystery, more attention is paid. That is when the horror really begins…
Turns out that it was watched before, in full too, even if not fully remembered. This explains why so many scenes are familiar yet not totally so. Why is it ‘horrible’ then, even if what watched is not that bad? There is a sense of dread, that time was just wasted – again – re/watching a B or even lower graded film. It was life itself being wasted, that cannot be relived more meaningfully.
Then there is horror of how force of habit seems to attract us to silly flicks of similar genres, suggestive of lack of spiritual growth over the years. It is not just about harmless movie-watching, but the terror of how we might have lived life in similarly unfruitful loops, from life to life – rerunning what is not worth running through even once, with yet another needless rebirth, without a fruitful new ending.
But there is the another kind of movie – so meaningfully made, that it absorbs you, so mindfully, that you only need to watch it once, jotting notes if you will, to remember its learning points. By the end, there is deep appreciation and fulfilment, for time well spent, that can be crystallised in a review to share, before moving on to the next better film. This is the true opposite of an existential horror flick!