♬ Suggested Audio Jukebox ♬
 Madness House of Fun
 The Trammps Disco Inferno
 The Bee Gees I Started A Joke
 Katrina & The Waves Walking on Sunshine
 Patsy Cline Crazy
 AC/DC Hell’s Bells
 M Pop Muzik
 Madonna Frozen
 Michael Jackson ft. Paul McCartney The Girl Is Mine
 The Chordettes Hello, My Baby
I never could get the hang of text jargon. It’s all Hebrew to me and I barely know my LOL’s from my LMAO’s I’m afraid so excuse me if I tend not to use them in open conversation. Is it just me or does the whole LOL deal come across just a smidgen insincere? I mean, I know I can raise a giggle or two with this potty-orientated little mouth of mine, but are you actually laughing out loud? Besides, when does somebody informing you that they’re LMAO become ever so slightly disappointing? Why are they not LMFAO or ROFLMAO dagnabbit? Am I losing my touch here? Heaven forbid they downgrade to LOL or, worse still, a simple HaHa. OMFG that would be mortifying. It’s a mindfield I tell you and I don’t buy into it one iota. Emoticons I can just about live with as I’ve always been a visual creature, but LOL and its overdone entourage I can do without TYVM.
Anyhoots, with that brief rant out-of-the-way, let’s get to the real reason we’re here shall we? The long-running True ABCs of Death sequence has covered all manner of horrorific bases and celebrated some of the most memorable demises in modern cinematic history. However, I love nothing more than to stray from the well-trodden path on occasion and have decided to do so here by taking a look at a cross-breed that I have decidedly mixed feelings on. Comedy tickles my pickle shocking pink and my quill wouldn’t be crimson if I didn’t have something of a stiff Albert for anything and everything horror but, generally speaking, I’m of the viewpoint that never the twain should meet. Let’s not terrorize the terrapin here, under the correct conditions, dark humor can offset the fear rather stupendously, but the moment the dreaded “spoof” word is uttered in my vicinity, interest levels sag faster than Dolly Parton’s fun-bags in a wet T-shirt competition.
Bizarrely enough, I actually have a fondness for a number of horror-themed spoofs from my beloved eighties and won’t have a crossed word spoke about the likes of Pandemonium, Wacko, Hysterical, Student Bodies, Bloodbath At The House of Death, National Lampoon’s Class Reunion or the delightful Saturday The 13th. Moreover, there are plenty of films from that era that get by on being so bad they’re good and who cares if any laughs gleaned are solely at their expense? Take a look at Troll 2 for a prime example of the guiltiest pleasure money can’t buy. When it was released, it was unanimously heralded one of the most excretable pieces of Z-grade trash ever shat onto the marketplace. Fast forward a couple of decades and it’s considered a cult classic. Did we overlook some kind of hidden subtext? Or did it simply wear us down to such a degree that we could but laugh or cry? Trust me, the closest that Claudio Fragasso’s movie came to subtext was naming its hometown Nilborg which, it doesn’t take a hand mirror to fathom, translates directly to Goblin. But you try not raising at least a smile for preposterous 94 minutes and telling me it’s not utterly fruitless.
At any rate, if I’m going to do this, then it will be without the assistance of spoof and, instead, my angle will be not altogether intentional humor. A film doesn’t necessarily have to be aiming for the funny bone to give it a playful tickle and some of my heartiest laughs have come at the most inappropriate moments. To give you an idea where we’re headed, I cannot pass up the opportunity to speak of John Carpenter’s The Thing once again as the scene in question is the epitome of hidden comedy and unlikely to raise a grin until around the sixth time of asking.
I’m talking of course about the infamous blood test and easily one of the most heart stopping instances of unbridled terror the eighties could ever hope to muster. I was around ten-years-old the first time I soaked this in and had aged a full year by the time Palmer’s brand new head vagina spread wide open and deep-throated hapless Windows. Little was I aware that years later the same incident would incite nasal bubbles of the snottiest variety for completely slapstick reasons.
You see, it was all about Garry and Childs tied to that “fucking couch” and incapable of doing anything other than bouncing up and down in abject horror as their associate commenced his metamorphosis. Every last drop of their fear translates to a guffaw once you know what’s coming and can look at things from a slightly different perspective. That’s the joy of repeat viewing, particularly when a master like Carpenter is operating the lens, as alternative means can be found to provoking a reaction from the audience and this one really is a doozy of a case in point.
Once calm is eventually restored and only Garry remains hog-tied, his polite request to be freed from his shackles brings tears of joy to my eyes to this very day. Now if that’s not comic timing, then Pauly Shore is from another planet far, far away. What do you mean he is? Really, is that the best they could come up with? Did E.T. really rinse the kitty that much? I just knew that Steven Spielberg would have something to do with it. Fuck him and fuck the third kind for being so impressionable in the first place. Am I ranting again? Please forgive me and I didn’t mean the whole fuck Spielberg dig either for the record. Just using his fine name for comedic effect.
You starting to see how this works now? Belly laughs are all around us everywhere we look and the annals of horror are far from impervious. Even undeniable gut-wrenchers such as Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre supplied the chuckles, albeit of the most nervous variety imaginable. As Leatherface springs from the shadows wielding a sledgehammer and proceeds to tenderize Jerry’s cranium, his quarry omits the kind of girly shriek that makes Carol Anne from Poltergeist appear baritone.
If that doesn’t get you then how about the moment when a distraught Sally Hardesty manages to narrowly escape her pursuer’s filthy clutches only to wind up with a burlap sack over her head while her short-term savior plays her bonce like a xylophone, reassuring her that everything’s gonna be just fine the whole time. There’s comedy tucked away in these here innards and I make Hooper right for supplying us a smattering of light relief as you take what you can get with this one believe me.
Meanwhile, don’t even get me started on Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, as I may well pass a kidney on fond recollection. While a far cry from Airplane!, his adaptation of Stephen King’s much-cherished bestseller was not without its priceless comic moments and we have Scatman Crothers to thank for my personal darling. You see, poor head chef Dick Hallorann suffers a torrid time braving bracing midwinter conditions to answer Danny’s telepathic distress call and spends almost half of the running time in transit.
What makes his plight even more distressing is the fact that he was just about to settle down with some seventies porn in the comfort of his own boudoir when he received this alert and didn’t deserve the kind of welcome party awaiting him in the Overlook Hotel lobby. Before he could slide off his mittens and inspect all ten digits for telltale signs of frostbite, Jack ambushed the merry hell out of him and plunged a woodsman’s axe straight into his wheezing chest. While this was as despicable a case of redrum as I had ever witnessed, I did pee a little for what I’m assured were completely the wrong reasons. It really was a case of “Hi Dick…Bye Dick” and as priceless as a Rubix Cube in sepia tone.
Would it be wrong of me to also admit to finding every last moment of Wendy Torrance’s suffering deeply hilarious? I’ve spoken of this on occasions too plentiful to tally but can’t help it as that shit just never gets old. Seldom have I come across a main protagonist so snivelling, so utterly spineless, so primed to be chopped into firewood. Is it any wonder that Jack went doolally? Ten seconds of watching Wendy clipping her toenails over the hand basin and I’d have made her husband appear little more than a little grouchy. Regrettably, the last laugh belonged to her as she endured this vicious wave of domestic abuse and came out the other end whining like she always did. The duration of my adolescence was spent wishing for The Shining 2 to emerge so she could get it there instead but, alas, Kubrick didn’t share my enthusiasm for working with Shelley Duvall a second time. I make him right you know.
Any long-suffering fans of the floundering Final Destination franchise will have required a decent sense of humor not to dismiss it out of hand some time ago. Pure fodder for the multiplexes, this series has precious little going for it outside of some admittedly succulent dispatches. If you ever pondered the meaning of the term “happy accident” then look no further than the hateful teens depicted here as it’s nigh-on impossible finding a solitary one of them who didn’t have it coming. The only real pleasure to be gleaned comes from awaiting that inevitable gotcha moment and attempting to suss out how each devilish denouement will play out. We’re talking banana skins, discarded roller skates, plummeting grand pianos, the whole freaking nine and all lined up precariously like dominos to hoodwink the audience into believing they have it all figured out. The upside for us is that they invariably die horrible deaths and my choice cut from a particularly flavorsome splatter platter is something I like to affectionately refer to as Two Birds, One Rousing Cheer.
What made best friends Ashley and Ashlyn even more categorically loathsome than their similarly vapid friends was that there were two of them unsurprisingly. That said, on their own they made me wish to gouge out my eyes with a plastic fork, so the idea of double bubble dispatch had me performing mental cartwheels in sheer anticipation. Naturally things were drawn out to excruciating levels as death planned their denouement to the very letter but it didn’t take a genius to work out that it would have something to do with the tanning beds they were about to lock into.
Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang, one spilt slurpee and the chain reaction was underway, with a falling coat rack securing these bitches in place while the cooling fan went haywire and things got real hot, real fast. I believe it was around the time that their skin began to bubble that I shed my first happy tear and, as they both burst into flames in unison, you’d be mistaken for thinking I was watching Beaches. In the history of fitting ends, this one was right up there at the very apex and James Wong’s Final Destination 3 was instantly forgiven every last crime that preceded or followed it.
Freddy Krueger may have gone a little too all out for laughs in the latter stages of his tenure but lest we not forget how formidable he was at the offset. A Nightmare On Elm Street was arguably Wes Craven’s finest hour and pretty much bereft of reasons to be anything other than fearful. However, with the potential for wringing more green sheets out of the unsuspecting public too vast to ignore, we just knew a sequel wouldn’t be a long time coming. Indeed, Jack Sholder’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge emerged precisely a calendar year later and could have done with a little more time slow-roasting as it turned out. Despite a rather glorious opening aboard a runaway school bus on a one-way excursion to the fiery pits of hell, it was a decidedly hit-and-miss affair and, at its worst, was pretty damn shambolic. It would be all too easy to point to that exploding budgerigar or leading nondescript Jesse’s grating whingeing for unintentional humor but one other moment made it all worthwhile and provided fitting denouement for a particularly deplorable piece of human trash in the process.
The kiddy fiddling Coach Schneider provided Freddy’s first blood second time around so the self-proclaimed dream master had not yet assumed the role of joker. However, his sense of humor was evidently in tact as he made a suitable example of the guilty party for spending just a little too long observing all those sweaty young bucks showering down after their rigorous gym session. While high school phys ed was Schneider’s chosen vocation, he liked nothing more than a dash of S&M to occupy his downtime and this was precisely what his opposite number laid on in his honor.
Using makeshift whips and chains to prove his dominance, Krueger gave him a good old-fashioned sexual thrashing to remember and the pleasure/pain ratio soon shifted well and truly towards the latter. I was even willing to forgive any hypocrisy on Freddy’s part as, let’s face it, he was hardly first choice of babysitter was he? I’d imagine it was a good six weeks before Schneider could eventually take a seat at PTA meetings after receiving his thorough five-fingered prostate exam which was likely the same amount of time it took Krueger to wipe the jizz of his talons.
I think it would be fair to say that uproarious laughter was fairly thin on the ground when Sam Raimi’s one-time video nasty The Evil Dead bludgeoned its audience to beyond an inch of our lives back in 1981 but, when he returned to the fray six years later for the long-awaited sequel, comedy was very much on the agenda. Making Evil Dead II a parody may have sounded dicey on paper but the execution was superb and resulted in a film which is held in pretty much the same nosebleed inducing regard as its illustrious forerunner, despite primarily playing things slapstick. I can think of few better ways to silence a hysterical woman than an airborne eyeball cum gobstopper and that’s exactly what sewer-mouthed and self-interested white trash princess Bobby Joe received for failing to remain tight-lipped during one such spike in activity.
Meanwhile, although beleaguered hero was well within his rights to be a tad miffed at being forced to cut his own feeling gear off at the wrist after it attained a mind of its own, at least he was guaranteed a lifetime of gripping hand jobs and would no longer be force to sit on his palm until it went numb to feel like someone else was tossing his caber. Better yet, the wall-mounted elk’s head was only too happy to talk dirty to Ash once his knees started trembling. You see, the deadites weren’t so bad after all. Okay you’ve got me, they were bloody horrible.
Speaking of bloody horrible, John Gulager’s Feast trilogy was one long diarrhetic stream of wrongness and it’s hard to choose one kill in particular that pushed the boundaries of good taste too far as they all did. While the first film eased us in (relatively at least), its truthfully titled sequel Sloppy Seconds did precisely what it said on the tin. It didn’t appear the least bit afraid to banish a newborn infant to the sidelines by way of hilarious game-changing backward pass as its guardian figured it surplus to his survival kit and this was to take some beating with regards to sinking through the clay to fresh levels of depravity, even by Gulager’s subterranean standards.
However, closing chapter The Happy Finish pushed things reasonably close to the sphincter courtesy of a severed head and one particularly hungry-assed monster. Not content with purely plucking off the head of its deeply unfortunate victim, the beast then proceeded to swallow the evidence whole, while we were provided snake cam view of its intestinal tract throughout the quick-fire digestion process.
Then just as it appeared that Gulager could make things any more literal, he treated us to the kind of bowel movement that would bring tears to the eyes of anyone suffering from inflamed hemorrhoids as it shat out her skullcap through its extraordinarily large anus. This scene gave new meaning to the word “shit head” and proved, beyond any reasonable doubt, that man-eating creatures don’t need concern themselves with constipation.
With yuletide drawing near, it’s time to get a little festive and, while Lee Harry’s Silent Night Deadly Night 2 was shockingly abysmal, you couldn’t help but Ho ho ho more out of sheer disbelief than anything else. Let’s be honest, the original was hardly a masterpiece, but the follow-up did its level best to make it look like one. The first half comprised almost entirely of flashback footage but the second half featured a number of kills so utterly ludicrous that they almost made up for its complete lack of invention elsewhere. We were treated to a man being impaled by an umbrella (which was then opened) that would have had Gene Kelly shuddering, another having his tongue attached to a car battery and fed the juice until his eyeballs exploded in their sockets, and then there was this unforgettable little seasonal delight.
On paper it simply should not have worked and you’d be forgiven for thinking the budget had dried up at this point as this particular kill was the least inventive of the lot and had no right whatsoever to become so iconic. However, somehow it did and has since gone on to become one of the most fondly remembered dispatches in cinematic history. If quizzed what makes this scene so shamefully moreish, then it would have to be the sheer nonchalance of our killer as he shoots a random suburbanite dead before letting out a playful chuckle and blowing the barrel of his firearm. This alone very nearly makes Harry’s inept film watchable and states a clear case for why nobody in their right mind wishes to take out the trash.
One movie that gets far too much stick for my liking is Maximum Overdrive and, while Stephen King himself admits to being coked out of his mind while making his directorial debut, it could never be accused of being uneventful. It centred around a passing comet that turned every machine on earth into a man-hating killing machine and most people remember it for the convoy of fully loaded semi trucks that laid constant siege on our survivors. But it was the opening act that sticks in my mind most as the evil spread through absolutely anything mechanical, leading to memorable deaths courtesy of unruly arcade machines and on-the-blink soda dispensers.
Meanwhile, King wasn’t about to let the little leaguers get away scot-free as attested by the same snot-nosed kid who witnessed this atrocity being compacted into human spam by a runaway steamroller. Turns out that the master was too busy licking his gums to pay any mind to Whitney Houston when she reminded us that children are the future.
I couldn’t possibly not follow that up with John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 which, I’m reasonably assured, has never been matched with regards to the cold-blooded slaughter of minors. Apologies if you’ve heard it all before as I regularly revisit pig-tailed cutie pie Kathy’s failed attempt at procuring herself a vanilla twist at the ice cream van but some shit just never gets old and this obnoxious little brat’s demise is one such thing.
The reasons to cherish this moment are numerous, from the sound of the silenced pistol unloading into her chest, to her blood spattered pinafore, and the look of utter dismay on her face as she realizes that she’ll never get to meet the Easter Bunny after all. For maximum effect, I recommend slow play here as you can watch her heart breaking in bullet time.
While we’re on the topic of slo-mo, David Cronenberg’s Scanners featured another doozy in the form of its infamous exploding head scene and this still holds up remarkably well to this day. However, the Canadian maestro and his FX team didn’t use pyrotechnics or pneumatics to achieve the desired effect, and instead, constructed a dummy head and packed it with corn syrup, latex, wax, and leftover burger meat before blowing it wide open with a close-range shotgun blast.
Meanwhile, Brian De Palma’s The Fury finished with a flurry three years prior as John Cassavetes finally got his just desserts for being the worst kind of bastard imaginable by way of similar psychic abilities. Quite literally detonating from the inside out, his denouement was shown from various different angles and all at the kind of pace that a snail would find sluggish so we could savior this much deserved payback to the absolute hilt. Bravo.
However, for sheer comedic brilliance, it’s tough to trump Wes Craven’s Deadly Friend from 1985. There was precious little memorable about this so-so offering but the epic sight of Mama Fratelli from The Goonies having her grizzled top box obliterated by an airborne basketball made it all worthwhile. It’s fruitless to argue that she didn’t have it coming for sticking her oar into affairs that clearly didn’t concern her and, when the slam dunk occurred (with additional hang time I might add), the whole world felt like a better place for all. The film may well not have been Craven’s pièce de résistance, but the scene in question was unquestionably one of his very finest. If only Michael J. Fox had taken Kristy Swanson’s lay off, then Teen Wolf would have been a whole different movie.
While you’ve got those remote controls handy, how about we give freeze-frame a workout? You guessed it, it simply must be Jaws 3-D and I’ve got a lot of love for director Joe Alves on account of his gloriously goofy movie. While desperate to harness the technology at his disposal, Alves came up a tad short on the frames of animation front and the result had a fist pump out of this particular salty sea dog. As out toothy terrorizer head butted the underwater control room glass and it proceeded to shatter, the editor popped out for a quick smoke break, leaving poor Jaws caught in mid-snapshot while the audience took the opportunity to make ourselves a cup of tea.
If we were to venture deep into Davy Jones’ Locker, then I’d imagine the algae have this gotcha moment framed proudly in their trophy room alongside Samuel L. Jackson’s bifocals. You’ve gotta take those easy wins where you can get ’em right fellas?
Jason Voorhees may not possess much in the way of a GSOH, but there have been numerous occasions when he has had me snorting back mucus and it’s tough to pick an outright winner where his bountiful brutalities are concerned. In James Isaac’s Jason X, he sent himself up brilliantly by condemning a pair of buxom bare-topped bunnies to the great hutch in the sky by way of sleeping bag tap-out. Aside from this, there were unlicensed boxing matches, banana crushing throat stabs, bayside archery practise, and sound reasoning why not to get too cocky and retrieve cold ones from the refrigerator via handstand. Bless his maggot-infested black heart, Jason was never too busy to supply his long-suffering fans a hearty giggle and it eventually became the sole reason for us sticking around as quality control went straight out the window, never to return.
For the purpose of this exercise, I would like to call Danny Steinmann‘s Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning to the stand and specifically Miguel A. Núñez, Jr. as he was forced to suffer the indignity of being lanced like a boil while dropping the kids off at the pool so to speak. Trapped inside a decidedly rickety makeshift portaloo with his dead girlfriend’s body denying him exit, luckless leather clad MJ-wannabe Demon played man-sized Kerplunk as Jason drove a steel rod through the flimsy alloy shitter repeatedly until the weasel finally went pop. I’m not entirely sure what made his demise such comedy gold, but his desperate whimpering certainly didn’t harm none. On the bright side, his hero would have been proud as there was plenty of “hee hee” and it all culminated in one almighty “ow!” but I’m sure that’s scant consolation. Not such a smooth criminal after all huh Demon?
Brian Yuzna’s 2000 superhero schlockfest Faust: Love of The Damned may have been something of an uneven affair and not quite up to the standard of his former glories, but I’d be Bill Cosby if I said it didn’t have its upsides. One of these involved the perfectly cast Andrew Divoff as the nefarious M took great umbrage to the constant thorn in his side and turned her into the kind of milkshake that doesn’t bring the boys to the yard. Mònica Van Campen was left ruing her prize assets as her bust and badonkadonk became one in the most factual sense imaginable.
Only a mind as perpetually compromised as Yuzna’s could conjure up such a triple-thick treat and, in the history of ample DD dazzlers, I’ve seldom spotted a pair quite as all-inclusive as these bloated jubblies. Alas, like all good breasts, things soon went southward, and Van Campen’s sole consolation was that she could now smell her own farts better. I wonder whether she was vegetarian. No that would be too cruel surely? Actually scrap that, from the men that introduced us to a jive talking sphincter and the rare ailment of back bosoms, I’d say the sky’s pretty much limitless wouldn’t you?
I’ve tried my double darndest to extract any amusement whatsoever out of John Hurt’s chronic case of acid reflux from Ridley Scott’s Alien but the chestburster scene still remains every bit as stony-faced. Perhaps it was Lambert’s horrified (and 100% authentic) reaction to her crew mate Kane’s bronchial breakthrough that took the comical edge off or maybe the fact that there was more fun to be had playing peek-a-boo with the ill-fated Captain Dallas in the ventilation shafts. That said, someone certainly found it hilarious and that someone just had to be practical joke extraordinaire Mel Brooks.
His interplanetary 1987 spoof Space Balls parodied all manner of sci-fi classics with varying degrees of success but, when it sent up Alien to the tune of a little impromptu Ragtime Gal recital complete with high kicks and jazz hands, all those months of intensive potty training counted for squat. It is one of those cinematic moments where you could dare someone not to raise a smile and watch them fail miserably. Xenomorphs are ordinarily a cheerless bunch and that may have had something with this chipper critter doing its very best Liza Minnelli impression and hogging all the limelight.
I’m not confident that we can beat that one for an encore you know so here appears to be the ideal place to drop the final curtain on our short jaunt through the illustrious letter L. I do hope my loving homage made you LOL, who knows, perhaps even a LMAO or two and feel free to throw an F in there too as we’re all adults here remember. The reason why horror and comedy are such well-travelled companions is that screaming and laughing are such polar opposites and any film that can make you do both within a sixty-second period deserves one helluva TYVM in my estimations. Indeed, why stop there when emoji are so clearly gagging for it? For additional hijinks, see if you can place each cheeky symbol cluster to its corresponding film. You’ll find the answers at the foot of the page and I think we really should all get out more for the record.
 👯👙🌞 😱😱♨️ ⚰️
 🎅🏻🌂 ☂️🔫😱⚰️
 🚀🥚 🤰🏻😱 🍳👽⚰️
 👾👶🏈 🤾😱⚰️
 👨🏾🚽💩👂🏽 🏒😱🔱⚰️
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Grueheads Films 2017