Can We Get More Comedy-Horror Musicals Already?
IMDB's three top-rated comedy horror musical films of all time are The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), and Little Shop of Horrors (1986). The first two hail from stage musicals — both debuting in 1973 — and the one with the giant blood-lusting space plant and also just all the lusting was first written as a 1960 film before gracing the stage as a musical play in 1982.
Fourth on IMDb's rating list is Anna and the Apocalypse, the 2017 British Christmas zombie musical that was just okay but at least wholly original and written specifically for film, too. The rest of the list lives to serve up either the obscure or the mediocre. It's the definition of slim pickings: Listed at number 10 is the 2016 should've-been-a-live-production TV movie with a 27% RT score, The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again.
We repeat, that movie should've been done live. Anyway, the question is this: Why, when musical films usually do pretty well, do we not have more musicals that fall under the subgenre of comedy horror? The success of those top three films (and the cult followings of others like Repo! The Genetic Opera) shows that it can and does work. So why aren't we belting songs like "Hey, Big Slender!" "Cell Block Fang Gore" or "Tears on My Chainsaw" all the livelong day?
And with classic horrors always getting remakes and reboots, why not turn some of the more serious films into singing parodies with bloody jazz hands? Give us young Regan from The Exorcist dancing around and singing, "What an excellent day for an exorcism!" Give us Saw: The Movie Musical, you cowards.
In all seriousness (as serious as one can get when talking about musicals), it seems one of the reasons we're not being flooded with comedy-horror musical films is because it's apparently kind of hard writing funny songs. According to some comedians, the rhyme scheme tends to mess with where the punchline needs to go. On top of that, pop music often relies on repetition, which can be tricky because not every joke will work on repeat.
Then again, everyone can also just do what Bo Burnham does, specifically here:
That particular song is both creepy and hilarious. It's exactly what you want in comedy horror, and Burnham's style might actually hold the key to how comedy can be added to a horror musical (another point that sees some scratching their heads over). See, Burnham's delivery is usually either serious, deadpan, or has a crazy edge to it — three things that work great in comedy horror, as long as the lines and lyrics are funny. So we guess what we're trying to say is, can someone tell Burnham to please write a comedy horror musical featuring funny people like Will Ferrell and Tig Notaro who are actually werewolves trying to unionize other Hollywood werewolves, but they also, like, eat people?
And then make them sing a song about why they really do ads for PETA.
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Top Image: 20th Century Studios