Horror and comedy have always been intrinsically linked. They utilize similar mechanisms to get a response from the audience, and consequently horror-comedy has been a popular film genre ever since its conception in the early 20th century.
Comedy and musical theatre have also gone hand in hand since the days of vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley, so it’s only logical that the combination of all three genres would work together in perfect harmony!
5. Little Shop of Horrors
Based on the low-budget 60’s film of the same name, Little Shop of Horrors follows the story of nerdy florist Seymour Krelborn as he discovers that his new pet plant can talk (and has a craving for human blood). Featuring a star-studded cast, this botanical nightmare is not to be missed!
4. Repo! The Genetic Opera
Repo is the 21st century’s answer to Rocky Horror. It’s a Goth rock opera complete with gore, bizarre sexuality, botched surgeries, and shocking self-enucleation. Every actor in this film has some level of freakish cult following, especially Anthony Stewart Head (Giles from Buffy). Alexa Vega (from Spy Kids) stars as diseased teenager Shiloh, Sarah Brightman (the original Christine from Phantom of the Opera) plays an indebted opera star, and despite preparing for her entire life, Paris Hilton won a Worst Supporting Actress award for her role as an entitled heiress. This movie is dark, but totally ridiculous, and if you enjoy B-movies, this is a must watch!
3. Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog
This 42 minute Joss Whedon masterpiece follows the tragic story of super villain Dr. Horrible (aka “Billy”) as he attempts to take over the world, and gain the affections of his long-time crush, Penny. Non-traditional forms of musical theatre (eg. blogs, podcasts) allow for a level of intimacy that over-the-top theatrical performances sometimes miss, and it makes it all the more crushing when our Byronic hero Billy successfully becomes truly horrible.
2. Reefer Madness
Reefer Madness is a parody of a 1936 propaganda film about the dangers of marijuana. It follows the tragic downfall of young students Jimmy Harper and Mary Lane as their lives are destroyed by the devil’s lettuce. Like many musical comedies, it actually has serious political undertones, confronting issues of inequality, prejudice, and the slow creep of fascism into society.
1. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Celebrating glam rock, B-movie horror, and sexual depravity, Rocky Horror is a Halloween classic, and a cult sensation. The movie was a box office flop until it found its true home: midnight screenings! Going to a screening is the only way to truly appreciate the absurdity, but be prepared for significant audience participation, and possibly a shadow cast of live actors. Don’t forget to bring your props (including but not limited to rice, toast, a newspaper, a water pistol, and rubber gloves!)
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