Mixing horror and humor is tricky. Horror is the genre that most deals with Death, and on its face, Death is not funny. It is physical, final, the fixed and forever fate of every person who's ever lived and loved. But Death by tiny corn cob holder?
Well, that's a little funny.
I just finished the trailer (above) to Eli Roth's upcoming slasher Thanksgiving and, don't report me, but there's a smile on my face. It's an unexpected smile; as a long-time horror fan with a pretty strong stomach, I was still deeply disturbed and even depressed by Hostel. So to see a movie with Eli Roth's name on it and an apparent sense of humor intrigues me. Excites me, in fact. And not just because that I'm stealing that killer Pilgrim costume for Halloween.
The trailer (and I'm saying this as a compliment) reads like a Saturday Night Live sketch for a horror trailer. It's spooky, threatening, typical of the genre, but punctuated with genuinely funny moments. I mentioned the corn-cob thing, but the decapited turkey mascot? The body sliced in half next to a Black Friday sign reading "50% off"? An SNL writers' room would be proud!
And the tagline: "There will be no leftovers." Paging Charlie Kaufman, you're out of a job.
Now, I won't lie, I'm a little nervous too. The origin of this film is almost, itself, a sketch. It began as a fake trailer that Roth made for the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double-feature Grindhouse. And, as certain SNL properties have proven before, turning a sketch into a feature can have... varied results.
But, I'm hopeful. Murder mystery and horror is a great combination, and Roth's story of a town striken by tragedy and a slasher with a vendetta to "set things right" seems like that kind of cocktail. Still, I guess I'm just going to have to wait until this November to make a real judgement.
Thanksgiving, as a horror comedy, may fail. Then again, it... May Flower.
Now come on. That is funny.
Thanksgiving will be in theaters November 17. Before that, Popverse will be livestreaming the Thanksgiving panel from this year's NYCC.