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Pain is Funny

January 15, 2010

Like every writer, my early childhood played an important role in choosing the genres I write today, with television being a pretty huge contributor. In fact, I spent way too much time as a kid, staring at the old black and white tube we had in our bedroom. My tastes in programming have carried over into the dark mix of horror, fantasy and comedy I write today.

Going back down memory lane, my first influences to write horror and fantasy, surprisingly, did not come from Sister Paul (see last week’s post). Instead, it all started one afternoon, at the age of four, when my grandmother allowed me to watch the 1963 B-movie, The Crawling Hand (I’m sure Greg has seen it). And at my other grandmother’s house, there were the frightening viewings of a show called Night Gallery. I watched it with my twin aunts, munching on popcorn, unbeknownst to Nonny. I liked the feeling of fear at an early age, so I became a horror addict, always on the look out for new programming that could scare the bejesus out of me or turn my stomach more violently than the last show I’d viewed. Only difference today is that I have access to a greater number of films…gotta love that.

I actually miss the good old days, when scaring small children with horrific stories was considered the norm. Find me an original fairy tale that doesn’t terrorize children. Lessons are taught well through fear, but I suppose this is a subject for another post.

Now you ask, what about the comedy? Well…It all started with these three guys.

I mix the dark side with comedy because pain is funny. Don’t even try to argue it’s not. Nine times out of ten, we laugh at someone else’s expense. How else could we humans get past the horrible moments in our lives with our sanity?

Comedy writing is new for me though, The Courier being my first attempt at it in a full length novel. Luckily, it’s coming to me naturally, but I also have to attribute it to raising two boys and watching A LOT of goofy horror flicks like Bad Taste (more reasons to love Peter Jackson), Evil Ed and Shaun of the Dead.

Gosh, so far I haven’t even mentioned books. Yeah, I’ve read quite a bit of fantasy and horror. Sure, a myriad of good and bad fiction authors have helped to shape my writing. But when it comes to influences, I have to turn to nonfiction, especially in the area of philosophy and religion. And so re-enters Sister Paul. As a person who is constantly questioning my own faith, I can’t help but be absolutely fascinated by spirituality, an underlying theme in my works. And, I especially love to take horrific real life situation, as in my short story Blush of the Dead that addresses gendercide in Bosnia, and mix it with fantastic characters like zombies.

Darn! I’m running out of space for this week’s post. Being a Leo, I could go on forever about myself. I’ve got only one last thing to mention, and that is I haven’t read much comedy in fiction form. Got any suggestions??

14 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2010 7:17 am

    Christopher Moore – hands down one of the funniest writers I’ve ever read. If you’ve never had a moment where you literally laugh out loud while reading and then quickly look around to see if you accidentally drew attention to yourself – then you have to try this author. He has some books that poke at religion, some that are more paranormal, including two that are vampire. His prose and dialogue are incredibly witty, appealing to both male and female readers alike.

    • January 15, 2010 7:48 am

      Moore is one of the few I’ve read recently. Am currently in the middle of A Dirty Job, about a guy who happens into becoming Death. Gotta say, Moore really has a way with refreshing an old concept. I listened to Practical Demonkeeping with my son a couple months ago and we laughed our butts off, so he’s perfect for teen boys who hate reading.

  2. sarannadewylde permalink
    January 15, 2010 9:06 am

    I laugh at the most inappropriate times. *sigh* I cackled all the way through The Exorcist. I’m sure that’s a sign that I’m disturbed. But then again, I watched it at my 8th birthday party. That’s what made me decide I was going to be a horror writer. Of course, I discovered romance a couple years later.

    Good Omens is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read it, it’s a must! Also, if you like the horror/comedy Ray Garton’s books usually have a few laugh out loud moments, even though that could just be me. Ravenous had me shrinking from windows and running like an idiot to my car because I had to leave after it was dark.

    Oh, and movie wise, Motel Hell gets me every time. LOL.



    • January 15, 2010 6:09 pm

      LOL! I didn’t actually watch the Exorcist for the first time until it aired on TV, hacked to bits. Still gave me some pretty interesting nightmares…love nightmares! And Motel Hell is a laugh fest! Did you know they’re remaking it?

      Thanks for reading suggestions. Haven’t ready any of ’em.

      By the way…CONGRATS on winning Dorchester!

  3. January 15, 2010 2:49 pm

    Fun posts this week!

    CJ, in college, I played one session of D&D with some friends, just to see what it was like. I could see how people got addicted to it, but I found my own fiction far more addicting.

    Greg, you didn’t mention “Forbidden Planet.” Heavy-duty cheese, but that one amounted to more than the sum of its parts.

    Supriya, for excellent (and historical) international mystery/suspense, try A TRACE OF SMOKE by Rebecca Cantrell.

    Steve, I think that the things we do to *research* our crime fiction are fun.

    WJ, in old fairy tales, lessons are taught well through fear because fear is what motivates heroes to slay dragons.

    • January 15, 2010 3:38 pm

      I wanted to mention “Forbidden Planet” (which is a classic, by the way) but “Creature Double Feature” didn’t have the rights to show it. It was one of MGM’s rare science fiction movies and they’ve always guarded their movies jealously. It’s still one of my all-time favorites and is one of the things that helps me continue writing science fiction, though not for any reasons you might fathom:

      It motivates me to include all of society in my writing. Imagine being in the 24th century and having a United Planets vessel with an all-white crew? Even “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” had a primarily white cast.

      Hmm, something for a future blog, I think.

      • January 15, 2010 6:17 pm

        Yeah, what is it about SF and those all-white crews? The road to integrate casts of SF movies and series has been a screwy, awkward one. In the earliest forms, the Token Negro often turned out to be the Magic Negro. And I’m still spotting use of the Magic Negro in those awful, spattergore monster flicks on Sy Fy.

    • January 15, 2010 5:52 pm

      Thanks for dropping by Suzanne! Great info!

  4. January 15, 2010 3:58 pm

    Nice blog, Wendy. And, yes, I’ve seen “The Crawling Hand.” An astronaut gets his hand blown off and it kills people. Better movies on the subject are “Beast with Five Fingers” with Peter Lorre (1946) and the 1980 remake “The Hand” with Michael Caine.

    As for horror-comedy, I like “Return of the Living Dead” (Clu Gulager), “The Raven” (Peter Lorre and Vincent Price) and “A Comedy of Terrors.”

    Oh, and let’s not forget the funniest horror/science fiction movies of all time — “The Creeping Terror,” “Robot Monster” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space.”

    I like your Three Stooges inspiration. Ironically, my mother can’t stand the Three Stooges but she loves Steven Seagal.

    • January 15, 2010 6:26 pm

      Oh dear, I forgot to mention Vincent Price. I’m a big fan of his movies and Christopher Lee, my all time favorite vampire, forgot him too. It’s great to go down memory lane with movies!!

      We need a page with the Wicked Writers suggestions.

      Funny about your mom. Does she watch him on that show as a cop?

      Don’t tell her about the remake. Not a fan of Jim Carrey, if he’s in it, but I’ll see it anyways. If he doesn’t stay true to Curly, I’ll have to hunt him down and pull off his nose with pliers.

      • January 16, 2010 4:11 am

        Steven Seagal — Lawman? Yeah, she watches it. I admit to watching it on occasion because he’s not beating up all the perps himself.

  5. January 15, 2010 4:13 pm

    Hi Wendy, I think for dry humour, Stephen King takes some beating. In one novel, I forget which at the moment, one of the characters comes out with the phrase, “he’s so mean, he can drink scalding water and still piss ice cubes.” It made me laugh. Great post by the way. Really enjoyed it, as always.

    • January 15, 2010 6:32 pm

      Thanks for dropping by to read again Mr. Stone! Stephen King does have his dry humor side. You’re reminding me of him in the movie Creepshow in “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”…LOL!


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