Veteran writer-editor launches blog to preview upcoming book on classic Hollywood horror-comedies
Transylvania, 6-5000 (October 13, 2009) – Do you like laughs with your gasps? Do you prefer your horror on the hysterical side? For anyone who enjoys the pairings of ghouls and fools, spooks and kooks and madcaps and monsters, prepare to be scared silly!
This Halloween at midnight, veteran writer-editor Paul Castiglia launches a blog to preview his forthcoming book, SCARED SILLY: CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD HORROR-COMEDIES. The blog can accessed at http://scaredsillybypaulcastiglia.blogspot.com
It’s been said that comedy and drama are close cousins – what is dramatic for one person may be funny for another. The connection between laughing and being scared might be even closer. Both are a way of releasing emotion, and when laughter follows a scare it relieves tension. In literature, drama and especially in movies, the concept of including a funny sight gag or line of dialogue after a dramatic event in an otherwise serious story came to be known as “comic relief.”
By the 1920s, playwrights flipped the formula by introducing scares into otherwise comical stories in works like “The Cat & the Canary,” “Tbe Bat” and “The Gorilla.” Hollywood was quick to follow suit. The horror-comedy has been a venerable movie staple from the start when silent film comedians including Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd successfully used scares to get laughs.
Horror-comedies were so popular that famous 1930s comedy teams like Laurel & Hardy and The Three Stooges were able to bring the form into the sound era, paving the way for brash 1940s comedy stars like Bob Hope and the ultimate horror-comedy players, Abbott & Costello to perfect the genre.
Castiglia’s blog and book will offer readers a fun overview of horror-comedy films spanning the 1920s through 1966, the year Don Knotts’ “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” was released. “In my mind, ‘The Ghost and Mr. Chicken’ was the last traditional horror-comedy, devoid of PG elements that would pepper later efforts,” said Castiglia.
Also covered will be horror-comedy entries in famous film series including The Little Rascals and The Bowery Boys, and efforts by comedians wildly popular in their day but less well-known now like Wheeler & Woolsey, Hugh Herbert and Olsen & Johnson. Of note to fans of oddball cinema is the inclusion of Brown & Carney, a team pre-fabricated by RKO to compete with Abbott & Costello and Mitchell & Petrillo, the latter aping Jerry Lewis so well that many viewers thought they were watching the real thing! Like Abbott & Costello, both teams share beloved boogeyman Bela Lugosi as a co-star.
The book will include a foreword by noted film and TV character actor, monster-movie-memorabilia collector and spook-show reenactor Daniel Roebuck. Roebuck is no stranger to horror-comedies, having appeared in the critically acclaimed “Bubba Ho-Tep” with Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis as well as the new hit web series from Crackle.com, “Woke Up Dead” with Jon Heder. As alter-ego Dr. Shocker, Roebuck has performed on-stage in an authentic reenactment of midnight spook shows.
SCARED SILLY doesn’t have a publisher yet, but that’s all part of Castiglia’s plan.
“I’m still writing it, so providing readers with new blog entries on a regular basis keeps the project going. In the process, my goal is to build up a large fan base that will embrace the finished book, which will include additional content. Between the fan base and the involvement of Daniel Roebuck, I ultimately hope to interest the right publisher.”
Paul Castiglia has been writing and editing comic books and pop-culture articles for 20 years, most notably overseeing the ARCHIE AMERICANA paperback series of classic Archie Comics reprints. His past forays into horror-comedy include providing a chapter for the book MIDNIGHT MARQUEE ACTOR SERIES: VINCENT PRICE covering Price’s comedic horror films with Peter Lorre, and writing the comic book based on the animated series ARCHIE'S WEIRD MYSTERIES. Castiglia has also edited the upcoming ARCHIE COMICS HAUNTED HOUSE trade paperback collection of spooky Archie Comics stories.
Daniel Roebuck has spent the last 25 years building an impressive resume chock full of blockbuster films (THE FUGITIVE), kids movies (AGENT CODY BANKS), horror movies (HALLOWEEN 2) and television series (LOST). He has portrayed many people, including famous ones like Jay Leno and Garry Marshall. Although he has fulfilled nearly every dream of his childhood—like appearing in MAD MAGAZINE, becoming a HALLOWEEN MASK and having his mug on a few TRADING CARDS—Roebuck refuses to retire (despite countless threats) and continues to work as one of Hollywood’s busiest character actors! For more information, visit www.danielroebuck.com